My life as a Forensic Interviewer, by Kim Craver

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Scenario: a dinner party meeting some new people for the first time

Me: Hi, my name is Kim, so nice to meet you.

Them: Wonderful to meet you as well.

Me: What do you guys do for a living?

Them: Oh we are lawyers, contractors, sales reps, etc. How about you?

Me: I’m a forensic interviewer. I interview children who have been sexually and physically abused.

Them: {crickets}…. Oh look, there is Susie. Nice to have met you.

Child Abuse. It is truly an uncomfortable topic to bring up at dinner parties. Not to mention every day conversation. Because who really wants to talk about child abuse. Who wants to talk to sweet, precious children about their fathers who have raped them, their mothers who have assaulted them, grandpas who have destroyed innocence, and family friends who have introduced pornographic images into their lives?

Oh right, I do.

Is it hard? Is it hard to talk about rape and inappropriate touching and scars and bruises with children? Is it hard to help them wipe away their tears, try to calm their fears, and talk to them about their broken hearts, souls, and bodies.   Of course it is! It’s truly one of the hardest things I have done. I talk to children ages 4-17 several times a week. I am specially trained to talk to these babies (because even at 17, they are someone’s baby!) in a very non-leading, court appropriate, calming, and age appropriate manner. I have to ask these children to tell me about pain and suffering and embarrassment. I talk to children who are so incredibly angry, that they yell and curse and scream and refuse to talk. I talk to children who are so incredibly sad, that their hearts break right there in the interview room as we talk about the devastating abuse that has occurred at the hands of those they have loved, and often, still love.

So why do I do this? What motivates one to talk to children about horrific abuse? It’s pretty simple really. I do this for the little boy who sighed a HUGE sigh of relief after our interview and told me that he loved me, as if the weight of the world had finally been lifted off his tiny, little shoulders. I do this for the teenage girl who has sought release from her abuse through the dozens of self-inflicted cuts on her arms. I do this for the other 330 children (so far!) that have walked into my interview room and handed me the precious gift of their stories.

And I do this for my own sweet 5 year old son who tells me that when he grows up he wants to be a policeman so he can come work in my office and help get the bad guys who hurt kids.

Sometimes a job becomes more than a job, it becomes a calling. And forensic interviewing is mine.