Writers have to speak out about the world around them sometimes. This is my shout-out against abuse.
Over recent months, we have seen an ever-growing number of women come forth to share the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of wealthy and powerful men, bosses, co-workers, and others. A floodgate has been opened, and more women are joining the #metoo movement, but they are not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sexual abuse. There are countless women out there who have been abused, some repetitively, who will never come forward because they feel they are no one special. How do I know this? Because I have personally known women who still battle the aftermath of such an assault. In fact, reflecting back on my life, I can say with conviction, that about 70% of the women I’ve met have been sexually abused–from molestation to rape.
Years ago, when these things happened, there were no counsellors to go to. In fact, the victim was often accused of “asking for it,” that it must have been her fault, that she somehow unwittingly seduced the man into raping her. I must admit I have never met a woman yet, who has inadvertently or purposely seduced a man to rape her! In some cultures and religions, a woman is a chattel–no different than a chair, or a vehicle, and her only purpose is to do a man’s bidding, and submit to any horrific sexual treatment he chooses to perform on her. Even in so-called civilized countries, women are treated as inferior, derided, threatened, and exploited. In the latest wave of accusations, the integrity of many of the victims has been questioned, so as to deflect the guilt of the perpetrator by casting it back on the victim.
I agree with a recent petition I signed, that victims need faster access to counsellors. There are two even more important aspects of sexual abuse that need improvement. First, we need to let victims know they are victims, to come forward for counselling, and to report the violations to authorities. Second, we need to educate the general population, men in particular, including law enforcement and the medical community, that sexual abuse is a serious crime with life-long repercussions for the victims–some of whom commit suicide because of the horrors they suffered. Too often law enforcement and hospitals treat rape victims poorly, offering no empathy or compassion, at a time when the victim needs it most. If you think this level of emotional distress is common only to women–think again! You only need to have a short conversation with a male who was molested as a child or youth–be it by a figure of authority (priest, teacher), a family member (parent, sibling), or so-called friends.
The scales of Justice are balanced, that is to say, there is not one side lower than the other. We need to remember this when it comes to women. Although women are often the victims or physical and/or sexual abuse, women can also abuse men in many ways–most of which are not physical, but emotional and financial. Sadly, women resort to such abuse to further their own desires. Many are not afraid to use the power of their sexuality to manipulate men, or even other women. Again, I can turn to my own life experience when I have been manipulated and abused. The woman who marries for money, plain and simple. Those whose biological clock is ticking loudly, and want a child desparately–no matter who they destroy to do it. Women who want to further their careers. Women who make false accusations for revenge, or even for fun. When such women use their sexuality, they do so freely and knowingly.
The story of male violence towards women has been told for millennia, as has the manipulation of men by women. Both men and women are abusers–not all, to be sure, but enough to make it the bane of society. Men often blame women for their misfortunes, and use that as a reason to justify their violence. Women blame men for their violence to justify their manipulations. The one side–sexual abuse on women–has taken centre stage, as it should. We need to support the victims of this abuse. Men are less likely to shout “Foul!” because we’re far too macho, and would only be ridiculed by our peers, and told we should have known better! But the manipulations of women on male victims can result in as much emotional turmoil for men as violence does for women.
We believe we belong to an advanced society in a progressive world. Well, if it is so advanced, why can’t we do away with the personal abuse we heap upon one another? Everyone would be so much happier if we did. It would not destroy the fabric of our society, it would make it stronger!