News roundup: Tampa woman blames heart attack on abuse, not genes; 12 states changing sex abuse laws; men who experienced sex abuse find help

Psychological trauma can scar health for years — Tampa Tribune reporter Mary Shedden focuses on Carolyn Hennecy, who sees herself as example of a study done at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston that

shows childhood trauma could increase a woman’s risks of heart disease by 45 to 62 percent. Mentioned is the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, which uses the ACE Study to incorporate physical health into their trauma recovery programs

After Penn State, states reconsider child sex abuse laws — Pat Eaton-Robb at the Associated Press did this overview of states that are considering changes to their mandatory reporting laws. Worth noting is this quote from Jetta Bernier, director of Massachusetts Citizens for Children:

“It’s good to begin strengthening reporting requirements, but if people don’t know what to look for, the reporting just isn’t going to cut it,” she said. “People need to know how to identify and how to prevent. That’s a piece that I have found missing in a lot of these attempts to push legislation forward.”

As ACE Studies are showing, it’s not just child sex abuse that traumatizes children — it’s toxic stress from many sources, including alcoholic parents, a family member diagnosed with mental illness, and emotional neglect. It’s clear that when a child is traumatized, the whole family needs help. And if it’s ridiculous to criminalize those causes of trauma, shouldn’t we figure out a different way to deal with other causes? Does anyone have an idea of what that might look like?

For men and boys, a silver lining amid sex abuse scandals — CNN’s Jessica Ravitz did a feature on organizations and hotlines — such as RAINN, MaleSurvivor and 1in6 — that have seen a huge increase in traffic since the Penn State sex abuse tragedy was reported. This is encouraging, because men have a difficult time seeing themselves as “survivors” or “victims”, words that women use, according to the story. Salt Lake City psychotherapist Jim Struve was quoted:

“How males are asked about abuse influences their answers,” he says. “If you ask most males, ‘Were you sexually abused?,’ they will answer, ‘No.’ But if you ask them behavioral/descriptive questions like, ‘What age was your first sexual experience?’ ‘How old was your partner?’ or ‘Was this sexual experience consensual?’ … men will often describe situations that are abusive, while not defining them as abuse.”


  1. I got advance cancer after the police, courts, and community did nothing to stop a sociopathic neighbor’s abuse. I was blamed. After 2.5 yrs, my body snapped. I had practically zero risk factors and no family history. Doctors were shocked! The betrayal from “the group” and those in power recapitulated the helplessness and apathy of my childhood. Once again, my body was allowed to be terrorizingly drenched and steeped in corrosive stress hormones. And today I have the invisible war scars of cumulative post-traumatic stress injury, elevated biomarkers, and a lifespan on a course to be cut very short. Trauma is inflicted on beings everyday and by institutions that are supposed to protect. I never understood why Felitti & Anda’s ACE study never took off. I’m only glad I’ve lived long enough to see the recognition it deserves and a website devoted to it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s