While I love politics, I tend to find myself getting anxious over it. After finding myself on Facebook more than usual and becoming defensive, I decided to log off social media for the next few days. Sometimes, I just need a break especially when it begins to mess with me mentally. On the other hand, I have an overwhelming desire to get this out.
Yesterday’s Senate hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was emotional. I found myself experiencing many different emotions. For those involved, I cannot image the emotions they went through and my heart goes out to Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh, and their families. What they went through was not easy especially on a national stage where criticism was plenty.
I think, though, that there is another group who was affected by the hearing – men and women who have been sexually assaulted (or even abused). The hearing may have opened up a wound that they believed was healed. Some may find themselves reliving this traumatic incident.
While mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, all I see is hateful posts. The hearing should have been about a woman who was sexually assaulted, not about Democrats and Republicans. That’s where America failed.
This hearing could have been used as a platform to open up many conversations – a moment for survivors to share their stories; conversations about how we, as a nation, can combat sexual assault (and abuse). Instead, conversations of conspiracy and hatred emerged. Americans allowed a pivotal moment to pass and we should be ashamed.
Here is my plea:
America, take this opportunity to change the conversation. Let’s talk about sexual assault. What is considered sexual assault? Can it be prevented and if so, how? How can I help a victim who has chosen to open up to me? What resources are available to victims?
Be careful about what you post on social media. I know everyone is entitled to their opinions but state them without hatred. Realize that what you post is viewable to others. Some of those individuals are victims of sexual assault. Your hurtful words can make a difference. Maybe they choose not to reach for help. Maybe they choose to commit suicide because they feel like they have no one to turn to and they cannot carry this weight any longer.
Lastly, please realize that there is no timeline or manual on how to deal with the aftermath of a sexual assault. Each person is different. One individual may find peace in therapy while another does not. One may find healing in suppressing their feelings and the event. Some may be able to say the name of their attacker; others may find it too painful no matter how long ago. Such a traumatic incident is so very personal.
All I am asking is that we be more kind to one another. I just don’t understand why it is that difficult.