Talking about trauma in domestic migrant worker returnee narratives: Mental health issues.

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


This chapter reports on a research project about Indonesian and Filipina migrant worker returnees. Shortly after their return, they were invited to participate in a sharing session with other migrant workers and a researcher about their experiences as migrant workers and about their homecoming. 107 women participated in 30 sharing sessions and all the stories were transcribed and (for some) translated. A large number of the women were (sexually) assaulted while they worked overseas and return to their home countries deeply traumatised. First, the chapter analyses some narrative excerpts in which the women talk about (sexual) assault and other traumatic experiences. The stories are notably incoherent and disconnected, characterised by voids in the narrative flow. This is typical of trauma storytelling but is sometimes used against the women to discredit their stories. Then the chapter discusses the mental health issues involved in these women’s stories and what scholars can do to address them. The findings from the current dataset suggest that hundreds of traumatised women return to Indonesia every year with no access to proper healthcare or professional therapy, and the chapter discusses what can be done to meet these women’s needs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExpanding Horizons in Health Communication:
Subtitle of host publicationAs Asian Perspective
EditorsBernadette Watson, Janice Krieger
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages25
VolumeHumanities in Asia 6
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-15-4389-0
ISBN (Print)978-981-15-4388-3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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