Women’s Traumatic Experience at World War II: the Soviet Case

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"This article highlights the problem of women and the war from the perspective of traumatic nature of female experience. The official policy of memory of World War II in the Soviet Union did not include women's experience of sexual violence because it can break the concept of glorification of winners-Soviet soldiers. Women who experienced the attempts of sexism and sex violence at war became the hostages of the official politics of memory in the peacetime and thus they were forced to 'work through their past'. Ideological slogans of the Soviet time became the part of the collective memory and were reflected in the personal memory. Thanks to the stories of participants and witnesses of World War II the new war images and concepts are formed which can be included in the cultural memory about the war nowadays.

The analysis of one oral interview showed the depth of the problem of sexual violence during the war. The impossibility of the women-victims of such relations to describe their experience, the absence of the special psychological and social services during the post-war period, which can help women to overcome their troubles, show us the problems of 'working through the past' and the policy of the oblivion."