I am often asked of my “why.” The why behind what I do. The why that drove me to my passion. There is no simple short version of why. I wish it were as simple as just wanting to do what is right. But with that was originally led by passion, rage, anger, hurt, and sadness.
I was abused as a child. Sexually abused, verbally abused, and I was neglected, emotionally and physically. I was suicidal and did not feel like I was wanted or that I belonged. I could notunderstand the pain I felt internally as I would scream for someone to just listen to me. For someone to help me.
Forward to today, I still have childhood trauma. I consider myself a survivor. I am an advocate, a mentor, a writer, a mom, a wife, a grad student, a trauma professional and I am disappointed in our system we call justice and protection. I am disappointed that we don’t have more DISCUSSIONS about healing trauma, preventing trauma and NORMALIZING healing. Normalizing the discussion to bring awareness and to bring support.
When I was that child suffering crying for help. I tried to tell someone. It did not work. People saw the cuts on my wrists and just turned away. I felt invisible. Like nobody cared, nobody heard me, nobody was listening. I assure you though, you could see my pain eating away at my insides as it consumed me. Later in life I thought to myself, maybe I should have tried harder to tell someone? Maybe I should have just found my way to an officer? Maybe if I would have just thought of what to do more, than maybe someone would have helped.
That was not my job as a child though to constantly find help. Instead, what I was doing, was trying to survive. My school counselors and teachers had seen my pain, my cuts, my tears, and my cry for help. Their job was to report it. Why didn’t they? Why didn’t they use their ethical guidelines and just report it? Because our children, everyday, all around us, are ignored. They are surviving instead of living. They are neglected, even by the ones who are placed there to be the protectors and to help.
My why is not about just wanting to do the right thing. My why is about the need for discussion. The need to realize this may be an uncomfortable topic, but it is needed and far more important than any uncomfortableness you may experience. The lasting effects from childhood trauma are real. The lasting effects from parental alienation without a cause, is real. The lasting effects of children being ignored, pushed to the bottom,and laughed at like it is a game, is real.
There is research, we have the research on our children’s developmental aspects mentally. It is there for everyone and so many of those in these positions are aware of it too. Then why is the child’s best interest always quoted over and over with no actual consideration of facts and the impacts to decisions made on these children. Why can you pay foster parent thousands a month and not a family who just wanted some extra help? Why can you throw stones and judge a victim, while letting the perpetrators free?
Often victims are blamed or shamed for just being a victim. For just surviving. I see at times young adults who are now parents or wanting to be a parent. Are often told that the risk scores or Family Risk score are showing they are “unfit” or will become harmful because of their past trauma, their childhood trauma. They are victim shamed. They are practically made to look like they are the perpetrator just because some research tells us they will become one. Not every survivor ends up being the perpetrator. Not every perpetrator was a survivor. Putting more negative perspectives on the innocent and not the perpetrators, are further creating more shame-filled outcomes.
Why are we not looking at healing and supporting more? Rather than shaming and making survivors feel even less than. We did not choose to be traumatized. To be abused, neglected,or trafficked. It is biased and discriminating to judge someone based on the childhood they did not get the choice to decide to be in or be able to control their environment.
Far to often, children who are abused get ignored, traumatized, and sometimes end up dead. Whether by suicide or homicide at the hands of the abuser. Children are used as pons in the judicial system we call “justice.” Guardian ad litems, CASA workers, attorneys, case workers, judges, counselors, doctors, and many more. They have lied, perjured, ignored the abused, allowed the abuse, laughed, mocked, traumatized, and committed more crimes than a family they’ve “helped.” Not all are bad, no. But when you have the vast majority of them doing this, the entire system that is supposed to protect you and uphold the laws, is needing to be seriously evaluated and fixed immediately. I know I’ll get heat back from this very paragraph, but when is it going to be acknowledged? SOMEONE, has to be the one to say it, to start the discussion!
Nebraska for instance, was given seven years to fix their department of health and human services. Why does it take seven years to have common sense and human decency? Most of the regulations in place do not even align with what they do. They do the opposite though and are encouraged to do so. It should not take seven years to figure out that a child being abused with over 50 calls to the abuse hotline, needs protection.That innocent child was murdered and tortured gruesomely, and his name is Landon Payne. It should not take seven years to figure out a ten-year-old child was pregnant and had triplets. It shouldn’t take seven years for someone to help my own situation. Victims all around are in jail, victim blamed, while perpetrators are walking amongst us. Think about that.
If I were to seek more help, there either would not have been any at all, still, or I would have ended up in another traumatizing “foster home.” Still not getting actual help. Still not being heard or still not being protected. Who is protecting our children physically and mentally, when they are being abused or when they are being thrown around and further traumatized by the “services?”
My why is because our children’s lives matter, their developing minds matter, their connections matter, their sense of love and belonging matter. Their voices matter and Survivors matter. Healing… MATTERS, to protect the next generation. To end generational trauma.