No one wants to talk about child abuse. But superheroes run towards the terror everyone else is fleeing.
It’s me again, Jen–you know, the scifi author and physician hunts down ways to become a real-life superhero. You never know what’s going on in someone’s life. I vividly remember one case, in particular, of a young male Soldier who couldn’t function AT ALL during the day because he spent his nights in terror.
It’s called delayed-onset PTSD: basically, his childhood assault came up again when, during a tour in Europe, a bunch of men jumped him and beat him up. I met him during a period of stress as our unit was preparing for a deployment. The stress plus that recent assault compounded with the childhood rape he’d never really dealt with.
He just could not sleep.
His unit began to punish him for his poor daytime performance, and when I tried to protect him with medical orders they would question, trying to dig at the secrets I could not tell them. They thought I was going easy on him because I’m a young “inexperienced” woman (can’t trust female doctors, after all), and of course he, a man, would never tell them the hidden “weakness” he carried.
So to them, he was a “bad Soldier.”
I eventually managed to protect him by getting him out of the military on an early medical discharge, but I think of him often, often angry that I couldn’t get the unit to listen to me, that I couldn’t get the buy-in to actually improve his life, that I didn’t have the administrative knowledge I do now that could have helped him more, that the uncompassionate, self-important behavioral health officer fought with me AGAINST the Soldier–that it was such a struggle to get him the care he needed, even as a physician myself.
There would be many others like this Soldier: child abuse survivors make up a surprisingly enormous percentage of the US military, at least in my experience. Sometimes survivors become heroes.
Sometimes they need heroes.
So whether you’re a survivor yourself or not, I want you to have the tools to be that hero: I interviewed survivor Lukysha Sims Neal, CMTDR, and child counselor Rev. Ayonna Johnson, LPC, to teach you how to best help someone escaping child abuse.
It’s a good long class, especially geared towards helping you gain some basic hero skills–and it costs nothing to put it on in the background while you’re working and level up your hero game.
If you don’t think you know someone who’s suffered child abuse, you may not be paying attention. Don’t miss this chance to become a better hero.
And when you’re ready, level up your hero game by starting to envision what your hero future would really look like here.