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Category Archives: victim blaming

The Pendulum

The Pendulum

Today, this morning, my heart is heavy.  My soul is crying.  Every place I go, people harm each other.  The -ism’s abound. Racism, sexism, ageism, etc.  The historic ruling method of betterism is as rampant today as it has always been.

I am better than you.  My god is better than yours.  My house is better, my land is better, my job is better, my skin color is better.  My army is better than yours.  My views are better than yours.  And so the Pendulum swings.

Pendulum

One side getting pulled up, having maximum potential.  And as he comes crashing down at those below him, he meets resistance.  The other side demands, cries out that they must be equally high!

And they are right.  But, if they only want to be equally high on a Pendulum that swings back and forth, with brute force in the middle as they meet, only transferring energy from side to side. No one wins.  Equality will never be found.

We HAVE to stop the Pendulum.  We have to get off the ride.

depositphotos_10208334-Pendulum-ride-at-the-amusement-park.jpg

On this ride, no one gets to be equal in anything except their turn at fear.

We are passengers on the Divide and Conquer Pendulum, throwing insults and violence as we careen back and forth on the fear ride.

And this isn’t even a fair assessment.  White Privilege makes one side heavier.  White Male Privilege makes it even heavier.

The Pendulum is only being swung from one direction, knocking into everything else, causing only chaotic energy at the bottom, enabling a few to get pushed upward on the other side of all those in the middle, who are just getting smashed into, feeling the energy moving through them, with no way to get anywhere with it.

All the -ism’s are different ends on the same ride, different end balls getting smashed into by the same originating force.

Many people say I can’t understand what it is to be a black American.  That is undeniably true for the most part.  But, as a woman, I can understand more than you give me credit for.  All women, regardless of color know harassment just by being women.  We know the victim blaming that will come no matter how we were dressed or behaving. We know the fear and risk of deciding to walk down a street alone.

No, I cannot completely understand.  I cannot.  I know that as well.  My status as a white woman has given me privilege, that even as much as I understand, still provides me with more just because I am white.

But I can and do empathize with a great deal of understanding.  And because of that, I also know that the only way for all of us to get equality, is to stop swinging the Pendulum.  To get off the damn ride. To refuse to play.  To STOP killing, harming, insulting, and believing in the betterisms.

YES, it is far more dependent on those who have the privilege to stop swinging their balls.  I know.  I fight for it all the time.  I get into discussions regularly with people who say “I’m not racist.  I’m not privileged. I have black friends.  I treat girls well.”  Who also catcall and judge every girl walking down the street.  Calls anyone or anything that doesn’t behave they way the want a “nigger”.  People who turn their backs on, or blame Person A when a tragedy strikes, because Person A should have …..  People who blame ALL of this group because a few did something horrific.  People, everyday people, riding the ride, comfortable in their discomfort because it’s what they know.

We need to get uncomfortable.  We need to be willing to throw away Betterism first.  Once that one is gone, we can show that all the other ism’s are a form of betterism, and they too can be discarded.  Then, can we look at each other as equal.  Equal in our decision to get off the ride.  Equal in our humanity.  Equal in our choice to stop giving our money and time to fear of not being ‘as good as’.  Because, ‘not as good as’, is a strand of betterism, it’s the fear of not being enough, of being unworthy, of not being significant, of being deprived.  Betterism hits all the basic human fears.  And all negative actions begin in one of these fears.

fears

 

We need to be brave, face our fears, be accepting of each other, stop, JUST STOP needing to be better than in order to feel self-worth. And for Pete’s sake, STOP KILLING EACH OTHER.  STOP BEING VIOLENT.

I support the #BlackLivesMatter movement in part because I have a black son, but more importantly because any mother of a black child shouldn’t feel guilt for having had their child, shouldn’t feel fear every time they leave the house, and shouldn’t have to go to  their child’s funeral because someone else couldn’t face their own fears, and chose to be violent instead.

#noonedeservesviolence  NO ONE.

