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If you're not sure what to say to someone who's experienced something horrible, start here.

Every victim should have an Olivia Benson.It's *so* hard to know what to say to a friend, acquaintance, loved one, (... or stranger!), when you learn about something difficult that's happened to them. Here are some easier beginnings to talk about difficult things.

If you're not sure what to say to someone who's experienced something horrible, start here.

Now, I know a lot of folks watch "Law & Order: SVU" because it's fun, it's entertaining, and it's reliable. That's why I watch it!

But here's something that I was excited to find ... some really great models of how to speak to someone who's experienced a violation that has hurt them: body, soul, or both.


Hidden gems of "SVU." I love it.

"If you keep it locked inside it doesn't go away."

"You told them what he did to you. You confronted him. No one can take that away from you."

"I know that it's hard to imagine right now, but you survived the abuse. You're gonna survive the recovery."

***break for frisson of emotion***

OK. Continuing...

"I understand the shame and the stigma. But keeping the abuse secret doesn't make it go away."

"Hey, listen to me, this is not on you."

"Healing begins when someone bears witness. I SAW you. I believe YOU."

Sometimes the best answer is the simplest, and that's why I decided to end on this note.

Share this with your friend to let them know you believe them. Or just revel in this helpful dialog created by a really cheesy police show! Up to you.

But, in case you are suffering and haven't heard it yet ... I believe you.

And I'm sharing this message, just in case it reaches someone who needs it today.

We know that mammals feed their young with milk from their own bodies, and we know that whales are mammals. But the logistics of how some whales make breastfeeding happen has been a bit of a mystery for scientists. Such has been the case with sperm whales.

Sperm whales are uniquely shaped, with humongous, block-shaped heads that house the largest brains in the animal world. Like other cetaceans, sperm whale babies rely on their mother's milk for sustenance in their first year or two. And also like other cetaceans, a sperm whale mama's nipple is inverted—it doesn't stick out from her body like many mammals, but rather is hidden inside a mammary slit.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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