One question I face often is why I write about the bad things that have happened to me. Sometimes people actually ask me this, and sometimes I can just read it on their faces. Sometimes I think I can just feel it in the ether around me, between the more-than-usual hits on my blog but fewer-than-usual comments.
This question is born out of an ingrained belief that victims and survivors of abuse must feel so ashamed. This is a dangerous belief. We are not all alike. Some of us feel shame, and some of us, like me, do not. I know I didn’t ask for abuse. I know I didn’t encourage it (whatever that means), provoke it (ridiculous–there is no behavior that calls for being demeaned or assaulted), or do it to myself. The belief is dangerous because it causes cops, lawyers, judges, close friends and family–people who could actually help–to only believe the victims who cry, not the ones who seethe, not the ones who are calm but stumble over their words, not the ones who can tell when you suspect them of lying and so say very little. Sometimes even the criers are doubted, if they’re crying too hard or loud, if they’re “hysterical”…
I also think the question is born out of discomfort and disbelief on the part of the reader. We as a society are quick to focus on perceived holes in abuse stories, or at least to not want to hear them.
That’s why I believe that breaking silence is actually work, in the traditional sense. Continue reading