Reading the book may help victims heal

June 20, 2013

I would like to respond to Helen Gracie Sager’s letter and her response to a book being written about Dr. Bradley. I must say first, that I didn’t read the brief article about the book, but I would like to comment on her perspective.
I know that what Dr. Bradley did was far more than an “incident” as Ms. Sager would like to call the horrific crimes he committed against innocent children in Lewes. I know people like to just move on, get past it, forget it, and let it be.  In fact, I know that far too well.

I was a child who was a victim of a violent crime in Lewes in 1973, and yes it was tragic, and yes we all wanted to move past this horrifying time in our lives. However, for victims this isn’t reality. For someone who is a victim of a violent crime it is a part of their life that never fully goes away, and it affects everyone they know or who knew what they went through. It is a community that suffers along side of them and this can be comforting and painful all at the same time. I know this all too well, as does my family and everyone who knows or knew what happened to me then.

I am not trying to say that your letter is wrong or in any way misguided; it is how you feel and possibly how many people feel. I do know that tearing a building down doesn’t make the crime go away although maybe in some symbolic way it helps some and maybe not others.

Chastising someone for wanting to write a book does not make the crime go away. Living your life and being successful and being a survivor does not make the crime go away. Letting this “matter lie” as you say will not make this horrific, painful crime go away!

It took me 29 years of not talking about my victimization: actually wanting it to just go away, and minimizing it by calling it an “accident” as if I had tripped down the stairs and one day I realized  couldn’t do it any longer. My brutal beating and being a survivor is important, not just to me, but to many who love me or know me. It left me not only with emotional wounds but a head injury which I have struggled with all my life and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

I found by thinking about it, writing about it, and speaking about it, that I am not broken or weak, I am stronger for it. Words, feelings, written and spoken have helped me. There are many studies of people going through traumatic events that suggest talking about those traumas helps people resolve the pain they feel and overcome the grief and sadness.

I hope the families and our community never forget what happened so we can be ever vigilant so that these awful injustices on our humanity may never happen again. However, I also hope those individuals all can overcome and heal and live well. I hope they too can talk about it one day without it ripping their hearts out.

We all have our own way of handling things and I don’t believe that my way fits everyone, and I certainly don’t believe someone writing a book is intentionally trying to smear people’s lives all over a page for no good reason.
There could be good that follows the writing of a book or perhaps reading it; possibly a victim being able to share their individual story may one day have them come to their own realization that they are not broken.  It’s another perspective.

Amy L. Kratz

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