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.
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.
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.
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