You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘PTSD’ tag.

Violent Loss Resources Newsletter,  August 1, 2016
News you can use … collected for you in July. (Scroll down to see all)

Contents will vary somewhat month to month, as we close out this month, our contents include:

            Topic of the Month:  Prosecuting the Case: Survivor Voices

            Question of the Month:  What happened in your case?

            Quote

            News: Two Day Conference 2017: Traumatic Grief after Violent Dying

            Inspiration: “Not Forgotten” Project in Chicago contains  photos and interviews

            Resource of the Month: Victim Law

            What you missed last month           



Topic of the Month: Chapter Seven, Prosecuting the Case
: The importance and complexity involved in this topic is large enough that this topic will continue next month as well.  This month the  focus will be on Survivor Experiences.

 Excerpts from Murder Survivors Handbook webMurder_Survivor-front-cover-sticker-2500web

Here are what some Survivors have to say about this topic:

The FBI had a prime suspect in my parents’ deaths—my younger brother. They wanted to prosecute, but the U.S. attorney’s office refused, saying that without bodies, with little forensic evidence, and having an unreliable witness (my youngest sister, who failed two lie-detector tests and vowed to lie in court), that the odds of getting a guilty verdict were too low to risk incurring jeopardy. (Harrier)

When the case stalled, I met with the U.S. attorney assigned to the case. He explained why there would likely be no prosecution, no trial—the case was circumstantial; there were no bodies; there was little forensic evidence; and my sister was not a reliable witness. He did not want to risk incurring jeopardy by losing the case. (Harrier)

Often it will feel like it is more about the system than it is about justice. It will seem like every consideration is being given to the Defense, on behalf of the Defendant….(Valeria)

 Our charges were worked out behind closed doors with input from the Judge. We were advised up front that the justice system did not allow tailoring charges to increase the available sentencing options. We were given a voice only in the crafting of the plea offers, and then it was advisory in nature. We did, however, feel that the State took into account our perspective and the degree of concurrence we expressed was communicated to the judge at sentencing. ( JJ )’

It was a time when our private and public self felt so disconnected, and the hard work we had put into managing our emotions and grief was challenged on a regular basis throughout the trial. (Valeria)

  I was told that my telling of domestic abuse was not relevant to the case, but I feel that it was the reason my sister was murdered; because I left my abusive boyfriend, and he couldn’t find me, so he found my sister and murdered her.(Kaila)

 When court comes into session, they ask if the judge, the recorder, the prosecutor, the defendant, and the defendant’s attorney is present. They don’t even care or ask if the victim’s family is there. In a lot of cases, I think the defense would be very happy if we were not there. (Kaila)

Twenty-eight years later an arrest was made. After two years of court hearings, a plea agreement was reached for 2nd degree murder. (Halia)

Means, Motive, and Opportunity

The prosecution of a case does not mean motive has to be proven, but the jury does want to know why it happened. Did the defendant have the means, motive, and opportunity to do what he or she is charged with? In our Survivor Writer stories, some of the motives they believe were:

Marina: Oldest motive in the book. Dad planned to end his relationship with his abusive girlfriend, and she was enraged at the loss of a wealthy man to support her lifestyle! …

Harrier: He got caught doing something wrong.

Rose: Prevent having his life disrupted by his son’s existence; it would ruin him . . . child support was secondary.

Kaila:Revenge.” How dare I leave the man that loved me. He Murdered my sister because I left him.

Yvonne: Random act, opportunity, found someone alone and vulnerable.

Mary: I do personally feel that these 6 teens were stupid and immature. I believe they were bored and thought it was okay to get their kicks that night by beating someone up and causing someone an injury….

Question of the Month – What happened in your case? Subscribe now … and follow up to let us know your thoughts by adding your comments about anything in this article.

