If you were to do one thing this month to address domestic violence or childhood sexual abuse I would suggest you read Dr Bruce D. Perry’s book ‘The boy who was raised as a dog’, co authored by Maia Szalavitz.
Tasmanians can learn a lot from this American clinician and his team. Any domestic violence strategy not informed by Dr Perry’s lessons will fall short of its goal. Any person working with children or trauma is kidding themselves and their clientelle if they claim to be employing best practice without incorporating Dr Perry’s learnings.
Well written and just 275 pages, the book is an easy read, and difficult to put down (make sure you do the dishes first.). The most knowledgeable among us will learn something from Dr Perry’s career as a Child Psychiatrist specialising in trauma. The lessons shared by Dr Perry are world changing, and applicable at the personal level. Resist the temptation to avoid the reality portrayed by the authors. Monitor yourself for signs of cognitive dissonance; the reality of childhood trauma and its legacy is a bitter pill to swallow.
Dr Perry shares the science and real experience of childhood trauma. If you ever wondered what makes a person rape and murder, or wondered how to support a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, or how a neglected child can become a nurturing mother, this book will bring you the answers and more. The relationship between trauma, the perpetrator and the abused is the key that will motivate society to bring a connected and holistic, person centred approach to supporting our most vulnerable people, and short circuiting the devastating cycle of neglect, abuse and perpetration.
I can see the day coming when professionals who fail to implement Dr Perry’s methods leave themselves open to law suite.