JUDITH LEWIS HERMAN from Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
Psychological trauma is an affliction of the powerless. At the moment of trauma, the victim is rendered helpless by overwhelming force. When the force is that of nature, we speak of disasters. When the force is that of other human beings, we speak of atrocities. Traumatic events overwhelm the ordinary systems of care that give people a sense of control, connection, and meaning.
Traumatic events are extraordinary, not because they occur rarely, but rather because they overwhelm the ordinary human adaptations to life. They confront human beings with the extremities of helplessness and terror, and evoke the responses of catastrophe.