To Further Understanding, A Brave Trauma Survivor Bears All

Rarely does the media thoroughly investigate childhood trauma – especially in relation to survivors. 

Too often the emphasis starts and stops with the perpetrator.

Ashley Pose #3

Survivors are rarely – if ever – heard. Frankly, few are willing to put their story “out there” for the world to read. The judgment can be horrendous, as they know from experience.

But that truth is necessary for the child welfare and mental health systems to truly change. An informed public is more likely to apply pressure.

Here’s the scoop that people need to know.

What the young survivors experience. Their inability to process the events – much less communicate their feelings in a safe space. The immediate shame. Triggers and more triggers – everyday. More shame.

Next the lack of trauma-appropriate treatment. Escalating behaviors at home and school. Misdiagnoses. Over-reliance on medication. Judgment rather empathy. Constant messages to “move on” and “get over it.”

And finally, their long journey to heal – and take ownership of that healing.

A,A, M

Marisa Kwiatkowski of The Indianapolis Star spent four years combing through child welfare records, interviewing key players and spending dozens of hours with my daughter Ashley.

She wanted to understand trauma, birth families, foster care, adoption and healing.

She then wanted to tell the story from Ashley’s perspective – with accuracy, integrity, empathy and hope.

A five-part Sunday newspaper series entitled “Ashley’s Story” is the result. You can access each part with the links below. Supporting video is included in each section. You are welcome to share via social media.

Part One: Ashley’s foster home seemed perfect. It held a dark secret.

Part Two: Becoming a pawn in the culture war, Ashley hides her abuse from the world.

Part Three: Ashley reveals her abuse and loses everyone she loves.

Part Four: Scarred and abandoned once again, Ashley’s rage takes control.

Part Five: Ashley finds the freedom to fall – and to discover her destiny.

If you are moved by my daughter’s courage to speak boldly, please let her know.


Something tangible, that she can hold and read again and again, would be appreciated. Cards can be sent to Ashley Peterson, 4107 Langwood Court, Indianapolis, IN 46268. 

Together we can control the message that the public hears. DCP


Craig Peterson publishes EACH Child every Tuesday. To subscribe, open this link and “Like” the page. EACH Child is Special: Working Smarter Not Harder to Raise Every ONE

To follow Craig’s journey in raising his six children with special needs, click here: Adopting Faith: A Father’s Unconditional Love

To follow my son Andrew’s inspiring story, “Like” his special Facebook page NoLimitsAndrew – Andrew Peterson

To watch Andrew’s amazing ESPN 14-minute documentary, click here. Andrew Peterson ESPN Documentary

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