More on That Question!

In a movie “A Woman In Berlin,” the Russians were invading Berlin in 1945.  Rape was rampant.  When the commanding officer was approached about putting a stop to it his response was something like this “…for 10 minutes what can it matter?”

Such ignorance.  Let me tell you a bit about why it matters.  No matter what the age of the person, even a 5 minute SV experience has just cut right through her/his brain, mind, emotions, heart, and has disrupted normal development.  The wound is hemorrhaging, but no one can see it.  Emotional cancer has invaded the person.  If someone had the physical diagnosis of cancer, would we say to them to just get over it?  Would we question their disease and need for help, would we show kindness and compassion? 

When the experience has first happened, whether it is visible or not, the person has just gone into shock. This is a God-given survival mechanism.  Webster’s definitions for the word shock rumble with all the weird and devastating characteristics of the SV survivor.  In addition to whatever physical damage that may have been inflicted, the violent event will impact her mind and emotions as “a violent shake or jar” concussion…a disturbance of equilibrium or permanence …a sudden or violent disturbance of the mental or emotional faculties…struck with surprise, terror, horror, or disgust…to collide violently.  He writes that “shock suggests the violent impact on the mind or emotions of an unexpected , over-whelming event that comes as a blow.”

The brain is an amazing thing to say the least.  Just like your body goes right to work to heal a bruise or a cut, so the brain, we are discovering, seems destined to naturally try to heal itself.  Makes sense.  So, no matter whether SV just recently happened or whether much time has passed, your brain has been busy trying to Reorganize itself.  When the event occurred, all systems went haywire!  The brain wants the ‘wires’ reconnected to help begin to cope and help the person get functioning again. 

Now here is the deal.  In cancer, the disease is so invasive, the body cannot heal itself.  The body’s natural design to heal itself is not enough.  Some sort of treatment will be necessary if there is a chance of healing.  Outside help is needed. 

SV is a type of cancer to the brain, heart and soul.  Just as in cancer, many factors will affect the prognosis.  These include the type of SV, where it occurred, who the abuser was, how often it happened, how long it has festered inside, the quality of support received, your family situation, childhood history, and so on.  Your family’s response can either be helpful or even more destructive.  Is the SV a secret?  

So, though there is much, much more about this topic that I have written in my upcoming book, I hope you all can get the gist of why the question “Why can’t she just get over it?” is ignorant and can cause more damage to the survivor. 

“Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.   Mercy triumphs over judgment!”  be  (James 2: 13 NIV)

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