Examples of Polyvore sets by Gaylin Laughlin. Used with permission.
Brian, a therapist who has worked with survivors of severe trauma for more than 30 years, lays out the finer points of what’s important for both therapists and survivors in navigating a path to healing. -Eds.
Tolerance for Ambiguity
Integrating a trauma narrative, especially if it is the result of sophisticated mind control procedures, is a complex and lengthy process where subjective states (hypnosis, drugs) and manipulated states (electric shock, psychic-driving, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation) are mixed with objective states (veridical memory of ritual/sexual abuse or any other experiences meant to terrorize.) Continue reading
When survival and surviving are core challenges it is all too easy, and often all too instinctive, to overlook the good in life. Gratitude is a way of affirming the good—life over death, creation over destruction, connection over isolation, and triumph over loss. Gratitude takes trust—trust in the untrustworthy idea of authentic help, support, and love. And gratitude requires healing—because rage and its relatives are always scrambling for center-stage. Gratitude trumps rage. It requires us to grow up, get a bit of distance, and honor the fact that we actually need one another when need itself can feel like the ultimate four-letter word.
In this spirit of creative conundrum, Borne is committed to expressing gratitude to those working to eliminate torture and abuse in our world. We honor the work of Linda MacDonald and Jeanne Sarson in Naming the Unspeakable: Non-State Torture. In this post we express gratitude to long-time activist and educator Jean Riseman.
We invite you to send us your appreciation for those who cast a light into the shadows of this world and make a difference.
“It’s like racism or sexism, you have to pull these things out. It’s like a tooth that’s festering, until you say it’s infected, until you name it, it goes on hurting.” Jeanne Sarson
Linda MacDonald and Jeanne Sarson are two nurses from Truro, Nova Scotia. In their spare time, they offer counseling services to women. It was in this context that they met with and became dedicated to victims of hidden and organized extreme violence. Their professional advocacy for these marginalized women expanded into political activism, and after two decades, their successes on the global stage are yet unmatched. Indeed, they inhabit a sphere and path entirely of their own making. It all began over twenty years ago with a late night phone call.
Dr. Michael Salter is an Australian criminologist. He is the author of several articles published in journals such as the British Journal of Criminology, Violence Against Women, and Child Abuse Review. In 2012, he published his first book, Organized Sexual Abuse, a culmination of years of research and working directly with survivors. He is currently a lecturer in criminology at the University of Western Sydney.
I met Michael several years ago—virtually, and using a pseudonym. We were both active members of an online community that gathered in celebratory relief and debate around the highly original political and social commentary of Canadian author Jeff Wells. From first encounter, Michael was an extremely knowledgeable, caring, and outspoken advocate of survivors of organized abuse like myself. My gratitude to him has grown over the intervening years, as he’s helped transform the study of organized abuse from utter marginalization into a respected field of inquiry.
In 2009, when Nick Bryant’s book, The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse and Betrayal came out, I immediately ordered a copy. When it arrived, more than 600 pages of it, I dove in with excited anticipation which all too quickly became a slow slog. Its complexity, its journalistic imperative, and its fastidious attention to detail—all the things that name it authentic and critically important—stopped me in my tracks. My survivor mind couldn’t cope with its objectivity, its compelling and sequential truth. My cognitive allegiance was to the survivors and the inchoate and inarticulate truth of their struggle. Bryant was writing about the legal logistics of horrendous crimes against children and the resulting cover-up. In the Franklin Scandal he details the real-time unfolding of the attempts, heroic and dogged on the parts of those who tried to bring justice to light, as well as on the parts of those doing everything possible to thwart justice and destroy survivors. It is a legal playbook that illuminates shocking miscarriages of justice and callous and conniving cover-up. But I couldn’t read it. I couldn’t track it. Continue reading
This article was originally published on DIDiva.com and other sites, but we thought it important enough to republish here in our first issue. -Eds.
This essay is not meant to be comprehensive. Instead it is the attempt to connect some dots that are rarely considered or discussed—hopefully providing a new way to view the politics of memory and of DID in particular. It is designed to generate discussion and suggest areas of further study. There is an old saying: “Don’t bite my finger—look where I am pointing.”
For this first issue, as a means to further introduce you to Borne, we thought to offer you selections of our own work. -Eds.
Janet Thomas is an author, editor, playwright, and teacher. Over the last few years, she’s traveled to India to teach the art of memoir writing. Below is an excerpt of her 2011 Nautilus Award winning book.
For more than twenty years I have wrestled with, and been wrestled by, the truth. When I collapsed in the middle of my kitchen between Christmas and New Year’s, 1984, I had no idea that I was falling off the edge of my world. I had no idea that the inner framework of my life was imploding, and that the rest of my life would become a psychological reconstruction zone. The moment was visceral and paralyzing. I could no longer make my self up. But it would be years before I could even begin to describe what happened to me. And the way in to my truth was through lies. Continue reading