Patti Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, believes the “Get over it” approach is myth, not methodology. And she wants us to put it to rest once and for all.
Get over it!
How often is this phrase bantered about as advice and as a method of healing? Way too often, I am afraid. It really borders on farce, except that victim/survivors of sexual trauma and other traumas are constantly told that this is what is necessary. The path of “getting over it” seemingly consists of “willing” trauma and hurt and confusion and suffering away. Just do it, as the Nike ads used to say.
Let’s look at what this comment is really saying. The messages are:
“forget about it”
“put it out of your mind”
“shut up about it”
“haven’t you suffered enough?”
“I’m sick of hearing about this”
“why are you are still bothered by this event that happened so long ago?”
And the results of this messaging are more hurt, more silencing and, depending on who the messenger is, re-traumatization. I wonder why folks continue to respond in this way completely unaware that most survivors have already tried that method and it didn’t work very well. It doesn’t and didn’t work for the simple yet complex reason that trauma that is unattended to, will continue to show up in various painful and inconvenient ways…until it is, indeed, attended to.
As an advocate, I wish I had a penny for every time I’ve heard “get over it.” I would start my own extremely well-funded philanthropic foundation! I’ve heard it for many years and from everywhere: being interviewed by journalists and television reporters, from legislators, at cocktail parties, in casual conversation, on Facebook and Twitter. It is probably the most common phrase that survivors hear—that all they have to do is “get over it and all will be fine.”
It is not helpful.
“Get over it” is a myth, not a methodology. I wish we could put it to rest once and for all.
Patti Giggans is the Executive Director of Peace Over Violence. Peace Over Violence is dedicated to building healthy relationships, families and communities free from sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence. She is also the Vice-President of the Board of Directors for 1in6.
–Posted by 1in6, Inc. More information available at www.1in6.org.
–The mission of 1in6 is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives. 1in6′s mission also includes serving family members, friends and partners by providing information and support resources on the web and in the community.
–Photo: Javier Sánchez./Flickr