Many females are currently telling the truth of being sexually assaulted—whether by a family member, a co-worker, a celebrity, or a national political figure. The extent of this dirty secret has been kept under wraps for eons; its exposure now offers great hope for change:
- disclosure prompts other assault victims to come forward
- speaking one’s truth strengthens the abused person and facilitates their pursuit of healing and peace
- calling out violence can deter future violations
You might ask, “Why have so few females spoken about this before?” I think my own experience is typical and provides insight: The sexual abuse I experienced was not by well-known males but by a family member. This nuance may bear heavily on a female’s expectation of being believed. Next, shame and self-blame silence many (www.journals.sagepub.com). Furthermore, I was a child, and I coped with trauma by immediately repressing memories of the abuse—for decades. Ultimately, the effect of being overpowered by violence leaves a fear of being ostracized, and anxiety builds that life will be detrimentally altered because it is not under our control.
Surely, all this secrecy helps maintain power in such men’s lives. We believe that they hold the power, not us. Conversely, today’s phase of more females telling their truth strips male perpetrators not only of power but also, potentially, of finances, status, and freedom, if convicted of their crimes. Such reprisals serve as a powerful lesson to males who are or plan to be perpetrators.
However, achieving social justice is only half the story. Each of us must heal and reclaim our power. As a part of my healing, I first confronted the perpetrator. Though awkward and difficult, this eventually resulted in harmony between us. Importantly, I was able to forgive. I then took the bold step to write about it so the “whole world” would know the truth of my life—the bad, the ugly, and fortunately the BEAUTY and PEACE of it. In so doing, I owned my female power: the power to love myself, to stand strong, to affirm my life. Please believe me: once you move in this direction, you will go far. Milestones along my path include nurturing a thriving family, obtaining advanced educational degrees, building a practice, and writing three successful books (the third will be published in 2018), which I hope will bring others awareness and inspiration.
My question today is this: Is there a secret in your life—past or present—about which you feel shame, depression, anxiety, fear, or terror? If so, what is the first step you can take to heal your wound?
- Write it down?
- Tell someone close to you whom you trust?
- Make an appointment with a therapist?
- Ask your family doctor for a referral to an experienced therapist?
Whatever you choose, you will have made a major stride in healing yourself and claiming your power—for which I congratulate you!!
I invite your comments below.
Jeannette M. Gagan, PhD is an award-winning Author, licensed psychologist, shamanic practitioner, and an Ambassador for Peace. Over the years she has learned to use writing as a platform to educate, celebrate progress, and set new goals for PEACE within for all.