FORT BRAGG, NC. –“There is a nurse in an emergency department that prays for you, a police officer in our community that worries about you, an advocate that stands with you, an attorney that fights for you and a leader, who believes in you,” said Kelly Taylor, Womack Army Medical Center forensic health care examiner program manager and coordinator at the sixth annual Fort Bragg Special Victims Summit, Dec. 5, held at the Iron Mike Conference Center.
A diversified group of speakers from different disciplines delivered powerful messages addressing “Trauma Bonding the ties that bind” to a room of approximately 400 people to include Fort Bragg senior military leaders, medical personnel, legal representatives, law enforcement and survivors.
According to Taylor, this was a deliberate attempt to allow leaders to hear what they see everyday and empower them on the journey of prevention, with a strong reminder that they are not alone. Subject matter experts were available to help attendees during and after the event.
Despite a 2-year gap, Taylor expressed excitement that the event continues to gain momentum as leaders show up ready to learn, something time could not derail.
“It’s impressive,” said Taylor. “It shows me that they are willing to not only show up for an event like this, but they are willing to show up for the victims and stay for them, too,” said Taylor.
Taylor explained the best way to be trauma informed is to help leaders understand the why of the situation and provide them with the knowledge base to make them aware of the steps to take.
A sentiment echoed by Col. David R. Zinnante, WAMC commander and Maj. Gen. Brian Mennes, deputy commanding general XVIII Airborne Corps, standing in for Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commanding general XVIII Airborne Corps, who later appeared via video conferencing to express his thanks and take questions from attendees.
“We all have a responsibility to our units, to our community, to our families and to our military, to make things better,” said Zinnante. “We are here to learn, to grow, to expand our knowledge, and to feel empowered to do the right thing.”
Mennes said, to empower leaders they have a responsibility to coach them and make sure that they have the necessary tools to make a difference.
Among the speakers was retired Chief Warrant Officer 3 (Ret). Edward Wilson, a.k.a. Obbie West an international spoken word artist, advocate and author.
“It’s an honor to talk about trauma bonding, the term has not been around for a long time and there is still a lot of confusion as to what it is,” said Wilson. “A lot of problems we don’t start to fix until we understand.”
The discussion of trauma bonding continued throughout the event as speakers shared their experience with numerous cases.
Wilson said, “trauma bonding is real and the only way for us to help is to hear them out.”
Speaker, Dr. Sharon Cooper, developmental and forensic pediatrician, focused on “Trauma Bonding; to leave or not to leave, that is the question.”
“Trauma bonding is a dynamic where many times victims know what is happening, but they are too afraid to try to make a change,” said Cooper. “Often times, they, themselves have been victimized by the individual and so the fact that they may not have made a disclosure is not something that we should always expect from them because it may endanger them too much.”
Cooper defined trauma bonding as a dysfunctional attachment that occurs in the presence of danger, shame, or exploitation. It presents itself in such a manner that individuals in these types of relationships will never testify against that person, they will say that the person really loves me and that’s why I am protective of him.
“That’s a good example of a person in a very dangerous circumstance really not sure what to do, but the only love that they really feel that they can count on is this person who says they really love you, right after they beat you,” said Cooper.
Jennifer Janetsky, sexual assault trial prosecutor, spoke about trials and traumas and shared true stories of bonding and sexual assault.
“Trauma bonding serves to make it more possible that a person is in a situation where they can be victimized, it is an intentional act by these perpetrators to do a number of different things to make your credibility and your will to even report go to zero,” said Janetsky.
According to Janetsky, women stay in domestic violence relationships for the same reason that people will stay in a job they hate, which is they have bills to pay.
“Every person you are working with, and every person in this room has gone through something that shaped who they are, how they react and whether they are actually capable of doing the things that they have been asked to do,” said Janetsky. “We have to be better as a society at recognizing trauma, validating trauma and understanding that trauma does not change your potential to become, but it changes the way that you can get there.”
The Fort Bragg Special Victims Summit is hosted, each year, by Womack Army Medical Center. Individuals in need of help and information can contact the 24/7 SHARP Hotline at 910-584-4267 or the DOD Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247.
|Date Posted:||12.09.2022 18:54|
|Location:||FORT BRAGG, NC, US|