Enforced disappearance of a loved one is like being hit by a whirlwind. (Image: Unsplash)
Most families of victims of enforced disappearance become aware of abductions only when it happens to a member of their family or to a friend.
While they may have read or heard about people being disappeared, the knowledge would remain in the periphery of their consciousness and they would usually not give it much thought. They are unprepared for what to expect and how to cope. I can say this is true for both the least and the most educated among us. I am particularly speaking about myself and my relatives.
The best way to describe this kind of victimhood is that it is like being hit by a whirlwind. It gives you the feeling of being buffeted from all sides. Internally, we are confronted with the uncertainty of the whereabouts and fate of our disappeared, feelings of guilt for not being able to do anything, and anxiety at the thought that our missing loved one is being tortured. Externally, we receive contradicting counsel which contribute to the bewilderment.