Multilayered trauma during democratic transition: A woman’s first-person narrative

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This article is a first-person narrative about my journey through more than 40 years of political trauma and recovery. I use a multilayered frame, showing how an activist’s psychological sufferings and healing are embedded in a rapidly changing democratizing state. My research strategy is one of analytic autoethnography, as self-examinations are done in the context of systemic changes. Data sources that elucidate the experience of trauma include my poetry, dream-journal entries, and my son’s drawings during Philippine martial law (1972–1986), the tumultuous years of power shift (1986–1995), and relative political stability (1995–2014). My story ends with reflections on the meaning of gendered violence and personal trauma in the context of active nonviolence during democratic transitions.