Sometimes the deepest wounds become the greatest source of healing. After offering medical aid to a political enemy, Dr. Sheila Cassidy was arrested and tortured by a dictatorial government regime. A survivor and physician, Cassidy offers her perspective as a source of inspiration and education to the Colleges on Tuesday, September 30 at 5 p.m. as a part of the 2008 Genocide Series.
In her lecture titled “Torture and Healing: The Witnessing of a Political Prisoner,” Cassidy will speak about the human rights abuses she witnessed in Chile during the brutal reign of Augusto Pinochet. She will also speak about her book, “Audacity to Believe,” in which she unveils the details of her time as a tortured prisoner.
In 1975, Cassidy, a recent graduate from Oxford Medical School, left England to practice medicine in Chile where she was caught between the crossfire of political decree and her will to offer medical aid to a political enemy. When she was discovered, Cassidy was arrested and tortured by the Chilean secret police, known as DINA, without trial.
After her release from custody and return to England, Cassidy’s description of her experiences, including her account of her torture and imprisonment, did much to bring public attention to the widespread human right abuses that were occurring.
She has also authored other books, including her most recent autobiography, “Made for Laughter.”
In 1982, she became medical director of the new St. Luke’s Hospice in Plymouth, England, a position she held for 15 years.