9/11... It's still today

Last week we all celebrated the memories of our lost victims from 18 years ago on that fateful day of September 11, 2001. It’s hard to believe that some young adults have no memory of it other than what they see on TV because they were just born.

I was listening to a lady on the radio who was having a hard time because her husband was a New York firefighter who was working that day. He was supposed to work the station across the street from the Towers, but fate had him somewhere else and he is alive. However, not only was he a part of rescue operations for months, he has since fought off two 911 related cancers.

So this wife was calling in because for her, 911 wasn’t 18 years ago, it is still today. It is every day. She was having a hard time with well-intentioned friends or family trying to tell her how well things are going now in her life, but she is still angry for many reasons. The advice she was given was to tell someone who really didn’t know what to say but was trying to make her feel better, that she didn’t need kind words, just a hug.

If you are a social worker, law enforcement officer or just someone talking to a survivor of human trafficking, remember that for them, it is still today. Those wounds from long ago, or not too long ago, can still cut like a knife every day and pull you back into the moment. If you don’t know what to say or it’s not what they need to hear, ask them what dothey need from you. Understanding their trauma may still be there or can come back at times to haunt them can be a gift in that it can help you be there for that person when they need it.

Training law enforcement officers to be trauma informed can assist them not only the first time they come in contact with a victim but later down the line during the investigation and interviews. Agencies who recognize the importance of this can give their officers invaluable tools to balance the needs of their victims while still conducting excellent investigations.

Survivors who are connected with Selah Freedom are lucky in that they receive extremely good trauma therapy while in their programs. Selah Freedom makes sure they have the best trauma therapy out there and that they always feel they have Selah walking next to them during this journey “out of the life.”

- Former Captain Cori Stannish (now retired), Sarasota Police Department

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