Puppy Rescue II
In an attempt to rescue a puppy on a busy highway, we inadvertently caused more immediate harm. Approaching the frightened creature, caused him to panic and run into oncoming traffic. He was struck and laid out, unconscious.
Rushing into a situation of immediate danger is admirable. Rushing in to potential danger can be disastrous.
In cases of abuse, especially child abuse or child sexual abuse, most people understand, though may not articulate, that a core violation is occurring. The damage to our personhood is deep and dramatic. We instinctively want to run in and rescue, of course! However, trauma bonds develop in these kinds of cases. The bonding hormones we naturally produce in close relationships are strong. The physiological ties are real.
Our bodies respond, even if our minds check out. Even if we remain resistant and beg for relief, we are designed such that certain actions produce distinct results. A child experiencing sex may be very confused by this. Conflicting emotional and physical responses can wreak havoc with our minds. Severe guilt can result, especially when the adult abuser works to convince the child that they are willing participants or that they should be enjoying what is essentially trauma.
The experience of commercial child sexual abuse, meaning any age less than 18, according to the federal government and the TVPA is considered a severe form of human trafficking. It is severe because of the core violation that occurs from being repeatedly raped, whether it appears to be violent or not.
Our immediate impulse is to stop this from happening, but this isn’t a one-and-done type of intervention. It’s not like rescuing someone from downing. Although, even then there might be some aftercare. Rescuing someone from human trafficking means providing long term help. The recidivism rates are high, naturally, considering the trauma bonds. But also because the tremendous amount of support needed to break the ties, thought processes, physical pain, and emotional turmoil. Substances like drugs and alcohol often must be dealt with.
In order to rescue effectively, rescuers must be equipped to handle all sorts of scenarios. It’s possible and necessary. Aftercare programs can be in-house, drop-in centers, or even remote depending on the specific circumstances, but whatever the details, follow up is so important.
Our brains don’t change overnight. We may have a epiphany, but we’ll still need to implement step by step, systematic changes to rewire our brains. If you grew up in a relatively calm, secure house, starting a new job, or college will be challenging and exciting. If you grew up with trauma and a tumultuous living situation, it feels like being grown into an ocean with nothing to hold onto. A survivor informed aftercare program serves as the security of a buoy. Still in the ocean, but there is an anchor and a way to navigate.
Back to the puppy… As we drove to the base, too upset to recall how to get to the dorm, the puppy woke. He stumbled and slipped in his excrement as he regained consciousness. He wouldn’t look at us. He was terrified and probably in tremendous pain. He tried to hide under the seat, he spread the feces all over the floor of the brand new rental car. The stench was horrific, gagging us, so we had to open the windows, no doubt causing more aggravation to the little guy’s condition.
This graphic parallel to the aftermath of trafficking trauma is so obvious. As victims awaken to their reality, start to be aware of feelings, anger and frustration may be released in very unpleasant ways. We must feel. We have to deal with the emotional, mental and physical damage that has been done to us. It stinks. It’s unpleasant. It is a terrible mess.
I will tell more about the puppy next week. For now, just know he sat aware of his predicament, in obvious pain. He refused to respond to my voice, as soothing as I tried to be. He was breathing ok. I made calls to find care for him, while waiting for my son and daughter-in-law.
Victims of human trafficking become survivors with proper care. Then, as time passes with the right direction, we will thrive and grow and become the people we were designed to become. You can help. I hope you will.
Comment below, if you’re interested in finding out exactly how.