This week I revisit my 2013 conversation with Episcopal Priest Carl Russell about the childhood sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his family’s priest. Carl talks about the way that the priest gradually built trust with his parents and used that trust to gain access. He tells the extraordinary story of how he began to heal after hearing a radio story about sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese. You’ll hear how, at 72 years old, Carl was finally able to see justice when he pressed charges, and broke the silence that had plagued him all his life.
This week we revisit a conversation from 2011 with Elyn Saks, a law professor and MacArthur fellow who lives with schizophrenia. We discuss how she came to the difficult understanding that she had the illness and needed treatment, and how she was able to achieve personal and professional success, contrary to our popular notions of life with psychosis.
We begin a new season of the show with some of the best episodes from the early days of Safe Space Radio. We’ll be updating them with new commentary, bonus segments and occasional follow-up conversations. Today we revisit my 2010 interview with psychiatrist Aaron Lazare about the impact of shame and humiliation, and how to repair the damage they cause. Then, a new conversation with a current medical student about how shame can complicate the relationship between doctors and patients, and what can be done to reduce it.
This week I talk with Kathy Russin, the Military Sexual Trauma Program Coordinator for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Maine. She talks about the prevalence of Military Sexual Trauma among veterans, and explains that it is not limited to rape, and affects both men and women. She explains how MST is different from combat PTSD in its impact, and talks about the many ways it can make leading a normal life very difficult.
This week’s show is a conversation with Armenian-American photographer and filmmaker Nubar Alexanian. We talk about the film he is making with his daughter about their journey to their ancestors’ homeland, the site of the Armenian genocide which began in 1915. Nubar describes the legacy of silence that surrounds this genocide and the impact this silence has had on his sense of self and his place in the world. He also talks about how making this film has awakened deeply suppressed emotions in him, and helped him become proud of being Armenian for the first time in his life.
For more information about the film, visit scarsofsilence.com.