It happens when the PTSD sneaks back in. Just from reading about it.
It’s the classic tale — you see the wreck, you want to look away, but you just can’t.
And then you can feel it in every single cell.
I haven’t watched any of the hearing and managed to steer clear of the video clips on social media. Just headlines here and there. But the stories from other Survivors completely gut me.
And I have to read them. Because EVERY woman who has a story deserves to be heard. Heard by someone who isn’t a bot or a troll. Deserves to be heard by someone whose stomach clutches and rolls with the same fear and anxiety at her words. Deserves to be heard by someone who reads her words — heartbeat racing, lump in her throat, tears on her cheek in their response to her lived experience.
Someone who believes her. Someone who knows this happens. Someone who has walked the walk talked the talk and lived another day. Someone who is there with her in THAT moment in her telling.
No one really knows how many are there are out here. The invisible epidemic of Survivors. I’d be willing to bet there are more Survivors than there are fortunate ones who somehow managed to escape the clutches of ‘The Boys Will Be Boys’ Club of America.
Survivors rarely talk about this because to do so simply confirms to the masses what they already know. We are in some way damaged. Our crazy is long rooted in trauma. Of course, We are man-hating feminists — aren’t all Survivors? And society will believe this about us because of something that was done TO us without our consent. We are held accountable for the sins of another in this very strange form of social justice which is metered out.
The Scarlet A never was retired.
My hands shake as I type tonight. Anxiety grips me again — banished long ago — it makes a house call to remind me of Shadows I have not yet befriended. I know the time for this dance is long past.
Women are telling the stories. All. The. Stories. At long last. We are calling to our Shadows and bringing them forth from the darkness of their hidden places.
I will do all Survivors the honor of listening. Even if doing so unravels my soul.
“Speak the truth even if your voice shakes.” — Maggie Kuhn