I have a question.
If you were in the midst of uncountable numbers and someone asked you to stand up if you had ever been abused (taking in all possible kinds), would you stand if your answer was yes? Would you be willing to be the first person to stand? Would you stand if thousands stood at the same time as you? Do you have the kind of courage to stand so that others are willing?
I often think that abuse is prevalent because the first person will not stand.
Imagine you are in church and the pastor asks for you to stand if you have ever been hit, touched inappropriately, ridiculed, or otherwise bullied? Then would you stand? Would you be willing to stand if the person who did that to you was your father? Brother? Sister? Mother? Wife? Husband? Or would you remain in your seat?
Is it easier to stand and say yes, I have been bullied than it is to say yes, my boyfriend raped me? I imagine it is a thousand times easier to admit to being bullied than it is to admit to being raped. Why?
What are we afraid of? Bullying is so vague, rape, though? Wow. Rape is intimate, private, a secret. What if you were raped by a relative? How much more private is that? Why hide? What are we afraid of? Rape, by definition, is an assault or unwanted sexual encounter, that is really a form of control… ie. it is not our fault. Why would a person who has been abused or raped not stand and yet one who was bullied is much more likely to?
Being bullied is okay, being raped is not? In both cases the victim was a victim, he or she did not want it done, did not like it, and has probably suffered immeasurably because of it. Why must one remain a secret and the other not?
I’m not discounting bullying. I know of many who have ended their own lives because of it. What I am wondering is why are we so afraid to admitting that we have been raped? Why do we feel soiled, unclean, defiled, unworthy, by it? It was not in our plan, it was not asked for. Why is the victim made lesser because of something he or she was unable to stop?
Now the question, again. If someone were to ask you to stand, would you? Imagine if we all stood up. How many in that congregation would stand with us? We live in a broken world because of secrets. If the rape victim could stand as easily as the one who was bullied and survived, then I would guess that I would be one of many who stood.
I would also guess that things would change. The more people speak the more others realize there is a problem. If it were in church and if your abuser were there, and if you were able to name him or her, then would that church rally behind you and help? That is my hope. My hope is that people are good, yet my knowledge is that secrets kill. It is a very dangerous place to be.
Would there be ridicule? or would there be mercy? Both? I don’t know the answer, I only hope for the one, though. Mercy. Mercy for the victim and correction for the perpetrator. Peace in the understanding. Knowledge in the acceptance. And most of all I hope for change. I yearn for the day I can speak freely so that others may find their strength so that they can speak their truths as well.
Join me. Let us be willing to be the first to stand.
thank you for reading,