One thing often asked by those in the helping profession when confronted with a person in an unhealthy relationship is, “Why do you stay?” This question has implications of weakness and failure on the part of the victim and usually causes shame. Trauma bonding is loyalty to a person who is destructive. While the idea of bonding tends to bring up connotations of something good and beneficial, trauma bonds are unhealthy.

Growing up in an unsafe home makes later unsafe situations have more holding power. This has a biological basis beyond any cognitive learning. It is trauma in one's history that makes for trauma bonding. Because trauma (and developmental trauma or early relational trauma is epidemic) cause numbing around many aspects of intimacy, traumatized people often respond positively to a dangerous person or situation because it makes them feel. In Child Welfare we often see “Trauma Bonding” in those youth and adults who are survivors of domestic violence and sexual exploitation.

This online course focuses on children and youth who have been sexually exploited. The courses outlines reasons bonds are made, strategies for interventions and healing, and stories from survivors.

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