In community meetings all throughout Detroit, we are told that the crime rate in our city is dropping. Carjackings were down 28.2% in 2016 from the year prior; burglaries down almost 10%. Crime is discussed in terms of past numbers and future prevention strategies. We rarely discuss the impact of what’s already occurred. Robberies may be less frequent, but if you are one of the individuals that were robbed this year, that fact doesn’t mean much to you. It doesn’t make your heart beat any less fast when you see something that reminds you of the incident. It doesn’t take away the nightmares or make you feel safe enough to leave the house. What is too often left out of our discussions is the trauma experienced by victims of crime and what it does to our communities.
Trauma symptoms are natural reactions that occur in our mind and body following an event that made us feel powerless and overwhelmed. They are normal reactions to an abnormal thing that has occurred, like crime victimization. Trauma symptoms can include physical reactions like excessive alertness, pain in muscles, being easily startled, nightmares, panic attacks and restlessness. They also can include emotional reactions like anxiety, fear, flashbacks, guilt, shame, depression, difficulty concentrating and difficulty controlling emotions. It’s not uncommon for a traumatic experience to create changes in the way one relates to others, to cause them to avoid friends or family and have a decreased interest in things they used to enjoy. Trauma reactions are different for everyone. What creates these symptoms in one person, might not impact another at all. They can last short periods of time or much longer, depending on the way they are processed.
Learning more about the impact of trauma on your body, your mind and your life is an important step toward recovering it. If we talked about trauma more, if we discussed it along with crime statistics, what we would discover is that many Detroiters are suffering in silence. Being resilient doesn’t mean that we don’t ever need help. This is why St John Open Arms has partnered with Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp to create a support group for people have experienced crime. We are endeavoring to create a safe place where trauma can be discussed and healed from in the community where the crime took place. The group is scheduled to begin meeting April 21 at 6pm at Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp. If you believe you have been suffering from trauma symptoms and would like some help to heal, please contact Kayt Dold, LLMSW, at (313) 369-5772 to register.