Image is from The Chronicle Herald
On this Self Care Sunday, I am filled with incredible sadness. I am sad that “win at all costs” politics made a woman sit front of a Senate Committee on National television and speak of her deepest darkest pain. I am sad that a man, who may or may not be innocent, had to be on National television having his reputation destroyed. I am sad this triggered such a visceral response in me. I am sad it’s triggering pain from my own assaults. I am sad for so many people who are reliving traumas. I am sad politics have come to this in our Nation when it didn’t have to come to this. Or did it?
Did politics in our country have to come to such a new low for society to collectively awaken to what extremist partisanship is doing to the nation? Did this have to happen to galvanize a movement of women and men in unity to take a stand against sexual assault and change a Nation? Did politics have to come to such dark place that two women screaming in an elevator were the only people to get through to one, just one, sensitive Senator with a conscious, who was visibly distressed enough to pause. Was that the only way for us to move towards healing? Did Partisanship have to get this ugly in order to wake people up? Did this darkness have to come to light for transformation? I am hoping so but only time will tell.
As this has been playing out; I’ve been triggered. Triggered with flashbacks. Triggered with anger. It triggered pain that I stuffed down and ignored for years. With the help of my long term therapist, some courage and a determination to heal, I’ve been allowing myself to feel whatever comes up. I am no longer stuffing it down. I’ve been letting myself be sad. I’ve been unearthing pain. I’ve been sitting with how it affected my life and how it impacted my relationships with men. I’ve been letting the darkness come to light. I am opening myself to healing emotionally and spiritually to hopefully heal my physical body too.
I had a session with my therapist on Friday. It was helpful. I relayed to her that so much of Dr. Ford’s testimony was familiar to me. I relayed I had similar experiences with anxiety, PTSD and memories that never go away. My therapist said to me, “do you realize that this is the first time in the five years you’ve been coming to me that you’ve talked this openly for this long about these events?” I didn’t realize it. In the five years I’ve been seeing her, I always tipped toed around the sexaul assault would never actually talk about it. We’ve talked about so many other things but I shut down as soon as that topic came up. She never pushed; she would say something for my awareness but not push me to talk about it. It didn’t occur to me that I was finally able to talk about it without feeling ashamed, without feeling angry, without feeling sad and without feeling embarrassed. I wasn’t even crying. Maybe I am healing. It was in that moment I started to feel a bit freer. My soul was feeling lighter and perhaps healing. As raw and emotional I’ve been, I haven’t let it pull me down into the rabbit hole of depression like it normally would. I have been having anxiety, mild depression, sadness and flashbacks but I am not stuck there.
After my session on Friday, I ran into a male friend. We knew we had similar views so we started chatting about the last week. He is a sweet kind man; I am very comfortable being around him. I trust him and know I am always safe with him. In that conversation, I found myself telling him what happened to me over 30 years ago and how this last week has been affecting me. As I stood there exposed and vulnerable, I also felt safe. Shortly after I told him my story, He then told me his story… He started by saying only his wife and family knew and he didn’t tell them until he was in his 30s. The event happened when he was child. We witnessed for each other and perhaps helped each heal a by sharing in a safe space with another survivor. The survivor movement, #metoo #timesup, is bigger than just women; it’s men too. No one should be ashamed if it happened to them and they should know they have community of support out there ready to give them a safe space to talk about it.
I had another conversation with a woman who was also sexaully assaulted, it was almost like she wanted vengeance against her attacker with the Kavanuagh nomination. She couldn’t get vengeance against her attacker so she wanted to block the Kavanuagh nomination even without having evidence other than Dr. Ford’s testimony. I am more pragmatic about things. I think there needs to be a thorough unobstructed investigation. I also beleive Kavanuagh deserves respect. Even as a survivor I am empathetic and compassionate to what this must be doing to him and his family. I do not believe people should be punished for their past the rest of their lives. I certainly would not want my past unearthed on National TV. This doesn’t mean I support the Kavanuagh nomination, it just means I do not believe in an “eye for an eye”. He deserves compassion and empathy as a human being.
Well, I realized on Saturday that is far from over. It’s actually just getting started. The more the Republicans try to push his nomination forward, the more they are galvanizing the movement against them. Do a complete and thorough investigation. Do not obstruct it in any way. Let the facts come out, let the FBI follow whatever lead they get. Give these folks voice or they will just keep going after them and his judgeship will be tainted. How does that impact the image of SCOTUS? I just don’t understand how the Reps can’t see this. Perhaps they don’t have a backup plan so they have to stick with him. I won’t be protesting and I need to be careful what I do publically because of my job but I will be voting straight Blue for the rest of my life after this.
I am also seeing is that many of my friends who are white women over 50 do not believe Dr. Ford and support Kavanaugh. Either they are hard core Republicans, in subserivant relationships or they have never been sexaully assaulted. What I am also observing is this younger generation is pissed off. The only difference is the younger folks are armed with Social Media and are willing drop everything for a good protest. I also would advocate for younger folks to start running for office. What was so apparent was the age of the folks on the Judiciary Committee. No offense to anyone, but the younger generation needs to see their peers on these committees instead of a bunch of white guys over 50.
On this Self Care Sunday I have the below Call To Actions:
I call upon the men who are reading this blog to open yourself to awareness and audit how you treat women. Do you yell? Do you dismiss them? Are you a choir boy in public but physically or verbal abusive in private? Are you respectful? Can you be sensitive to a woman’s pain? I ask you to talk to your children. Explain to your boys how women should be treated and explain to your girls how they should be treated by a man. If you have been a victim of sexual assault, don’t stuff it down. Seek a safe person to confide in and work towards healing. As we heal ourselves, we heal the world.
I call upon women reading this blog to ask themselves if they are being treated appropriately by the men in their lives? Are you safe? Are you being physically or verbally abused? Do you tolerate men yelling at you? I call upon you to set an example for the younger women. Do not let another generation be subjected to abuse or assaults. Make sure you sons and daughters know it’s not ok for anyone to grope them. It’s not ok for anyone touch them. It’s not ok for anyone tolerate rape in any circumstances. Above all, make sure children know it is ok for them to speak up and seek help if they are attacked.
Women, You need to know, if you are in a relationship were you being treated poorly, it’s ok to leave. If that man truly loves you, he will want to change to keep you. Otherwise, you are better off without him. Trust me, you are better off alone than in a relationship with a man who disrespects you. As we heal ourselves, we heal the world.
If you think something that happened to a person while they were 15 years old doesn’t matter, I can tell you it does matter and it affects people for the rest of their lives.
Remember this —
As we heal ourselves, we heal the world.
I chose the above image because perception is often another’s person’s reality. Most of women in the Nation are perceiving the GOP is silencing them.
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