Friday, 8 May 2020

When we stand up, we identify with shared victimhood


Deeper human interest
Much as I am more inclined to what documentary type programmes like railway journeys that serve as excursions to places around the world along with biographies and the histories of people, places, cultures and events, detective drama can be considered an unhealthy diet in understanding the nature and motivations of people.
Last night, I watched an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit which explores themes of sexual abuse and violation, some involving deaths and how the investigation unravels into some sort of closure. In this case, a teenaged popular social media schoolgirl was drugged, violated, photographed, and humiliated by the publication of her pictures.
Exhuming the truth
The process of getting to the truth of what happened went through closing ranks, accusations, bullying, threats and almost irreconcilable breakdown of relationships and friendships. That the boys involved were presumably friends of the girl was unfortunate, but the issues of teenage angst were quite adequately covered.
In the end, the truth of what happened was discovered without the need for the victim to relive the whole ordeal in court. The culmination was in the lead female police officer, Olivia Benson, visiting the school to discuss the issues around abuse, cyberbullying, and consent. The victim took the stage with the police office relaying what she went through, being the stronger through the experience.
Standing up to identify
Olivia Benson after giving a short talk persuaded everyone to participate in an experiment, instructing them all to close their eyes before asking the pupils affected by scenarios she painted to stand up. Those who had bad things said about them, those who had been humiliated, those who had lost friends due to some adverse situation, those who had been shamed or ridiculed, those who had been bullied, those who had been physically abused, those who had been sexually violated, and so on.
In turn, they stood up with more than half the audience standing, they were asked to open their eyes and which point Olivia Benson said, we are not alone, everyone is affected by these things and fear keeps people from talking of how they are have been victimised. Some then took the opportunity to talk of their own experiences, victims, bullies, or the silenced.
Talking helps people deal with the issues and knowing that the other people might just be as affected means we can help each other.
We share experiences
I already had tears in my eyes, I could be quite a softie when it comes to deeply emotional issues as this, much as I could relate to it all. I could have stood up for each scenario, the story of ostracism, victimisation, abuse, ridicule and damaged relationships could make books but for the saving grace of those things not ruling one’s life or defining the person one is.
We find that we need to stand up and be counted, not so much as victims or survivors, but as those who have experienced things to share amongst others to give each other support and succour drawing sympathy and empathy out of our involved humanity. I find it strange that a blog I wrote over 13 years ago when I first shared my story of child sexual abuse is being read a lot recently.
Blog - My Sex Post (January 2007)
Then, the blog was hosted elsewhere, and I was amazed by the number of comments that came in from others who had been abused and violated by paedophiles and hebephiles. The blog was like standing up to the prompting of what you might have experienced in life. That is why I write about these things, the taboo subjects that we have kept silent about with the hope they would sink away into the depths of passing and forgetful time, even if the scars take much longer to heal, if ever.
If we can, we need to stand up and be counted, so others might feel counted and not alone isolated in the thought that they are to blame for the harm inflicted on their bodily, mental, and sexual wellbeing.

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