Eastern Kentucky University

Poster Title

You Have a Body to Share

Institution

Eastern Kentucky University

Abstract

Post-traumatic stress disorder has been conceptualized as a failure of communication. It is argued that this failure results from the effects of dissociation during trauma, the difficulty of expressing embodied experiences, and victim blaming in American rape culture which discourages survivors of sexual abuse to disclose their stories. The inability of survivors to create a trauma narrative results in separation from themselves, others, and reality, which further inhibits communication. The present discussion aimed to explore the utility of creative writing in overcoming the communication failure of trauma and reconnecting survivors to themselves, others, and reality. A review of the literature related to sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and writing therapies was followed by a self-reflective, performative example of confessional poetry related to sexual trauma. Personal experience was chosen due to lack of representation of women’s embodied experiences in the literature. The poems in the collection were written for personal expression rather than for the purpose of this discussion or other academic endeavors. The poetry collection was composed of poems written during exposure to sexual abuse and poems written after the trauma had ended. Poems from the two time periods were juxtaposed to create a conversation between the two selves of the artist. The format was designed to emulate the experience of time as punctuated while still maintaining fluidity, reflective of working and reworking identity. The conclusion of this creative project included a reflection from the artist about the process of creating her trauma narrative and how creative writing enhanced her coping with post-traumatic stress disorder by overcoming the inarticulacy of her experience.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

You Have a Body to Share

Post-traumatic stress disorder has been conceptualized as a failure of communication. It is argued that this failure results from the effects of dissociation during trauma, the difficulty of expressing embodied experiences, and victim blaming in American rape culture which discourages survivors of sexual abuse to disclose their stories. The inability of survivors to create a trauma narrative results in separation from themselves, others, and reality, which further inhibits communication. The present discussion aimed to explore the utility of creative writing in overcoming the communication failure of trauma and reconnecting survivors to themselves, others, and reality. A review of the literature related to sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and writing therapies was followed by a self-reflective, performative example of confessional poetry related to sexual trauma. Personal experience was chosen due to lack of representation of women’s embodied experiences in the literature. The poems in the collection were written for personal expression rather than for the purpose of this discussion or other academic endeavors. The poetry collection was composed of poems written during exposure to sexual abuse and poems written after the trauma had ended. Poems from the two time periods were juxtaposed to create a conversation between the two selves of the artist. The format was designed to emulate the experience of time as punctuated while still maintaining fluidity, reflective of working and reworking identity. The conclusion of this creative project included a reflection from the artist about the process of creating her trauma narrative and how creative writing enhanced her coping with post-traumatic stress disorder by overcoming the inarticulacy of her experience.