community, inner-work

Why Donald Trump Compels Me to Speak

Do you hear the quiet hum that is slowly rattling the china? The whistle that is building to a roar?

For some it was the bragging about sexual assault. For others, the name-calling and body-shamingFor me, it was Jane Doe’s story

Jane’s story was largely buried, for to speak of it was to admit it was possibly true and that defied comprehension. Her claim was universally viewed as so outrageous to be deemed a falsehood from the start. But in her fits and starts, her reluctance to speak for fear of life, and her silencing, I saw myself.

Our stories differ in the details, as they always will. Jane Doe was raped at 13 years of age;  I was raped at age four. Jane says she was held against her will after promises of a modeling contract and then was raped by strangers (one of whom is running for president of the United States); I was assaulted by a member of my extended family. Jane sought justice in court. My perpetrator is now deceased and was never held responsible for his crimes.

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Despite the differences, all Jane Does understand certain truths.

I understand how speaking can be or feels like a matter of life and death. My own memory of being held at my neck (certain I would die) followed by a verbal threat of death if I did tell. Every cell in my body screaming to never. speak. of. this. again. I didn’t for over three decades. Precisely thirty-four years of silence.

I understand the desire for anonymity. My childhood was a practice in hoping not to be noticed. My pre-teen years involved a sexual repression so deep that I endured homophobic slurs.

I understand the risks in speaking. I know what fall-out looks like. In the telling I have grieved the loss of an entire branch of my extended family, its limbs denied oxygen and light and left to wither in my hands.

I understand how others recoil, deny, and turn away. The blaming, the name-calling, the assumption of lies. Or simply the deafening silence. I understand how the act of believing a survivor is a radical act. How it requires bearing witness to another’s horrific, unimaginable pain. To face the shadow side of our families, our communities, our criminal justice system, our notions of masculinity, our religious beliefs. To admit that the people around us—family, friends, coworkers, strangers—could not protect us or did not protect us. there-is-know-greater-agony-than-bearing-an-untold-story-inside-you-maya-angelou

All of this begs the question: in the face of all of this, why speak? 

To speak is to evict the the panic and fear that were stored in your cells as part of your surviving.

To speak is to fuel a living, breathing rebirth.

To speak is to transmute pain, to alchemize fear. 

To speak is to write your own ending.

You speak for the silenced, muffled, mocked, and maligned.

You speak for the mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers. You speak for the sons and daughters. 

You speak to heal family, community, and yes, country.

You do all of this humbly, with the recognition that you are one of the lucky ones. With loving parents. With resilience built into your bones. With white skin, advanced degrees, conforming gender and sexuality. With the love and support of spouse and friends. 

You do all of this because the alternative is a repression of spirit and mind and body so extreme it is to watch your repressed truth manifest in disease, dysfunction, or yes, even dystopia.

You speak because if the shadow has been laid bare, then so must our truths. 


Thank you for reading. I couldn’t have written this without the loving support of this WordPress community. 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “Why Donald Trump Compels Me to Speak”

  1. Sarah, I am so sorry that this happened to you. My sister in law was molested as a child and I know how much it has affected her life. You are a strong young woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A horrific act and still you rise. Unimaginable trauma to your 4 year old pure and sweet psyche and still you rise.
    30 years of pent up hurt, fear, rage and sadness held tightly within and still you rise.
    All that cannot be explained or spoken and still you rise — by being a loving human being, daughter, sister, wife and mother.
    I love that the light within you casts out the shadows — no matter how dark. I admire and love you so very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sarah, what a brave and beautifully written post. I am so deeply sorry that this happened to you. Your strength and resilience have me in a state of awe. All of your answers to “why speak” are incredibly powerful, and I’ve read them again and again. Thank you for being so courageous and sharing your story. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of writing and the power of the human spirit. Sending you love and peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my god, I don’t know how I missed this post. I’m so terribly sorry this happened to you. I’m also so terribly sorry Trump is president elect. It’s beyond horrifying. You are brave in posting this, but I agree that the more brave voices that speak out long silenced stories the stronger we all are. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dana, thank you for such kind words. Your post on the same topic moved me and inspired me to speak my truth! I knew it was time. I am also despairing that Trump is our president-elect but I am definitely emboldened and inspired by the number of women who are choosing to speak out.

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  5. I’m sending you hugs and healing energy. This makes me so sad for you and for others that may have similar stories. As a mom with baby girls…unimaginable. I love you Sarah!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support Brandy. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. My heart aches for anyone who has survived trauma or been impacted by it in any way. I hope the day comes where we don’t ever have to fear it happening to our babies. 💜

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  6. Thankfully I never had to endure something like this. I recognise I cannot fully understand the pain and hurt. I can but applaud your strength to overcome, your courage to speak out.
    I remember, in past echoes, a child I once taught that was molested by her father. I never knew, in my innocence it never crossed my mind it could happen to someone I knew. Later I asked her, now grown but mentally scarred by the experience , “Why didn’t you tell me? I would have helped you.” She answered “I was afraid you wouldn’t believe me.” What use to say of course I would have, had I only known. As you said it is fear that enables these things to happen. It is so good you are speaking out, only the light of truth can dispel the darkness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such a kind and supportive comment. That is so wonderful that you reached out to your former pupil, and it definitely shows that even compassionate adults often are helpless to do anything to help if there are not warning signs or if a child does not disclose. I agree that by speaking out we will work to dispel the darkness. It was so incredibly empowering for me to do so. Thank you again for reading and sharing!

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