Quote: Though you can never really be prepared for the unique challenges that will come your way, we hope that by relating our experiences and what we learned in our journey … you will gain insight and confidence by which to navigate the process, should you ever have to. (Valeria)



News: Two Day “Traumatic Grief after Violent Dying”
Conference being planned for April 8 & 9, 2017 in  San Diego, CA. Sponsors include Ted Rynearson, MD Virginia Mason Medical Center, and Sid Zisook, MD; University of California, San Diego. Planning Committee includes Connie Saindon, Founder of Survivors of Violent Loss; Ilanit Young, San Diego VA Center; Linda Pena, Director of S.D.DA’s Victim Assistance Center;  Charles Nelson, Trauma Recovery Center; Kathleen Barnum, Elizabeth Hospice; Mary Edwards, Victim Assistance Coordinating Council with generous financial support from Carmela Caldera. *Mark your calendar.



Inspiration:
Not Forgotten: Chicago Street Memorials.  Journalist Ann-Marie Cusac and former Emergency Room MD Thomas Ferrella have teamed up to produce interviews and photography for a show at the Cage Gallery 18 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago running from September 29- December 3rd, 2016. Here is a link for more information for you poster



Resource of the Month: Victim Law: https://www.victimlaw.org/

Victim Law is a searchable database of victims’ rights legal provisions including federal, state, and territorial statutes, tribal laws, state constitutional amendments, court rules, administrative code provisions, and summaries of related court decisions and attorney general opinions.

Victim Law currently contains legal provisions relating to the following 10 basic rights of crime victims:

  • The right to attend and be present at criminal justice proceedings;
  • The right to be heard in the criminal justice process, including the right to confer with the prosecutor and submit a victim impact statement at sentencing, parole, and other similar proceedings;
  • The right to be informed of proceedings and events in the criminal justice process, including the release or escape of the offender, legal rights and remedies, and available benefits and services, and access to records, referrals, and other information;
  • The right to protection, including protection from intimidation and harassment;
  • The right to privacy;
  • The right to apply for crime victim compensation;
  • The right to restitution from the offender;
  • The right to the expeditious return of personal property seized as evidence whenever possible;
  • The right to a speedy trial and other proceedings free from unreasonable delay; and
  • The right to enforcement of these rights and access to other available remedies.


What you missed last month:

Topic of the Month:  The Criminal Justice Process

            Question of the Month- What tips do you have?

            News: Orlando 

            Inspiration: I’ll cry again

            Book Resource: Accidental Truth



Like us on  Facebook:

Subscribe now … and follow up to let us know your thoughts by adding your comments about anything in this article.

Violent Loss Resources Team — Contact us

Connie Saindon: csaindon@svlp.org
Larry Edwards: larry@larryedwards.com

 

 

Advertisements

It’s official. Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources is launched and available for purchase at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble online, and through traditional retail outlets.
Murder Survivor's Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources
Written by Connie Saindon, MA, MFT—along with many other voices—the book is being formally released on Sept. 25, 2014, to coincide with the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. [Read Connie’s essay: Remembering Our Murdered Loved Ones.]

“Many survivors and co-victims of murder asked me to write this book so those who must make this tragic journey will have a helping hand,” Saindon says. “I am saddened that there is a need for this book, but I am happy that we were able to pull this together in the interest of helping others.”

When a loved one is murdered, the survivors—the co-victims—are plunged into a head-spinning world of traumatic grief, criminal investigation, criminal justice, and the long-term consequences of violent loss. Sensational news coverage may compound the trauma of their loss.

Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources helps these survivors wend their way on this overwhelming journey they never chose to take.

Saindon’s professional as well as personal experience have given her a unique perspective that few others have. Not only did she learn first-hand about criminal death following the murder of her sister, she learned that she is a Survivor in every sense of the word. However, she also found that little was known about the impact of murder on survivors.

This book fills that void for the survivors, the co-victims of murder. It provides information, resources, and strategies for learning to live with the aftermath of a homicide, including safety issues, dealing with the criminal justice system, addressing the news media, and coping with traumatic grief, while preserving the memory of a loved one.

