In 1976, 26 children ages 5-15 were kidnapped from their school bus and shoved into two vans. From here they were taken to a quarry and were imprisoned in an underground trailer for a total of 30 hours before escaping. After their escape, they were taken to a local hospital to assess the physical injury of the students. When they were shown to be free of any harm, they were released back into the world.
Sometime later, a Psychologist tracked all the children of the children down to assess if there were any significant psychological effects from this experience. Almost all of the children involved suffered from severe long term effects because of the kidnapping. They were suffering psychologically, physically, and socially. This experience had debilitated these all these kids except for one. There was one boy who did not have no where near as severe side effects as any of the other children. When questioned as to why he wasn’t suffering as bad as the other children, it was discovered that it was this boy that led the children’s escape. When he realized that their captors meant to keep them imprisoned for a long time, he led the children to dig their way out and escape. What made the difference in his life as opposed to the other children is that he could look back on that terrible experience and say that he had overcome it.
One of the shared feelings of those dealing with the effects of trauma is helplessness. This helplessness causes a person to become trapped by their anxiety and fear. Experiences that remind them of that traumatic event bring them back to that feeling of helplessness they had in that moment. So in order for an individual to be free from the effects of trauma, they need to have experiences that allow them to overcome those feelings of helplessness. This helps them realized that they don’t have to imprisoned by their fear and their anxiety and they can live a healthy life. Where the other students were not able to focus on anything besides the fear and that their kidnapping had caused, that boy was able to channel his focus onto the fact that he had overcome that experience. This helped him stay grounded and avoid the pain that so many others experienced.
Helping girls overcome the fear and anxiety that traumatic events can cause is one of the main goals here at Sunrise. If you feel that you or someone you know needs to be helped through the effects of trauma, please call us at 866-754-4807.