Monday, December 7, 2009

Speak!

I have to talk about the reaction to the last post, The Missing Pages. Jennifer had a few people approach her and tell her that she was brave to let me document what happened to her that night on this public blog.

This is her perspective on that (I'll paraphrase her):

How would a woman react if she was shoved down, gagged and robbed of her money? 


She believes most women would inform the police and then call their families and friends. A woman wouldn't be considered brave just for talking about it. She would probably tell her boss and ask for a few days off to recover. She might even post it on Facebook or share it in the volunteer room at school. The story might even make it into her yearly Christmas letter! 


Jennifer doubts that many women would hide the evidence, blame themselves and hide their tears in a pillow. Even if she had engaged in risky behavior like walking through a bad neighborhood, she would still call the police, feel grateful to be alive and put all the blame on the thief!

This is a problem in our culture. When sex is involved, too many of us shut our mouths. As Jennifer said, she's been keeping his secret all these years! Why is she brave to talk about it? 

It's beyond my scope to explain why sex changes everything. Just look at it this way--Jennifer was robbed that night. She was held down and something was taken from her by force. There is no shame in that for her.

This holds true for seduction by an inappropriate person or molestation also. It is the act of somebody seeing an advantage over you and using it. Take the sex out of it. Did that person lie to you, manipulate you, bribe you or mislead you? Was that person older or smarter or more experienced? Did that person only care about their own needs? It happens every day--it's called a scam. 

Investors, business people, the elderly, lonely men and women are scammed all the time. The business of pressing an advantage against someone with a conforming weakness is commonplace. Take the sex out of it and you will find yourself in good company. 

Molestation and seduction are carried out no differently than any other scam. Most people feel very good about a scam when they first walk into it. You are being preyed upon and it works on all kinds of people. Sometimes it is your very goodness, innocence, beauty or trusting nature that makes you the perfect target. Don't be ashamed about that!!!


The perpetrator probably doesn't feel any shame. Steve was proud of what he did. The perpetrator is in control the entire time. They might even brag about their assaults, their scams, their lies to other people. They are also pleased because they gained whatever it was they were seeking. (I believe some feel shame when they act out of addiction, perversion or compulsion--but that's another story...)

Maybe victims want power too. By believing that they did something wrong, or that they should have seen it coming, or that they shouldn't have sneaked out of their house--they can imagine that they had some power over the attack itself. Like they could have stopped it if they had done something different. If they blame themselves, then they don't have to feel like a victim at all. 

Instead they might turn on themselves thinking, I'm stupid, I'm blind, I should have known better, it's my all my fault. This solves the problem of feeling helpless, but I think it's worse for the victim. Instead of seeking punishment for their attacker, they punish themselves. Jennifer punished herself for years.


Remember, the one who knows what is about to happen next has the advantage. The eagle cannot catch the mouse who sees him coming. Obviously, there would be no victims without stealth, planning, camouflage or physical superiority. Don't blame yourself because you didn't see the eagle!

We should all speak more openly about attacks or scams that involve sex. I believe they are more common than robberies or money scams. They happen to children. How can we expect our children to talk about them if we won't? 

Don't reinforce the taboo--speak! 


Speaking was the last piece of this twenty-five year old puzzle for Jennifer. She has always felt that people could tell she was raped just by looking at her. She has always felt inscribed with a scarlet R. By writing her story down and sharing it, she has taken back her control. She wrestled her demon out into the light and now it exists outside of her. 

If you are reading this, her story now exists with you too. A burden shared by many is light to all!

Speak!

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