Shaming or Blaming
I was listening to one of my favorite podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking and I came across this old episode about this young lady who was raped. This young girl lived a perfect life. When I say perfect I mean, her parents are married (still), great relationship with her parents, no trauma while growing up, good childhood, great friends etc. I don't believe she was rich or anything but I mean in comparison to many of us, she had what we all wish we had, a drama/trauma free life childhood/lifestyle.
The podcast went on to discuss that her perpetrator wasn't a stranger, in fact it was someone she knew and loved. It was a guy she recently dated. Which for the record, most perpetrators are (someone you know). Which also brings up the question, why do we spend so much time telling our children not to talk to strangers, when it is people they know that usually, abducts, sexually assaults, and hurts them? Let's leave that as a rhetorical question that maybe I will revisit in another blog. For the purposes of this blog I want to concentrate one particular area.
Is it possible to live a trauma free life? Like is it shaming or blaming for someone who has never experienced trauma to feel guilty for actually believing that there are good people? That people like the girl in this podcast, to believe that no one would be capable, especially, a boyfriend to hurt her in this manner? That is a thought that never entered her head. All she did was decide he wasn't what she was looking for. Broke it off relationship after seven months. Doing exactly what we tell all our girls to do when they're not happy. This guy took it to the extent of seeking her and raping her for leaving him. I'm sorry, abandoning him.
Somehow, we sit here and say did she not see any signs? First, there may be some red flags here and there, however, perpetrators don't have a look. They can be really nice guys who own puppies and cats and still hurt and rape you. They don't exactly walk around town with a hat that says if you deny me I will hurt you!
What I found interesting in this podcast is that I have dealt with a lot of trauma in my life so I walk around life, preparing for the worse. They tell you to be optimistic but my version of optimism is I got me. Sure, I will confide in others when I need to seek help and talk to someone, but as far as trusting, that is not something that comes easy. I walk around life thinking people are capable of anything. Reason's why I don't even have someone I call a best friend. All of my best friends have betrayed me in some way. One who I called a best friend in the past almost cost me my job. So is it my fault? Am I to be ashamed or to blame for these people walking into my life and reassuring those feeling that people can't be trusted?
Should we walk around shaming or blaming those people who live happily and trauma free? Like I thought that is what we all strived for? Is there experiences or words less impactful because they don't walk around with a long list of "look at what happened to me?" In a way my thinking of trauma is that every time you survive you become stronger. You become more vigilant and aware of the fucked up people in this world.
But when do we say that is too much trauma? When does the switch go off and all of a sudden you become the perpetrator? Or when does the weight become too heavy to carry that you become suicidal? In Sarah's case (the girl in the podcast discussing the details of her rape) dated a guy who was also living a great life. He comes from wealthy parents, always got what he wanted, but he didn't in this case. To make matters worse his parents tried to write and get the community to write thousands of letters discussing what a "good" reputation he had. I guess good reputation dismisses rapist? Maybe she was the first person to say, "No." So does that excuse his behavior? Luckily, in her case he was found guilty and sentenced. You know that is almost never the case for most rape charges right? To be factual according 50 Actual Facts About Rape 97% of rapist are never incarcerated. Yikes!
So back to my original thought, where is the happy medium in this life? As a parent I contemplate this over and over in my head. I try to teach my son's how to be decent human being's. I also do this by providing them with a better quality of life then I had. That is what every parents hope and dream is for their children. So do we fail our children by not exposing them to trauma? Should we know which uncle or cousin will harm them? Follow up on a whole psychiatrist session on emotional intelligence and mental examinations on each boyfriend and girlfriend they will have? I don't know what the correct response is. I just feel that sometimes life lessons are really cruel and unjust.
Why couldn't someone like Sarah go on believing that people are capable of great things? That people will return money she drops on the floor? That people will actually open a door and help you when you yell out help? Someone in this sort of life or thinking has been named living in a bubble. Somehow we have accepted that it is a part of life to go through such traumatic experiences and call them lessons learned. Somehow, we have excused these behaviors and turned the cheek. Then we all wonder why so many of us suffer from anxiety, depression and many other mental health issues. I just want to know the next time someone tells you, they are happy and never experienced trauma, what will your reaction be? Will you be shaming or blaming?