Seeing the constant stream of videos, articles, and opinions online may have victims feeling re-triggered or defeated because they send us back to the time when the abuse happened, or we told someone about the abuse in order to get help and were not believed. In order to avoid burnout, remember there are always other sides to the “accepted” story.
Here are some of the criticisms I have heard of #metoo witnesses in recent weeks and their translations. If you have been a victim, keep these in mind so you can feel comfortable in knowing or speaking your truth despite reactions from others.
- “If this happened then, why are we just hearing about it now?”
- Women have endured a lot. We get used to it, we put up with it, we ignore it — we have been conditioned to do this. But there comes a time when you can no longer stuff it down and ignore it. The toxic masculine system has made secret keeping an unspoken rule. It’s what all abusers do — enforce unspoken rules that, when broken, get blamed on the victim for abiding by.: “well, why were you quiet? I never asked you to be quiet. If there was a problem, you should have said so.” The toxic masculine system does not understand what it means to “put up with” because it has never had to; it has always gotten what it wants for its own comfort. The reason memories suddenly come up or are no longer secrets we can keep is because we get fed up. The intimidating energy of our abusers can no longer be held over our heads. When we do this, we forsake everything we have ever had or known and venture into uncharted waters. On the other side of the secrets is the “you are a bad girl, I will show everyone what a bad girl you are” punishment we have been avoiding for so long. Who would really want to have to say #metoo?
- “She’s in her fifties but acts like a little girl, she’s playing a victim role”
- While we have plenty of information about how adverse childhood experiences affect one’s physical health later in life, we need more research about the way trauma affects self-actualization. If a person is assaulted in their childhood or teen years, it can be theorized that their emotional development will freeze at this age as well, leaving a person in a proverbial prison in which they are not able to individuate. Energetically, this is true. If you feel a person is uncharacteristically timid or childlike in their demeanor, consider their personal development may have been hindered at a young age due to abuse, no matter their personal or professional achievements.
- “She doesn’t remember enough for this to have happened”
- We need more research about the effects of trauma on memory — not just how much we store but why, where, and how we store certain memories as opposed to others. The chemical cascade of stress hormones and immune markers plays a big role. If you are face to face with trauma, will you most likely remember the wall color and what you did that day, or the energy your perpetrator is sending you? The traditional methods of memory retrieval will become obsolete as we see how flawed the linear system is. Memory exists on a spectrum and is triggered by events that remind you of the trauma, so a blocked subconscious mind is a key problem in remembering. Also consider that many abusers actively work to alter the memories of their victims and make them question reality. Perpetrators accuse victims of being mentally ill so that everyone except the victim is in group think against the victim in order to control the story line, which makes the victim feel crazy. It’s a way to plant false memories so the victim lives in a state of cognitive dissonance and stress. The #metoo movement will be a time of great awakening in the areas of memory and learning function and we will come to find that everyone learns differently, remembers differently, and that the brain is truly “plastic” and able to be manipulated and “grow” in ways we never thought possible.
- “She’s contradicting herself”
- We don’t just think in words. We think in energetic images that are projections of events. In other words, you don’t necessarily remember exactly what was said in a conversation but you remember where you were in time and space and how you felt by what was said or done, and what you did as a result. The brain makes logical assumptions based on the energy you remember. So if a witness’ exact wording of an account varies one time to the next there is a possibility this is because she’s having to re-translate the memory of the energy, while she is being pressured to remember perfectly. Timelines, deadlines, and pressure are the antipathy of the feminine process which requires feeling in order to access the memory.
- Additionally, we are constantly being triggered back to past memories throughout the day even while nothing traumatic is happening. Seemingly unrelated memories can get strung together in vignettes because they remind you of each other. That doesn’t mean it changes your recollection of specific events — it means you have to first, sometimes, think of other memories in order to trigger your memory of the original incident because so much has happened since then. It means you have to access different neural pathways from when the actual incident occurred, which again, may require some time, thought, and feeling to remember. It means you have to think backwards from the point in time you are at now to where you were all those years ago. This is in stark contrast to the “this happened, then that happened” linear timelines you are expected to give in court to be taken seriously.
- “If this happened, where are the police reports?”
- My perpetrator(s) also taunted me with this. The patriarchal system has indoctrinated men and women to think women are helpless and need protecting. Because of this, many women are not able to develop their intuitive instincts in order to trust themselves to react appropriately when challenges arise. Faced with abuse, they are likely to freeze or appease and or protect themselves because they have been talked out of this skill (or have been told someone will come to their rescue) and in fact do not trust their instincts that the situation is bad enough to warrant a police call. The victim may not even consider going to police because they are already terrified or threatened by the lingering energetic effects of the abuse. They may feel they would rather just escape and forget it rather than pursue someone who pursued them. Often, only after years of personal work do many find the inner strength to confront the abuse.
- “She’s too emotional” or “she’s not emotional enough”
- Many victims would say “when I cried, you called me crazy”, “when I was sad, you called me depressed”, “when I finally smiled, you said I was fine”, “when I wore makeup, you said I looked too good to have been abused”. Not “reacting” to our abuse “correctly” is incredibly toxic and generates a shame response for the victim, making us question our every word or gesture in the presence of others. Accusing someone of not having been abused because they didn’t act how you expected an abused person to act is harmful and wrong. Many pretend nothing is wrong in the first place, or victims may withhold emotion and adopt a facade personality in order to avoid further trauma.
- “This should be investigated in a court of law”
- The court system does not protect victims, plain and simple. Victims are often viewed through a suspicious lens as if they are guilty by virtue of having experienced abuse. Abuse allegations, while perhaps gaining public momentum, are by and large still not taken seriously in court. The court is the apex of the toxic masculine system because it requires one be adept at left-brained logic, behavior, and thought processes in order to be considered credible and “lawful”. Anything that falls outside the “postage stamp consensus” of what normal, healthy behavior is gets considered untrustworthy. Perpetrators know this. The court favors robotic linear data — not the nuanced or “messy” stories many victims have. Also, because a victim’s number one priority is escaping the abuse, they may not have thought to take pictures, text, or email about the incident, leaving them with little to no evidence.
These questions are why more people have not yet come forward. These questions are what leave victims feeling paralyzed. Identify the abuse you have endured and then you will better be able to empathize with those who are now coming forward.