I was young and new to LA. Scouted by a man to do modeling. Was invited to his yacht in Marina Del Rey to “take photos for my portfolio”. I was naive. I was manipulated/convinced that I had to have nude photos in order to be “assessed”, and also was touched to be “assessed”. It wasn’t forced or violent, but I did feel violated. I let myself be because I felt that was the only way… but I realized there had to be another way, and I wanted no part in it.
No photos were taken, and I had no career… and I’m grateful that I didn’t go down that road. Not all are as fortunate, sadly. I made my choice, I knew the innuendos, and the photographer is not too blame. But it does illustrate perfectly the “bargaining” that’s made in the “industry”, in all ways.
* * *
When I was six, I convinced another girl to let me touch her in private. Nothing forced or crude or mean, just a chance to explore something that seemed shameful. We learn our “privates” are to be ashamed of at an early age.
I don’t know if it was traumatic for her or not. I think curiosity is good, but I knew I taught her shame. That was the abuse; that I made her keep it a secret like it was wrong. I was scared, I had no context for it, our parents would just shame us more. We lose our innocence from the shame, not the body.
* * *
I want to address two things:
First, hurt people hurt people.
It’s not a “men are all rapists” thing. Manipulation and abuse does not align to gender. If you’re playing battle of the sexes, you’re already losing. Show me a man who hates women or woman who hates men, and I’ll show you a miserable, self-loathing person. It’s a con, you’re being duped. We’re on the same team, men and women. There’s a lot of bad apples, but the orchard is beautiful.
Why do things like this really happen?
If we are taught powerlessness, we feel like we must take power for ourselves – or live without. Bitterness and aggressiveness are used to channel the pain. This is where rape or comes from. It’s also where using sex to get what you want comes from. Different side of the same coin; evolutionary strategies of the genders.
I was rejected most of my early life by women… at least in my head I was. But I chose to better myself and heal, rather than attack and steal. However, I do understand part of the pain many of these men who have felt the need to take from women.
I think many of these men at some point loved women, and then were denied, grew bitter and hateful, and let evil grow inside of them, unable to cope with the pain and powerlessness. We see this story in the movie Maleficent. Inexcusable action, and I also see the suffering they were dealing with and went on to spread to another.
Secondly, we are taught shame.
Sexual shame and repression is a huge part of the collective shadow. A lot of these transgressions don’t occur at the same scale in non-puritanical cultures. They’re in relationship with it.
When we are taught sex is shameful and wrong, we hide these experiences because we make it mean something about our innocence. When we’re abused we take it personally, and we fear even more repercussions from society. It’s a horrid double standard.
This is why it’s so healing for all these people to speak up, even if in anger or resentment. We can’t make new choices and heal until we look at what we’ve been suppressing. Yes, it’s all awful. And what a wonderful opportunity for so many to heal and speak.
I recognise your pain and courage, and that this can be tender for you… and still:
I encourage you to find the path of compassion, rather than joining in on the ugliness and hatred.
I encourage you to use your trauma as a source of strength, wisdom, and light, rather that letting it rule you in the darkness of suffering.
I encourage you to find and reclaim your own power, rather than continue to blame and give it away.
I encourage you to feel everything you don’t want to feel, to not judge it, and love yourself regardless of what happened to you. And live your life in freedom.
I encourage you to take the unpopular path into your truth, rather than the false safety of an angry mob.
You can either be happy or right.
There are millions of loving men and women in the world trying to love each other, and we can either shut our hearts down and dim our lights, or be a lighthouse for truth and love. No matter what has been done to you, there is nothing wrong with you and you are still lovable. Your only job is to let go of any story that gets in the way of that. I care more of your current freedom and joy, and the life ahead.
Be brave, be kind, be loving, and stay open.