We have had amazing leaders who proved that peaceful protest is better than war, better than violence, unites instead of disenfranchises, and gets things done quicker.  When the aggressor feels there is justification in being aggressive, it only strengthens the viciousness of the cycle.  Peaceful unity, standing together in all of our understanding that we don’t really know how to do it just right because we’ve never had an example of how to before.  All we know is that we want to give our children a future that doesn’t involve the Pendulum; a future where we have stepped off the ride; a future where we are equal, blessed in our diversity, but equal in our humanity.

My hope and prayer is that enough people feel the same, that we can collectively get off the ride quickly.

Love and light to you all.

 

I ain’t no Humpty Dumpty; The snake’s skin

I ain’t no Humpty Dumpty;  The snake’s skin

Things are getting shook up around here and all for the better!!

I should be in Kazakhstan by the end of the month starting my new teaching position there.  I can’t even describe how excited I am!

Though I know most of these posts lately have been ominous and dreary, I promise on the other side of the screen some really positive things have been happening.

I started off my time in Montana quite concerned about finding my joy again.  I’ve always been able to find my joy, even when feeling down, but the more open my eyes have become to the abuses all around us, the more I ripped apart.  It felt like my soul was ripping apart. Finding joy was becoming difficult.

The blessings of my Shaman Path are many fold and one blessing was the realization, just when I needed it, that shedding my past, like a snake sheds her skin, is painful.  It takes work.  It doesn’t just fall off, it has to be removed.  It has to get pushed and split open and cm by cm pulled and worked off.

The ripping apart was a necessary part of the growth.  The falling off the wall was necessary.  The seeing was necessary.

But unlike Humpty Dumpty, this girl can get put back together again.  And how!

And I also realized, that my journey right now is not to find my joy, but to find my peace.  My joy is with me always, but I have not been able to feel my peace.

And that is what I’ve been working on.  Making peace, finding peace, learning peace, teaching peace.  Within my tranquility I feel my joy abundantly.  I just have to keep myself resolving into peace.

And – who knew?  I didn’t.  That ever crazy word that everyone wants and no one has, patience……  yeah, it’s not a single state, like happy.  It’s a multi-layered state, like peace.  Can I just tell you how much easier that has become once I realized there’s more than one part to it!

When you have patience, you’re overcoming anxiety and distrust.  When you have patience, you’re not looking for the instant gratification.  When you have patience, you are not letting the unknowns create fear.

I ask myself things like:  Are you afraid?  Are you anxious?  Are you looking for an immediate reward?  If I answer yes to any of those, then I examine whatever it is.  Patience is so much easier when you quell the storm that makes you impatient.  Game changer that one.

There is still much to be done, much to be written and much to be learned about the many ways we indulge abusers, don’t see abusers tests and warning flags, and re-victimize victims by blaming them.  But, I am in the works of creating my very own, paid for, hosted, and what ever other words I don’t even know yet because this is all really new to me website.  One where I can write my fun, travel, joyful, teachery blog posts on one part and the heavier, no one deserves violence, stop abusers blog posts in another part.  And a few other things I’ve been cooking up.

I know it’s been rough for those of you only wanting the read the fluffy stuff.  Trust me, it’s been hard to not have much fluffy stuff to write about.  I’ve had a harder time writing the good because I’ve been afraid of the good stopping if I wrote about it.  But, I’m learning.

As the snake sheds her skin, so too am I.  As the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so too am I.

I’m still a little, bitty, brand-new phoenix, but I’m dusting off the ashes and looking around.

baby_phoenix_by_annezca-d5mp3l5.png

Kazakhstan, I am ready to embrace you.  Let’s get ‘er done.

 

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A lesson in parallels, holding my head up high: Stop victim blaming.

I cannot help but notice the undeniable parallels of my time in Mozambique and my time in Montana, besides the fact that they both start with M and have 3 syllables.  This month, and this weekend especially has been enlightening.

Let me elucidate a little.

I went to both places on a hunch, a spiritually guided hunch, knowing one person.

I went to Mozambique on the promise of a job as an Admin Asst for a construction company,  I am currently an Admin Asst for a construction company.

Both John Goosen and my dad are emotionally abusive.

I was invited last minute to a friend of John Goosen’s wedding, I was invited last minute to a friend of my employer’s wedding.

I went out dancing with the group of people I barely knew for both weddings.

And here is what made this weekend, these particular moments stand out to me.

