Reformation: how we Listen when victims speak

Standard

© Ross Hoddinott                                                                Belief is everything

Trumpets blew, there went up a great clammering and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.

That, happily, is as nothing to the unfurling consequences of The Weinstein Effect. The question commentors keep asking is “if it was happening, why did no-one speak up?”

How long have you got? And how do we reform?

When unjustifiable, abhorrent abuse of power takes place it is triply low. The abuser believes their victim will not dare speak up either for fear of the impact it will have on their own credibility or be believed. And when a victim is not believed, it doubly reinforces the horrific impact of the abuse because it is silenced, trapping them within it.

Abusers have been right in their assumption: afterall, it’s much easier not to believe ill of someone with whom you socialize or do business or to whom you’re related. If you take seriously what’s alleged, it means reassessing your connection with the perpetrator. As this will impact on many things you value, most decide it’s just easier to let it go/pretend you didn’t hear/assume it’s untrue.

Bravo.

It means we’re all complicit in allowing this abuse of power to have been part of our lives. The #MeToo yell reveals inappropriate, unwanted attention has soiled at least a quarter of the population. And if it is not sexual, then equal abuse is metered out by coercive controllers who’ve had it great-and-with-impunity for as long as this writer can remember.

Today marks five hundred years since Martin Luther nailed a set of 95 theses to his contemporaneous notice board objecting, inter alia, to the notion of selling salvation. It is a timely moment to reform how we respond to those who misuse their power to buy salvation.

Doreen Lawrence wrote in And still I rise that ‘injustice is a second bereavement’. Not being believed is a second X [where X = cause of trauma inflicted]. For those who recognize the idea, Belief is everything.

 

Advertisements