Respecting the Mind
“I’m so OCD, I can’t stand when things aren’t neat”
“That final was the worst, it gave me PTSD”
“My last chemistry class was so traumatic”
You may be familiar with hearing the words/terms trauma, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) In fact, traumatic experiences are common and many people experience PTSD or OCD. However, OCD is more than liking things neat, trauma is more than a stressful event and PTSD is much more than feelings brought on from being reminded of a stressful event or situation. Words have meaning and when these words are used incorrectly it does not honor the people who experience trauma, OCD, PTSD, etc. As an advocate in the fight against sex trafficking, I must also be an advocate for those experiencing various mental illnesses because of the intersection of the two. The trauma that is experienced from sex trafficking cannot go unrecognized in this fight. The mind is a fragile thing and sex trafficking harms the individual as a whole- physically, mentally, and spiritually.
My passion to educate others about the impact of their word choices is a result of learning about the toll that mental illness takes on the individual. Mental illness is debilitating to an individual and I believe that growing in understanding of mental illness, deepens our compassion towards others. While unintentional, we may hurt those who live with a mental illness by using words/terms that refer to mental illness incorrectly. I’ll admit, I have used some of these words incorrectly at times and let it be known there is always an abundance of grace for when we mess up. This is not meant to point a finger, but rather encourage us to grow together in our knowledge of others’ and each individual’s unique experiences.
One thing that I love about our beneficiary, NCMEC, is their mental health resources that they offer to children and families impacted by sex trafficking. In 2021, NCMEC gave 557 clinical mental health referrals and had 4,821 instances of mental health support. This support plays a crucial role in the fight against sex trafficking. Supporting NCMEC gives us the opportunity to fight against sex trafficking in many facets, including restorative care through mental health support.
So, I write to you asking you to respect and honor the mental health struggles of others. The person that is trafficked for sex, experiences the trauma of sexual abuse repetitively, sometimes multiple times within the same day. Although I am not a mental health expert, I know that trauma is complex, hard, and necessitates support. I hope that we would be advocates for the needs of those that have experienced sex trafficking, learn about the impacts of sex trafficking on the mind, and respect the experiences of others through our word choices.