To Speak, or Not To Speak #metoo

When the #metoo movement reawakened and began flooding the social media scenes early October 2017, I waited two days before I added my 2words.  News spread like wildfire of the sexual harassments by Harvey Weinstein in the Hollywood world, with new allegations and more women speaking out every day.  Decades of history were being revealed as sexually manipulative, oppressive, aggressive and by all accounts abusive.   When I did add my 2words, I added only my 2words; no explanations, no further encouragements, not even a period. 

I wondered why I waited.

Was it shame shushing me again?  Was it fear of identification?  Fear of vulnerability? 

I settled on…processing.  Yes, shame and fear and shut down were all present, but in those two days I took time.  I took time to think about the why for me and to observe the why for others and I waited until I had processed enough of the complexities to find my voice again.

Developing a voice after years of silencing is not an easy uncovering.

In reality I have stood in the cold, damp, gapping mouth of shame.  I have fallen below the height of my knees under the weight of oppression.  I have cowered most of my life in the bowels of self-sabotage and I have let mold and mildew grow on barriers I designed to protect me. 

Trauma was my master and I learned how to be a warrior of the highest order; destined to destroy any external attempts of connection and maintain control over the suppression of all that I kept hidden.  Failing that, I was bound to perform seppuku; the ancient Japanese ritual of self-disembowelment.  I would rather have died – cut out my belly – then feel the feelings I fought to defeat.

This was the environment I grew accustomed to, an interior flux of contortions and contradictions brought on by a childhood of sexual abuse.  I grew attached to my detachment.  I grew protective of where I dwelled. Vulnerability became my enemy, silence became my companion and I became ferocious.  In isolation, I fought internal shadows.

I believed my power was held in this fury, a deep seeded fire of silent self-repression.  And it was.

There my power lay; hidden, covered, repressed, denied, threatened and silenced.

Today, my power has shifted.  It is most present when I am facing the things I fear the most.  When I am reaching out to make connections, when I am challenging myself to trust, when I am allowing myself to be vulnerable with someone who has demonstrated a vested interest in my wellbeing , when I am sharing my truths of childhood sexual abuse and when I am speaking up against future abuses.

Today the choice to speak or not to speak is not a matter of will I or won’t I for me; it is a matter of when and where and why. 

Some days it may take me longer to wade through the swamp of sexual abuse issues.  Some days I may need to focus on the beautiful elements of life or receive the support of my dearest soul sisters.  Some days may merely be mundane, but there are no more days left for me to remain indefinitely silent.  I cannot.  I will not.

It is not my responsibility to end sexual abuse.  It is my chosen mission to put it on the table of societal issues and ensure it remains there until it is eradicated.  I will myself to rise above the failings of perpetrators, to remove the weight of victimhood and to use my voice to empower. 

This is not a clean, clear, concise topic and there will be contention and there will no longer be silence.

Heather Hurst