The Silent Community
A few years ago I found myself being pulled into a new passion, a passion I didn’t ask for but I can’t ignore. I found myself filled with an intense fire in the depth of my soul that was calling me to action. The action is speaking publicly to audiences I hope to captivate and convince. Public speaking is not the passion. Public speaking is a necessary ingredient of the passion. It is the passion that demands that I speak!
What is this passion? It is a desire to advocate for hurting women and children. Speak I must, for when I look at the alternative which is silence, a fire burns in my eyes and a volcano erupts in my heart. I know the dangerous and deadly outcomes of silence in domestic violence and sexual assault crimes. Because of my personal experiences with both domestic violence and sexual assaults, because of the traumatic crimes told to me by survivors and because these horrid crimes must stop, I speak.
October is domestic violence awareness month. April is sexual assault awareness month. These months are set aside to bring awareness of criminal attacks on women, children and men, and to honor those who lost their lives. My vision is that through breaking the silence, society awakens and mobilizes against the horrendous acts of sexual assaults in support of the victims and survivors.
Society of Silence
Domestic violence and sexual assaults are two of the best kept secrets in our nation. Why? Survivors rarely speak out about the crime inflicted on them. Why? This happens because of feelings of, judgment, shame, blame, guilt, fears, threats, retaliation, humiliation and embarrassment. These are all normal feelings of survivors. To break the silence and help the survivors we must address all these feelings. These feelings are enabling tools that allow the offenders to continue in crime and feed the silence in our society. Allow me to give attention to three areas of our silent community.
History of Silence
Domestic violence and sexual assaults haven’t always been crimes. For hundreds of years the abusive treatment of women was considered normal. Because it was normal silence against these crimes was accepted and normal. History sheds light on the silence. Throughout US history women have been degraded, abused, humiliated and objectified. Women were viewed as property, especially married women. Male privilege has always been a staple in our society. Male privilege was and still is accepted as part of our society. Laws had to be passed to protect women from being raped by their own husbands. Laws were put on the book in Texas as late as 1993 and 1994. Though laws were passed the mindset of many in the male gender population has yet to be changed. Some men continue to rape, degrade and abuse women. Society continues to objectify women and therefore the cycle continues.
If we want to go deeper into history lets go way back to the bible. The bible has written documentation of male privilege. Throughout the bible there are stories of rapes, sexual abuse and objectification of women. Let me just mention a few. In Judges a concubine was gang raped and died with her hand on the door of the home her master stayed in overnight. In Genesis, Dinah the daughter of Jacob was raped. Jacob, the father did nothing however Simeon and Levi revenged the defiling of their sister. In Samuel 2, King David’s own daughter, Tamar was raped and the king did nothing yet Absalom in anger killed the rapist, his brother Amnon. Queen Vashti and Queen Esther were objectified by King Ahasuerus and his advisors. When Queen Vashti refused she was put away, as an example of what would happen to wives who refused the commands of their husbands. Just a note, submission is a form of order not a command to order. Today in some countries society is not that far removed from the barbaric acts in the bible. Men felt they had the right to lord over, control and abuse the female gender. How much has society changed?