Breaking the Silence

What Can We Do to Be Part of the Solution?

In a remarkable development, the unexpected byproduct of a toxic political environment is thousands of women (and a fair number of men) are breaking the silence about the sexual violations they have experienced. The pushback of denial is likewise remarkable in its own right.

In an interesting e-dialogue with a woman responding to one of my posts about the situation, she told me these private matters should not be made public, even by those who had been violated. They should be solved in private.

“But they are telling the truth,” I commented.

To which she replied, “That may very well be, but we certainly don't talk about it.”

Therein lies the problem. Silence allows us to remain comfortable, and thus to avoid facing a difficult reality for which we all have some degree of culpability. After all, cultural norms are a reflection of what we collectively practice or permit. We are the creators and sustainers of the culture.

Worse still, silence creates an environment of shame for those who suffer in the shadows. And because there is no means for discussion, those who need validation and support remain alone with their unhealed wounds and unresolved sorrows.

If we can not, do not, or will not speak of something that needs attention, there is simply no way it can be changed for the better.  There is no solution where there is no acknowledged problem. And sometimes, because of our ignorance or discomfort, we seek to silence or punish those who are suffering. Unresolved violence is met with the subtle and rippling effects of more violence.

I empathize with those who want to somehow avoid or minimize ugly realities. None of us like seeing the painful truth, or experiencing our own psychological discomfort. Regardless, since our denial is not effective, it is time to take a deep breath and engage the challenges we face.

Seeing True

As long as there is silence, there will be shadows, shame and suffering.

Only light can vanquish darkness. Let truth be given a voice and an ear.

Seeing True in Action

Are you talking to someone about your own injuries and history? A trusted confidante, spiritual advisor, minister or priest, or therapist? If not, can you commit to making a start? Sooner rather than later?

Many of us can’t begin to listen well until we’ve first begun to speak our own truth and tell our own stories.

Then, are you listening well? Do you make yourself available to others, or ask sincerely after their well being? If your skills are not well developed, can you seek out tools or training? Are you able to at least get underway toward becoming a more effective listener?

It is so very easy to allow our selves to be oblivious, or to retreat into an undisturbed comfort zone. Strangely, we will find no real freedom there.