I’m one of those people who is shattered. It took multiple impacts. I can tell you when most of them happened, and how. Some are just a condition of when and where I grew up. Some are personal and a consequence of who I am, which in turn made me who I am.
I don’t talk about them. Honestly, I don’t think about them. Unless you’re one of my closest friends and have the misfortune of catching me during one of my worst moments, you don’t know where the cracks are nor how carefully I paper them over.
I am aware of impact and damage ONLY insofar as I need to know how I work, and what is going to affect me in what way and also what biases are rooted into my perception, so I can think around them.
Because listen to me, since I’m about to say words you’ll rarely hear: you’re not defined by the damage you take. Most of the damage you take is at any rate minuscule, compared to the damage people in the past took as a matter of course. Sexual abuse? Well sh*t son, the Romans thought that murals of monkeys having sex with human children were a great living room decoration. You’re free to make inferences to what went on in people’s lives. Women not giving consent to sexual contact? Good Lord, the idea you must give consent wasn’t really a thing, particularly if you were married. And for much of history (though the Catholic Church fought against it for centuries) giving consent for your marriage wasn’t a thing either, so you’re free to infer what went on.
But more importantly, people were shattered in other ways. I find it exceedingly bizarre that I’m 55 and I’ve never kept vigil at a death bed. I’m not eager to do it, mind. I am the world’s worst sick-room attendant being ADHD AND squeamish. But I remember when my mom was my age, she’d attended to half of our family’s elderly as they died. And heck, it was old hat for her.
Death was so common for her generation, that as a child she and her friends made cloth dolls every year, and then had funerals for them at the end of the year and made new ones. This rang true to them, because so many babies in their neighborhood died in the first couple of years of age. They also died later. My mom remembered vividly the death of a friend when she was fourteen. She said she realized he was dead because flies were landing on his eyes and he didn’t blink.
And heck, mom had it easy. In the norm of humans born centuries before her, her life was relatively protected. No invasions, no blood on the streets.
Heck, if she’d been born say in London, she’d remember bombings during her early childhood, in WWII.
So why do we have any number of people running around “Shattered”by things that were relatively trivial?
I’m here to tell you that yes, being groped by strange males, particularly when you’re going about your normal business, is a horrible feeling.
First time it happened to me was fifth grace, when a totally unknown boy grabbed me in the playground as I was walking past, and felt me up very thoroughly before I could run away. I was eleven and completely innocent about sex, and had no idea why this felt “dirty” but it did. The sense of wrong was so strong it still makes my skin crawl years later.
Do I count that in the number of blows that shattered me? Oh, please. He was a cruddy little boy (probably 14) and I’m not about to give him that kind of power over me.
Would anyone have believed me if I complained? Sure. They’d have said “don’t go to that corner of the playground.”
Is that man a rapist now? Possible. The revolution happened shortly thereafter and in the confusion a lot of my generation went bad.
Is it likely? No. It’s likely that he’d just figured this out, and I crossed his field of notice shortly thereafter, so I was the lucky winner. I doubt he could pick me — even a pick of me at that time — out of a lineup. Hell, I doubt he remembers me.
Is that acceptable behavior? No. If one of my sons had done that to any little girl and I caught him/was sure he’d done it, he’d not have been able to sit for a month, even if he were 14 when they were already taller and bigger than me.
But here’s the thing: all the women using #metoo to say that it should never happen to any woman and that every accusation has to believed, so this is stamped out… they’re crazy. It will never be stamped out. Humans aren’t widgets. No, men can’t cause all other men to be decent. Anymore than I can cause every woman to not be a little idiot. Because we don’t share a collective mind controlled by the sex organs.
Yes, in an ideal world no woman or girl would ever be afraid of walking anywhere alone or eve inebriated. This is not an ideal world. Humans are not uniformly angels. In the world we live in, women have to be aware or their surroundings. So do smaller men. Hell, so do bigger men in some neighborhoods. You’re never going to eliminate criminals, much less hooligans.
And in this non-ideal world, not only are teen boys not in full possession of their faculties because hormones do weird things to their mood. They’re not being TAUGHT how to behave. Telling them they’re toxic and have to stop being masculine doesn’t help them control themselves. If you tell someone they were born to be criminals they’re not going to fight very hard to be good.
