Seven Reasons Why

 

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With all the me too…
And the hullabaloo…
And whether it’s proved or disproved…
The main question…
That deserves attention…

Is the question “why”…
Not why was it committed…
But “ why was truth submitted…
So delayed?
Why did she come out…
With it, so late? »

Firstly, I don’t think we…
Who may have not known abuse…
Can step into judgement shoes…
And question a victim…
Who’s gone through trauma…
Brush it off…
As if it’s misnomer…

Questions are for all…
All those investigated…
And the views of one or the other…
Cannot be negated…

But…just going by history,
And past research,
There’s enough evidence…
That patriarchy works…
Misconduct, harassment, misogyny…
Abuse…lurks…

So coming back…
To the “why now? » folks…
Who sneer and snivel…
And are smug with their jokes…

If the world at large…
Thinks victims sit pretty,
Twiddling their thumbs…
Till they reveal the nitty gritty…
Of what they went through,
The world is mistaken…
Folks just assume…
That victims are the heathens…
And conclusions are reached…
Without rhyme or reason!

The number one reason…
Why victims are silent…
Is because they feel SHAME,
So how be defiant?

Remember the background…
Is patriarchal society…
Already that sets the stage…
For silence and sobriety…

Abuse, any kind,
By it’s very nature…
Is humiliating, dehumanising,
It crumbles the mind…
Victims feel invaded,
Degraded…
Defiled…
Whether adult or youth, of either gender…
Still worse, a child…

At the same time,
As if these feelings aren’t enough…
A victim feels indignity…
And helplessness…So rough!

This causes, very often,
The victims to blame themselves…
As if it was their fault…
And for years, they dwell…
And dwell… did I smile too much ?
Did I invite the fiend?
Was I a tad too friendly?
Did they take that to mean,
That I was just available?
Maybe it was me…”

A student, sexually assaulted…
By her professor of thirty-five,
Admitted that his attention…
Gave her a ‘high’…

Understanding shame…
Can go a long way to explain…
Why people remain silent…
While still going through pain…

Shame is unworthiness…
A feeling of being exposed…
We hang down heads…
And I suppose…
We think we’re full of defects…
The pervasive belief of being ‘bad’…
That leads one into isolation…
Set apart, banished…
Wishing to disappear….just vanish…

So keeping the truth at bay…
Makes us ‘invisible’…
And in a way…
Makes life more liveable,
Or so we hope and pray…

It’s hard to admit it happened,
Privately, let alone publicly,
Because we’d like to believe….
We’re in control of our lives completely…

One should have the power…
Power to defend oneself…
And when we feel that is lost,
We are ashamed to ask for help…

Moreover, I dare say,
(Though this maybe changing these days),
Women are used to being shamed…
Heckled by men in the street…
Even when husbands make comments…
On their behinds, or even their feet !

Women feel shame when…
Their whole being is reduced…
To a score out of ten…
To how attractive or unattractive…
The opposite sex finds them !

Many women will use a defence,
Bury their head in the sand…
And if they’ve ever been bullied,
Might never take a stand…

The next reason stems from the last,
And truly, you can’t separate them all,
It’s MINIMISATION and DENIAL
That the abuse wasn’t abusive to call !

A friend was felt up by her boss…
She said, I know friends…
Who’ve suffered more…
In childhood, they were abused…
What happened to me was nothing…
Compared to what others went through!”

Others MAKE EXCUSES for the criminal…
“Poor soul, wasn’t getting enough at home…
Couldn’t help himself….
Was so alone!
But euphemism doesn’t transform it…
You can’t change chrome into gold !

You can’t totally wipe out abuse…
Even when defences are used…
It’s like a stubborn stain…
That refuses to be removed…
Manifests in depression,
Adjustment disorders…
A myriad issues of coping,
All the while, the victim is hoping…
That it will pass…go away…
But it doesn’t, does it?
It stays…
And then the only thing to do is say…
Speak out, even if it leads to a fray!

