It is all collaborative. 2 Courtesy of Jennifer J. Freyd

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1 The Psychology of Betrayal Trauma: Implications for Understanding Sexual Violence Jennifer M. Gómez, M.S. University of Oregon Using Freyd s slides with permission November 13, 2015

2 It is all collaborative 2 Courtesy of Jennifer J. Freyd

3 Plan for Today Betrayal Trauma Theory Family Betrayal Who Is Victimized? Cultural Betrayal Trauma Theory 3Institutional Betrayal

4 Memory & Trauma Consider Frank Fitzpatrick Frank Fitzpatrick... began remembering having been sexually molested by a parish priest at age Mr. Fitzpatrick's retrieval of the repressed memories began, he said, when "I was feeling a great mental pain Mr. Fitzpatrick slowly realized that the mental pain was due to a "betrayal of some kind," and remembered the sound of heavy breathing. "Then I realized I had been sexually abused by someone I loved," said Mr. Fitzpatrick. But it was not until two weeks later that he suddenly remembered the priest, the Rev. James R. Porter. 4 The New York Times, 21 July 1992 Courtesy of Jennifer J. Freyd

5 Betrayal Trauma Theory Freyd s initial research question Why and how would individuals remain unaware of (or forget) traumas they had experienced? Why are some traumas forgotten (and not others)? Proposed answer: Betrayal Trauma Theory How: mechanisms Why: motivations 5 Courtesy of Jennifer J. Freyd

6 (BTT) Why? Consider our Sensitivity to Betrayal Some ability to evaluate trustworthiness is highly important to any social species Cosmides, cheater detectors When empowered, we have exquisite sensitivity to cheating and betrayal Response: withdrawal or confrontation 6 Courtesy of Jennifer J. Freyd

7 Betrayal Trauma Theory: Consider Human Dependence Humans, particularly children, are profoundly dependent on others Attachment system protects dependent person/child Baby has job to engage (love and be lovable) 7 Courtesy of Jennifer J. Freyd

8 Betrayal Trauma Theory: Betrayal Blindness as a Survival What does a child do when caregiver betrays? Mechanism a child abused by a caregiver would risk further mistreatment if awareness caused withdrawal or conflict conflict between sensitivity to betrayal and needs of attachment Betrayal blindness occurs when awareness would threaten necessary (or apparently necessary) relationships Thus unawareness and forgetting are sometimes an adaptive response to betrayal 8 Courtesy of Jennifer J. Freyd

9 Betrayal Blindness Betrayal blindness is the unawareness, not-knowing, and forgetting exhibited by people towards betrayal. Victims, perpetrators, and witnesses may display betrayal blindness in order to preserve relationships upon which they depend. 9 Courtesy of Jennifer J. Freyd

10 Betrayal Trauma Theory Suggests Two Primary Dimensions of Traumatic Events Life threatening (physically terrorizing and fear inducing) Social betrayal ( Betrayal Trauma ) 10 Courtesy of Jennifer J. Freyd

11 Summary of Findings: Betrayal is Toxic on Individuals High Betrayal is associated with increases in: Depression Anxiety Dissociation Shame PTSD Physical illness BPD features 11 Hallucinations Courtesy of Jennifer J. Freyd Self harm

12 Family Betrayal Family members trust and depend on each other Trust and dependence create conditions for family betrayal blindness to child abuse. e.g., Mothers are less likely to take supportive action in response to child disclosure of sexual abuse if they are financially dependent on their child s perpetrator (Leifer et al., 2001) 12

13 Family Betrayal Family betrayal refers to family actions or inactions that perpetuate child abuse within or outside the family system. These actions and inactions may serve as: Enabling conditions for child abuse Harmful responses to abuse and its effects 13 Delker, Smith, Rosenthal, Bernstein, and Freyd (under review)

14 Example: A family member punishes a child for disclosing sexual abuse to a neighbor. Apparently isolated Type of Systemic Action by Family Action Family betrayal: The case of child sexual abuse Example: Family assigns blame and responsibility for sexual abuse onto child victim. Apparently systemic Initial Apparent Problem 14 Example: Family lacks appropriate boundaries around physical touch and/or sexuality. Inaction Example: Inadequate supervision of child enables child victimization by untrustworthy adult.

15 Family Betrayal Controlling for high betrayal trauma, family betrayal is associated with posttraumatic stress dissociation 15

16 Who can be victims of sexual violence? 16

17 Who can be victims of sexual violence? Anyone 17

18 Who can be victims of sexual violence? Anyone but... Implicit and explicit focus on sexual violence is often geared towards White women and girls cisgendered middle or upper class 18 presumed or actually heterosexual

19 Harm in Exclusion Non-Violence Example: Women make 78 cents for every dollar men make. 19

20 Harm in Exclusion Non-Violence Example: Women make 78 cents for every dollar men make. These women and men are White. Black women = 64 cents Native women = 59 cents 20 Latina women = 54 cents

21 Harm in Exclusion In a sample of veterans who had experienced military sexual trauma (MST), men reported higher levels of: PTSD Suicidality Trauma-Related Guilt 21

22 Cultural Betrayal Trauma Theory Cultural betrayal trauma theory proposes that oppression creates the context such that withingroup violence in minorities is uniquely harmful. 22

23 23

24 Ethno-Cultural Betrayal Sexual Trauma Ethno-cultural betrayal sexual trauma is linked with many negative outcomes. 24

25 Ethno-Cultural Betrayal Sexual Trauma PTSD Repeated, disturbing, and unwanted memories of the stressful experience 25

26 Ethno-Cultural Betrayal Sexual Trauma PTSD Repeated, disturbing, and unwanted memories of the stressful experience? (Intra)Cultural Pressure Ethnic group play a role by suggesting your experience might affect the reputation of your ethnic group 26 Gómez, in prep

