Trauma experienced in the lives of children and families forms one of the many threads that weave the cycle of trauma impact. Below is an illustration of this “Fabric of Trauma” which illustrates the tangled web of violence. Trauma begets trauma just as violence begets violence.
The Fabric of Trauma
- Domestic Violence
- School Violence
- Sexual Assault
- Historical Trauma
- Exposure to Homicide or Suicide
- Sexual Abuse
- Mass Shootings
- Forced Displacement Refugees
- Chronic Illness-Loss of Health
- Substance Abuse
- Vicarious Trauma
- Natural or Manmade Disasters
- Exposure to Substance Abusing Parents / Caregivers
- Physical and/or Emotional Abuse
All of these types of trauma impact the trauma-exposed patient.
When we review just a few of the statics listed below, we can see that trauma impact is pervasive and without intervention it will continue to grow, like a snowball rolling down the hill through the decades gathering layers of fear. It is pretty clear as to how we can lose ourselves in the midst of ongoing trauma-exposure.
According to the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention, over 60 percent of adults report experiencing abuse or other difficult family circumstances during childhood. Twenty-six percent of children in the United States will witness or experience a traumatic event before they turn four.
Contributing to the snowball effect are some of the risk factors that can increase an individual’s vulnerability to trauma. People are more likely to be traumatized by a stressful experience if they are already under a heavy stress load or have recently suffered a series of losses. People who have a history of early childhood trauma are more likely to be traumatized in a new life situation.
Recent trauma-informed care statistics reveal the expansive impact of trauma. In JAMA Pediatrics, May 2013, four of every ten children in American say they experienced a physical assault during the past year, with one in 10 receiving an assault-related injury.
Two percent of all children experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse during the past year, with the rate of nearly 11 percent for girls aged 14 to 17. Nearly 14 percent of children repeatedly experienced maltreatment by a caregiver, including nearly 4 percent who experienced physical abuse.
Also, 1 in 4 children were victims of a robbery, vandalism or theft during the previous year.
More than 13 percent of children reported being physically bullied, while more than 1 in 3 said they suffered from being emotionally bullied. Also, 1 in 5 children witnessed violence in their family or the neighborhood during the previous year.
According to the Office of Justice Programs Juvenile Justice Bulletin, October 2009, in one year, 39 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 17 reported witnessing violence, 17 percent reported being a victim of physical assault, and 8 percent reported being the victim of sexual assault.
Research from an article on Community Violence and Children on Chicago’s Southside in Psychiatry, 56, more than 60 percent of youth age 17 and younger were exposed to crime, violence, and abuse either directly or indirectly. More than 10 percent of youth age 17 and younger reported five or more exposures to violence. About 10 percent of children suffered from child maltreatment, were injured in an assault or witnessed a family member assault another family member. About 25 percent of youth age 17 and younger were victims of robbery or witnessed a violent act. Nearly half of children and adolescents were assaulted at least once in the past year (Bell, C.C. & Jenkins, E.J., 1993).
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, among 536 elementary and middle school children surveyed in an inner city community, 30 percent had witnessed a stabbing, and 26 percent had witnessed a shooting.
As the number of traumatic events experienced during childhood increases, the risk for the following health problems in adulthood increases: depression; alcoholism; drug abuse; suicide attempts; heart and liver diseases; pregnancy problems; high stress; uncontrollable anger; and, family, financial, and job problems.
Other statistics gathered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report the following regarding trauma impact and violence: A lifetime history of sexual abuse among women in childhood or adulthood ranges from 15 percent to 25 percent. The prevalence of domestic violence among women in the United States ranges from 9 percent to 44 percent, depending on definitions. The cost of intimate partner violence, which disproportionately affects women and girls, was estimated to be $8.3 billion in 2003. This total includes the costs of medical care, mental health services, and lost productivity. In a 2008 study by RAND, 18.5 percent of returning veterans reported symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. In the United States, 18.9 percent of men and 15.2 percent of women reported a lifetime experience of a natural disaster.
Interpersonal experiences for the trauma-exposed patient directly influence how an individual mentally constructs his/her perceived reality. Brain research suggests that emotion serves as a central organizing process within the brain. The questions then become; how do I find myself again and who am I?
The “reasoning” of the mind cannot make sense of traumatic memories. I believe that is why Martin Luther King, Jr. said,”I have a dream,” but more importantly, “all men are created equal.” However, for those of us who have traveled through the wilderness, we found that by trusting and “letting go” of fear we find ourselves on our genuine HeartPath. When we truly open our hearts, we find an inner heart of “pure unconditional love.” We come to the realization that we have this inner “spiritual heart” which is born out of the consciousness of “Divine Love.” Now that the question of self is answered, you may embrace all the possibilities as you live your purpose creating a harmonious atmosphere for all to flourish.
We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
The loss of self can be resolved. New Roads Behavioral Health employs a team of highly trained professionals with education and years of experience in the field of mental health and healing. Through recovery, each client learns life-long skills to aid them in independence, confidence and a stronger sense of self. These skills are cultivated and developed through hard work and compassionate care.
Call our admissions team today to find the right help for you or someone that you care for: 888-358-8998