What The Fuck Is “Trauma-Informed?”
And Are You Really? Or Is That Just Convenient Branding?
TRIGGER WARNING: This story contains information about violent sexual abuse, torture rape, cult and religious rape, and survival. If you or someone you know is suffering from abuse please seek help. You are not alone.
The Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability (CFOJA) was established in response to a call for action from the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences for countries to document gender-related killings of women by collecting, analyzing and reviewing data on femicides with the aim of prevention.
One woman or girl is killed every other day, on average, somewhere in our country.
About once a week, a woman is killed by her male partner in Canada. — CFOJA
I have a lot of famous abusers. By famous I mean their names have been in the press, and people around the globe know who they are, even without me talking about them. Without naming them I will say that I am not their only victim and that at least two of them are in prison for violent sex acts that could and often have been defined as “torture rape”.
So when I tell you the things that these victims and I have survived fall on the “extreme” side of rape and torture, what I mean is it’s the shit that makes you want to kill yourself.
Yet when I reported this to the police, I was called psychotic, put on medication, and hospitalized several times. His white victims, however? They’re the reason he’s in prison.
The boys he trained to become rapists and abusers did exactly that, taking more victims in the following ten-fifteen years of their existence, me being one of them. This was a sex cult, that raised little boys to be abusers and little girls to be victims, and no one believed me.
The last time they came for me was at the house of a man I’d been sleeping with, a place I thought I’d be safe. I can’t tell you how many men raped me that night because I don’t remember, but I do remember at least one of them, a son of a former friend of mine raped and choked me so badly he had to be pulled off of me.
He nearly murdered me. And yet they continued to let me get raped throughout the night and it didn’t stop until the sun came up.
This isn’t the first time I’ve told this story and it won’t be the last, but what I want to know is why MY story isn’t worth talking about when so many other stories are. What makes one victim’s story of rape and trauma less important than another's? Is it the color of their skin? the government-issued sexual identity? Is it their race, creed, nationality, or size?
There are statistics that tell us that it’s all of those things, all at once, and that’s what kills me the most. In 2022, we’re still not taking the claims of sexual abuse victims and survivors seriously and we absolutely need to.
The words “Trauma-Informed” mean that you understand the deep psychological wounds that come from being tortured raped, but if we’re not talking about this kind of sexual abuse, how can you possibly know what you’re dealing with?
The reason the cops didn’t take me seriously was that I’d been hospitalized, but I wouldn’t have been hospitalized if I could have talked to someone who knows what cults can do to their victims.
I know the reason that I am so open with what happened to me is that:
a) I have to keep repeating it so that people know it happened so that people never forget that it happened, and so that I can remember, so I can help other people who have been through cult and religious abuse.
b) I want cops, and “trauma-informed” people, to stop using that phrase as branding and start actually thinking about what it REALLY means to be trauma-informed.
I look exactly like the “typical” victim. I didn’t pass high school but that’s because I was being raped and beaten and abused and hypnotized into forgetting at night, no one knew that for fifteen years, “I” didn’t even know.
I have memory problems because they used abuse to hypnotize me into forgetting.
Every scar on my body is a reminder of a time that I’ve been abused, and who abused me because self-harm became my way of tracking what happened to me so I wouldn’t “really” forget.
This is what cults do, and this contributes to people on the outside of this kind of traumatic experience thinking that those of us who report this shit, are crazy. We’re not crazy. If we can admit that torture rape happens in places that are warzones, or some of the poorest countries in the world, we can admit it happens in Canada, the USA, and England.
In the 90s, everyone was obsessed with cults, there were documentaries about them all over the television screen, and so when I found myself in one, at sixteen with no one to talk to and no escape I did go a little bit crazy.
In 2022, we want to pretend they don’t exist and were in fact just a phase.
Dr. Singer estimates that there are 2,500 to 3,000 cults in the United States, ‘’with dozens of small cults too numerous to keep track of.’’ The number of cult members nationally is variously estimated at 300,000 to three million. — NY Times
At sixteen I started going for night walks that would last hours and hours just because I couldn’t sleep in my own bed, by the time the abuse stopped my brain was so twisted and broken I couldn’t no matter how hard I tried, explain why I couldn’t sleep in my bed at night. So people stopped asking and just started getting mad at me for doing it.
I stopped wearing underwear unless I had my period because my abusers told me I wasn’t allowed, I stopped eating meat so I wouldn't bleed as much when I did get my period, another “lesson” from my abuser.
The shock and PTSD were real, and because I didn’t know how to say the words “I’ve been raped, here’s who, when, and how,” no one knew, not even my mother who had been asleep in the next room. I’d been threatened with the possible death of my family if I screamed, so I learned very quickly to become quiet, and to stay quiet.
Even in the following weeks, months, and years, they passed me around from one abuser to the next. After a “session” with an abuser, (the best way to describe it,) I would convince myself it didn’t happen and teach myself to forget.
By the time I finally came forward 5 years ago, it was too late. There wasn’t enough proof, there was no DNA, no one to agree that what I was saying was true, and I couldn’t remember the name of the witness who had seen me get raped on the front lawn of my house, only to reply later “I thought you wanted it,” I just pretended it didn’t happen.
When I finally came forward with the details, the times, and places, it was too fucking late, and so my story no matter how much information I tried to give was enough.
A few months ago one of my abusers broke into my house, and started moving things around, when I called the police to show that he’d broken my bedroom door because I’d closed it for the first time in five years, (no joke,) they chalked it up to me having an “episode.”
I don’t talk about these things because they’re easy, I talk about them because when you tell victims and survivors that you are “trauma-informed” you need to be prepared to explain that you REALLY understand what it means.
Do You Understand?
In Winnipeg on a trip for a local radio station, my keys were stolen from my purse while on a date with a record producer, I reported this to campus police, so it’s on the fucking record, so knowing that why is it crazy to know that someone broke into my house?
“Change the locks,” I asked, I’m not allowed because I need a police report to prove there is a threat, and the police won’t give me a police report because they don’t believe me.
The Greatest Trick The Devil Ever Preformed Was To Convince The World He Doesn’t Exist.
This is why cult rape is so prevalent around the world and why there are so many unseen, unheard, and unacknowledged victims of cult and religious rape. Stop believing Lucifer doesn’t exist, he does, and he’s your God damned neighbor.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
If you would like to see more from Devon J Hall check her out at Loud Mouth Brown Girl
P.S. I’m okay. There are people who believe me, who know what happened and have the evidence to prove it. There are witnesses now, and they have my back. I am no longer alone, and I am learning to thrive in places people thought I’d never be happy. I’m okay…some days are a struggle, some days are absolutely beautiful, but every day is a new chance. Thank you for reading. DJH