In the news this past week was a story that accompanied these headlines: Coulter calls some 9/11 widows 'witches'
When you lose someone to a violent death, many people say many things that are hurtful. These comments are often meant to help even though they are insensitive. We at Survivors of Violent Loss talk with clinicians and survivors about what we call second wounds. Such comments can come from family members, the justice system, the media, neighbors, coworkers and professionals.
The latest comments by author Ann Coulter appear intentional. They clearly come from someone who doesn’t know what she is talking about. She doesn’t get it. Unless you have had such a loss, you truly don’t know what it is. AND, all of us, who have had such a loss, do not want her or anyone to pay the high price of knowing. Different than her accusations about the motivations of others, I would not propose to know what is going on her head. My suspicions are they are directly related to her selling books.
We can thank her now for giving us another opportunity to educate. A teaching moment is to inform others that NO, this kind of a loss is different than the natural deaths most of us are more familiar with. It truly is a life sentence and all the money in the world won’t take that pain away. For many, any financial gain feels like blood money. Please send folks to our website which has comments from both survivors and professionals or forward this email to them. www.svlp.org
Please send us your reactions by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure you give us your name and contact information. We will compile your responses and send them to all on our mailing list. Let us know if you wish to have us use your initials or a nickname if your comments are included.
Below are comments by Karen Uliva, Psy.D.
"One of the sequelae for those who have lost people in their lives to violent death (and in particular to murder) is the perception of themselves as outcasts or pariahs. This, of course, is made much worse when the thoughtless, ignorant, and insensitive comments of others are made in the public sphere. I do not understand what Ann Coulter was trying to accomplish by intruding on the grief of others."
Perhaps you can join me in having compassion for folks, like Ann, who reap such negative outcomes upon themselves by what they say and do. Connie Saindon, Founder Survivors of Violent Loss Network
Yolanda Boyd reacts to Coulter’s comments:
I tried to remain collected enough to tactfully express my thoughts about Ann Coulter’s statements. All I came up with were words that I would not say in public. She obviously has no comprehension of grief or loss. She has no understanding of the strength, hard work, and courage it takes for a survivor to feel semi-normal again. I don’t try to understand people like her—people that callously say and do things at the complete expense of others. She has the audacity to accuse victims of the horrific 9/11 tragedy of “making money” from the loss of their loved ones but who ever heard of Ann Coulter before 9/11?? She took this tragedy and turned it into a multi-million dollar profit for herself, selling her hatred and narcissism to those simple minds that would pay to soak it up.
Yolanda Boyd (lost brother to homicide in ‘94)
Subject: Re: Are 9-11 widows witches?
Connie...I thank you so much for addressing this issue. I have never been a fan of Ann Coulter (Ann Colder) and am now completely and thoroughly disgusted with her. If I thought it would do any good, I would stage a boycott of her books, but it would only serve to bring more attention to her. As far as educating her, it is a lost cause. She is a fanatic, and she will never learn the lessons. I think she truly enjoys in her sick way inflicting intentional harm and hurt on others. Karen Uliva's quotes below are so "right on."
After my Cory was raped and murdered, I felt just like an outcast, as if I was somehow dirty. "Normal" people just don't want to deal with such a horrific topic or the many, many feelings and emotions that go along with it. I am still, over 7 years later, trying to find my place in the world, a place where I belong.
There was another interesting item in the news this week. Nick Berg's father spoke out after the U.S. and Iraqi forces dropped bombs on al-Zarqawi's safehouse in Baghdad, killing him and some of his psycho accomplices. I was listening to Michael Savage on the radio, and a retired U.S. general who was being interviewed was bad-mouthing what Mr. Berg was saying. You remember...Nick Berg was beheaded on TV, probably by Zarqawi. The general was talking about a media interview in which Mr. Berg was saying that any time a human being is killed, it is sad. He also said that Zarqawi had a family, and that family is now grieving the way he is. Mr. Berg also said that he would have liked the opportunity to bring President Bush and Zarqawi together to reconcile. Well, all hell broke loose, and they were really slamming Mr. Berg for his views. At least Michael Savage made a comment on-air about giving him the benefit of the doubt as "the man lost his son."
The point here is again that people truly don't understand the impact murder has on the families. I think that any behavior or anything said by the survivors, or any attitude displayed is completely understandable. I, myself, have thought many times of meeting the beast who murdered my beautiful child. I'm not even sure why I feel that way, but I do. I happen to respect Mr. Berg's opinion and even admire him for the courage to speak out and voice such an unpopular opinion. But, if that's what it takes to help him get through his personal hell, more power to him! It's amazing to express any kind of compassion for the animal who murdered your child.
Back to your comment about having compassion for Ann Coulter...I just can't seem to have any. To me, she is a cold-hearted soul and very dangerous. She will probably make even more money off her books now by benefiting from the deep grief of murder victims. I know we live in a free society, and her ability and that of others like her to profit from the sadness of our fellow human beings is one of the prices we pay for that freedom. Connie thanks again for bringing this up. It has been on my mind all week.