A couple weeks ago, someone I know posted his outrage at a man who had choked a girl and thrown her across a room.  At first, I thought he was standing up for me, shedding light on what had happened.  But, it was about someone else he knew.

That being the case is fine.  Be outraged. We all should be. And he was properly outraged at the abuser and stood up for the victim.  But it was in the comments where ‘situation’ came up that began to bug me.

The idea remains that there are situations that violence can be tolerated, understood, or at least not in need of outrage.

This woman’s situation and mine were parallel.  We were both violently attacked, choked, and thrown across a room.  I was continuously assaulted for half an hour.  I don’t know what else happened with this other woman, but it doesn’t matter, two men decided that was the way to behave.  She and I were both violently attacked. Neither of us deserved it.

This weekend’s wedding and ensuing revelry gave me tangible evidence, something so very in my face real, that the last shreds of doubt are gone that even one tiny bit of my assault was my fault.

I am, quite literally, in the same setting I was expecting in Mozambique, same job, same social circle.

And, the first time I’ve really gone out while here in Montana was practically the same situation as the night before I was assaulted.  Wedding of people I’ve only just met, out on the town, dancing, drinking, etc.

Here in Montana, I’m having to be the same kind of trusting, the same kind of maneuvering through the living situation, the same kind of putting myself out there socially.  It’s too similar to be mere coincidence.  I believe that the Spirit has given me this glimpse, this reminder, this moment to be able to compare and to see truth.

Every step of the process that wasn’t safe for me, was John Goosen’s purposeful, deliberate fault.

I put as many precautions into going as I knew how to, but he was intentionally creating an unsafe environment and circumstances, while also creating the illusion of the opposite.

Everything that made Mozambique unsafe for me was his orchestration.

It was not my choice to go to Mozambique that made me unsafe.  It was not my choice to “make the best of the situation” that made me unsafe.  It was not my choice of living situation, my choice to leave Turkey, or Taiwan, or Czech, or America that made me unsafe.  Nothing I did made me unsafe.

It was solely John Goosen’s deliberate intentions to manipulate me, lie to me, isolate me, threaten me, make me feel unsafe, and ultimately assault me that made me unsafe.  His choices made me unsafe.  He made me unsafe.  He assaulted me.  He is at fault.

photo

John Goosen. Willem Johannes Goosen of South Africa.

JohnGoosenFB

JohnGoosenFB; living in Mozambique

There is no situation created where the victim of violence is at fault.  No domestic situation, no relationship status, no style of clothing, no sexual orientation, no amount of alcohol, no color of skin, no language, no religion, NO anything, EVER that is deserving of ANY kind of violence.

I don’t know if it just makes people feel unsafe themselves to think that this type of violence could happen to them, no matter what, without provocation, without reason, so they have to make the victim have some fault in order to absolve themselves from the possibility that it could happen to them, and therefore feel safer.  I don’t know.  I don’t understand it.

But I put myself in exceptionally similar situations in both places, and here, in Montana, with the same type job, having to work through things with my dad/ live with an abuser, going out with new people, mostly men, wedding of new people, drinking, dancing, general debauchery, etc.  I was completely safe.  People I had only just met, my male boss, a bar situation, lots of ways that could be construed as putting myself into dangerous situations.

And if a violent action had happened to anyone there, it is reasonable to think that others would blame the victim.  It was only a “fun night out” because no one ended up in a violent situation.

In Taiwan, I lived with 4 men.  I was never in danger.  Not once in a year and a half did any of them even come close to raising finger to me.  They were kind and protective.  In a wide variety of situations, I knew at all times that I was safe with them.  Living with men doesn’t make me unsafe.  I wasn’t lucky that I found a rare breed of good housemates.  The general population of men are safe.

Being a victim does not make the scenario dangerous.  Being an abuser does.

#StopVictimBlaming

Because we do so little to put the focus and the blame where it belongs, abusers get away with violence over and over again.  We only live in the “dangerous” world, because we don’t stop violence, instead we question people for being victims.

~

I did 2 sets of 8 pushups today.  My wrists are healing, my mind is healing.  My determination remains strong and new avenues to pursuing  justice are coming around.

