Listening to trauma

Those interested in trauma recovery work in international settings where rape is used as a tool of war will find this article on CNN to be of interest. WARNING: Not for those who are easily triggered by trauma stories!

Here’s a couple of reasons to read the article.

1. Why do this work?

They believe that listening is acknowledgement — and that acknowledgment is a kind of apology. Listening, they say, is the least the world owes.

2. Impact of this work?

You will experience secondary trauma. Don’t think you won’t.

3. How to do this work?

Start with an open question: Tell me about your experience. Look them in the eye. Don’t look at your notepad. If they say, “No, I don’t want to talk,” then leave. If they say, “Yes,” and tell you horrible things, wipe the emotion from your face. Get over being surprised they would tell a stranger, you, such intimate violations.

Know they are telling you because they need to tell someone, for whatever reason. And bearing that in mind, make no promises. Different victims want different things — revenge, financial compensation, asylum, prosecution of their attackers. Tell them that you can only listen, and do only that.

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Filed under Abuse, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

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