I can certainly understand the fear of speaking out that comes with traumatic events at the hands of people who seem to have some “control” in your life. We all have happened to us, to our loved ones, and we continue to sit on these secrets.
Sometimes, we spend so much energy trying to be safe and quiet, and the trouble with that is it leaves others vulnerable to harm. We are taught early on in our young lives that tattles were not worthy of listening to; they exaggerate and over-react.
When I was in 3rd grade, I was being bullied by a boy on the bus. I had told a teacher, and they did nothing, even after witnessing the torment. Mamma contacted the parents of the boy. His father was farther up the chain of command than Daddy. The boy’s father had ordered an in-office meeting to get to the bottom of it: the Commander of the Battalion, the bully and his parents, me, and Mamma. Daddy was on maneuvers, so he was not present. The boy denied it; the father threatened to punish Daddy. The mother got angry and defensive. How dare anyone accuse her boy of being a bully. My mother dared. She spoke a hard truth that the parents and the boy needed to hear. Your place in the chain of command does not make you immune to the consequences of your actions.
At that moment, my mother was laying a foundation on which I live. When I was a young woman, my mother told me that we should never be afraid, tell the truth, and stand up to someone who hurts you. You may not be the only one, and when we speak up and speak out, it gives others the strength to do the same. There will always be people who think they are more significant than others, and they abuse their positions. Never assume it can’t change; never just let go because it is hard to speak up. It is harder to stay silent.
I realize that speaking up and telling the truth can be scary; you think you may not have a job if you speak out – you may fear violent retributions. But I promise you, the pain you suffer now will only increase as you hear stories just like yours – and you will wonder what you could’ve done to protect others from trauma and injustice for the rest of your life.
Pain is a part of life – it just is. Suffering is optional. Take that hate, that anger, and that fear and do something with it. Create a movement, purge it out of your system with art and words but never stay silent.