If you’re like me, one of the statistics, the one in three women of the world who has suffered violence in the form of sexual abuse, then you understand why this time we are living through is both wonderful and horrible. What I refer to as a fantastic terror. I can’t watch a presidential debate or news surrounding the election without feeling sick in my stomach, a burning sensation deep in the belly. It seems to occur no matter who is speaking. Judging from the many articles with similar titles as this one, this election has become synonymous with the word trigger. On the feeling wheel, they call this feeling shame, but that seems off somehow. It feels like a jagged stake or a dagger, five thousand butterflies with teeth, a nightmare going on in the belly.
So, I, like so many other women, can’t turn on the news that much, or be on Facebook more than a few seconds, we are living through the massive unveiling of thousands of years of feminine suppression, and it’s not pretty. Change rarely is.
Many predicted this time, in fact, Depth Psychologist C.G.Jung, a few decades ago, predicted that in the 21st Century, we would live through a time in which the feminine asserted herself as a dark force in the world, an angry energy demanding that she be restored to her original self. He said she had lived way too long in the shadows, in a kind of indentured servitude to male authority. He was talking about the archetype of the feminine, that identity that is the root of all women, the one that we have such a hard time connecting to due to its suppression in systems constructed around male authority. This is not demeaning males in any way, systems are much bigger than individuals. It’s just the way things have been constructed for a very long time.
So, I suppose that is what we’re living through now, some are calling it a “moment,” but I feel it’s more like the kind of earthquake that created the Grand Canyon, it’s shaking the foundations of the structures we’ve built our lives on, and when this kind of change is on the horizon, there is always pushback. As Tennyson said, “nature’s red tooth and claw.” She is, indeed,
The difficult thing about being a statistic of sexual violence is that in order to recover from the trauma, coming out of denial is the first step. Until you come out of denial, you simply have very little choice in your own life. And coming out of denial is a long, long process, sometimes taking years. That means that over the course of this “moment” we are in, likely millions of women will begin to come out of denial, judging from the already clogged support hotlines heating up during this mass unveiling we are living through. And it can be a dangerous thing to come out of denial to a family, a community, a country, a world that is not receptive to something as fragile and potentially life threatening as a person’s stored trauma and pain. We are going to need some massive efforts at healing this massive pain.
For me, a women’s recovery group has been the healing agent, along with faith, writing, a loving church family and supporting males and females who play the roles of mentors and friends in my life. Healing is not an option for me anymore, it’s simply a necessary journey. Coming out of denial and the victim narrative was a very important first step, and many, many women are taking some of their very first steps right now.
The interesting thing is that the women who have been the assaulted ones, the wounded, are becoming the healing agents, the ones leading the way by having the courage to speak up and tell their stories, the wounded healers. For many women, it’s a huge risk to do this publicly, because women who have been victims are often seen as weak and defenseless or on the flip side, they are blamed for their misfortune. When, in fact, the pain that we have lived through in silence approaches what some recovery material calls holocaust dimensions. It is very real.
The truth is that a woman’s identity has largely been a hidden thing for a few thousand years. We are not going to recover over night, but we will recover if we take the journey. There is a soul inside of us all, the image of the Creator, waiting to be born, waiting to rise, a true self waiting to emerge. And when this healing happens for women all over the world, it will lead us into healing narratives for all the other pains we are living through. We know that the wounds of trauma begin to heal in relationships as we become open to being the agents of healing for one another. We may be in a moment, but let’s hope something has begun that will shape us all in the path of wholeness. We will get through this election, somehow, together.