Celebrating the holidays can be a weird time for most. There are the phrases that we have to "deal with family" and "get through the holidays" that get spread around at this time of year.
A woman who has gone through the trauma of sex trafficking deals with trauma that is multi-faceted. Not only does she have the hard nights of remembering the time while she was trafficked, but there are the underlying reasons on why she was so vulnerable in the first place that start to come up and out as well. It is that first trauma that she endured that usually rears its ugly head at this time of year.
How do you deal with the constant cheer, bombardment of gifts, and the general love that everyone has for each other at this time of year when everything in you is being torn apart as you deal with past hurts from family, grief over the loss of close relatives, and real-life horror stories?
I'm reminded at this time of year of the word Emmanuel. The name given to Jesus which means "God with us." The whole idea of the Incarnation is that God saw the mess and came down to be in it. He didn't run away from it, He didn't hide or say it was too much for Him to listen to, but He came down and was in it with us.
This is how I approach this work during what is probably the toughest time of year for these women. I don't run away, I don't hide, but I sit there with them and decide that I will be the one with them while they go through it. It does not change their trauma, but it offers them a hand as they walk through it and maybe even a small light to light that dark path.
This is the first post in a series on Trauma & the Holidays.