WARNING: This post is on the topic of abuse, and is not intended for younger audiences.
If you know me personally, parts of this article may evoke a strong emotional response. Please feel free to skip parts, or all, of this post if necessary.
I am about to share something that will cost a lot of myself. It takes something out of me to share stuff of real substance. To cut through the typical chitter chatter. It is not easy, but it is worth it. I believe you have to step into the arena, even if you are completely vulnerable.
Another disclaimer: This is not an invitation for a political discussion. I will not disclose my thoughts on the Kavanaugh/Ford issue.
Issues of abuse are rarely black or white. They are complex, layered and should be handled with great caution. When the entire country is let in on an abuse allegation, words and opinions are thrown around that really just add to the problem.
I do not know whether or not Brett Kavanaugh is guilty. Neither do you. What I do know for certain is that Christine Ford is not experiencing freedom. People who have suffered abuse are jumping into this national conversation and often take a vengeful stance. YOU are the real reason I am writing this, because hatred is not the answer.
As someone who as been the victim of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, I can speak from experience. This is the part that those who know me personally may want to skip.
I have been abused by multiple people and on multiple occasions. I have known all of my abusers, and some of them are even related to me. I know what it feels like to carry the weight of “Was it my fault?” or question if I said “No” loud enough. I smiled because I was nervous, was that an invitation?
I have been called horrendous things, and had my character publicly attacked. Ever walk into a room and everyone stops talking? That was my experience every time I walked into my former church. The leader was “too important” to take the fall, so instead I did.
The Scarlet Letter is a harrowing read, but when it becomes your actual life? That is a complete nightmare.
I have been spoken to as if I weren’t a person, maybe not even the family dog…more like a rodent or a pest. Sometimes people who see war bring that war home with them. What happens behind closed doors can be devastating. I do not need to share more details of these horrific events. The only point I am trying to make is that I strongly empathize with anyone who has suffered by the hands of someone else.
It has taken me years to find freedom from my scars, and I know that full healing will be a lifelong process.
Here’s what I have learned…
- It is NOT your fault: I don’t even care if you didn’t say “NO” or dressed “provocatively.” Real men should know that the absence of NO does not equal YES. Relationship status does not automatically mean you become a 24/7 sex hotline. You never need to be available to them whenever they want something. Men, not boys, will respect you by making sure you feel safe and not pressure you AT ALL.
- Not all abusers/predators are the same: There is a HUGE difference in someone who is a repeat offender, versus someone who just carried too much darkness and made a single terrible mistake. One has a psychological issue, the other will likely become healthier when their life situation is healthier. Knowing the difference between the two is helpful for your own sanity and healing.
- Seeking Revenge will be your end: Focusing on “getting them back” will end up destroying you. Making them hurt will not change what they have done to you. “Self-improvement” in the name of “showing them” will leave you feeling empty. Doing anything with your abuser in mind will haunt you, not heal you. Do not misunderstand me for a second:
*IF YOU HAVE BEEN THE VICTIM OF ABUSE YOU NEED TO GET HELP BY INFORMING THE PROPER AUTHORITY *
I am simply advocating that you do not take revenge or justice into your own hands.
- The solution to the problem isn’t to break, it is to build: Justice is always the answer, revenge is not. Do not carry the weight of what happened to you for the rest of your life. Do your part by speaking up about what happened, but then release it.
“Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realising you were the prisoner!”
The anthem of the abused is one of freedom. Not because anyone else deserves your forgiveness, but because YOU deserve to be free.