Recently, I had lunch with a friend in New York. As we were walking through the city, I saw a huge crowd gathered on the sidewalk. When I approached I saw the original Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill, signing autographs. A few days later I wondered, “why are celebrities so celebrated when my colleagues aren’t? After all, the people I work with put their all into a shared mission of healthier lives and safer communities. Maybe it’s that our costumes and transporters aren’t as cool as the Star Wars characters. As many of us have experienced, the beneficiaries of our work will never know to thank us because they won’t have been abused.
Then I realized the difference: Celebrities don’t have to do case notes. These characters have never done paperwork, nor worked with someone whose job involves cracking the whip on therapists to submit their documentation. It’s no wonder they’re all so attractive and confident. They’ve probably never had to write or review an incident report after a long shift!
Although I have known some professionals who might be deserving of an award for their ability to bring drama into the workplace, I have to conclude that my colleagues are people whom few know to thank for their efforts. My neighbors and family long ago learned to be very careful about asking me how things are going at work, as the answer might cause them to dissociate. As Indeed, we often forget how much work goes into protecting the sensitivities of those around us. Thanks to our professional boundaries and ethics, there is no room for anything that sounds like “Rogue One” in our field.
We may give up some dreams going into the work of eliminating sexual abuse, but I would argue that our dream is better and in some ways already coming true. The ordinary heroes that work in our field can point to a track record of reduced violence across the time since the first Star Wars movie came out.