Dr. Leonard explains that traumatic memories stay fragmented because of the psychological state in a moment of panic. Those memories cannot be stored in long-term memory until there’s a cohesive “narrative” of what happened. Leonard says talking to a therapist or addressing the situation calmly and emphatically can help consolidate that memory so it stays out of the forefront of the mind.
One Michiana mother, Carol, is processing her own child’s recovery after she was sexually abused by two adolescent girls. Carol’s daughter, Katie, came forward six months after the sexual encounters and explained what happened to her: the two girls, ages 12 and 15, performed oral sex on her in addition to other penetration.
Carol placed Katie in therapy after calling the Department of Child Services, so far Katie is able to talk in great detail and clarity about what happened to her, however, the deviant sexual nature of the acts is somewhat lost on her young mind.
“There’s not a pamphlet out there, at least that I’m aware of, that tells you this is how your child might behave,” said Carol.