Oppressing others to stay silent about sexual abuse and assault is not an answer. Women, and some men, have had enough. The cultural norms – such as the devaluation of women and male domination or aggression – around sexual abuse and sexual assault fosters societal acceptance in our communities and judicial systems.
Speaking the Truth
“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going away.” This statement by Elvis Presley doesn’t speak of oppressing others directly, but it does speak about truth. How many people around you have asked you to stay quiet about your childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault
experience(s)? For that matter, how about anything that violated and caused you to feel devalued? Even if others haven’t asked you directly or in specific words, their body language will clearly tell you. I’ve experienced this, my entire life, with my immediate and extended family, but I’m dumbfounded that in 2017 we are still dealing with this – asking for respect and to be treated as a human being. Many people don’t want to hear about the gory details, and this has to change. Why? Because when childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault survivors get recognition regarding their story, they begin to heal.
It Takes A Community to Heal
For such a dominating cultural norm around sexual assault and oppressing others, it takes a community to heal. Healing is not about visualizing your hurt gone, blowing your hurt to the heavens, or smothering your hurt with positive thoughts. Healing, however, is about facing the hurt, knowing that it was real and it was not your fault, and acknowledging that, yes, you were violated viciously, and it is a criminal offence whether or not others acknowledge it. Healing is also about a community getting together and supporting our survivors – to create a sense of dignity for them.
Living In the Dark Gives Us Comfort But Keeps Us Blind
It still flabbergasts me that some parents refuse to listen to the adults of childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault, yet they have children of their own. It floors me to see this sort of attitude. Are they not concerned about their own children’s vulnerabilities when it comes to sexual abuse and sexual assault? Do they think that their children are invincible to this? Many of us refuse to acknowledge the truth because living in darkness gives us a sense of comfort. The truth almost always creates upheaval and shakes up one’s life. Who wants that when we have a seemingly happy and content life?
Remember Mohandas Gandhi’s words: “Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologize for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time. If you are right and you know it, speak your mind. Speak your mind even if you are the minority of one. The truth is still the truth.”
It’s time to wake up and stop oppressing others regarding abuse. If it bothers you, you need to do some deep soul searching to find out why it does. By denying the evidence or not wanting to deal with the matter does not make it untrue. Wake up and recognize the many individuals that have experienced childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault; this is the least you and I can do to allow these individuals to heal completely. Break the silence. Give them the space to tell their story.