Sunday, November 9, 2014
Using Horses To Help Survivors Of Sexual Abuse
That is the title of a training session that our Victim/Witness staff will be attending this week. They showed me the agenda last week. I am not familiar with the presenter. I look forward to getting to know her.
I am primarily a Juvenile prosecutor, but for over 15 years I have handled the prosecution of nearly every case involving a child victim, a victim with mental retardation, and nearly all sexual assault cases. Our program with the local Veterans Hospital for patients with PTSD has really driven home the point to me that even brief, hands on, exposure to natural horsemanship is a powerful healer.
More powerful than I understand. I see it happen, but I am still surprised every time when I see what a difference it makes.
I think I understand why natural horsemanship can do as much to improve the quality of the lives of survivors of sexual assault as it does. Working with the horse can return the ability to trust to one who has lost all reason to trust anyone. It can restore the confidence of one who has lost the ability to feel confident. Teaching a horse to cooperate and seeing the results of cooperation, affection, and trust can help restore the ability to have a loving, trusting relationship with others. Loving a horse teaches that love still exists in this world regardless of the agony that one has been put through. Being able to make a wild stallion change direction in the round pen by a simple movement of the foot, hands, or even the eye is a powerful thing to one who has come to feel powerless.
Looking back across the ages, as a species we made our greatest leaps and cultural advances only after people began to understand the power of building a relationship with a horse. We will make our greatest leaps in healing the suffering that results from sexual abuse when we harness the power that building a relationship with a horse creates.
Posted by Steve Edwards