Also in the book, Survivor Writers describe their own experiences and, through their tips and suggestions, lend a helping hand to those who follow in their footsteps.

The book also encourages the readers to write down their own feelings and experiences as they take this journey no one ever wants to take, but in which they had no choice.

The Foreword to the book is written by Edward K. Rynearson, MD, Medical Director, Separation and Loss Services Program, Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, WA, and the author of Retelling Violent Death.

In prerelease sales, the book became a Hot New Release at Amazon.com in the Criminal Procedure Law category, and climbed onto Amazon’s Best Seller list in that category as well.

All proceeds from the sale of the book go to the Survivors of Violent Loss Program to provide books to those who may need assistance.

For bulk purchases of the book, please contact the author or Wigeon Publishing.

Praise for the book:

This handbook is the absolutely perfect tool for survivors of homicide victims and those professionals who work to support them. Through the voices of survivors, the stark realities of learning to live with homicide are clearly exposed. The incredible depth of sorrow, daunting financial impact and the long-term challenges that survivors face are effectively presented. The wealth of information contained in this handbook needs to be on the bookshelves of everyone who interacts with survivors of homicide.

—Carol Gaxiola, mother of Jasmine Gaxiola
Director/Victim Advocate, Homicide Survivors, Inc.

 

 

The book is rich in content. It is the banquet of life-sustaining information that I did not have 15 years ago.

—Marina, Survivor/Co-victim

 

This is exactly the book I would have loved to have had so I wouldn’t have made so many mistakes; I would have had some idea how this entire process works.

—Dayna Herrroz, Survivor/Co-victim
Peer Advocate/Violent Loss

Details:
• Nonfiction: Death, Grief, Bereavement
• Publisher: Wigeon Publishing
• Wholesale distribution: Ingram
• Size, print edition: 8.5 x 11
• Pages: 244
• Formats:
• paperback; ISBN: 978-0-9896913-0-7; $19.95
• e-book: Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, etc.; $7.99 (to be released in October)

About the Author
Connie Saindon, author, Murder Survivor's Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources Connie Saindon is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and among the few specialists in the field of violent death bereavement. She is the founder of the nonprofit Survivors of Violent Loss Program in San Diego, which began at the University of California-San Diego outpatient clinic in 1998. Her commitment to violent loss bereavement is related to the murder of her sister, aged 17, in 1961.

She is author of The Journey: Ten Steps to Learning to Live with Violent Death (2008), an adaption of the Restorative Retelling Model for adult self-help and paraprofessionals. She also is a contributing author of Violent Death, Resilience and Intervention Beyond the Crises (2006).

When not pursuing her professional interests, Saindon may be found kayaking in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, skiing, walking her dog, or taking photographs. A native New Englander, Saindon splits her time between Boothbay, ME, and San Diego, CA.

Contact

For additional information or to schedule an interview:

Connie Saindon
858-699-7700
csaindon@svlp.org

Learn more at: Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources

By Connie Saindon

Murder. It’s a fact of life that never goes away. Nor does murder’s impact on the survivors: those who must deal with a horrific new reality in their lives.

On Sept. 25, the National Day of Remembrance of Murder Victims, we will be reminded of this fact as survivors gather to memorialize their murdered loved ones.

Crime rates have dropped in major cities nationwide. Nonetheless, there are roughly 15,000 homicides in the U.S. each year, according to government agencies. The FBI Crime Clock estimates one person is murdered in the United States every 35.6 minutes. These statistics do not include suicide or violent deaths due to negligence or catastrophe.

In San Diego County, the murder rate in 2013 fell to 70 homicides from 110 in 2012. Even so, anything above zero is unacceptable.

