Well worth the $ 19.50 it costs.
“What you want to know, just ask me.”
During the Physicians for Human Rights evaluations of the Iraqis, some of the men laughed incredulously upon reading the questionnaires. One man looked at the items in a studious, puzzled way. Another said, “What is this?” One man pushed the questionnaire away in despair. “I can’t do this. I don’t understand
this.” Another man eventually refused to continue and said to me, “What you want to know, just ask me.”
Just ask me.
These reactions conveyed to me that the clinician-listener-witness was failing her traumatized subject in the task that the historian Dominick LaCapra (2001) has called “remaining in empathic unsettlement”: to stay unsettled in order to look at, not past or beyond, the subject. To stay in the not knowing and trying to know with the subject—such is the task that we may be failing when we unquestioningly engage in “empirical” standardized testing of traumatized people.