My goal is to make sure that John Goosen can never hurt another woman, another person, again.

This month’s, this weekend’s parallels bring me even more healing.  Even more understanding. Even more determination.  Everyone deserves to live their dreams, go for their moons and stars, to be the best version of themselves.

#noonedeservesviolence

There are some really wonderful groups out there I’m aligning with, some great bloggers, and some non-profits with strength beyond what I am capable of solo.  Violence stops people from believing in their greatness.  It stops people from believing in each other.  It stops peace.  No amount of violence can ever bring peace.

Education needs to include teaching ways to achieve peace.  Education needs to be given to everyone.

“If we don’t teach our children peace, someone else will teach them violence”  Colman McCarthy

 

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The endeavor to walk in the world : Colors.

The endeavor to walk in the world : Colors.

They say when things get tough, that’s when you see people’s true colors.

In each of my trials, I’ve been shown the “true colors” of my friends.  I’m lucky to have so many good friends.  I appreciate all the calls, messages, shows of support, and offers to hang out now that I’m stateside again.  And, I truly appreciate my online friends as much as my in-person friends. 

Blog of many colors

Right now I’m coming to grips with how this atrocity even happened.  I was handling all that Mother Nature was dishing out; no electricity, no running water, violent storms, horrendous heat, Typhoid Fever, with a fair amount of grace I think.  And then without warning, at the end of my weakest state, John Goosen went on an unprovoked ape-shit rampage and decided to fling me around like a rag doll to make me listen to his drunken rant.

Some days are good.  Some days are bad.  That’s normal.  I write more on my good days, but lately it’s writing about my bad days.  That’s also normal.

I value being able to read through other blogs to see the uplifting and helpful information out there.  Feeling like there is a community of people who understand the process I am going through is so wonderful.  Sometimes it can be difficult for my in-person friends to understand.

And then there is always the hope that through this blog someone else can be helped as I work through everything and keep living the day to day as well.  Life goes on and this is how I’m trying to learn as I go.

All the Colors change

Once something traumatic has happened, you see the world differently.  I see the world differently.  Not better or worse, just different.  Things that were once important aren’t any more.  Things that weren’t important suddenly are.  Everything is colored a little differently.

Different or not, I’m still trying to walk through this world. I’m still trying to learn from this and become a better person for it.  I still see the beauty in the sunrises and sunsets.  I love listening to the birds in the morning and the coyotes in the evenings.  I enjoy conversations, cold beers, painting, reading, laughing.

But behind it all I’m trying to find my voice, give voice to those who don’t have it, and blaze a trail for change.

I pick at and piece through the trash pile that is the ways abusers work.  It is alarming how often I pick up a piece of that trash and think, “Oh, that looks familiar, that must be mine.”  Only to turn it over and see an Abuser’s name on it. It’s a bit disheartening to see how pervasive the blaming/ shaming way we treat victims is. 

For example, we all have heard “there’s a way victim’s walk, or hold their head, or (….) that clues abusers in that they are a good target”.

First,

and I want to scream this at the top of my lungs,

NO ONE SHOULD EVER. BE. A. TARGET. 

It doesn’t flipping matter if PersonX walks around with a real sign that says, “I let people abuse me”, PersonX should not get abused.  PersonX should not be a target.  PersonX should feel and be safe.  End of story.  Even if the sign has shiny flashy lights with arrows.

No one should be a target.

Think about that for a minute.  If PersonX has poor self-esteem, (and that shows through their posture), there are people out there who are compelled to hurt PersonX because of it.  Abusers look for people who already feel inferior, then Abusers humiliate them, isolate them, manipulate their emotions, make them feel crazy, makes others think they’re crazy. 

And instead of denouncing the Abuser, instead of stopping the Abuser from finding and hurting others, the general population looks at PersonX and says, “hold your head up more, walk straighter so abusers won’t target you”.  Everything gets shifted over to PersonX.

Why are people so afraid of Abusers that they can’t stand up to them?  I stood alone in trying to get people to see see John Goosen as an abuser.  The other people in Mozambique were so afraid to stand up to him.  He needed to work. He needed his space.  It wasn’t good what he did, but he’s sorry.  He needs medication.