Murder often gets sensational headlines in news coverage, but the survivors and the challenges they face in the aftermath of murder typically get short shrift. Yet, the murder of a loved one is a death that no one “gets over”; there is no closure. Seven to ten people are seriously impacted by each violent death, and this “collateral damage” accumulates incrementally each year. There is a potential of 150,000 murder survivors impacted each year, meaning that today millions of Americans live under this shadow of murder and violent death.

For most people, it happens to someone else, to someone else’s mother or father, son or daughter, sister or brother. Until it happens to them. Suddenly, following that phone call or knock on the door, the survivors—the co-victims—find themselves in a mind-numbing whirl of disbelief and chaos. Their world crumbles around them as they have to not only deal with their grief, but the criminal justice system, an intrusive news media, and perhaps a life-time of parole hearings. They have a new and public “murder” identity. Who they were before is changed forever.

Survivors’ questions are many: Is this true? Who did this? Are we safe? What do I do now? Who can I trust? Survivors often say: “We have been given a life sentence for a crime we didn’t commit.” Their world is shattered. They don’t know where to turn for help. The resources, while growing, are still scant.

Similar to our soldiers, many survivors are at risk for PTSD and other health problems, such as depression and substance abuse. They may be unable to return to work or school for an extended period of time. Thus, murder has a significant impact not only on individuals and families, but society as a whole.

To increase awareness of this socially important challenge, Congress designated a National Day of Remembrance of Murder Victims to be recognized annually on Sept. 25. This year, survivors throughout that nation will come together to remember and honor their loved ones. One of the key aspects in these events is that the survivors have an opportunity to talk about who their loved one was, before he or she was murdered.

In San Diego, the annual River of Remembrance event was held on Saturday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m, at the Crime Victims Oak Garden, which was established in honor of murder victim Cara Knott. More information about the event is available at svlnetwork.wordpress.com.

__________

Connie Saindon is a murder survivor, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and the author of Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources, which is being released on Sept. 25. She is the founder of the nonprofit Survivors of Violent Loss Program in San Diego and initiated the River of Remembrance event.

New Book

 

Murder Survivor’s Handbook

helps family members adapt to

and navigate the aftermath of murder

 

Release date: September 25, 2014

 

Murder Survivor's Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & ResourcesWhen a loved one is murdered, the survivors—the co-victims—are plunged into a head-spinning world of traumatic grief, criminal investigation, criminal justice, and the long-term consequences of violent loss. Sensational news coverage may compound the trauma of their loss.

Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources helps these survivors wend their way on this overwhelming journey they never chose to take.

Written by Connie Saindon, MA, MFT—along with many other voices—the book will be formally released on Sept. 25, 2014, to coincide with National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.

The book will be available in print and ebook formats.

Saindon’s professional as well as personal experience have given her a unique perspective that few others have. Not only did she learn first-hand about criminal death following the murder of her sister, she learned that she is a Survivor in every sense of the word. However, she also found that little was known about the impact of murder on survivors.

Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources fills that void for the survivors, the co-victims of murder. It provides information, resources, and strategies for learning to live with the aftermath of a homicide, including safety issues, dealing with the criminal justice system, addressing the news media, and coping with traumatic grief, while preserving the memory of a loved one.

Also in the book, Survivor Writers describe their own experiences and, through their tips and suggestions, lend a helping hand to those who follow in their footsteps.

The Foreword to the book is written by Edward Rynearson, MD, Medical Director, Separation and Loss Services Program, Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, WA, and the author of Retelling Violent Death.

Praise for the book:

Details:
• Nonfiction: Death, Grief, Bereavement
• Publisher: Wigeon Publishing
• Wholesale distribution: Ingram
• Publication date: September 25, 2014
• Size, print edition: 8.5 x 11
• Pages: 244
• Formats:
• paperback; ISBN: 978-0-9896913-0-7; $19.95
• e-book: Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, etc.; $7.99

Praise for the book:

This is exactly the book I would have loved to have had so I wouldn’t have made so many mistakes; I would have had some idea how this entire process works.

