Do More Than Just Speak Your Truth…
This post is about assault– physical assault and rape– a prominent problem creating enormous pain in the victims.
I see many movements currently to expose perpetrators and hopefully make them accountable. I see many victims rising up and giving their betrayal a voice and a name–their perpetrator.
I applaud the victim’s courage in taking these steps. I want to point out that this is a beginning step!
I have seen many victims who never get past this beginning step of publicly baring their pain. For the rest of their lives they are immobilized in the pain, betrayal, fear, victimization and perpetual public baring of their pain.
That means the perpetrator won! They own your life. You are left in a civil war with your own body because it was the instrument of your betrayal, and you feel at war with the world at large because it is an unsafe place to be.
As long as you live your life as a “Walking Witness” against your perpetrators your healing will be limited, if it’s even possible. Your body may even continue to hold onto the injuries, and trauma cellular memories may continually surface, recreating the initial injury and suffering– until you learn skills to let it go!
Is It Wrong Not to Speak Your Truth Publicly?
No! It is not a requirement for healing. You can do your healing privately.
I know of several instances when the victims chose not to expose their perpetrators because they did not want to go through the public scrutiny and judgment that goes on in the public sector, and the media “feeding frenzy” that often happens to a victim.
They didn’t want to risk their lives or their safety, or the safety of their family.
It often feels like the victim is victimized twice, first by the initial assault and then secondly by everyone’s opinion about the legitimacy of their story. Some victims opt out of the second public victimization.
I will share a few examples.
Even though a rape victim is supposed to have their name kept private, sometimes it is not. Some people don’t want to go get a rape kit done and be interviewed and put through the pain of telling their story repeatedly to various agencies and people.
A client told me about a co-worker who she ran into several months after the co-worker was terminated from where they both worked. She told my client her story when my client point-blank asked her if she had been raped because she seemed so traumatized prior to being firing.
The co-worker said she had been drinking and was very drunk but did the responsible thing by calling for a ride from a professional driving company. It was a prominent driving company which she named to my client, but I will not name here because it would be ‘hearsay.”
The co-worker was told by the driver, “I am worried for your safety, you are too drunk. (As if he was some chivalrous knight trying to save her.) Let me help you to your door.” She said, “No I’m fine, I can make it myself.” But he insisted and she could not really resist it.
He walked her to her door and when she opened it, he forced his way in and proceeded to rape her repeatedly for several hours! Then he left.
Now what was she supposed to do? Call a lift to go to the hospital?– because that story ended very badly. Should she file rape charges against the driver or the company who hired the driver?
She feared that because of the clout of the company she would lose the case and then be a public spectacle anyway.
She opted not to get a rape kit done. She opted to try to heal on her own terms. She lost her job because she didn’t want to tell her co-workers or boss what happened and she had trouble keeping herself together at work and was terminated. Fortunately, she didn’t kill herself. She went for counseling.
Her counselor told her that if she didn’t make a report the she was personally responsible for the rape of the next victim of the driver.
Wrong! The driver is responsible for his own behavior. She is responsible to do her own healing, even if she choses to do that privately.
The counselor does not get to decide what is right for that victim. The last thing a victim needs is judgment and blame from a counselor.
Is it wrong not to make the perpetrator suffer? No!
You have the right to choose your own path to healing, public or private!
Another woman I know was a victim of such heinous childhood abuse that she has spent her entire life trying to heal. She was horrifically abused; including incest, torture, rape, psychological and spiritual abuse, by a powerful , organized group of perpetrators who successfully supported each other’s crimes for decades.
Some days this woman counts herself lucky to have escaped the experiences alive, and some days she says, “The lucky ones died! This woman has spent years in a private hell of agony.
She went for counseling to heal. Her counselor, although he claimed to have worked with many clients just like her, became voyeuristic in his demands to know every detail of her horrifying experiences.
He did not have any suggestions for her healing, but instead continued to prod and dig up her pain. He was obnoxiously incredulous that she could have survived such experiences without multiple psychotic breaks, heavy medication, or attempted suicides. This woman is so strong she has not had any of those things.
She felt betrayed by the demands of her counselor and frustrated with no results. She left counseling to try other options for healing.
She recently in a random experience, had the opportunity to talk with a Federal Investigator about her experiences. He suggested that all he needed was some names to begin an investigation, and hopefully get a conviction with some of her perpetrators.
He said he had recently been successful in bringing a case to prosecution that resulted in an 80 year old man being sentenced to multiple life sentences.
She Considered All of The Aspects of the Possibility of a Shot at Justice.
Is there any “Witness Protection” plan that could actually keep her safe when she didn’t know all of the people who were in the organization that victimized her?
Did she want to have to leave her friends and job to relocate to who knows where?
Would her friends or family actually be safe once she began testifying in a very high profile case?
Did she want to re-live the details of the life she has spent decades trying to climb out of?
Did she want to be “That girl” that everyone was focused on debating whether they believed her or not?
Would she actually get justice and a conviction?
Would a conviction be worth the price she paid to tell her story?
Or would the perpetrators once again, walk free?
In the end she concluded that nothing was worth the price she would pay to try to get a questionable conviction.
She chose privacy, and safety. I think that takes tremendous courage!
Is healing possible if you don’t turn to the law for justice?
Can you heal if you do turn to the law and there is no justice?
What can you do to heal whether you chose to give your pain a public voice or not?
Decide that the perpetrators have taken enough from you and you aren’t going to give them your body, the rest of your life, or your happiness.
Always think of your own safety first in every circumstances. Risking your life or safety is not a great option!
If you don’t find a supportive counselor-Don’t Give Up!
Believe that forgiving your perpetrators is a personal choice that is possible and that rather than “letting your perpetrator’s get away with it” is a choice that truly liberates the victim and is a step toward healing.
Never let anyone shame you–friends, family, clergy, etc. for how, when, or even if you choose to forgive the perpetrators.
Learn life skills and coping strategies to re-claim or perhaps claim for the first time ever your own life.
Believe that you can heal and live a satisfying life, regardless of the amount of trauma you have survived.
Learn the perspectives that will take you out of viewing yourself as a victim and Claim Your Own Honor as a Victor!
Be an advocate for other survivors. Support those are also wounded.
Follow me on this blog for serious tools to heal from a fellow survivor.
Attend a Live Seminar where you will engage your mind, body and spirit to reclaim and heal your life, taught by a true survivor.