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Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists

Archive for December 2010

Groups Call for Greater Transparency Regarding Military Sexual Trauma

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We first wrote about military sexual trauma (MST) back in May of this year. Despite increased efforts from the VA to educate, treat and prevent MST, certain agencies have come forward saying that clearly is not enough.

Increased Transparency

Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) — an advocacy group for female veterans — and the ACLU have teamed up against the Defense Department to increase the transparency of possible sexual abuse that occurs within the different branches of the military by demanding the release of MST records.

Not only are the SWAN and the ACLU seeking increased transparency, education, prevention, and funding, they’re taking it one step further and seeking to increase prosecutions. 

The Available Stats Are Alarming

Granted, MST is more of a less-known incidence then, say, PTSD, but the statistics that are available are alarming:

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, the DOD and VA have been asked to make public their records concerning the instance rates of MST and the action taken for those reported instances. While the full scope of MST is still not known, the available data is shocking. Recent survey’s have shown that instances of sexual assault and rape are double that of the civilian population. An estimated 1 in 3 women experience sexual assault during their enlistment and that 6-23% of female servicemembers are the victim of rape or attempted rape. Additionally, those studies reveal that 14% of military rape victims are the victims of gang rape. (Read More)

According to an article by Brett Edward Stout of SheWired.com, “While it is unclear how successful the lawsuit (filed by SWAN) will be, when asked if the lawsuit itself will help shed light on this dark secret of the military, [Anuradha Bhagwati, Executive Director of SWAN] answered confidently, ‘Absolutely.’”

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Written by traumalines

December 15, 2010 at 10:16 pm

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A Review of our Most-Recent Posts

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Every once in a while we like to give readers a chance to get caught up in case anyone has missed any of our most-recent posts:

HBO’s ‘Wartorn’: The invisible wounds of war“:

If you haven’t already, I have to recommend that you watch HBO’s documentary, “Wartorn.” This unprecedented view into the world of PTSD is both riveting and incredibly emotional.

In a sense, our soldiers today are lucky. I bet you may never have heard anyone say that before. But if you think about it, while the gruesome realities our soldiers have been exposed to essentially haven’t changed with each new war or conflict they have faced over the years, the recognition and treatment of PTSD — although still not perfect — has evolved tremendously throughout the decades:

Doctors in the Civil War called it “hysteria.”

Medics in WWI referred to it as “shell shock.”

During WWII it was known as “combat fatigue”…

Exploring the Masks We Wear“:

I want to invite anyone who presented at ATSS’ 2010 conference to share the nature of your presentation with our readers. I know from talking with several of this year’s attendees, that because there were so many presentations to choose from, there were several other presentations they wish they could have attended if schedules permitted.

Jennifer Wortham has agreed to be the first presenter to share. Jennifer’s presentation was titled “Exploring the Masks We Wear: Paths to Joy and Self-Empowerment.”

In her own words, Jennifer explains exactly what her presentation was about:

I was delighted to facilitate an interactive process-oriented mask workshop at the 2010 ATSS conference Safely in Our Hands: Helping Our Helpers Stay Healthy. The workshop’s theme echoed the theme of the conference by exploring creative expression as a method of self-care. A slide show of masks from different cultures and the purposes they served was shown to stimulate participants’ interest and imagination. A Burkina Faso initiation mask, a Seneca corn husk mask and a Beijing opera mask were among the 21 we reviewed…

Male Abuse Awareness Week 2010:

One of the first questions you might be asking is “Why hold an abuse awareness week, let alone a male abuse awareness week, so close to the holidays?” The unfortunate truth is, a lot of abuse occurs around the holidays, so the timing is rather perfect.

Both men and boys suffer from abuse, whether it is sexual, physical, emotional or mental, and their abuse is real and far too commonplace.

Help4guys.org is a website that’s dedicated to educating visitors on male abuse and also serves to promote Male Abuse Awareness Week 2010…

As you can see, our blog posts are quite diverse, but they all maintain a focus on trauma responders and survivors. Please feel free to suggest your own topics and ideas for blog posts, or even write your own!