—Dayna Herrroz, Survivor/Co-victim
Peer Advocate/Violent Loss

 

This book is wonderful. You covered all the steps that victims have to deal with. The chapters are broken down and very easy to read and follow. The resource section after each topic is great.

—Rose Madsen, Families &
Friends of Murder Victims, Inc.

 

This book is fantastic! It will be so helpful to survivors, professionals and our colleagues working with Homicide Survivors.

—Director, Crime Victims Assistance
Unit, District Attorney’s Office

 

About the Author
connie saindon, author, Murder Survivor's Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources Connie Saindon is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and among the few specialists in the field of violent death bereavement. She is the founder of the nonprofit Survivors of Violent Loss Program in San Diego, which began at the University of California-San Diego outpatient clinic in 1998. Her commitment to violent loss bereavement is related to the murder of her sister, aged 17, in 1961.

She is author of The Journey: Ten Steps to Learning to Live with Violent Death (2008), an adaption of the Restorative Retelling Model for adult self-help and paraprofessionals. She also is a contributing author of Violent Death, Resilience and Intervention Beyond the Crises (2006).

When not pursuing her professional interests, Saindon may be found kayaking in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, skiing, walking her dog, or taking photographs. A native New Englander, Saindon splits her time between Boothbay, ME, and San Diego, CA.

Contact

For additional information or to schedule an interview:

Connie Saindon
858-699-7700
csaindon@svlp.org

Learn more at: Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources

Dear SVLP Members:

Gift From Within is a nonprofit organization dedicated to those who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), those at risk for PTSD, and those who care for traumatized individuals.

We are looking for true personal stories for a resource called PTSD Etiquette:  A guide to helping friends and family members find the right words to express caring and concern.

We would like to invite members and friends of SVLP to write about about how friends and loved ones were comforting at the time of their trauma, comments from friends and loved ones that were appropriately helpful. Some of the comments might have been unintentionally hurtful and you may have thought to yourself..if only they could have said… When it’s a traumatic event it is not always easy for people to know what to do.

The stories below will help demonstrate what we are looking for:

“I don’t know if it’s being a “Wednesday Child” or simply bad luck but I have been in the wrong place at the wrong time most of my life.  At the age of ten, I experienced the 1964 Earthquake in Alaska and all the strong aftershocks that went with it.  I must say that as a child, I found the whole thing quite entertaining and had absolutely no idea the devastation that would follow.

What scared me the most were the reactions of adults around me, from the radio announcer screaming “don’t panic” every minute and my aunt claiming we were having “the last supper” that night it was hard to do anything but be frightened.  What helped was being close to my family and my dad reading from Tom Sawyer to us every night.  We had no electricity, water or heat except for a propane stove.  At least we had that. Neighbors would come and huddle to stay warm.  If I could suggest anything to anyone about natural disasters and children it would be to try and not inflict the fears of adults onto the kids.

I have not forgotten the warmth of my dad reading that story.  I have children and I’ve learned how to be loving and supportive and how to be there for my son when he was traumatized during his HS years. Three of his best friends who were related were murdered.  He is dealing with this slowly and what has not been helpful from supposed friends is telling him that it’s been five years…he should be over it. Please don’t say things like that. We heal differently and not on your time schedule.   I found helpful information on the Net and books and also found Gift from Within.  I heard Dr. Ochberg’s tapes and for the first time I realize the ending of my story is hopeful. Likewise for my son. PTSD doesn’t have to be a permanent condition. That knowledge is what helps the most.”

—————————————————————————————————

“In 2005, I sought out a therapist for help with my PTSD symptoms. I was tired of coping on my own.   I really had no clue how to go about this or what to look for. I felt vulnerable going to a stranger for help. I found an agency listed in the phone book and accepted whichever therapist they threw at me.  I did not know that I could screen a therapist before accepting one.  The therapist they gave me was an elderly lady who did not have her degree very long.  She had been practicing for about 2 years when I came into her office.  She began, as most therapist do, by taking a psycho-social history from me.   This included brief information from the time I was a young child to the present.  In the course of this I disclosed my childhood sexual abuse and the rape that happened when I was 13.  As soon as I disclosed this, the psycho-social history ended.  It was like she was looking for something and had found it… my history of sexual abuse.

