Tuesday, September 08, 2009

How long will I keep burning in your flame?

How long will I keep burning in your flame?
How long will you still turn away from me?
How many friends will turn from me in shame?
How long will I still hurt? How long will you be free?

I would shake the dust from my coat, and rise
If I realized my own perfection.
I would rush to the sky, empty and light;
My head would be high as the ninth heaven.

If I was not so pitifully in love
I wouldn't then be standing at your door.
Don't say, "Go away, don't stand at my door!"
I wouldn't exist, my dear, if I didn't stand here.

* * * * * * *

Berapa lama saya akan terbakar dalam api tuan?
Berapa lama tuan akan berpaling daripada saya?
Berapa ramai teman yang akan berpaling daripada saya kerana malu?
Berapa lama saya akan terluka? Berapa lama tuan akan bebas merdeka?

Akan saya kebaskan debu daripada jubah, dan berdiri
Jika saya sedari kesempurnaan diri
Akan saya bersegera ke langit tinggi, kosong dan ringan
Kepala saya akan setinggi langit sembilan.

Jika saya tidak terlalu daif dalam berkasih
Tentu saya tidak berdiri di pintu tuan.
Jangan berkata, “pergi, jangan berdiri di pintu saya!”
Saya tidak mungkin ada, kasih, jika saya tidak berdiri di sini.

#1957, 1925 dan 1923, daripada Rumi, Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi; terjemahan ke bahasa Inggeris oleh Zara Houshmand; diedit oleh Badiozzaman Forouzanfar (Tehran, Amir Kabir, 1988).

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

For Califonia kidnap victim, a complex road home

NEW YORK, Sept 1 — Jaycee Dugard has suffered sexual abuse, neglect and emotional manipulation to an extent hard to imagine, according to the charges in the case involving her abduction.

But therapists say the biggest challenge facing Dugard, who was found alive last week after 18 years in captivity, may be switching families.

“Her captor was her primary relationship, and the father of her two children, and at some level separation may be difficult for all of them,” said Douglas F. Goldsmith, executive director of the Children’s Centre in Salt Lake City. Goldsmith added that any therapy “has to be mindful that there are three victims, not one, and that they will be entering a new life together.”

About two-thirds of children who are kidnapped or abused suffer lingering mental problems, most often symptoms of post-traumatic stress and depression.

Recent studies have found that about 80 per cent of victims do show significant improvement in mood after three to four months of trauma-focused weekly therapy. Still, given the information available so far, experts say Dugard and her two children face an unusually complex task.

Her stepfather, Carl Probyn, says she has already expressed guilt that she bonded with the man who kidnapped her when she was 11. She and her children will have to learn to connect with and trust her first family, the one from which she was taken in 1991.

“The way I think about this case is that it is an extreme version of a phenomenon that is really not that uncommon: a child engaged in an abusive relationship when young and, not knowing any better, coming to accept it as their life, adapting as best they can,” said Lucy Berliner, director of the trauma programme at Harborview Medical Centre in Seattle. “Certainly every case is different, but we now have some proven interventions we can use.”

Therapists say Dugard’s transition to a new life is likely to take some time, probably years. Elisabeth Fritzl, the Austrian woman held in a dungeon by her father for 24 years, has reportedly undergone extensive therapy and still struggles mentally, 16 months after she was freed.

And Shawn Hornbeck, abducted in Missouri at age 11 in 2002 and held captive for four years, told reporters nearly two years after being freed that he was still learning to cope with the emotional effects.

By contrast, Elizabeth Smart, the young woman in Utah who was kidnapped at age 14 in 2002 and held for nine months, is now reportedly doing well, a student at Brigham Young University. When she was reunited with her family, she told CNN last week, “we just spent time as a family, which was like — it was the best thing I could have done.”

The main challenge in all such cases, experts say, is breaking the bond with the captor and abuser. David Wolfe, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Toronto, has studied victims and some perpetrators of long-term abusive relationships.

In these cases, as in many kidnappings, perpetrators work hard to win the trust of their victims. “It’s a common element,” Wolfe said. “The child is frightened, and the perpetrator works to gain or regain the child’s confidence, to come across as a really good person: ‘I’m not going to hurt you, everything’s going to be OK’ and so on.

“So the child never knows when to fight or run,” he continued. “Do I wait and it’ll get worse? Or do I believe him and I won’t be hurt?”

Humans are wired to form social bonds, and such scraps of kindness can deepen even a relationship built on manipulation and abuse. Some victims have profoundly ambivalent feelings toward abusive captors, psychologists say, and tend to do better when they acknowledge their mixed feelings. Thinking of the perpetrator as a monster feels unfair; on the other hand, it would be wrong to call him merely misguided.

Once victims have shaken the influence of a perpetrator and re-established trust with loved ones, they can better learn through therapy how to ease the impact of their ordeal, said John A. Fairbank, a professor of psychiatry and bio-behavioural sciences at Duke and co-director of the UCLA-Duke University National Centre for Child Traumatic Stress.

The most rigorously tested therapy is called trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy. In weekly sessions over three to four months, people learn how to examine and refute suspect assumptions about their ordeal. One of the most common of these is “I can’t trust anyone anymore.” Another is “It’s my fault I didn’t resist more.”

“Of course it is not their fault, and we communicate that,” said Berliner, the Seattle therapist. “But at the same time, in many cases they did go along, they did make decisions not to fight or run, and we help people examine why they made those decisions — to understand that judging themselves harshly in retrospect might not be fair to the child they were in that moment.”

Typically, people in trauma-focused therapy also learn methods to regulate the strength of their emotions. These methods include simple breathing and relaxation techniques, as well as mindfulness, an exercise in allowing an emotion to take hold and pass without acting on it.

Finally, victims often work with the therapist to build a narrative, oral or written, of the entire ordeal, then file it as a chapter of their lives rather than the entire story. If appropriate, they may also “relive” the experience multiple times until its emotional power wanes. This approach is not for everyone — it seems to make some people more distraught — but experts say it can be helpful in some patients.

So far, Jaycee Dugard seems to be doing just as her fellow abductee Smart advised: staying with family, keeping herself and her children away from public scrutiny. Those are good instincts, therapists say.

“It’s not like resilience is out of the question in a case like this,” said Dr. Judith A. Cohen, medical director of the Centre for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. “In a lot of kidnapping cases, people do remarkably well, and this woman has already shown amazing survival skills.

“That she managed to survive for so long suggests that she might do well in the years to come.” — NYT

My comment: What is true for an individual, is true for a society too. Shariati uses the term psychology and socio-psychology to explain the similarities of such individual and social situation or predicament.

For 52 years at least, and especially during Mahathir's era onwards, as a society, Malaysians face the same kind of abduction, rape, abuse, manipulations etc. And we do gave birth to a generation oblivious to the actual reality. Can we recover? Will we recover? Can PR help us in this?