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#MeToo It’s about TIME

#METOO
It’s about TIME
By Charity Hagains MA, LPC-S

Time Magazine names Silence Breakers behind the #MeToo campaign as our “person of the year” and at Noyau we feel that is really is about time.

Our nation has been gripped by the recent #MeToo campaign and the long overdue acknowledgment of an epidemic more widespread than many can understand. As women from around the country, and the world, speak out about the pain and trauma they have survived due to sexual assault and harassment, many more are left with unexpected emotions.

For some there is a feeling of dissonance at the realization that they too are among the women who have been victimized. Perhaps until this moment, they had not considered themselves victims. However, through this campaign the awareness of what consent really means, and what is or is not appropriate behavior has been amplified. This may be the first instance that you look back on uncomfortable memories and say to yourself, “That was wrong, and I am not responsible for it happening.” It’s an empowering realization, but it can also be a painful one.

Others may be struck by the unexpected reliving of a trauma in which they believed they had moved on. Reimagining an assault or a moment when you felt powerless can be shocking. It’s tempting to push those memories and emotions aside to protect yourself from hurt. It may feel easier to block out that pain temporarily, but unfortunately, that hurt is still there and usually comes back full force in the most unexpected ways and the most inconvenient times.

Perhaps you are not a direct victim of a predator, but care for someone who has suffered through an assault or harassment. As a parent, friend, sibling or child of a survivor, you too may be going through unexpected pain during these times. Feelings of fear, anger, compassion, and empathy take their toll on you as well as your loved one. I’ve heard people say that they “don’t feel right” about being upset by the news because it didn’t happen to them, it was someone else who suffered. Your emotions are valid ones, and while you may not have experienced the trauma that your loved one did, you are experiencing your own pain now. It’s okay to talk about that and in doing so you may find that you open a conversation of healing not only for you, but for your loved one as well.

Beyond even those groups, we find that as a country, we are in pain. A nation dealing with confusion, fear, rage, and dissonance. Each day our airways are filled with horrific stories involving people of power, people we had placed our faith in, betraying that covenant. We see leaders who have abused their position, CEOs who preyed on their employees, and local officials who destroyed the trust that was afforded them, among others. Adding to that, we scroll social media and see memes, being shared by people we thought highly of, that mock victims. Family members make comments on consent or harassment that cause us to turn away from them and diminish the respect we once had. Again, we grieve, we rage, we cry…we feel.

It’s a lot to go though, and yet each day we wake up and face it anew. That’s all we can do. We must continue to rise each day and challenge the culture that has caused these atrocities to go unchecked for so long. Healing begins when we open ourselves up to those around us whom we know we can trust and share our pain. Talking about these painful moments in our past, the current hurt we are experiencing, and the shared confusion and anger we have is the strongest and most powerful way though this.

If you find yourself in a situation where you aren’t yet comfortable talking with those in your personal life, or if your experience is too overwhelming to process, trained experienced counselors are a great place to begin your journey of healing. The counselors at Noayu are here for you at whatever stage of the journey you are on, and we are honored to walk that path with you.

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