Myths & Realities
If they can’t "just get over it", trauma survivors are choosing to be victims.
In the past 15 years much has been learned about the brain and why some events overwhelm people’s capacities to cope. Whether a person experienced a car accident or work accident, a natural disaster or interpersonal violence, traumatic stress can distress the nervous system making it impossible to cope without therapeutic intervention. Professional counselling is often required in order to move beyond the negative effects of trauma.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is rare.
While PTSD was first diagnosed in soldiers, it has since been identified that sufferers of any form of trauma could have PTSD or experience some of the symptoms. Full-blown PTSD is estimated to impact 10% of the population while a higher percentage of trauma survivors live with some of the symptoms. Both the person suffering from PTSD and those who are close to them are affected.
It is only abuse if it is violent.
Neglecting or ignoring children’s needs causes serious emotional harm that will, if uninterrupted, be carried into adult years. Other forms of non-violent abuse include financial abuse, spiritual abuse and manipulation. Because non-violent abuse is difficult to detect, early intervention is less likely than with any other form of abuse.
Victims of elder abuse will report the situation if they are given the opportunity to do so.
Abusive situations are complex. Elders who are financially, physically or emotionally abused may be torn between their concern for the abuser, dividing the family if the abuser is a family member, the fear of losing the relationship (and possibly their home), and the humiliation of revealing their woundedness to a stranger. There are many reasons victims are reluctant to disclose elder abuse.
You can spot an abuser.
Abusers typically display different kinds of behaviours in public than they do in private. Most people are not aware when any form of abuse is happening in their community.
All perpetrators are male. All victims are female
Most perpetrators are male and most victims are female. However, it is not unusual for males to be victimized; nor is it unusual for females to be perpetrators. Abuse happens in all socio-economic classes, all religions and in all cultures. Anyone can be abused.
You are only seriously impacted by trauma and abuse if you experience it directly
Many people are affected by trauma and abuse whether or not they experienced it directly. Witnessing a traumatic event can be as damaging as experiencing a trauma directly. Research has identified that families of returning veterans often struggle as they support and adapt to changes in the veteran.
In some cases the effects continue into the next generation, such as with residential school and holocaust survivors.