“…you’d be amazed at how people get riled up about things and then slip back into the comfort of their historical privileges and their historical aporias…” ~conversation with Junot Diaz (On Being podcast).
I am not usually one to participate in the FB memes. I try to maintain a healthy boundary with social media alongside running a business. However, the palpable collective energy around oppression was laying heavy on my heart over the weekend, and I had not even visited FB- yet.
When I became aware of the #MeToo movement I was unsure where to let it land within me. I was also unsure of how I should respond- should I respond? But it didn’t need to land anywhere. It was already present within me and therefore my emotional responses rose from all of the places that have been harmed by sexual oppression and violence. It was clear that I had a responsibility to say something.
I often discuss how our stories can become entangled with our identity and reinforce the trauma or experience- if we get caught in that entanglement. Silence is also deadly. So it is a great discernment to understand how to use our voice in these matters. And, I will say, without a doubt that it is far more healing to speak about your experience with sexual violence than not. I just call attention to long term perpetuated stories that don’t produce healing….
Sexual violence, in particular, is not a story to be told -it is a disease to be healed. And, can be healed when we allow ourselves to see all sides of the epidemiology. Yes, we must give it voice so it can be seen and freed. And then we must free ourselves by dissecting the linear story of perpetrator to victim. The tool of this dissection is compassion. We must have compassion for ourselves- AND the act- in order for our healing to begin. And that can extend out to heal the collective and the avenues through which the disease came.
The other piece of why voice is important in freeing ourselves is that often many victims of sexual violence have a very foggy memory- and some no memory at all- of the trauma. There is an underlying wonder, but tremendous doubt, shame, fear and heart break keep us from admitting what “we know”. If there is no clear picture in the memory banks of the mind then it must not have happened. But that is not where the memory of trauma is stored. And, what many fail to realize is that there is a memory and it shows up every day throughout the body. (I will be writing in the coming weeks on the affect of suppressed memory on the body and nervous system)
I have worked with over 1000 women (and men) in addressing fertility and digestive issues. I do extensive intakes around physical, spiritual and emotional health. However, regardless of what is disclosed, there is rarely mention of sexual oppression or abuse. They mention work stress and relationships but rarely consider that their history with any abuse or trauma is relevant. And, when it does surface in conversation it is typically with an aloof “well, I was abused but I’m ok with that” kind of response.
However, as we work together, their body begins to speak. There is in undeniable relationship between the sexual violence they have experienced and what they are feeling in their body. I witness the struggle of not wanting to voice something that could create more pain. But I will tell you with fact, and no proof other than the healing within my own life and body and the witness of the healing within others, is that once there is recognition and voice- rapid shifts in health begin.
I understand how we, as women, have come to deny and almost and be exhausted by thinking that sexual trauma has the impact it does. There is this known, but not discussed, story we know most of us carry that has become this greyed background noise in the midst of everyday life that we no longer consider. There is an assumption that it is just something we bury because our mothers and grandmothers did. It is a story often passed through our bones and blood without a voice, so it tries to call to us for release and freedom- through our bodies and the imbalances we must pay attention to. It is an epigenetic disease that lives inside of us, and society, that continues to be passed down to our children.
Sexual trauma physically, energetically and emotionally attacks, primarily, the pelvis and belly. Therefore you can likely expect issues and disease in these areas. This is why when I hear women say “oh, my grandmother had painful and heavy periods.” Or, “my mother had many miscarriages”. I often say- “they didn’t pass down painful menstruation, they passed down unresolved trauma.” Also, I often see an inability to release which shows up in the colon as contraction, creating all kinds of digestive issues. This inability to release, and thus contract, is a trauma response.
I am not saying that all reproductive and digestive issues are based in sexual trauma- however, most of them are based in some kind of trauma pattern. But, if you have symptoms in these areas, along with a family history of sexual violence, or just a personal history of sexual violence, then I strongly encourage you to find your beautiful voice and begin to talk with your body and thus release yourself from your disease- your story. If you have these symptoms, family history and no recall of personal history, then I also strongly encourage you to find some words that your body may be wanting to speak. Then gently, with your beautiful voice, allow the story forgotten to unfold and disease to be released.
With that said, I do not believe in digging for what is behind our imbalances. I have complete faith in the body’s intelligence to present what is underneath as we allow ourselves to address our symptoms through a completely holistic filter and explore the emotional sensations attached. The body is highly intelligent and knows not to re-traumatize itself. If you are willing to listen it will present to you what you need to remember to heal at a time when the healing can be integrated.
When we dig- we can traumatize and create “stories” that don’t serve the body as they are perpetuated by the mind and create false release (which I discuss here). The body does not lie nor deceive nor hurt itself- we do that to ourselves. So, trust that, with guidance, you can explore this very important path of healing-this disease of imbedded sexual violence. Trust that you not only free yourself, but free all who also walk and have walked this path. And, with all of your beautiful heart- no matter how challenging at first- honor the footprints of all who suffer- from both sides– and then let the rains of truth and compassion wash them away so our children do not follow the same path.
Collective energy is palpable and powerful. I am honored to say #MeToo as I know I have been given the gift of voice to help others be free from this disease. My body doesn’t, didn’t and will never lie. It took many years to allow my voice to ring out so my body could speak her truth. If you need help with finding your voice- please ask- I am here for you.
Thank you for reading, Jamie Renee Lashbrook