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There has been a lot of news about the #metoo movement in the past few years.  Women coming forward, speaking out, revealing sexual assault and harassment they have gone through.  Perhaps it is the way my brain works.  Perhaps it is because I could join the ranks of #metoo.  I am not sure, but when I hear stories about revealed sexual assault, my mind goes to all the victims of – let us go ahead and name it – the crimes.

The mother, the father, the brother or sister who saw, who knew. And never said anything.  The teacher, the coach who saw.  Maybe they were even confessed to.  And they did not say anything.  The co-workers who noticed the bruises and changes in behavior and didn’t ask.  The family members who saw what was happening but didn’t say anything because — that is the way it happened in their family.  It happened to them, and now it was happening to another generation, and no one ever said anything about it.

What about those people?  What are they going through, hearing all this recent talk about standing together, speaking up, not being silent, calling out?  What kind of guilt, anger, loathing they might be feeling?  And what do they do with those feelings?  Who helps them?

What about the men?  The men who were boys once.  Teenagers.  Now they are grown men.  Do they feel guilt?  Do they feel bad about what they did?  Do they even remember?  Do they care about lives forever changed?  Lives forever scared because of what they did?  Who helps them?  Who do they go to for support, for help?

I know someone who I am quite sure had a sexual assault when she was in her 20’s.  I saw the changes in her.  I asked her about it.  She denied it.  She denies anything happened to this day.  Do these news stories dredge it all up for her?  I know someone I worked with who came to work every day in long sleeves and/or turtle necks.  She finally told us a little bit about how her husband treated her.  We listened and were supportive.  We let her know we were there for her.  She finally left him and lived with my friend for a few months.  That was 30 years ago.  What does she think when she hears these stories?  Does she wonder if things would have been different if she had spoken up and reported her husband?

I have my own sexual assault stories.  Over the years, God slowly healed me.  It would take too long to explain how that happened. I am not sure why God chose to heal me so slowly instead of all at once.  But I am healed.  I have forgiven them.  It happened a long time ago.  It is past and gone. Forgiven.  Not forgotten, but it is behind me and I am looking ahead.  So what do I think when I hear these stories?  What do I think when I read the articles about someone finally speaking out about something that had happened 20 years previously?

I grieve with them that it ever happened.  I accept that their healing process, their way of dealing with what happened, is not the same as me.  I accept that though I am healed and I have put what happened behind me — not everyone has had the same experience.  Not everyone can say that.  And for some, it is part of their healing, part of their process to put it behind them, to finally speak up and say something.  Even many years later.

Though, I still can’t help thinking of everyone else who also were/are affected by what happened.  What kind of #metoo movement can there be for them?

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Posted October 30, 2018 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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