"To study psychological trauma means bearing witness to horrible events. When the events are natural disasters or ‘acts of God,’ those who bear witness sympathize readily with the victim. But when the traumatic events are of human design, those who bear witness are caught in the conflict between victim and perpetrator. It is morally impossible to remain neutral in this conflict. The bystander is forced to take sides.
"It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering.
"…In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator’s first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure that no one listens.
"…Without a supportive social environment, the bystander usually succumbs to the temptation to look the other way. … Soldiers in every war, even those who have been regarded as heroes, complain bitterly that no one wants to know the real truth about war. When the victim is already devalued (a woman, a child), she may find that the most traumatic events of her life take place outside the realm of socially validated reality. Her experience becomes unspeakable."
Trauma and Recovery, by Judith Lewis Herman, M.D
"Herman draws on her own cutting-edge research in domestic violence as well as on the vast literature of combat veterans and victims of political terror, to show the parallels between private terrors such as rape and public traumas such as terrorism. The book puts individual experience in a broader political frame, arguing that psychological trauma can be understood only in a social context."
The tendency described in the original quote by Herman... the ability to walk past panhandlers; step over the homeless has been called "intentional blindness or "willful blindness."
The later is the title of a book that looks at business (Enron), science, government and family explains why whistle-blowers are so rare and explains why wilful blindness is so dangerous in the globalised, interconnected world in which we live,
"It was not enough for the defendants [in the Enron case] to say that they did not know what was going on; that they had not seen anything. If they failed to observe the corruption which was unfolding before their very eyes, not knowing was no defence."
Is this not the primary phenomenon in homes in which children are abused? And is it not the reaction of the public to our cries for attention be drawn to the harm adoption separation cause families?