I’ve heard you say you’re sick of hearing about the #metoo/timesup movement. I’ve read your posts on facebook longing for the good old days when people posted pictures of their cats and the meal they were about to eat. You say you understand that it’s important, but how long do we have to keep talking about it? It’s such a drag.
I understand the desire to go back to pretending these things aren’t happening. Burying our heads in the sand in order to accept the unacceptable can be an effective coping mechanism. But what price do we pay for this faux peace?
I’m thinking about this as I recover from a minor surgical procedure. In particular, I’m thinking about the words the doctor said as I came out of anesthesia. “The condition you have is something we find most common in women who have been sexually assaulted,” he said.
I have been fairly open about sharing the fact that I was assaulted when I was younger, so it’s not like this was some deep dark secret. But I barely knew this doctor and I certainly had never mentioned it to him. What shocked me was I felt a little embarrassed when he said it. That shame that doesn’t belong to us still clings. It’s one thing when I willingly offer this information about myself, but the fact that someone else could tell I was assaulted (decades ago!) by the condition of my internal body was astounding. It wasn’t me telling someone. It was someone telling me.
Sexual assault is not an isolated incident you get over and move on from. The emotional and physical ramifications stay with us.
So, for those of you who are ‘sick of hearing about it’ I have a simple request. The next time you find yourself getting exasperated hearing the accounts of sexual assault, ask yourself a few questions;
Why does it make you so uncomfortable? What are you afraid of? Is there something within you that you don’t want to look at? Are you afraid these revelations will force you to look at your own abuse that was buried and dismissed long ago? Or if you’re a man, are you afraid you might have to reexamine your own behavior toward women? Why are you in such a hurry for these discussions to ‘go away’?
There are some conversations nobody wants to have. This is one of them. But some brave women stepped forward and decided it was time to talk about the systemic abuse women have been suffering for centuries. It’s a Pandora’s box and there’s nothing fun about it. But it’s open now and there are only two choices; face the truth and the reckoning it deserves, or bury your head in the sand again and pretend what’s happening isn’t happening.
The choice is yours.