Safe Call Now

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Rounding Third In One Shoe...

"Hi, my name is Julie and I'm an Alcoholic"

All I could hear was “swing for the fence Wimmer” and “knock it out of the park”, over and over and over. So I did. This was my mantra in life. Go hard. Go fast. Keep a strong work ethic, stay physically fit and always help others before you help yourself. Do good. Be good. Always. I had no boundaries in life and alcohol was no exception. Drink hard. Drink fast. And for God’s sake, don’t let anyone catch on. After all, I had a solid reputation to uphold. I can’t tell you how many times I have been referred to as strong and fearless. To me, this is called Guilt, Shame, Anxiety and Fear. 

Guilt and too many other emotions to list for not being there when my six-week old daughter died from SIDS. Shame when my Dad died at the age of 54 from alcoholism and so much shame and guilt turned inward and pushed to the bottom of my soul when my brother Jeff, passed away in August of 2013. He was instrumental in saving my life back in 2008, why couldn’t I have done the same?! We were literally hours away from intervening when my Mom called and delivered the shocking news. Jeff was gone. I have packed these emotions around on my shoulders for years just waiting for that next traumatic shoe to drop. 

Anxiety and Fear can manifest itself in many different ways. I get anxiety and fear when I don’t feel smart enough, pretty enough, young enough. I get it when I’ve agreed to do too much at work or if I don’t push myself to exercise every day. If I am judged, whether negatively or positively. If I have to meet new colleagues or friends of friends. This big dog creeps in and takes over my entire psyche with the blink of an eye. 

Like many of you, I suffer with chronic depression and have done so most of my adult life. It’s a cruel punishment. It’s the slow erosion of self. It is essentially a solitary experience; a room in hell with only your name on the door. Somehow, I’ve managed to “cope” or “mask” my chronic depression through exercise and sports despite multiple relapses over the past nine years, but for scores of us, it can be debilitating. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Hidden Dangers of Working Sex Crimes

By Safe Call Now's Dr. Laura Brodie

Working sex crimes is a necessity to protect the innocent and vulnerable.  The sexual crimes of human trafficking, child pornography, prostitution and child molestation are crimes that devastate victim’s lives and destroy trust. Individuals working these crimes do so in order attempt to stop the devastation.  However, there has been little attention given to the psychological damage that can be created by performing these investigations.

The human brain was not designed to undergo the trauma of a sexual crime.  Looking at images, listening to victims and interrogating perpetrators of these offenses leave marks on the psyche that are somewhat subtle at first, but can develop into psychological difficulties that are more profound. There Is a phenomena of secondary trauma that can occur where the investigator develops symptoms similar to the victim.  A development of the feelings that the world is not safe creates fear, which may manifest itself in anxiety, depression, isolation or numbness as a reaction to the atrocities the officer has to endure in the course of an investigation.

We as humans are relational beings and intimacy is part of our psychological make up.  When someone is exposed to the perversion of intimacy it can result in changes in their own relationships, anywhere from repulsion of intimacy itself to believing everyone is sexually disturbed and it’s just a matter of time before it occurs.  The violation of something so private as feelings regarding relationships is tragic. Wanting to help others and save victims turns the helper into another victim of the perversion. 

Few if any departments recognize the toll sex crimes plays on the ones doing the investigations.  There is little if any down time between cases and debriefing is not a thought. The accumulation of numerous accounts of these types of crimes can result in a build–up of trauma and numbness to others develops as a self-protection mechanism.  The problem with this numbing is that it is not under conscious control and not only happens on the job but carries over to personal relationships.  There is rarely a discussion how the job affects the home life of law enforcers in general, let alone what sex crime work does to the private lives of the investigators. 

Investigators need to protect what they have at home because that is who will be there at the end of the day.