RIGHTEOUS ANGER. I remember when I first saw these two words together, and I find it interesting that I had never seen them together before. They were in a story I had read a few years ago, told by Ashley Judd. Her "righteous anger" clearly could not be contained any longer. Ms. Judd had been speaking out regarding sexual abuse, whether referencing rape, incest, molestation, harassment, human trafficking, female genitalia mutilation...you name it. She is one of millions who have been abused and one of a very small percentage who speaks out. Yes, righteous anger. I never forgot those words because I knew that what had consumed me for so many years...what never left my mind and was a now a part of what made me who I am...was just that. Righteous anger. I wasn't born with righteous anger. The seed was planted in me, and it grew and grew, nowhere to go, but out...out into the world carried by the words that I write on pages.
The sexual abuse that invaded my life has invaded the fabric of my family for generations. I have found that many automatically associate generational abuse with a downtrodden, poor, uneducated, incestuous clan. Generational sexual abuse...how can that be, they wonder. I don't wonder. I know. Sexual abuse, generational or not, continues because it can. I watch the news every day, story after story, telling of the predator who molested the student, or the one who was caught with thousands of child pornography photos and movies...the boy scout leader, the church youth group counselor, the nanny.
Sexual abuse does not discriminate. It doesn't just show up with the downtrodden, poor, and uneducated, easing its way into every crevice knowing that it has made its home there. It is everywhere and it has many faces. It can come cloaked in kindness, cloaked in warmth, cloaked in love, and carried by the people we trust the most. It can show up on the doorstep of the poor and the rich, carried by family members and friends, acquaintances and strangers.
I have a handful of family members and friends...only a handful...who have not been sexually abused. What a beautiful place to be, I have thought, only to quickly understand that their guard is down: almost non-existent, really. These things happen to other people...not to me, not my children, they rationalize.
As a victim, and as a parent, I can understand not wanting to dwell on such a sad, sad topic, and possibly putting any concern on the back burner, if only for a moment. I've done it. After all, how can we embrace life in a world that we cannot trust? How can we go on day after day, looking upward and onward, doing our best to manage our lives in a positive and uplifting way, and still be aware...fully aware of the cesspool that has taken its place in society?
While there is some headway being made regarding laws, the numbers regarding sexual abuse and assaults remain on the rise, and they are staggering. Eradicating sexual abuse is not a "pie in the sky" wish. It can be done. There are people who care: organizations who are making changes, victims advocating for other victims and lobbying for changes in laws. I implore anyone who has been a victim, or knows a victim, speak out. YOUR VOICE is for YOUR GOOD, and the betterment of society as a whole, which comes full circle to reinforce OUR GOOD as one humankind.
God bless you all.
WE HAVE A VOICE