27 Ethno-Cultural Betrayal Sexual Trauma PTSD Repeated, disturbing, and unwanted memories of the stressful experience? (Intra)Cultural Pressure Ethnic group play a role by suggesting your experience might affect the reputation of your ethnic group Dissociation I feel numb and empty inside. 27

28 Ethno-Cultural Betrayal Sexual Trauma PTSD Repeated, disturbing, and unwanted memories of the stressful experience? (Intra)Cultural Pressure Ethnic group play a role by suggesting your experience might affect the reputation of your ethnic group Dissociation I feel numb and empty inside. 28Hallucinations

29 Ethno-Cultural Betrayal Sexual Trauma PTSD Repeated, disturbing, and unwanted memories of the stressful experience? (Intra)Cultural Pressure Ethnic group play a role by suggesting your experience might affect the reputation of your ethnic group Dissociation I feel numb and empty inside. 29

30 Institutional Betrayal Wrongdoings perpetrated by an institution upon individuals dependent on that institution. Includes failure to prevent or respond supportively to wrongdoings by individuals (e.g. sexual assault) committed within the context of the institution. 30 Courtesy of Jennifer J. Freyd

31 Apparently Isolated Type of Institutional Action Examples: A government cover-up of administrator wrong doing A punishing response to report of sexual assault Commission Varieties of Institutional Betrayal Examples: Requiring extra hours without compensation Posting sexually violent imagery in dorms Apparently Systemic Initial Apparent Problem 31 Omission Examples: A failure to notify pregnant worker of FMLA protection A failure to respond to report of sexual assault Examples: Not providing sick leave to workers Lack of civil rights for oppressed groups Copyright 2013, Jennifer J. Freyd and Carly P. Smith

32 Sexual Violence + Institutional Betrayal at UO Institutional betrayal exacerbates: Anxiety Dissociation 32

33 Sexual Violence + Institutional Betrayal at UO Heterosexuals and sexual minorities report approximately the same rates of sexual violence Heterosexuals = 27% Sexual Minorities = 28% 33

34 Sexual Violence + Institutional Betrayal at UO Of those who report any sexual violence victimization... 39% of heterosexuals report any institutional betrayal 34

35 Sexual Violence + Institutional Betrayal at UO Of those who report any sexual violence victimization... 39% of heterosexuals report any institutional betrayal 65% of sexual minorities report any institutional betrayal 35

36 Who is harmed by institutional betrayal? Often the focus is on victims of violence 36

37 Who is harmed by institutional betrayal? Often the focus is on victims of violence What about other members of the institution who are implicated? other members of the same profession who are implicated (e.g., education, clinicians)? other members of the institution who have been victimized previously? 37 other members of the institution who are dependent?

38 Who is harmed by institutional betrayal? Often the focus is on victims of violence What about other members of the institution who are implicated? othermembers of the same profession who are implicated (e.g., education, therapy)? other members of the institution who have been victimized previously? other members of the institution who are dependent? the community? 38 How do we manage our roles as higher-status

39 Engage in Institutional Courage The power of institutions to harm is matched by their power to heal. 39

40 Institutions are made up of Individuals! Educate institutions about the potential to cause serious harm through institutional betrayal Educate members about their rights and the nature of the problem Respond well to disclosure Cherish the whistle blower Be transparent! sexual violence and betrayal thrive in secrecy 40 Raise awareness with individuals (clients!), institutions,

41 Applying Research to Practice 41

42 Applying Research to Practice How do I use the information from this talk in my clinical practice? 42

43 Applying Research to Practice It starts with asking questions: Betrayal Blindness: what do you do if a client is describing abuse by a romantic partner or parent (high betrayal trauma), but does not conceptualize it as abuse? Do you share research findings in session? How? When? How do you work with cultural mistrust and/or 43 (intra)cultural pressure from a client with a minority identity?

44 Applying Research to Practice Do you disclose research findings in session? How? When? described research findings (child sexual abuse predicts negative outcomes) 44

45 Applying Research to Clinical Practice How do you work with implicit or explicit cultural mistrust and/or (intra)cultural pressure from a client with a minority identity? how to address a client not trusting you because you are or are perceived to be the member of a majority group or higher societal status: 45 White upper class heterosexual educated

46 Applying Research to Clinical Practice Research and clinical practice do not have to be at odds with one another. Utilize the research to take a questioning, curious approach to your clients. 46

47 Applying Research to Clinical Practice Take research as a starting place for questions, NOT answers. Let research inform how you think, NOT dictate what you do. Share research with your clients to provide validation and knowledge-sharing, NOT to prove you are right. 47

48 What do I do for self-care?? 48

49 What do I do for self-care?? Exercise Comedy Time with friends Work Play Vacations Beach, Pool 49 Mental Health Days

50 And when all else fails... 50

51 And when all else fails... Know that I am worthy of committing to taking care of myself With each day, try again at: validating my feelings committing to finding solutions 51

52 Questions? Full text of most articles and additional resources 52 Courtesy of Jennifer J. Freyd

53 Workshop Options 1. Sexual Violence is a Men s Issue: Engaging Men in the Treatment and Prevention of Sexual Violence 1. Jon Davies, PhD 2. Ethical Dilemmas in Treating Sexual Violence 1. Mark Oldham, LCSW 3. Treatment and Prevention of Sexual Violence in Children and Adults Leon Harrington, MD

54 Citation Gómez, J. M. (2015, November). The psychology of betrayal trauma: Implications for understanding sexual violence. Invited Keynote Address for the Annual Center For Community Counseling Mental Health Conference: Roadmap to the Prevention and Treatment of SexualViolence, Eugene, OR. 54

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