I am going to write a post regarding disabled kids and therapies/interventions. It is a hard topic, but I'll note right off the bat that I never indicated that children with disabilities should NOT receive therapy. But more thoughts on that later.
Okay, so this email I got a week or so ago, and my attempts to ignore it have not worked. Its not that I think the question is so wrong or that it made me angry or anything like that, it is just a touchy subject. But it is keeping me awake tonight so I guess I'll give it a go.
...I have spent the past few days going through your archive. Your weblog is sucking me in and I am enthralled with your story. I may be splitting hairs, but there is one thing you said that I just don't understand and can't get my head around. You talked about a horrible day that was something you just needed to get over in your post about the song "Ordinary World" being your theme song. And I assumed you were referring to your rape incident that you wrote about just a few posts before that. And you said that the song's line about "ours is just a little sorrowed talk" was meant to somehow minimize or diminish the crime. And you should just get over it. This is none of my business, but I'm confused about this. I found your site actually searching for "date rape" because my girlfriend was also raped in college. And she would go ballistic on me if I said that she should just get over it or that it was just a little sorrowed talk compared to the problems of the world. I guess I'm asking, how can two people with similar experiences think about it in such completely opposite ways?
Okay, first of all, I am very sorry about what happened to your girlfriend and please extend my sympathies.
And now, second of all, whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on for a second while I pry apart the pretzel that is my brain and go back and find out what in God's name I said. (This actually took awhile.) He (I'm going to assume you are a he) is referring to this silly throw away post that you'se all weren't supposed to read that I am so going to take down now.
I say this:
I will continue to use "Ordinary World," which has become my cheesy summer anthem, as my rubber band around my wrist to snap when I get stuck in a forloop and need reminding to just get on with it.
"... forgiveness is a verb that you have to actively decide to do, it doesn't just come along and fall into your lap by itself via osmosis. Many years ago on a Thursday no less, we had an awful day, and that is what it was, an awful day. We can still remember S while getting on with it. "Ours is just a little sorrowed talk."
In reference to these lyrics:
Papers in the roadside
Tell of suffering and greed
Here today, forgot tomorrow
Ooh, here besides the news
Of holy war and holy need
Ours is just a little sorrowed talk
in this song:
Okay, first of all, you are wrong about that being about what you think it is about. "We can still remember S" does not refer at all to the TCGRS (Typical College Girl Rape Scenario) experience that I wrote about. Actually, I can find where I wrote a bit about it after that post, but not previous to it. So either you read my posts backwards or I did write about it before and I can't find it now. Anyway. "S" is something I can't talk about here. Because it involves other people than me, and I was only on the periphery of the "S" situation so it is not my story to tell. But, it does involve a crime and loss and grieving, and that, coupled with my experiences around the TCGRS of my own, leads me to want to tell you these things:
No two people are going to handle being victims of a crime the same way. And there is no wrong way to handle it. If your girlfriend is telling you she can't get over it, she can't forgive, and that it is a big deal...guess what? She's right. You didn't say how long ago her experience occurred. I will tell you that my TCGRS was 19 years ago. My involvement in the "S" situation? Started 29 years ago. That makes a helluva big difference as to where you are in the process of grieving and getting over it. I'm going to guess that her crime took place within the last few years? But even if I'm wrong, who am I to say how anyone else should handle their own situation. Everyone is different.
What I meant by "Ordinary World" being my theme song involves how you can be going along, minding your own business, going down your own life's path with 19 or 29 years distance between you and a traumatic incident. And something can come along and totally blindside you, knocking you off your path and back to where you were decades ago. It happens to the best of us. It happened to me, and it happened to my friend, A, last summer. And how you have to drag yourself back to your chosen road, your ordinary world, before it gets all out of hand. You can call this flashbacks or post traumatic stress or triggering or whatever. But when you have this issue, you have to develop your "drag yourself back to where you want to be" muscle. And this can take years to develop. And you can think you are so far beyond all that crap and guess what? You're not. So, out comes the muscle. Lift a few weights with it and get it back in shape. Have a little rubber-band around your wrist to help you if necessary, a theme song, whatever works, and you will get back there. If your girlfriend has issues like these, she may have not developed this muscle yet. Or she may just handle these things differently than me. Maybe she just is still and lets it all pass through her. Maybe she gets really angry. Maybe she needs to relive it for a while. Whatever. I hope she finds a way to find some kind of effective way to live with it. Whatever way she finds, it is the right one for her.
What I meant by "ours is just a little sorrowed talk" is that we (A and I, not anyone else) are so far removed from it. And we worked hard to get here. So every once in a while, we can have our little sad time flashback thingy, but that's it. We do our thing and then we are done. It is not our lives, it does not define us, it is just something we need to get "tuned-up" every few years or so. We talk to each other, have our little sorrowed talk about it, do a little emotional maintenance, and then we get back to our lives. This is our thing. Doesn't need to be anyone else's. And the whole "holy war and holy need" thing is that our discussions always end up talking about the bigger picture. Why is there so much violence and need in the world? Why is there a need to dominate and hate? Why so much hate against women...the supposed "weaker" sex? What is the definition of evil and is there good in everyone or are some people just evil? And if so, why? How did they get that way? Is it innate or environmental? What can be done to help good win out over evil?
These questions of the ages are where our conversations always seem to end up. And these are issues that are far bigger than what happened to A or what happened to me. We are, unfortunately, just little insignificant dots in the bigger world problem of violence and oppression. Which doesn't mean that our experiences are insignificant, just that unfortunately, we are only two people who have been victimized by crime in a sea of millions and millions throughout history since the dawn of time. For us, and I'm not talking about anyone else here, in a weird way it helps to think that the problem is universal. Not that we, A and myself, were somehow targeted because of something implicit about who we are. That we've done something wrong. It is just saying, look. domination and oppression and violence looms large in our world. This happened to us, but it is so not about us. This is bigger than us and there is nothing we could have done. The only thing we can do now is stay in our chosen "Ordinary World." This is the world of good over evil and kindness over violence. That's all we can do.
Boyfriends of rape victims can either be class A assholes (and if that is your choice, you should probably just gracefully back out) or can be fundamental in recovery. I am EXTREMELY lucky* to have really only ever had experience with the latter type of guy. Even the relationships that didn't work out for whatever reason were actually really cool about this issue. If you want to be one of the good guys and do the right thing; take a step back, learn about rape and its ramifications, get help from a victim's advocate or counselor, do whatever it takes to be supportive. You can click to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network and they can offer information and refer you to confidential hot-lines, counselors and victim's advocates in your area.
*D notes that my extreme luck has more to do with my infamously extreme screening process. I once got picked up for a first date from work. Not five blocks away the guy says that he can't "sleep with a girl without SLEEPING with a girl." I got out of the car at the next intersection, walked back to my office, and announced to my coworker, "date's over!"