abuse, Abuse survivors, child abuse, date rape, Dr. Rebecca Campbell, healing after rape, incest survivors, overcoming trauma, rape, rape survivors, sexual assault survivors, Tonic Immobility, Trauma and sexual assualt, understanding the freeze response, understanding trauma, why don't they fight
** To ALL survivors please read!!! This changed my life and I can’t help sharing because for years I never could understand why I didn’t ‘fight back’ or ‘run’… and I know those of you who have never (thankfully) suffered any form of abuse or sexual assault you have never understood why we didn’t either. Well, here is your answer! I re-read this and see “40 degree weather” and I’m imagine by the time this is published I will be sweating pounds off in our 100 degree Texas heat! Maybe if I just re-read this again I can feel the cool air… **
This morning I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I met Stephanie for a scheduled 7 mile run in the 40 degree weather (which is unusual for Houston, TX right now!) and felt the claws of negativity and indifference grip me. But I did it anyway.
I arrived home at 6:20am and went straight to my little prayer corner:
It has been awhile since I’ve written in my journal. For me this is unusual as it is my way of communicating to God and also relinquishing worries and concerns. Lately it’s been something I’ve avoided. I couldn’t tell you why though I have many theories. Today I grabbed the journal and read the quote on the page:
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7
Offering the verse as a prayer I wrote, “Lord I need you. It is not easy for me to journal lately but I know you are near. You have been so good to me and you are amazing. I need to figure out how to overcome what I’m going through and face the demons of my past so I can go forward and do the work you’ve called me to. Help me Lord. Amen”
At 7:00am I got out of the shower and for no reason that I can think of I checked my emails on my phone and saw the last one received was asking of a task I was supposed to have done but failed to do. Suddenly I was kicked into full gear. Though the day was proving to match the mood when I woke up I didn’t stress. Ten minutes later Ryan came to my bathroom door and said, “Mom, I need a Roman Soldier costume for stations tomorrow morning.” What?! Again, I let the few choice words I had on my tongue dissolve and kept moving forward. Get ready, was all I could think.
By 8am I was successfully completing the task I failed to do a few days before, and at 10am when in my bible study and I mentioned the Roman costume dilemma one of the ladies looked at me and said, “Oh, I have one!” Thank you God!
At 11am I delivered the teaching on Genesis 41 & 42 and then rushed out after to attend the “Not Making Sense is Traumatic” Neurobiology of Trauma mini-seminar hosted by the Houston Police Department. My friend who leads the Mission at Serenity Ranch (a safe house for survivors of human trafficking) told me about the training and I signed up immediately.
This was the highlight of my day. To ALL SURVIVORS please, please, please do yourself a favor and read the following article by Dr. Rebecca Campbell a research Psychologist at Michigan State University. This information transformed and validated me in what I went through as a survivor of sexual assault and incest.
I would try and go through the abundance of golden information that she gave today but there is no way I could explain it the way she did so, again, please go to the link above and read her article. If you are a survivor of sexual assault you will want to read the article.
Typically, when a person is faced with a traumatic experience the common thought that is misconstrued is that you’ll either ‘FIGHT’ or ‘FLIGHT’ (run). If you talk to a survivor of such a traumatic experience a high percentage of them (I personally want to say – from the survivors I’ve worked with – 99%) will say ‘But I FROZE’. And those who have not gone through a similar traumatic experience will then question “Why didn’t you fight back?” Or “Why didn’t you run?”. And the survivor will inevitably feel guilty and ashamed and say, “I don’t know.”
BUT NOW I KNOW! Thank you to Dr. Rebecca Campbell. Again read this article: Tonic Immobility (Freeze Response)
I left the mini-seminar with a certificate and a feeling of euphoria (also explained by Dr. Campbell) because I finally have found understanding in why I reacted the way I did with both rapes and most likely as a very young child with my grandfather.
An example of this ‘T. I. or Tonic Immobility’ response is best shown by this YouTube video where they demonstrate this response with sharks: Sharks and T.I.
Also, if you’d like to hear what prompted Dr. Campbell to begin her research watch this YouTube video:
This information was a gift. It doesn’t take away what I’m going through because what I’m going through is needed for my journey, however, it gives answers to questions I never thought I’d get answered. I asked God for help and he helped!
I commend the Houston Police Department Sexual Assault Crimes Division for bringing Dr. Rebecca Campbell into Houston and training their first responders to better understand the victims response. This is ground breaking and can serve to be the key in getting more cases prosecuted!
There is always hope. Always.