Yesterday was another trauma informed care training to nurses. I'm still very amazed at the biases that occur around sex, drugs, abortion, alcoholism, mental health or other challenges. As typical I received a follow up email from a survivor with their thoughts, not about the training but about the response of other humans around human behaviors and actions. The nurse survivor that emailed me felt so empowered to make a change that she has requested that I share her story with others in the community and within the organization. As requested and with permission, I'm sharing her story so that others can see how people are affected by labels, beliefs and judgement.
In class yesterday, I realized I have an ACE score of 8. A lot of the things you talked about yesterday hit home for me. What upset me, however, was when the class was asked what they believed the average number of sexual partners that they estimated the people with adversities had. Their responses where nauseating and not in the numbers they were throwing out pf 10, 20, 60, 75. What was upsetting was the disgust on some of their faces and the comments of "What a bunch of sluts" and "That's disgusting." What is disgusting is the fact that I was one of those, due to being beaten and raped by my best friend (at the time)'s father while i was sleeping over at her house when I was 15. I used sex as a coping mechanism in an attempt to associate sex with something other than pain and loss of control. From the time I was 14 until I was 20, I had sex with more than 75 people. It is hard to know an exact amount because during a lot of them I was altered by either drugs or alcohol. I wanted so bad to feel loved and wanted and I knew that I would feel "wanted" while being intimate. I was known in high school as a "sure thing" by guys in high school and was judged numerous times however no one knew why I was the way I was. I got pregnant when I was 16 and had an abortion also due to the promiscuity. I have been to countless counseling sessions to no avail until I was introduced to EMDR therapy. This has made a world of difference in my night terrors and changing the way I process feeling worthless or somehow damaged from my past.
This email, I hope, can help you explain to nurses or resident's going through your class, that people really are affected by this stuff everyday. And even when judging/giggling/making comments in a seemingly "joking" manner like several where doing yesterday in class, you have no idea who around you that this hurts or affects. There are a million people that are fighting battles that no one will ever know about.