The next reason is the FRAY
The fear of the consequences of report…
The fear of what people will say…
To what extent the abuser …
May retaliate or resort…
Especially if the wrong doer is in power…
All the more, this causes one to cower…

Who, in their right mind…
Would take on an autocrat ?
No, that’s not done…
That’s not usual dictat…

The fear of repercussions is high…
On the list of reasons why…
People don’t openly talk,
And stay in a trap…
In which they are caught…

It can really be…
The worst Catch 22…
If you’re silent, you’re suicidal,
If you speak,
The others are homicidal…
One feels one may be punished…
And the truth,  thus diminished…

They feel they won’t be believed…
Especially if victimiser is powerful, see?
So the victim stays in a cocoon…
Till she feels…
Another like her has spoken…
Strength in numbers…
Makes one emboldened!

Again, we see in history…
Where women have spoken out…
They’ve lost employment,
And credibility…
And the devil wins the bout !
People who wield power…
To prey on others, no doubt…
Will do just about anything…
To preserve their catatonic clout !

So the PRECEDENT that’s been set,
Is a thing that doesn’t let…
Women have confidence…
For their demons to be met…
With justice or reprieve…
So in silence, they grieve…

Some people with LOW SELF ESTEEM
Just ´give themselves away,´
With low self worth to begin with…
They rationalise and say,
“Men were always groping and grabbing….
So what is one more now?”
But this woman didn’t realise…
Exactly the extent and how…
The results would show on her life…
She started acting out…
Was on crack by twenty five…
She stopped caring for herself…
Until her sister forced her into help…
And only when she came out and spoke…
Only then, did she walk on recovery road…

We do our best everyday…
To instil confidence in our girls and women…
But it’s hard in many a culture…
That is inherently driven…
By male gender…
Considered superior,
Patriarchs made by matriarchs….
Who are women who don’t mind being inferior !

So women in society…
As Seligman portrayed rightly…
Learn to be helpless, and so…
LEARNED HELPLESSNESS just grows…

Many don’t get justice,
Or delayed is just denied…
So a feeling of utter hopelessness…
Can make a victim hide…

Many don’t have…
The emotional strength…
To face manipulation…
They just go into a shell…

Those that tried to take action…
Were very oft ignored…
Especially long ago…
When the awareness..
Was slow…
In gaining momentum…
But now it should be…
Our main intention…
To take appropriate action !

Coming out with the truth…
Offers a catharsis of sorts…
Even if it means…
A public onslaught…
Of adverse reactions…
This results, at least,
In some kind of traction !

And though there’s turmoil in recalling…
Getting it off your chest…
Is like freeing an  albatross ….
That has weighed down your head…

Relationships, hence,
If entered at all…
Are treaded with caution…
Backs against wall…

So before we’re quick to question …
The victim….or judge her…
Or assume, “it was invited to get ahead,
Please grasp the larger picture ….
Or you risk humanity being dead…

We shouldn’t make,
Or endorse jokes on the issue…
Because this isn’t information to misuse….

This isn’t done for fame or claim…
It’s done at the risk ….
Of your own good name ….
Not done for a lark…
There’s no shimmer, no spark…
It’s not done because,
Promises weren’t kept…
A victim risks stigma…
And she’s in over her head…

A victim becomes a victor…
For the revelation of a sinner…

Yes, do due diligence…
In the search for verity,
But even before that,
We’re shunning the veracity…
With flippant remarks…
Where is the sanity ?

Sure,  there are two sides…
To every story…
But we shouldn’t be blind…
Because we see glory…

So please do question…
But support women and men…
Who have credible stories…
And then, only then…
Could we have a mindset overhaul…
Because it can take years,
If not a lifetime, or more….
To change a single thought…

By Scherezade Mansukhani

Scherezade Mansukhani

Scherezade is a Clinical Child Psychologist, Part-time mother, blogger, French teacher and IATA teacher. She has worked with the differently abled, and now works on and off as a teacher.

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