Written by traumalines

December 14, 2010 at 9:48 pm

HBO’s “Wartorn”: The invisible wounds of war

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If you haven’t already, I have to recommend that you watch HBO’s documentary, “Wartorn.” This unprecedented view into the world of PTSD is both riveting and incredibly emotional.

In a sense, our soldiers today are lucky. I bet you may never have heard anyone say that before. But if you think about it, while the gruesome realities our soldiers have been exposed to essentially haven’t changed with each new war or conflict they have faced over the years, the recognition and treatment of PTSD — although still not perfect — has evolved tremendously throughout the decades:

Doctors in the Civil War called it “hysteria.”

Medics in WWI referred to it as “shell shock.”

During WWII it was known as “combat fatigue.”

HBO’s Wartorn highlights the invisible wounds of war that almost never seem to remain on the battlefield. Through historical footage, letters from the front and personal accounts and interviews, Wartorn achieves at putting its viewers inside the minds of our soldiers, past and present.

Check out the trailer:

Written by traumalines

December 8, 2010 at 10:05 pm

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Exploring the Masks We Wear

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I want to invite anyone who presented at ATSS’ 2010 conference to share the nature of your presentation with our readers. I know from talking with several of this year’s attendees, that because there were so many presentations to choose from, there were several other presentations they wish they could have attended if schedules permitted.

Jennifer Wortham has agreed to be the first presenter to share. Jennifer’s presentation was titled “Exploring the Masks We Wear: Paths to Joy and Self-Empowerment.”

In her own words, Jennifer explains exactly what her presentation was about:

I was delighted to facilitate an interactive process-oriented mask workshop at the 2010 ATSS conference Safely in Our Hands: Helping Our Helpers Stay Healthy. The workshop’s theme echoed the theme of the conference by exploring creative expression as a method of self-care. A slide show of masks from different cultures and the purposes they served was shown to stimulate participants’ interest and imagination. A Burkina Faso initiation mask, a Seneca corn husk mask and a Beijing opera mask were among the 21 we reviewed. 

Everyone from a 12 year-old and individuals from various helping professions — including two police officers — attended the workshop. Each chose a male or female version of a plain paper-mache mask. On its external face, participants were encouraged to create a side of themselves they tend to show the world. They were then challenged to create an image of the more private self on the inside face of the mask. 

Everyone dug into an appealing assortment of materials including paint, tissue paper, feathers, beads, raffia and shells and set to work. We ended the workshop with a go-round in which everyone unveiled and discussed what they discovered about their two faces.  

Jennifer Wortham lives in Manhattan. She has a private therapy practice, facilitates workshops to help individuals explore and integrate their grief and teaches for LDMonline

If you are interested in learning more about Jennifer’s work with individuals or her workshops, her contact information is below:

Jennifer Wortham LCSW
TRANSITIONS:
Supporting Resilience
jaworth@earthlink.net
(W) 212 923-0664
(C) 646 831-9152

Written by traumalines

December 6, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Male Abuse Awareness Week 2010

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One of the first questions you might be asking is “Why hold an abuse awareness week, let alone a male abuse awareness week, so close to the holidays?” The unfortunate truth is, a lot of abuse occurs around the holidays, so the timing is rather perfect.

Both men and boys suffer from abuse, whether it is sexual, physical, emotional or mental, and their abuse is real and far too commonplace.

Help4guys.org is a website that’s dedicated to educating visitors on male abuse and also serves to promote Male Abuse Awareness Week 2010:

This site is a Complete Resource Guide for MALE Victims & Survivors of Abuse and is here to provide all the information and resources you may need if you are thinking of getting help and healing your life in order to move forward in a positive direction.  

We also wish to inspire people and organizations that provide help services to female victims and survivors to start offering specialized services for abused males, if you do not already.  If you are a service provider, we offer information here to help you start to understand some basics of how to deal with the special needs of male victims and survivors of all forms of abuse.

Help4guys.org, in conjunction with the P. Luna Foundation, has even teamed up with an online counseling service that offers private, online therapy.

Men and boys, or anyone for that matter, shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarassed to seek help. Efforts like Male Abuse Awareness Week help to educate and lift the stigma associated with male abuse, one week at a time.

Written by traumalines

December 1, 2010 at 10:06 pm