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MANTRA – A group program for male survivors of torture and rape

MANTRA is a project developed for refugee men who have survived  multiple traumas, including torture, sexual violence and rape.

Experiencing and witnessing torture, sexual violence and rape is pervasive in many refugee populations.  A desire for power & dominance underpins these acts of acts of systematic violence that are also used as a strategy to demoralise, terrorise and control. In men these acts of violence are under reported. Shame & stigma are possible barriers to seeking help. This increases vulnerability and could also lead to re-victimisation.

Mantra was developed as a forum where participants share their experiences, explore issues and reflect on pathways to healing from their multiple traumas including torture, sexual violence and rape. Participants may also discuss issues that are related to their worries about their appeal for protection and uncontrollable fears about the safety of family overseas.

MANTRA assists men to better manage the effects of the horrors of the past by supporting and assisting them to:

  • Share and validate difficult experiences
  • Explore strategies to restore  emotional wellbeing and mental health
  • Work through issues such as shame, guilt, and identity confusion
  • Help strengthen support networks to facilitate ongoing recovery

How does MANTRA work?

MANTRA values and respects the privacy of every participant.  Only participants who are registered /referred to STARTTS have access to the program.

Participants in MANTRA attend a 10 week program. The group sessions are held every Tuesday between 3pm and 5.30pm at 44-50 Auburn Road, Auburn STARTTS.  It is important that participants attend all 10 sessions. Individual sessions are also offered as part of the program to assist clients to discuss issues that may be a challenge to talk about in a group setting.

What participants learn and gain from MANTRA is generally proportionate to how much they are willing to share and participate in the group. Hence all participants are encouraged to actively participate and share in the group. However, no one is pressured to talk. Every participant is given the opportunity to stay silent until they feel comfortable to speak in the group.

MANTRA is a confidential program like other services offered at STARTTS.

If participants would like assistance to write their testimony that they may present at their tribunal or human rights hearing we request that they inform us about this request.

Every participant will be provided a brief summary of their group treatment at the end of the program.

Groups at STARTTS are generally language specific. Currently we are facilitating MANTRA groups in Tamil.

More info - download the MANTRA brochure (176KB)