Sometimes what I want doesn’t matter. It makes not the tiniest bit of difference if something causes me discomfort. This period of this blog is a time like that…
I was an addict. Specifically, I used I.V. Meth…the alcohol and weed don’t matter in this context…I am able, still, ten years later, to see the scars on my arm from that usage. In a sense, my body was violated…by ME. I have huge issues with “trust” because of who I was around and who I was. I hated myself. Those were things I inflicted on myself. I WAS NOT A VICTIM…There is no one to blame but myself. The things that were done to me were acts of volition…
I can not imagine what it is like to hate yourself because of something that someone else did. I can not imagine what it is like to not be able to trust anyone around you because they either could be someone that will violate you or tell you to accept what happened. I can not begin to think about how I would deal with that fear.
Specifically, I do not want to think about how I would react to being raped.
There is no part of that action that should be tolerated. We have a system that blames the victim. That tells her to “get on with your life” as if nothing happened. We pretend like the pain ends when the scars fade.
Distrust never goes away. Being violated never ends. Those may be pushed into the background but, they always live there. The nightmares fade but, some days are worse than others. Looking over your shoulder and expecting it to happen again becomes a way of life.
*editorial, the ONLY basis for comparison I have is as an addict. I am not making any moral equivalent between what I did and being raped. It merely gives me a tiny bit of insight into “surviving”*
I don’t know how to “fix” it. I wish I did. I am good, mostly, at dealing with what I did to me. Some days are bad. Some days, everything reminds me. Some nights, I am afraid to sleep because the monsters come out. Those things I do understand. You are never “cured”. I know that from me and what I’ve been told by friends that have survived.
I wish there was a way to tell the real victims that the pain would end. That there was a way to make them believe that everything will be all right. There is not. All I can do is to tell them that from the outside there is nothing wrong with them. That they had no choice. That what was taken from them can, in time be replaced. That you can learn to trust. That the only person that sees you as “dirty”, “damaged” or “flawed” is yourself and, to us, you are worth being loved and cherished. That you are not an “object”. That you have value.
I think that, we as a society, have a skewed set of values. We blame the true victims and praise the recovering addicts. Why should I get support and praise for not being a criminal when someone that was harmed by a criminal is made to feel ostracised? Why do we not do everything in our power to help them? What I am able to do is say “You are loved. You have value. Your courage is astounding. That you are able to go on when I’d curl up and hide shows strength I can not imagine having”.
I know I wrote a similar “support post” yesterday. I will probably write more in coming days.
If I thought it would help to write exploring ways to stop the crime, I would. We know it’s a crime. We have made the penalties harsh and extended the punishment far past the time in prison. Those have not stopped it. No child old enough to know what sex is thinks that rape is legal. If you took a poll here, no one would say it’s good, yet it still happens. No amount of penalty seems to make it not happen. *editorial, I AM NOT advocating lighter penalties. My view is far harsher than that. I am in favor of “boxes” for that crime, not rehabilitation* I do not want to understand the psychology of rapist. No amount of “education” has changed the fact that they exist. They, rapists, know what they are doing is “wrong” and just don’t care.
What can be done is to show empathy to the victims. We, men, can show understanding for “distrust” of us and put our egos aside. We can react with compassion and caring. We can not say, “get on with your life” to someone that has had their life shaken to its core. We can give time and space for healing. We can reassure the victims that, to us, they are the same loved person they always have been. We can let them know that nothing has changed in the way we feel for them, that they are not “damaged goods”. We can let them have room for the “bad days”. We can say “I love you” and let that be enough when they need to hear that and only that…
I love you. Nothing will ever change that.