Trauma empowerment comes from identifying and understanding what has happened.

As a CASA guardian ad litem, I’ve come to know many abused children. I was the second person John ever told of the things that were done to him when he was a boy – he died last year at 80.

John lived for 30 years with untreated trauma from child sex abuse.

When he was 40, John sought out a therapist. That therapist helped John understand why he couldn’t stay married, keep a business partner and kept thinking of killing himself.

He did not suddenly discover how to trust or quit his self-destructive habits. But he did come to know his habits, why he had them and skills to deal with them.

John had been happily married for decades and a very successful attorney at the time of his death. Talking about what happened to him with his therapist allowed him decades marriage, trust and success.

Many abused children never get help. Many never tell their story to anyone and go to their grave having lived lives tortured daily by nightmares and traumas  visited upon them as children.

All of the 50 children I helped remove from toxic homes were molested, beaten or otherwise abused over long periods in those homes. Some of them were toddlers when it began – all of them were under 7 when their abuse began.

Children reported to child protective services at least have access to safety and

the help they need to deal with the violence done to them.

Children in the system have a chance to learn what has happened to them. They also have the chance to learn the life skills required for managing the severe mental and behavioral problems that they are living with.

Only a small percentage of abused children are reported to child protection 

only a percentage of those reported are ever investigated. 

Most children live a lifetime without ever knowing that

what happened to them

was not their fault.

They live with self-hate, self-harm and constant suffering from

deeply buried unaddressed violence done to them as children.

If you are this person, finding an ACEs (adverse childhood experiences)informed therapist or trusted person to share your stories and discover the skills needed for managing life makes life easier, safer and happier.

ACE survivors resources

Adult survivors

Powerful books on the topic

Share this resource widely

Submitted by CASA volunteer Mike Tikkanen

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