Monday, August 1, 2011

Supernova 1: Pain

     The effects of sexual assault is nearly indescribable pain.  It is called soul murder, because it is the most efficient way to kill some one's spirit without killing their body.  It is so emotionally painful and difficult, I don't think I have heard of a single person facing it unless they had no other choice.  Recovery from incest has been the most unexpected and painful thing of my life.  Difficulty breathing at any point in the day from sheer emotional pain happens all the time.  I didn't know pain like this could exist.  People always painted a vague picture of my life down the road, and they forgot to mention the huge ravine that opens up unexpectedly out of the hazy horizon and swallows you up, the hot dusty trudge out of infinity after having tumbled to the bottom.  It is common after having experienced violation to think "that did not happen", or even as it is occurring, "this is not happening".  It is not on our list of possibilities for what life could have in store.  I remember as a child seeing it coming, and waiting for someone to save me at the last minute because what was about to happen and what did happen was impossible.

     Dealing With the Impossible.


     That is what recovery from sexual assault is.  Doing an impossible thing.  Surviving after soul murder, and in some remarkable cases, doing more than surviving after soul murder.  It is not something you could ask someone to do.  It is not something you could expect them to do.  The huge problem with people expecting survivors to move on, or forgive, is that it minimizes their pain.  As in mistaking a ferocious tiger in the room for a soft tiny kitten.  It cannot be ignored, it requires your full undivided attention, and you can only hope for everyone in the room to escape alive while realizing that the hope that everyone will get out unscathed is unattainable.  Anyone who expects another to get up and move on from that pain does not understand it.  All you can do is sit with them next to the pain, hope for them, cry with them, and be astounded if and when they overcome.

     The problem for those that want to forgive and restore old relationships, and a fair number do, is that in order for it to work the abuser would need to change.  The only cases of perpetrators changing are the ones who were accused and proven guilty, and forced into therapy.  I have never heard of a sexual perpetrator freely choosing to stop hurting his (and sometimes her) victims, ever.  Many of them say they will, and there are many stories of victims agreeing to stay and try to work things out, only to be hurt repetitively until they cut off the relationship and leave.  If they survive that long, as sexual crimes often accompany or include violence, and many are not that lucky.  If after that they escape the ranks of those survivors killed by severe depression and suicide, they are indeed tough.  I say tough rather than fortunate, because the life of a survivor of sexual assault is only a good one if they make it so through sheer will, as many remarkably do.

     I hardly need to go on about the pain of being victimized in sexual crimes.  Any Internet search will overflow with blogs, journals, and forums.  Every person who reads this will be well acquainted with a survivor of sexual assault and PAIN written in their eyes, in their skin, in their life, whether the reader realizes it or not.
     Society has only begun to recognize and acknowledge that pain.  Coming to a point where they can fully grasp and face that amount of pain seems years in the future.  A point for society to take an honest look at the lives of the perpetrators who caused that mass pain seems eons in the future.  Not to cover it up the issue as we are doing now, but to really look at it and strive to understand it.  Nothing can be fixed unless you understand it.  And concerning sexual crime, I don't think America or the world realizes the magnitude of what needs to be fixed.


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