Being a Survivor of many facets of Abuse, I am having a difficult time personally with the abundant revelations of sexual abuse and harassment that have been flooding the media these past couple of weeks. It feels as if I am being ‘punched in the gut’ every time another allegation is made, and another predator is exposed.
We often speak of ‘triggers’ in the Grief Community. There are so many. A song, a child that resembles our own, a smell, Birthdays, Death Anniversaries, Holidays, etc., etc., all trigger things. They open up the lid of Pandora’s Box, flooding our mind with memories both good and not so good. We drift into that ‘Grief Fog’, often withdrawing back into our cave with uncontrollable tears and groans indescribable to those who have never traveled this journey.
Well, similar triggers exist for those of us who have been molested, raped, abused, etc.. I commented to another recently that it’s as if a soap opera is being played out on the nightly news. I don’t want to hear it; I don’t want to be reminded. Simultaneously, if ‘Truth be Told’, I am so extremely grateful that such violence is being exposed. Yes, I said: ‘VIOLENCE”. Sexual harassment is not about sex! It’s about CONTROL! It’s the subjugation of another human being; it’s the belittling and violation of another’s soul. We who have been victimized in such a manner often experience what is termed a ‘psychological phenomenon’. Just as Battered Women succumb to the Stockholm Syndrome, which I correlated to the Battered Women’s Syndrome in my Thesis for a Grad class I took back in the 80’s, Victims of sexual abuse internalize the shame of the perpetrator. Their shame somehow gets transferred and internalized by us, the victim.
We must give it back to its proper owner. Personally, I found great success in doing so through Gestalt Therapy. Victims of sexual abuse often do not speak up because of this shame they carry. They, of course, have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in such circumstances. They did nothing wrong. But because they have internalized the shame of the perpetrator within themselves, they ‘feel’ as if they should be ashamed and often find reasons to blame themselves. They, too, struggle with the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if only’s’ similar to a Bereaved Parent. Perhaps, this is the tearing down of the ongoing ‘Blame the Victim’ philosophy that has permeated our society for decades.
When I wrote my book a year ago, it was an extremely painful endeavor. I was driven to tell the Truth and have my story be told before my own demise. Yet, even though I had entered into a contract with a Publisher and was committed to an expense beyond my means, I almost backed out. Could I really go public with the Truth? Could I finally break the silence? I truly did not know if I could. I began to uncover leftover fragments of the perpetrators’, and yes that is meant to be plural, shame that had lingered in corners of my soul. I had thought when I began to write, that the house had been swept clean; yet, cobwebs remained hidden in corners and behind things. However, through much prayer and the conviction that this must be done, I took a deep breath and pushed the button sending all my worst nightmares into cyberspace to be published for the world to see.
I don’t regret any of it.
Though difficult and painful as it can be to finally break that silence, the Truth does set us free (John 8:32).
So, as I watch the victims of sexual harassment, abuse, etc., come forth, I find myself struggling. The triggers are unpleasant…and that’s an understatement. Yet, my heart rejoices for them and in knowing that all things hidden are being revealed (Luke 8:17; 12:2) I’m proud of them. I know what it takes to speak up and speak out. It tears at the fiber of our being to one degree or another. Those, like myself, who have either remained silent for decades or were not believed if they had come forward, are now being relieved of a burden they never should have had to carry. God bless each and every one of them for rejecting that shame. May God heal those gaping wounds that have festered beneath the surface. May God give them the strength and release to finally hold their heads up high as their ‘Truth be Told’.
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.
Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))
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