People are capable of being downright amazing human beings and still hiding a predatory or abusive side in the shadows. Sadly, it is entirely possible for a man (and yes, also for a woman, although rarely) you admire, love and cherish, to also be a rapist.
If someone shines a light into those dark corners by coming forward with a statement of their experience, the first thing that should happen is for you to believe them. The second thing that should happen is for you to shine your own light into those corners and take a good, unfiltered look.
You don’t serve anyone’s best interests by training your eye on the bright and sparkly part, and allowing the darker secrets to stay hidden. A rapist, a pedophile, an abusive person, a misogynist, a sexual offender all need to get help for the sickness they are holding inside. Help them by seeing what they are, and encouraging them to seek treatment, and if encouragement fails, then by whatever other means are available, bring them to treatment. Not everyone can be cured, but anyone who actively engages in therapeutic work WILL find healing.
As we help them heal, we help their surviving victims. For a survivor to know that they have been heard, believed, and validated through the opened eyes of others is healing. For a survivor to know that their attacker is under surveillance, is being treated, is being kept from attacking others – that is healing.
Punishment/accountability needs to be a part of the equation; without the proper accountability and responsibility mandates, the world remains an unstable, uncivilized and frightening place for both the perpetrator and the survivor. Punishment can’t be the only response that takes place, because those who harm others are deeply sick within themselves, and so there must be efforts to help them find healing. If those efforts fail or are met with unwillingness, that is when those particular individuals need to be taken away and held separate. Society needs to be protected, women need to know that they are protected.
As we move forward and pioneer the paths needed to reach the place where attackers are either helped to heal or helped to never attack again, and where women are seen as human beings rather than objects or body parts to be violated, healers and teachers will emerge to way-show; to light up these dark corners of our world and bring us back from a millennia of misogyny, to raise the Divine Feminine energies, to sew the seeds of womanhood back into the earth, so that we can move forward, growing as whole humans, and bringing the healing to our Mother Earth, that she and we all so desperately seek. — Raven Anne Quigley
This post was originally published on the author’s Facebook timeline and was written in response to an NY Daily News article: “Lena Dunham defends ‘Girls’ writer, producer accused of raping 17-year-old actress”
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