Not a single person, other than myself, looked at him and called him out.  Not one person actually stood up to him, except me.     

It has been enlightening to say the least, to realize every single person I’ve discussed abusive situations with has given ways to change PersonX.

Ex:   “I’d try to get them alone to tell them I could help them if they leave the abuser.”

“Abuser has a (…) problem.  PersonX needs to be more understanding.  I mean get away, but then they need to worry about themselves, not Abuser.  Good riddance, they can deal with themselves”

“If you just tell them to leave, they say ‘it’s only one time’, or ‘Abuser loves me’.  You have to give them little examples how to leave without really saying they need to.”

“I don’t understand why PersonX would go back after that.  PersonX needs to get their head examined.”

Not a single person suggested that the Abuser needs to change. 

The Abuser straight up thought, “Hey PersonX looks (insert adjective of choice ie, lonely, sad, etc.).  If I make them a little less (adjective) they’ll take any shit I dish out.”  “If you feel bad, I want to make you feel worse.”  “And I’m going to make you and everyone else think it’s your fault.”

And everybody else thinks, “PersonX should’ve made themselves look less like a victim.”

This is what abusers do.  They work the whole scenario from the beginning.  From the initial lure to the end, everything and everyone in their environment is part of the set up to get off scott-free.

Our True Colors

I think we are so entrenched, as a general population, in generations upon generations of dysfunctional families, war torn memories, secrets, and lies that we don’t even know how to see the first red flags anymore.  Abusers have done such a trick on the mainstream psyche that when we finally see the red flags, we all point fingers at the victims.

But how can we stop the abuse from happening if we start at the end?

What do you think? 

As you’ve heard/ read my and other stories, how many times have you asked the ‘questions of change’ to the victim rather than the abuser? 

How can we change that scenario?  How can we really stop abuse if we don’t change it?

 

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Of course hindsight begs the questions that can’t be known to ask at the beginning.

I keep asking the questions and having to remind myself that I couldn’t have known before what I know now.  Reminding myself that I am not the one to blame here.

Many people don’t understand my wanderlust, or how I can travel alone as a woman. And even those that understand that, have trouble with the fact that I let Spirit guide me as much as research. Thankfully there are a few that totally get me.

As I look back on the events that led me to Mozambique, I keep looking for my faults. There are some. One is that I could have taken more time to get my ducks in a row beforehand and not gone in so dead broke.

Even with that, I went for the job the same way I have other jobs. You get to know the people, get trained, get to know the area -once you’re there, not beforehand.  I did my research.  I googled the guy that offered me the job. I did some research into Mozambique.

I did not run willy-nilly through the wildflowers towards the great wilds of Africa without a care in the world. I checked it out. I was offered a job as an administrative assistant for a construction company, with room and board provided and a small, but for the area very good, monthly salary. I was told my visas would be covered by the company. The guy even gave me his full given name to look up. Everything seemed on the up and up.

Of course now I ask myself, why weren’t you more careful, why did you just believe him, why did you travel across the globe alone because some guy offered you a job?
Because the truth is, I was the same careful I was heading for Czech and Taiwan. I knew one person going in, I had not met before arriving. Turkey was a little different because I went with a friend. But I still went in with the idea that sure, there will be adjustments, but things will be ok.

Why do any of us believe it when we’re offered a job?  Um, because it’s normal to.

I’ve travelled across the globe, alone, for jobs several times now. There was nothing heading in to this that was more abnormal than any other job you get from online contacts. Hindsight is the only reason I, or anyone, is asking these questions.

And this is the more prevalant form of victim blaming. Why did you/I do that? Why didn’t you/I do that? Why weren’t you/I more careful?

-This is IMPORTANT –

These questions put accusation on the victim, when it is the assailant/abuser that needs the questions!!

Why did he think it was ok to lure someone in, knowing full well that he didn’t own any company and couldn’t provide
any of the things he lied about? Why did he think it was ok to lie? Why wasn’t he more careful with this person
that trusted him? Why did he think it was ok to send off their passport so they couldn’t leave the island? Why does
he think it’s ok to verbally, physically, and situationally abuse the people around him? Why did he lock someone in
a room? Why did he assault that person? Why did he plan out the lies he would tell others about the assault, in
advance of the assault? Why does he think he shouldn’t have any consequences for his actions?

