Jennifer Karapetian – Imprisoned in a web of trauma

In Making Waves Conversations by Mark Sylvester

Imprisoned in a web of trauma: How breaking the cycle of addiction and abuse can liberate your legacy

Intergenerational trauma can lead to a perpetual cycle of substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, child abuse, interpersonal violence, and other criminal behavior.

A child exposed to toxic stress may suffer severe emotional and cognitive problems and have difficulty forming positive relationships. These children may develop depression, anxiety, or PTSD. They may grow into adolescents who seek drugs, alcohol, or engage in risky sexual behaviors to numb their pain. These children then become adults who may end up repeating the cycle of violence upon those closest to them – their partner, parent, or child. The wound then bleeds into the next generation, and the abusive pattern continues. We can break the cycle of intergenerational trauma through greater access to mental health and substance abuse treatment, education, and community awareness.

Jennifer Karapetian

Jennifer Karapetian is the Supervising Deputy District Attorney for the Vulnerable Victim’s Unit of the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office. She has been a prosecutor for over 12 years, most of which have been spent prosecuting child abuse, molestation, domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, and human trafficking cases. She previously sat on the Board of Directors for Domestic Violence Solutions and has appeared on the show “48 Hours.” 

More Resources

Child Abuse Listening Mediation (CALM)

Phone: (805) 965-2376

Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (formerly Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center)

Phone: 24-Hour Hotline: (805) 564-3696

North County Rape Crisis & Child Protection Center

Phone: 24-Hour Hotline: (805) 735-7273

Domestic Violence Solutions

Phone: 24-Hour Hotline: (805) 964-5245

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline

Phone: 1-888-373-7888

Family Service Agency


Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County

Phone: (805) 963-6754

Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office Victim-Witness Assistance Program

South County Phone: 805-568-2400
North County Phone: 805-346-7529

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