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  • Kelly Watt

Remembrance Day: A Survivor's P.O.V.

This Remembrance Day I drove to the town where my abuses grew up. I stood in a large crowd in the surprising November sunshine, and listened to the speeches and watched the offering of wreaths. One of these wreaths was laid in honour of a man I knew privately as a child sexual abuser. As a child, I grew up in an unofficial foster home where I was ritually abused, tortured, trafficked and photographed by a group of men. Some of them were veterans. I now understand that these were men traumatized by war, who came home and began using the techniques of war: intimidation, torture, and violence on the women and children around them. They enjoyed public prestige but were private bullies. I thought my case was an isolated incident until I began doing activist work.

memorial grave

A therapist told me just a few years ago, that 80% of her practice is composed of women abused by parents traumatized by war. I mention this not to denigrate our soldiers past and present, who have made a personal sacrifice the young and free can only imagine, but to point out something important. We cannot send young men off to war and the forget them when they come home. A recent article in The Globe and Mail November 10, 2009, was titled Brian changes from PTSD observed in soldiers. A large proportion of soldiers suffer terrible post-traumatic symptoms after war. On another note, the women's U.N. list serve posted a recent Israeli study that showed survivors of rape suffered even worse post-traumatic stress symptoms than soldiers. Why? Israeli solders' suffering was acknowledged and they received support whereas the rape victims did not. So next year, let's remember that the war is not over when it's over. Not for the soldiers. Or their families. Help those who return home. Perhaps we should remember those who have been abused by soldiers of war too. Nobody gave me a medal.

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