Monday, 9 June 2008

Survivor extraordinaire: Ricky Hunter

Ricky Hunter

When I delivered a family law seminar recently, I was honoured to have Ricky Hunter in the audience. Ricky would not see herself as a survivor extraordinaire, but someone who has been through a lot, and survived. As someone who was never subject to domestic violence, and never been assaulted, let alone sexually assaulted as a child, I call her a survivor extraordinaire.

Ricky is someone who went through the evil of being sexually abused as a child, then subjected to horrific domestic violence, having a son who is disabled, and coming out the other end as though, to misquote Churchill, coming into the broad, sunlit uplands of freedom.

I was doubly honoured when Ricky offered (and I accepted) a copy of her book, Point Last Seen.

Point Last Seen

I am afraid to say that I am not a very good reviewer, but Deborah Spermon is much better. This is what she had to say:

Elizabeth Brett once reminded professionals that to understand and describe the experiences of traumatised people, we must stay close. To distance ourselves, to rely too heavily on theory without the personal, is to diminish this ability. Ricky, with her telling of the complex interplay of the past and present, of pain and achievement, of the compelling drive to endure, invites us to come in close.

Faced with exhaustion and a sense that little was real, but with a lingering faith in her self’s existence, Ricky searched for what was long lost. Discoveries of self-knowledge exacted their dues as the debts to soul-life were paid, and emotions and sensations long banished again took up residence, sometimes with ferocity. Despite the unknown, despite the burden of unpredictability, her project of “A time to heal” had the strength of integrity and, with the support of those closest, the search continued and each insight welcomed.

Beverly Raphael said that such stories can only be told when survivors have drawn back from the abyss and are safe, when losses can be accommodated, when a community can be concerned with justice and human rights, and when therapists and others can hear. Ricky Hunter gives us one such opportunity.

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