A heart in five pieces
A miracle happened this week: I put some paint on the page and didn’t totally hate it. (Maybe by now, you forgot I’m supposed to be making some art. If you’re confused, you should probably check out the About this blog. page) You can have a look if you want:
Hers is just a heart in five pieces.
“Um, cool. What the heck is that supposed to mean?” you ask. Or at least, you might ask it. I don’t know. Artsy things can be vague and they don’t always make sense. The art I am making is like a journal. Each page is a small part of a larger story. On its own, it only holds a clue. In the context of several pages, my goal is that you will start to learn piece by piece about the girls. Hers is just a heart in five pieces. It’s a clue– a small piece of a life.
This page refers to an issue I have seen in more than one trafficking victim: Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). You may have heard it called by its former name, Multiple Personality Disorder. DID is classified by the American Psychological Association as, “the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states (each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and the self).” More simply, individuals with DID have at least one alternate identity. This goes beyond the different personalities we all experience. You might put on a more professional face for work, and save the “real you” for home. That’s normal. Individuals with DID experience something far more developed than that; they acquire personalities with different names, genders, ages, races, memories, and core personalities.
The most common model suggests that DID is something like a form of post-traumatic stress disorder. In this model, DID is response that occurs after a tremendous amount of long-term abuse in childhood, especially sexual abuse. Children will compartmentalize in an effort to repress memories. As children acquire and repress a large number of distressing memories, they eventually develop into distinct, alternate personalities. Research indicates that individuals with DID have an average history of 2 intensely traumatic experiences per week, for at least 50 weeks a year, for a duration of 10 years.
That’s a lot of abuse. It is worth noting that there is some controversy about the existence and proper diagnosis of DID. What we do know is that there are a lot of victims of trafficking that follow the above model, whether you want to call it DID or something else. The aftermath of extended abuse is terrible. Sometimes the abuse goes beyond physical damage– psychological scars like DID can be left for years. I met a girl who suffered from DID and had five distinct personalities. They each had different names, ages, and personalities. Sometimes, she didn’t even know who she was. Hers is just a heart in five pieces.
*Information about DID has been taken from a 2009 South African Journal of Psychology article titled “Defending a Diagnostic Pariah: Validating the Categorisation of Dissociative Identity Disorder,” by Craig M. Taub