The Anatomical Study of Abuse

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your ongoing encouragement. Like all grad students, this time of year brings additional stressors and deadlines. My background is in human science and I studied gross anatomy. I was absolutely ok with cadavers until this…

The human body is incredibly complex and beautiful. It can also be marred beyond recognition. In the study of gross anatomy, I was able to run my fingers into and over the sinews of another – to get under his/her skin. Incredible – until I saw identifying features.

Once I saw identifying features like a tattoo, I was shaken – this was a person. Much work had to be done to regain clarity of thought/study. Now that I am studying the anatomy of abuse, I run my fingers under the skin of slaughtered souls who are still alive.

Identifying features are everywhere. Faces, names, stories, psychological pulses, and heart-rending hemorrhage. Studying the anatomy of abuse is not like dissecting the dead – it is like dissecting the living.  

Many times, it is with shaking hands that I reach for a scalpel to study abuse and find my hands shaking. The face is mine, the hair, the curve of the spine – the tattoos of trauma are under my skin.

I am doing all that I encourage you to do in terms of self-care. I am stable and safe. Even so, my hands sometimes shake with every abuse study started, and every incision made. Thank you for your kindness to me.



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