You may remember the letter written in November by the fine young director of our Child Advocacy Center asking the question above.
I have some thoughts about that as an adult who was one of these children many years ago. In my midwestern childhood of the 1950s this was a moot point. No one made any calls and the result of complex trauma was an intractable condition that carried a life-long sentence. Weve come a long way, thank goodness. Today organizations like The NEST do exist. We understand the neurophysiology of trauma as well as the plasticity of our brains, how we can grow new neurons at any age, and how to accurately diagnose and effectively treat trauma so that more and more of us are healing.
But back to the question. I suspect that folks dont make the call for the same reasons as the Paternos, which speaks to why those of us who survived and put together full, rich, deep and successful lives dont speak out publicly very often if at all.
The Paternos (his and her) responses sum up what we have been dealing with our entire lives different sides of what I call the coin of denial that distance folks from their pain but dont help them or us or our society heal.
From the Washington Posts Sally Jenkins sit-down interview: His response was disbelief that this kind of behavior exists and how he was unable to wrap his head around the reality of the abuse from the hands of a man he knew and cared for. Her response was. If someone touched my child, there wouldnt be a trial, I would have killed them. That would be my attitude, because you have destroyed someone for life.
Being either denied or viewed as damaged goods who have been destroyed for life when you know deep in your heart and mind that you are a survivor who embodies resilience and is full of courage, determination, and coping skills that others could learn from adds insult to injury for sure.
2011 was a remarkable year for mental health recovery and 2012 has started with a great blast of hopeful energy. These words are from Laura Spiro, director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery. Nothing about us, without us is the motto and we are finally being heard all the way to Washington. In the field of evidence-based practice, we know from our full range of lived experiences what works because we are the evidence!
In a 2009 letter to Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates regarding the DODs policy of not allowing Purple Heart medals to be awarded to soldiers stricken with post-traumatic stress, and as a trauma survivor with a PTS diagnosis as well, I noted that healing trauma is a 21st century reality and I ended with this: We need every one of us to solve the challenges we face today. Those of us who have returned to the joy of living from the hell of trauma bring strength and insights that will play a critical role in defining the paths of healing for our country and our world.