Immediately she wanted me to tell her exactly what happened, how it happed, with whom, etc.  This lady was a stranger to me; as much of a stranger as someone I would see on the street.  I tried to explain to her that I did not feel comfortable revealing these things so early into our time together.  When I said this, she sat back in her chair and changed the tone of her voice in a condescending way and said, “oh, then you must have an agenda for our time together, go ahead, you lead.”  Being unfamiliar with therapy protocol I sat there quietly while I tried to figure out what to say.  I said ,“I am like an onion, you have to peel it layer by layer to get to the core… you can not just slice me open and expect me to reveal to you what is at the core when you did not even take the time to peel the first layer.”

I felt violated by her probing of intimate information before we established a rapport.  It was almost like another rape.  I continued to see her for a few more sessions in which she was still obsessed with my sexual abuse history.  At one point when I again said I was not ready to confront those things she accused me of not wanting to get well.

I would suggest to those working with abuse survivors and/or those with PTSD to take into account the words by William Butler Yeats, “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” I would add that you also tread on our hurts and our vulnerabilities.  We are strong in that we survived and delicate when it comes to our memories.  Take the time to get to know us… the uninjured parts; our strengths, joys, goals, wants and dislikes.  When we know that you are truly interested in us as a whole individual and not just our damaged parts we will be more likely to share with you our tender areas; hurts, abuses, and traumas.  Tread softly please. “CLR

——————————————————————————————————

“My name is Jodi. I have PTSD and a chronic disease. My disease taxes my energy and strength. PTSD affects me emotionally and I tend to isolate myself and become depressed which is not healthy.  At times I find it difficult to reach out and express how I am feeling. My husband and I both work full time.  Sometimes it is all I can do to get through the day at work.  My husband has figured out a way to help me by answering the phone after 8 PM. He knows that my doctor has told me that I need to get all the rest all I can.  My friends and family are concerned and my husband takes these calls and tells them how I am doing. He also tells them that I would love to see them and the best way to contact me is via email. It’s less tiring for me and I can do it during the day.  I enjoy getting out and seeing people. Having friends that encourage me to have fun outside of my daily routines is a blessing.  So I appreciate that they are accepting my situation and still want to be with me. They found a way to do it.”

——————————————————————————————————

“I belong to a support group in Maine and we had an unusual and challenging problem occur with one of our members.  Seems the member was in crisis and had to be hospitalized.   We as a group were uncertain as what our role should be in regards to calling the member, visiting, sending a card, things of that nature.  We have since decided as a group to put together a form that each member can fill out if they like, with information on how they’d like to be supported by the group if they are ever faced with hospitalization.  We have yet to work out the logistics of the form, but we as a group are working on it now.  We were all determined to honor each member’s requests and it’s great working as a group to come up with such a vital piece of information.” Heather

————————————————————————————————————

We would like to invite you to contribute to PTSD Etiquette: finding the right words. We are looking for stories written by women and men who have been through all types of traumatic events. If you are not sure whether your story is appropriate please send us a note. Sharing true stories of what words worked and what words did not will benefit all of us. The stories can be 150-400 words.  You don’t have to be a GFW member to contribute. Please let us know if we can use your first name or just your initials.

Please submit to Joyce and include contact information.

Gift From Within-Email: JoyceB3955@aol.com

URL: www.giftfromwithin.org

Survivors of Violent Loss exists to build a lifeline of hope and healing by providing support and education to those who live and work with violent death. Coping isn't easy. Survivors of Violent Loss can help. www.svlp.org (619) 685-0005

Sections