Believing Women: Living in a Fear Driven Culture + Calling in Love
Last Thursday, I shared a post on my personal Facebook page about my thoughts on the Kavanaugh hearing and my personal experience with sexual assault (which you can read below). It seemed to have struck a lot of people and it inspired me to write a full blog post on the topic of invalidating trauma, fear, love, and how this impacts us on a collective and individual level.
My original post:
“As for many women, today’s supreme court hearing is stirring up a lot of emotion. This hearing is a reflection of the collective’s ignorance around rape culture and how many white men (and women) invalidate the impact of such traumas. It’s a sensitive subject not only because of my own experience as a victim of repressed sexual assault but also for the many women I’ve worked with therapeutically who have also experienced this trauma and weren’t able to voice it until many years later.
Trauma isn’t black and white. It’s complex and non-linear. It’s perfectly normal to not recall specific details of any type of traumatic event. It’s simply our brain’s way of coping and protecting us from a psychotic break. Sometimes we remember trauma from the moment it occurred. Sometimes we recall it many, many years later. And sometimes we NEVER remember.
Today, Senator Kamala Harris asked Kavanaugh, “Do you agree that it’s possible for men to both be friends with some women and treat other women badly?”
10 years ago I was sexually assaulted by a boy who was seen in my community as an “outstanding” individual. Someone who identified as an avid Christian, an honors student, and a friend to many boys and girls. For 10 years I repressed that event and didn’t speak of it until this past year.
At the time my brain couldn’t make sense of it. It felt deeply shocking on so many levels. As a result, my mind repressed it. The experience was so shameful, disturbing, confusing, and painful. My brain did its job of protecting me. I do not give our patriarchal society permission to question the legitimacy of my own trauma. My sexual assault was real and I no longer doubt it for a moment.
I stand with any woman who’s feeling this today. Because I know many are. And I commend Dr. Ford for her bravery and for speaking her truth. You can be a victim of sexual assault AND not remember the intricacies of what happened. It’s safe to trust yourself and your experience.
It’s time to #BelieveWomen.”
These recent events have helped many women speak out about their own experience of sexual assault. There are also many courageous women who stand in solidarity and don’t feel ready to speak about their trauma publicly. And that’s OK too.
It’s created a movement around the importance of believing one another when we share a vulnerable, traumatic experience. The importance of standing together and believing each other’s experiences despite our own beliefs, views, or personal life experience.
For a moment, as you read this, make it not about your personal political stance or who you voted for. This is about being human and having human experiences. Sometimes those experiences are traumatic and deeply painful. And during these times of vulnerability and trauma, it’s important to lift each other up, especially as women.
One of the most glaring issues with our current political climate and country is how polarized it’s become. This recent hearing most certainly highlights this fact.
We hear about and witness how divided our country has become but what does that mean?
Things are either right or wrong. Good or bad. Black or white. Open or closed. This or that. There’s no middle ground.
This type of black-and-white thinking stems from fear consciousness. Fear breeds mistrust, hate, doubt, judgment, and intolerance. This fear based thinking develops from our ego mind. The part of us that needs to “guard”, “protect”, and shut-out what feels unfamiliar, unknown, or unsafe—even in non-threatening situations. This stems from unconscious beliefs, thinking, and behavior.
This type of unconsciousness impacts us to the extent that we completely invalidate and dismiss a person’s experience of trauma. And I’m not only speaking about Dr. Ford’s trauma. I’m talking about the trauma all minorities have experienced in our country and continue to experience.
Our individual fear-driven thinking and behavior has manifested our culture’s current fear-based climate. The collective is showing us the ways in which we need to heal individually so we can help to heal our community and unite.
The opposite of fear is love.
And when we are living in love, it cultivates expansiveness and endless possibility. It’s “both/and” not “either/or”. It’s the middle ground. It’s compassion, understanding, radical acceptance, tolerance, inclusiveness, truth, and empathy. This type of love comes from the light that exists within us all—if we’re conscious enough to access it.
This is why, in my original post, I found Senator Harris’s question to be so pivotal: “Do you agree that it’s possible for men to both be friends with some women and treat other women badly?”
Senator Harris was shedding light on the Truth by calling out dichotomous thinking at large.
The answer is yes. A human can behave and act in many different ways within a lifetime, a week, a day, or a moment. We are complex creatures. Fear makes us believe that we can only be one fixed thing or one type of person indefinitely. This or that. Love accepts that we are deeply flawed beings and we can show up in many ways—harmful or otherwise.
A man can be a coach, friend, father, husband, AND a sexual predator/abuser.
A woman can not recall the particular, excruciating details of a trauma AND be a victim of sexual assault. She can choose to not share it for as a long as she desires AND be a victim of sexual assault.
It’s key in our healing to understand how much dichotomous thinking impacts us individually and collectively. Many truths can exist at one time. And when we chose to believe that only ONE truth can exist, we hurt ourselves and we hurt others. Fear blinds us. It divides us.
There’s A LOT of pain in the world right now. I feel just as angry as the next person. But we need to choose to stay in love. We need to allow ourselves to feel our anger.
But the healing happens when we transmute that anger into action driven by love. Not hate. Very much like the great Martin Luther King Jr. did.
When we are living in a place from our higher consciousness, it can inspire others to do the same. Some need much more healing than others. Some people are too deep into their fear consciousness that they never wake up and they can only function from hate.
As we already know, we can’t change others. But we do have control over our actions and behaviors. When we heal ourselves we help to heal the collective. It’s time for us to choose love over fear. It’s time to #BelieveInEachOther.