These are the real questions that need to be addressed.

If I keep asking all those victim blaming questions, I can’t grow and move forward. The questions I need to ask need to come from where I am, not where I was. Some of the questions I need to actually ask myself are: Do I feel like someone is going to attack me everywhere I go? Is travelling alone a bad idea? What can I learn from this situation? What do I want to do next? Am I really going to go back to Africa? To Mozambique? How can I do my part to protect others from the harm this guy is capable of?

I know that Spirit told me to go to Mozambique. I don’t even question that. One could ask why, seeing as how my entire time there was one frantic disaster after another, and I totally see that point. But I never felt and don’t feel that it was wrong to be there. I questioned the things that happened, but not that I wasn’t supposed to be there.
I believe there are two main reasons Spirit led  me there.
One: I do have work to do there, I do need to go back for that work. But it is a harsh land, a harsh people, a harsh spiritual environment. I was under near constant spiritual attack while there. I was given a glimpse of what I need to gather before going back. I needed to experience, in order to understand what I need, so I can accomplish my work there.
Two: I believe that this man sensed my unguarded personality and preyed on it. However, unlike the average woman seen as vulnerable, I am a spiritually, emotionally strong woman. I am not weak just because I choose not to close myself off and present a guarded and leery woman to the world. I believe I was Spirit’s way to stop this man from preying on someone without my strength, and damaging another human being past a point they could deal with, or for many years, or both, or possible killing them.  Am I ok with having gone through this in order to have protected someone else?  You better believe it.

Do I think someone is going to attack me everywhere I go? No, by and large people are good. If I judged the world only by the harm that can be done, well, I’d never leave my room. Is travelling alone a bad idea? No. I’ve been doing it for a while. One out of hundreds of people I’ve met in my travels does not deter me. Do I need to be more careful than a guy travelling alone, yes. Sadly. Should it be that way? NO!

And when we start putting all the blame where it belongs, ie the abusers and assailants, and catcallers,
people who think that women are property, then women can start being safe just because they are a human being with
equal rights to safety, not because they’ve armed themselves enough.

Am I going back? Yes, I need to gather my resources in order to do it right, but yes, I will be going back. I have work to do there.

One big lesson I am learning is to let go of the emotional pain that comes when you feel betrayed. I had no emotional connection to the guy that assaulted me. But I had an emotional connection to the family that turned their backs on me and began flinging ridiculous accusations at me. Spirit will take care of me and them in whatever way it sees fit, and I have to let go of that feeling of betrayal. I am, but I’ve had a couple days of frustration over it.

Losing a trust is such a big deal to me. Partially because I know that others can trust me. Partially because I have witnessed time and time again, that when you give people trust, they become trustworthy, when you give them honor, they become honorable, and when you give them abasement, they become corrupt, etc.

I choose to see the best in people, give them the best of me, and believe that it will bring out the best in them.  Nine times out of ten, that’s the case, so that one kinda hurts when it’s a “friend”.

I answered all the questions going in, to the best of my ability to without being able to see into the future. Sure, the same questions looking back will result in different answers, but we don’t live life in reverse. So I take my lessons, my insights, and my resolve into the future. A future in which I will travel, I will teach, I will not let fear get the better of me, and I will do my best to create positive change wherever I go.

Remember as you go through life and encounter similar situations, to ask yourself  if the questions you are asking put accusation and blame on the victim in the situation, or on the aggresor/abuser, where it belongs. At no point, under no circumstance, no matter what they believe in, who they love, what they are wearing, drinking, etc., should anyone feel that violence or a crime against them is their fault. We have a basic human right to dignity and safety, period. No one has the right to violate, hold hostage, assault, or commit a crime against us for any reason. None, there are no reasons that are acceptable. No moments, no amount of alcohol or drugs or jealousy, or
anything, ever, for anyone. Ask the questions that support the victim: How can I help you? What do you need? When do you need me there?

I want to thank all of you for your wonderful support and kind kind words! I haven’t posted many of the comments that I’ve gotten, but know that I have read them and love you for them!  Soon I’ll be back to posts that are less grave.

 

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