As a psychological suspense novelist I get the question, “Why did you chose to write a book (Justice Forbidden) that deals with a woman who was sexually abused as a child?” The answer is simple. Because the adults and children I saw in my practice touched my heart so deeply. It was hard for me to deal with the fact that justice so rarely occurred in their lives.
Contrary to what many people believe, children also frequently have PTSD after severe trauma although their symptoms may manifest somewhat differently. Most parents and caregivers are unaware of what’s going on inside the children’s minds because they can’t talk about it.
Regardless of who the person is, child or adult, and what the trauma was, in order to recover from PTSD, the first step for a child as well as an adult is to learn to trust the person who is helping them, be it friend, family member, or therapist. Just a bit–and then more–and more–over time until they are willing to try at least some of what that person asks them to do. That’s a tall order when the people who should have been the most trustworthy abused him/her.
I saw a six-year-old girl, who had been sexually abused by her father. The hardest thing for her to do was to trust people, especially men, and it hindered her recovery. But she was one of the lucky kids I saw. Her aunt’s boyfriend, a kind young man who loved kids, spent a lot of time with her. And one day she came into the office with a little blue teddy bear. She introduced the bear as “Trustabit.” Her aunt’s boyfriend had given it to her, but she had named it. From then on when I asked her to do something she would say, “I just have to trust a bit, Mrs. Goodwin, don’t I?” I’d nod and she would do her best.
What a courageous young girl.
When I stopped seeing her two years later, she gave me the teddy bear. I still have it, and whenever I begin to lose faith, I look at that bear and remember those words, “Trust a bit.” That’s all it takes.