Trauma is by no means “purely rhetorical” – there is the documented fact of experiences that erode the efficacy of memory. But some people, I think, see trauma only as rhetorical. They imitate the narratives of trauma survivors through fabricated or hyperbolized autobiography.
I don’t know whether these acts are an indication of a complete lack of sympathy for the actual survivors, or if instead the desire for social attention overcomes cultural distaste fit deception, or if the fabrication/hyperbole is itself a response to prior trauma (as may be the case with Julie Gregory’s mother).
This question somewhat applies to Brian Williams, Rachel Dolezal, and Andrea Smith, very definitely applies to Tania Head.