Thursday, June 4, 2015

Words matter

Warning: very serious and personal post ahead.

I don’t really watch TV (my husband would go further and say I never watch TV and he’d be right). But I do stay aware of current shows and trends. Kent has a subscription to Entertainment Weekly, which I like to call People magazine only because Kent will immediately correct me, so I know about television shows, movies, etc.

So I heard all about Honey Boo Boo, I knew who Kimmy Schmidt was when a co-worker’s daughter brought up the show and yes, I was aware of the Duggars and their enormous family. Frankly I didn’t care how many kids they had or really about anything in their lives, until I heard about the allegations against Josh Duggar. Even then, I didn’t pay much attention until some politicians started saying stupid things about this story somehow being sensationalized, or that no purpose is served by those who are supposedly trying to discredit Josh or his family.

I see a purpose.

I am an abuse survivor and can tell you from first hand, very painful experience that there’s a whole lot of disbelief out there about sexual abuse.

There’s a whole lot of blame shifting where the victim becomes the one at fault.

There’s a whole lot of little to no accountability going on where abusers get a pass and quick forgiveness and let’s not talk about it anymore, while the victim gets at best nothing and at worst, scorn, judgment, no help and advice to just forgive and forget.

Listen. I’m one of the biggest do-it-yourself people you’ll ever meet. If there’s a way to pull myself up by my bootstraps, to pray my way out of anger or pain or awful circumstances, I’ll do it. But there are events that are so incredibly damaging that the healing process may take years, if in fact it ever really happens. To tell me I should just forgive and forget is incredibly insulting and infantilizing.

What I have is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder. I know this, and I’ve learned to live with it. I have emerged out of victimhood and I am fully a survivor. But it’s not because I so blithely shrugged everything off. I lost three years of my life getting to a place of mental, emotional and spiritual health. I occasionally have relapses that are directly tied to what happened to me—that these relapses occur are a fact, I am not excusing myself or giving myself an easy out. You won't hear oh poor me, I’m a victim. No, I stay diligent and aware and 100% accountable about where I am with all of this pretty much every day.

So yes, there’s a purpose to this publicity.

Those victims who haven’t yet found the courage to talk about what happened to them need this publicity. They need to know they are not the only ones to have gone through sexual abuse. They need to know that yes, what happened to them was and is truly awful, and yes, going through the healing process  is incredibly hard (it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done), and most of all they need to know that it’s possible to come out the other side, that the other side really does exist.

This publicity is essential because we have got to stop with the minimizing language. Look, Duggar family, it wasn’t a “touching problem,” it was abuse. Name it, call it what it was. Stop saying that it was “only a couple of seconds.” Does the length of time something inappropriate and utterly unacceptable occurs really matter? Wrong is wrong.

I cannot remain silent about this.

1 comment:

Kerry DeBauge said...

I have so much admiration, love and respect for you. And, that you are being open now and for this reason only increases my affection for you. I hope these victims have an opportunity to go through a healing process.