What is Probably the Most Asked Question

The question I am referring to is one that I have a love/hate relationship with. 

 As I have written about earlier, I had a wonderful opportunity to go to Peru with International Justice Mission.  We were a team to bring change to the community, address medical issues, and as I understand it, I was the first therapist they sent out to treat the rape survivors.  The whole focus of the team was to treat rape survivors, encouraging legal means to stop it,  and exposing corruption in the local government.  Peru is recovering from the Communist guerrilla warfare where rape was (is?) rampant and there were no legal resources to turn to.  We travelled into the Andes mountains and met the survivors and their families.  The families tended to treat the survivors terribly and thus increased their shame and pain.  But, that is not the focus of this blog. 

International Justice Mission is a brilliant organization.  They really know how to do so many things creatively.  One thing they did was set up a big event that was amazing.  State and local leaders of all sorts as well as dignitaries of all sorts were invited and came.  In the front row was a group of men with impressive sashes on (a couple of them dozed during the presentation!).   It was quite a crowd.  Maybe about 400 people (guessing).  Two speakers were set up.  We had a chief of police from our team who spoke first.  Then it was me….I do not remember exactly what I spoke on.  I know one thing was about women not owing men anything in return for being treated nicely.   I remember this one, because a reporter that was part of our team told me afterwards that yes, that was why she trained her girls to pay their own way on dates.  I just said to her well, that is one way of trying to stay safe, but what I want for my daughter is a man who will pay for them both and not expect any favors in return.  A fabulous character trait.

Anyway, this is the big question.  I hear it over and over.  It happened so long ago, why can’t they just get over it?  And some add the part about why do they have to talk about it? 

 I tell people that what the survivors have experienced is like injecting their brains with emotional psychological cancer and it is impossible to ‘just get over it.’  No one would say that to a breast cancer survivor. Survivors generally exhibit all sorts of reactions and repercussions that neither they nor others understand are even related to the violence. 

Just this morning I was told about a woman who ended up in the hospital with a panic attack.  She has lived what has in a lot ways made it seem like she was OK, at least in the public’s eye.  But, the panic attack is a serious symptom that is telling her she needs help. 

It simply is not true that someone can ‘just get over it.’  This is a lie that is nearly rampant everywhere I go if the subject comes up.  Gratefully, there are a few exceptions.  But my goal is to get rid of the lie in our culture and change it with the truth.

I will explain in a future blog just why someone cannot ‘just get over it.”

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