One Does not Recover From Trauma
One does not recover from trauma -- one lives with it, with it still inside you, deep inside. This is a quote from the essay, "Kicking The Pigeon", about a Chicago public housing resident's abuse at the hands of the "skullcap crew" -- five Chicago Police Officers.
The story also is a exposé of the so-called War on Drugs and how damaging it is on the majority of African Americans living in American cities and how they were, through over a hundred years of legislation and law, segregated and separate and decidedly unequal.
A traumatic experience indeed.
As I listened to her talk about her sense of exposure and helplessness, I was reminded of an image a friend once used to describe how people "recover" from traumatic violence. It is, she said, akin to the way the body responds to tuberculosis. One does not get over TB by excising it or expelling it from the body; rather, the body walls off the bacteria and contains them. Similarly, the victim of terrorizing violence rebuilds her world, containing but not erasing the virulence that has entered her life. In this sense, a traumatic event changes the underlying terms of existence. It remains present within one's nervous system and soul as a continuing vulnerability. Even when one has rebuilt one's life, the trauma may under certain circumstances be reawakened with the force and immediacy of the original assault. And so for Diane Bond, it appeared, her encounters with the skullcap crew had reopened the wounds of earlier violations. While the crew presumably wasn't aware of her history of sexual violence, it's not hard to imagine they had picked up the scent.
-- "Kicking The Pigeon" by Jamie Kalven