And by the way requiring show trials in which there is no presumption of innocence and/or self accusation won’t make men behave better, or more boys control themselves. If you don’t understand this you might want to study show trials in communist countries, as well as the long history of double-think.
You know what helped men control themselves? The fact that good men could plant a facer on anyone acting like an ass where he could be seen. But #grrrrrrlpower and “non violence” put an end to that. Considering humans are great apes and some responses are very old, perhaps that wasn’t the brightest of ideas?
Still and all, yes, there are shattering moments that have to do with sex. They amount to a hell of a lot more than groping. And even those…
Do you honestly think women in the past who went on to live functional, even good lives were never groped? That women even now in countries — like under Islam — where they have virtually no rights spend their time angsting because some other woman’s TOTALLY UNSUPPORTED accusation (which seems to have escalated from groping to attempted rape, maybe, but is not clear enough for anything) wasn’t immediately listened to? Do you think women brought up in harsher circumstances angst about every circumstance of groping? Are you really that protected?
Think of it this way: when you allow trauma to control your life — any trauma — you’re giving whoever (or whatever) traumatized you power over your life FOREVER.
Could I obsess about the guy who groped me in playground? Sure. If I hadn’t had about a dozen more important things to worry about.
AND if I wanted a reason/cause to live for.
The problem is that #metoo and the idea that no woman ever should be touched with anything but extreme respect and possibly white gloves has become a cause.
Women whose lives are otherwise empty will gloam onto the one instance in which they were… who knows? felt up, maybe?as a reason to live. They’re heroic, see, because they’re victims and victims are heroic. And they’re living for the cause of “this won’t happen to any woman ever.” It gives shape to their days. It also traumatizes every child and a lot of the adults under their purview but never mind.
Yes, humans are different, and people are broken by different things. My own shattering experiences are probably things many of you shrugged off. And vice versa.
And I’ve known people, male and female, shattered by things that other people shrug off. I know a man who became a communist leader, and hates freedom in society because his father abandoned his mother when he was five. Which in the village environment was hard to take.
But you know, he had a home, a mother, and friends, and it shouldn’t have been that way. For him it just was. He wanted fathers to be irrelevant, which requires smashing family and replacing the state.
I know people traumatized forever because they were in a car accident and got scarred.
I’m not judging what traumatizes others. As I said, some of my wounds would probably be laughed at by some of you guys. They shattered me because I’m me, and yes, I was also incredibly protected by historical standards.
What I’m saying is, your wounds are not the most important thing about you. And we’re never going to eliminate shattering events from EVERYONE’s life. It would require everyone to be perfect, or everyone to be dead. (Or possibly both.)
Precisely because what shatters me won’t shatter you and vice versa, the perfect society where no trauma occurs is impossible.
And while devoting your life to being a victim of whatever shattering event is away of organizing your life and giving it meaning, it’s a stupid way.
Fools might think that you’re a hero for being a victim, but that’s not how the world works. And devoting your life to anger and injury will make you a miserable human being and suck out the joy in life of everyone around you. Not to mention twisting your children into pretzels.
It is better to take your cracks and mend them. Become kintsugi if you can. Patch over those shattered bits better. Look at yourself as home improvement. Don’t repair. Upgrade. Now you know where your weak point is. Make it strong. And sure, help others along the way. Help them the only way real people can be helped: one on one, volunteering, listening, sometimes with monetary help. Do not “help” them by demanding the world be made perfectly safe. It can’t be. Even a total police state can’t keep boys from groping girls, or men from looking at a woman with lust in their eyes. What it can do is f*ck up normal relationships between men and women.
Stop social signaling. If you want to work for a better world, work for it in the only way it’s done: one on one, person by person.
And stop being a victim. Sure, horrible things happen to everyone. It is giving them power over you for the rest of your life that makes you a victim.
Don’t be a victim. Be an adult. Take the shattering events and integrate them. Learn your weak points and patch them over.
And then go on. No one ever promised you a perfect world. Of if they did, they’re liars or fools. You’re not perfect. Why would anyone else be.
Live well. It’s the best revenge. It’s also the only way to make the world better.