This post may contain stories or triggers memories that may be difficult for you, the reader, to consume. I apologize for that, but this website is entirely about talking about the things that we do not talk about. If you or someone you know needs help, please use this page to find a helpline phone number in your area. If you can’t find it on this list, please use any search engine in the world. You are not alone.
When I was working at the church, my mom helped to organize the very first Houseless Vote Registration in years, here in Surrey BC. It was entirely about getting people who did not have a registered address, registered at the church so that they could vote. So yes, most of them were houseless folks.
It was always a big event. Food, services available, nurses, massages and makeup even, haircuts for humans and animals, vet care, the whole bit, and at the end, you get a sticker that says “I voted,” and a handful of cigarettes from the people who gathered to help get people registered to vote, and those there to serve meals.
During the houseless count, the same thing, “come get counted, get a handful of smokes and a lighter,” is always a bribe, come do what we want and we’ll pay you with basic needs and necessities being met. Sometimes it was a “come do this study and you’ll get a $5-$10.00 gift card to Tim Horton’s” because of “Canada.”
Since the pandemic, I’ve been trying to find a therapist across British Columbia, and I keep seeing the words “trauma-informed,” and every conversation goes the same.
“Hi I’m Devon, I’m a victim of torture rape and kidnapping, cults and gang rapes. I NEED help to deal with all this and to unpack it in a safe, healthy way, that doesn’t scare everyone around me, or myself.”
“Huh. I don’t think I’m the right person for you.”
Now, this is an incredibly RESPONSIBLE answer, but it begs the question, if you’re promoting yourself as Trauma Informed, and you can’t handle me as a client…then um…you’re probably not really “Trauma Informed,” in the ways that “I” need you to be, which means that the kind of trauma you ARE informed about, isn’t necessarily comparable to someone whose been torture raped.
Which oddly means, that those. ofus who HAVE been torture raped and are seeing those words thinking “oh my God/dess this is it, I found someone who can help me,” are often dashed by the words “yeah no not that kind of trauma informed.” Which only adds to the spiral that we face as victims and survivors.
So when we write books like Uncomfortable II: Fundamental Foundations for Mental Health Content Creators, what we’re really saying is “this is how i dealt with my trauma, because there was literally not one person who could teach me differently, and yeah I’m not in the BEST place, but at least I know who I am now.”
The problem is that Doctors will have you committed fifty million times, fill you up with drugs and tell you that you’re crazy, even when you’ve been telling the same story since you were 2 years old in a variety of ways, just because it’s easier to do that than to involve the police, politions, and anyone else that could actually be of service to those of us in need.
THEN those SAME doctors will say “Yes, I am trauma informed,” and when you call them on it, they try and pass you on to as many people as they can who will say the exact same thing and if you don’t believe me, check my fucking phone bill over the last 6 years.
So Again I ask, Who Taught You How to Be Trauma Informed? And This is the part where it gets REALLY triggering:
Was it someone who:
- Was raped as a five year old?
- Was it someone who was raped by their baby-sitters boyfriend or neighbor at four?
- Was it someone who was molested by a man who just got out of prison after spending years conning a white woman into protecting his Black son, before abusing her white friends Black kids?
- Was it a victim of a father, grandfather, uncle, aunt, sister, brother, etc?
- Was it someone who is so fucking traumatized that they ONLY tattoo their skin as a REMINDER they survived being abused, so they can survive a few hours under a tattoo gun?
- Was it someone who in their own home was raped and abused for weeks on end without anyone noticing but EVERYONE calling her/he/them/they lazy or selfish for not being able to function at school?
- Was it someone who tried to fight back and was sent to jail for crimes he/she/they didn’t do?
- Was it someone who was almost murdered because the cops didn’t listen the fucking first time?
- Was it someone super famous who had to give up EVERYTHING they love on the OFF chance they MIGHT protect kids they KNOW exist but can’t prove they exist?
- Was it someone who was so fucking traumatized that they can’t function very well even though they tell you how great they’re doing?
- Was it someone like me? Or you? Or your boss, or neighbor or doctor or teacher or kids teacher?
- Was it any one of the BILLIONS of people who were so fucking traumatized the entire world started a campaign that said “give us back our Girls,” “Times up,” or “Me too?”
- Was it the MILLIONS of Occupy supporters allies and founders who gave up their entire lives for YEARS to hide from a government that wants to destroy their lives for essentially telling the fucking truth?
- Was it a Hollywood “starlet,” who repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly, REPEATEDLY said “please don’t do this?” regardless of race, creed, gender, orientation, etc?
- Was it A FUCKING PORN STAR WHO WAS TREATED LIKE A TRASH CAN SIMPLY BECAUSE SHE CAME OUT AGAINST THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD?
- was it a White House Aid who had sex, and then used her trauma to tell her story AND to make money after his ENTIRE family set about destroying HER life for HIS actions?
Was it someone that looked like any one of these kids on the missing childrens network websites? Many of whom by the way are scam sites run by child pornographers, so PLEASE be careful which sites you’re looking at and supporting.
Trauma informed means you know what it looks like when after ten second of laying in bed knowing what we have to face in a day, we’re throwing up first thing in the morning, because we can’t fathom having to pretend for just one more fucking second that we are “okay.”
TRAUMA INFORMED means knowing what it’s like to be in PRISON for crimes you DID NOT COMMIT, on the off chance that you MIGHT have committed those crimes, because cops don’t want to believe that OTHER cops are “that bad.”
TRAUMA INFORMED means that when I’m at my wits fucking end, you’re there to pick up the phone and pull me back.
TRAUMA INFORMED means knowing that more than likely there is a 99.9% chance I’ve already dealt with my trauma, I just want someone to hug me and tell me that it’s going to be okay in spite of it all.
TRAUMA INFORMED means knowing there is 0% chance you can help me more than I can help myself, but it ALSO means knowing….you don’t know shit about being trauma informed, because what’s traumatic to me, isn’t getting slapped in the face, it’s knowing the fear that the men who abused children, MIGHT have turned those SAME children, into men like our abusers.
Being Trauma informed ACTUALLY means, “I don’t know a fucking thing about your trauma, but I’m here to hold you while you talk about it, if that’s what you need.”
If women like ME, Black, Canadian, Loud voiced, liberal, strong, and powerful, are not your proper client, then what the fuck are you charging $500 dollars an hour for? It sure as fuck isn’t for the folk who need you, it’s for the folk who can AFFORD you, which means you’re only qualified to help rich FOLK WITH THEIR trauma, which means you NOT trauma informed.
Stop using that fucking phrase. Unless you’re reading one of the millions of sites of Black women and white women and Jewish women and Asian women and gang girls and all girls about what OUR trauma is, then you’re only informed on teh trauma that you’ve been informed on.
And if you DARE go after ANY survivor for how they share their story, for who they sell their story to, or for the fact that they are using their story to educate people like you who are “trauma informed,” then you are not trauma informed. You’re just an asshole who wishes we stay broke while we educate you for free.
Time’s up on that shit too.