Friday, November 17, 2017

the #metoo phenomenon

We've been surrounded in the news about stories of sexual misconduct and abuse of power. One pebble started an avalanche.

Unfortunately, there are many people who are asking "Why now?" or, even worse, "So what?" Others are saying they're tired of hearing it.

So am I, but not for the same reasons.

Having this linger in the news, to be confronted by it over and over and over brings up unwanted memories of my own #metoo history. I had put the repeated sexual molestation behind me, as I'm sure many of these women did, abandoning hope of ever regaining that control and having justice against those who made us feel ashamed of ourselves or fearful of being powerless or made an outcast. I had moved on.

However, being bombarded with this is like a constant irritant on old scars, rubbing them raw into bleeding again. I believe this is part of the reason we're seeing the explosion of accusations.

The other part is that the bravery of one victim and seeing them believed and accepted as legitimate in their suffering empowers others, like myself, to come forward. (I don't owe any explanations here, except to those who matter.)

Unless you've never experienced the emotions of being a victim of such abuse, you really have no right to judge. I'm tired of people judging. As a victim, you cycle through feeling alone, helpless, ashamed, and violated. It lingers with you, even when you think you've moved past it. The only power a victim has to really recover is to gain power over their abuser by seeing justice served. In my case, that will never happen.

I did, however, regain some of my power when, years after I got out of the situation, my parents believed me. It took my husband--then boyfriend--listening to give me that much courage. And when my parents believed me--and I never thought they would, which was why I didn't tell them sooner (part of what you feel as a victim)--I gained a new strength. Unfortunately, I still had to live with seeing the abuser on occasion; I avoided him when possible until he passed away.

You can deny all you want and say there's no proof; there rarely is, except for the invisible scars. We wear masks to cover those scars. Despite the irritant that this has been to me, this needs to stay in the public awareness to discourage the disgusting behavior of predators and prevent further injuries.

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