Breaking The Silence…Ending the Shame

The whole Donald Trump thing is really enraging.  It’s the epitome of Rape Culture that so many are refusing to see. It shouldn’t be so hard to see that MOST women are scared for their safety most of the time.  We decide what to wear and where we can wear it because it will attract unwanted attention, grabs, groping. We decide where we can and if need an escort.  We keep our keys in our hand, finger on the alarm.  We sleep with our house alarms on our night stands.  We have back up plans and safety networks.

I cannot tell you because of my large breasts how many times I have been grabbed and groped in my life.  Walking through the mall, in an airport, in all the bars because, you know, alcohol is an excuse, at work, walking down the street, at the gym, you get the idea – everywhere.

Screamed at me from cars “nice tits“, “show me your tits” “come on baby you liked it” and more.  My favourite was the guy in the bar who walked up to me, staring at my breasts, licked his lips and grabbed both of them in hands and said “I wanna titty fuck you so bad“.

Yet, I was the one who was ashamed.  I hated my body for attracting that attention.  I never or rarely wore low cut shirts, but when you are well endowed it’s hard to find clothes sometimes that don’t show something.  I have outfits reserved only for resorts and vacation wear because they are the only place I feel safe wearing them.  Or I only wear certain things when I am with my husband because, well, he’s there.

But that’s doesn’t always work anyway.  I’ve been walking back from the bathroom and had someone grope me, put his hand right up my skirt and wink at me.

Yet I felt I did something wrong, I shouldn’t have worn that skirt, I shouldn’t have walked past him.  How many times have I called myself stupid for having too much to drink and thinking it was just kissing but it wasn’t, and to have to fight someone off, getting a bloodied lip while being called a fucking cock tease while you’re running for a cab.

I suppose as women we should start all conversations with men as “hey there, my name is…..I really only want a kiss on the lips tonight.  No tongue please. No touching or fondling. Or sex.  I don’t want that.”  Will that help I wonder?

How do we WIN in this culture?  How do we break the silence and end the shame around these topics?

Why are we talking about women still and not the men who rape, who go too far, who don’t listen to no, who touch what’s not theirs to touch?  Why are  we teaching women how to not get raped and we’re not teaching or holding boys accountable for their actions?  Why is we say “boys will be boys?” and brush it off.  We are doing the world a disservice when we continue to talk about the wrong end of this.  We should be talking about what’s causing men and boys to behave this way?  Why do men rape?  Why do men believe they can touch a woman’s body when they aren’t invited?  Why aren’t we hosting classes on “consensual sex” for men?

Why aren’t we talking about the shitty sentences rapists and child abusers are getting?  Oh wait, we are.  But is anyone listening?  It seems as though we have more “mainstream” people fighting us in the conversation to protect rapists than we do to wanting the laws to be changed.  Is this because, well, someone is doing the raping and abusing?

Why aren’t we talking about the millions of children being sold into child sexual slavery?  Why aren’t we talking about the MEN WHO RAPE children, animals and women.  WHY aren’t talking about that?  Why are we talking about 1 in 4 women will get sexually assaulted sometime in their life (but we also know 80% of crimes aren’t reported and that # is off) and how come we’re not talking WHO IS DOING THE RAPING?  I mean, it’s not the same person over and over again.  We have a world filled with rapists and pedophiles.  Who are these people?  They are our neighbours, our pastors, our priests, our brothers, our fathers, our uncles, our husband’s, our boyfriends.  It’s not all men.  I proud and honoured to know many who stand for women’s right, who stand by their daughters, their wives and women in general.  But someone is committing these crimes.

Why are we still teaching women to be ashamed that they were victimized, that it was somehow their fault, instead of talking about why we have a demand for child porn?  Why we have to defend our right to our own body?  Is it because we’ve only had rights for such a short time?  We’re not as civilized as we might think.

Many women around the world don’t have rights.  In 1983 it became illegal to rape your wife in Canada.  Until then it wasn’t a crime.

Is it because men literally OWNED women’s bodies until a recent time?  Is this why we are still struggling with this conversation?  Perhaps, but this to me is a much deeper issue.  It’s not just men’s ability to grab and grope a woman’s body at any time.  It’s that MOST reported rape’s won’t get a conviction because, you know, her history.  And most child abuse cases, well, the witnesses aren’t reliable, as children, you know.  And the animals, well they can’t speak and most people who have any constitution turn away absolutely horrified on that one.  The gang rapes, the smut, the under ground human trafficking.

Why do we have a need for this?  What is going on within our brain’s, our psyche that we have people interested in these things?  And how can we have people condone this behaviour and say “if you read 50 shades of grey, you must want it“.

Here’s what I say to you, FUCK YOU.  There’s a big difference in fantasy and consensual BDSM than there is in non consensual touching, sex, abuse or assault.  And the fact that you don’t know the difference makes you a part of the problem.

We have some deep issues to deal with and a big one is that women fear for their lives and their safety on a regular basis.  Many are groomed to be victim’s from a young age.  Many are taught to be victims by being laughed at or made fun of when they say something wasn’t ok.  They are dragged through the mud, have their lives and their reputations ruined, they are told they shouldn’t have been there, what did they expect, they should have protected themselves.

And you think she didn’t think that?  While she cried in the shower?  That she should have fought harder?  That she should have tried harder?  That she shouldn’t have gone there, that she should have known better.  She already thinks and believes those things and when they are reflected back at her she is given more proof of how she was wrong.  And the perpetrator once again walks free.

And dozens more will never stand up because they see the trails like the Gian Ghomeshi.  We are taught that no matter how traumatized you were, if you REALLY didn’t want it, you would have behaved a certain way…. it doesn’t take into account a lifetime of abuse, a lifetime of fear, a lifetime of not feeling good enough, a lifetime of being groomed for it.

Over the last 3 years I have been privileged to sit in rooms of women and private coaching clients who have shared stories with me – everyone from grandfathers to boyfriends to husbands to strangers… and out of the hundreds of stories I’ve heard, only one or two were reported.  Why?  Because the victims blamed themselves.  They were lured, coaxed, in some cases told, do this or you will regret it.  If you tell, I’ll kill your family.  If you tell, you’ll be ruined.  Even when they wanted to speak up, they knew they would be publicly shamed, every decision they ever had brought out for all to see.  So they sit in silence. And shame.

So I ask you, why aren’t we openly talking about our stories?  All of our stories.  Not the safe ones like getting groped in a restaurant or having someone grab your boob in a pool or a bar.  But all of them.  I think if we each had the courage to lay our stories on the table we could impact the world in a way where “they” <<–the disbelievers are forced to see, to witness, to notice.

It’s time to change the story from the victims to the perpetrators.  Who are these people?  Why do they behave this way?  Why is there a demand for porn, child porn, human trafficking?  Who are the people involved in these crimes and how can we change the conversation to start talking about the perpetrators of these crimes.  It’s time to turn the tables.

End the silence, end the stigma, end the shame.  

Shame lives in silence.

Tonya Whittle

PS… I help women heal.  Many have had trauma’s in their lives, not just sexual.  I help many people who have had all sorts of trauma’s or are stuck in their lives. If you are stuck, alone, scared, suffering, please reach out.  I am willing to listen to your story, in confidence. No one should have to carry these things alone.

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