I hesitate to say anything in response to the #MeToo movement and the #Kavanaugh hearings, but I feel my viewpoint and feelings are important and need to be put into the pile of “thoughts”.
While I am not yet going to disclose the details of my experience, because I do not feel ready nor do I feel it will truly benefit anyone yet, I am going to say that I have experienced sexual trauma. One of the fall-outs of my experience was a deep feeling of war between men and women. I wanted to have power over men and feel superior to them. A very common result of having a victim mentality. As a result, I manipulated and used them, without much regard for their feelings, needs, or desires. Sound familiar?
As a heterosexual female, this feeling, urge, reaction, whatever you want to call it, hurt me far more than it did me any good. I dream of having a family one day, and treating men like they owe me something has not exactly made for the healthiest and happiest of relationships.
I also fell into the other side of post-traumatic thinking and believing that it was my fault. This belief has been the one I have clung to and internalized the most in recent years. There were many things I could have done to help myself, and I was too scared to do many of them. I struggle with being my own abuser and shamer now.
In the last few years though, I have begun to find another path of thinking and believing. I started to listen to men share their stories of why they acted the way they did and how greatly they struggled with shame, fear, and a desperate sense of emptiness and disconnection. I found a great deal of freedom and healing when I realized that many of them felt similarly to how I did.
Then, the war stopped. It was no longer a matter of us vs. them (women vs. men). So many of these men were just as sexually broken as me and other women I have shared experiences with. My eyes were opened. This was far more than simple accountability and injustice, this was an epidemic of sexual sickness and spiritual brokenness. Almost no man or woman left unaffected.
So, when I see all the conflicting posts supporting one side or the other (Men need to learn their lesson! …. Boys will be boys! …. Making mountains out of molehills! …. Down with the patriarchy! … etc.) it does not help me to maintain the healthy and healing thought patterns and beliefs I have worked so hard to find. In all of these sexual assault cases, no one wins and everyone is left with wounds–whether seemingly deserved or not.
I don’t want to hate men, and I certainly don’t want to fall back into a victim mentality and sense of entitlement. I don’t want to reawaken the terrifying rage I have inside towards myself and the persons that traumatized me. I don’t want to live everyday like I am fighting a war anymore. None of that actually helps me heal. What does help me heal and find peace is working toward a solution for both sides.
Alleged male sex offenders, as well as convicted sex offenders, need healing just as badly as the people they have victimized. If a woman accused you of a sexual offense, wouldn’t you want to be treated as “innocent until proven guilty” and not immediately made out to be the enemy of womankind? Imagine what it must feel like to carry around the weight, condemnation, and shame of being labeled an abuser. Wouldn’t you want to still be seen and treated like a human being? Wouldn’t you want to believe that redemption and forgiveness are available to you too? Wouldn’t you want to know that it were possible to have healthy relationships with women again and that you weren’t “damaged goods”?
Obviously, I am not advocating that people (men and women) NOT be held responsible for their actions and face appropriate consequences. What I AM advocating for is rehabilitation, forgiveness, understanding, compassion, and freedom for ALL who have been affected by this epidemic of sexual and spiritual brokenness–whether abused or abuser.
Let’s be real: Every single one of us has been abusive to someone in some way–verbally, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, sexually. None of us are without blame. That is the reality of the human condition. We all have fallen short, and the best news of all, is that we can all heal and grow no matter what we have or have not done in the past. We don’t need anyone else to be condemned, we don’t need anyone else to validate our pain, and we don’t need to go to war with our abuser(s)/accuser(s) in order to find that healing.
My healing didn’t truly start until I realized that becoming restored to a sense of wholeness had absolutely nothing to do with anyone else’s thoughts, decisions, or actions. It was all about me, my thoughts, my decisions, and my actions. While I may not be responsible for the loss and trauma I experienced, I alone am responsible for recovering from it and healing.