In a culture of therapy, trauma talk is widespread. The incitement to speak, to articulate suffering is pervasive. Contemporary norms of disclosure encourage the expression – rather than the silencing – of traumatic experiences. In the Global North, trauma talk is not confined to individual self-expression; it has become institutionalised in the operation of the state through education, welfare, and criminal justice systems and is particularly evident in public inquiries into institutional and historical abuse. Against dominant accounts of therapeutic culture as privatising political concerns, this chapter offers an alternative interpretation by exploring the alignment of therapeutic culture and activism. The chapter focuses on a movement which has spread throughout the Global North and is slowly moving beyond: demands for justice for the historical abuse of children in institutional settings. Taking public inquiries as a focal point, the chapter explores how cultural narratives of childhood trauma and its ongoing impact offer a framework for making sense of long-term experiences of adversity and suffering. I argue that this has buttressed claims for justice for survivors of institutional child abuse and, importantly, has provided traction for social, legislative, and institutional reform to redress historical abuse and better protect children in the future.