We recently experienced the #MeToo Movement, where survivors of sexual assault came forward and shared their experiences. You may know that I am a survivor of domestic violence, and I have been working to add coercive control and restorative/transformative justice/practices to the toolbox for those who experience domestic violence and its aftereffects.
After I realized that I was a survivor of domestic violence, I began spending time thinking about the best ways to ensure that no one would have to experience what I experienced.
I watched as several NFL players were alleged to be perpetrators of domestic violence, and videos emerged and were broadcast worldwide. I watched as the UK included coercive control in their domestic violence laws. I watched as the #MeToo movement stirred people into telling their stories.
I participated in hours of counseling, individual and group sessions, family sessions, and hours and hours and years and years of Court hearings. I was verbally assaulted, emotionally manipulated, and mentally exhausted. I over thought everything. There were times that I could not breathe.
I realized that the individuals who manipulated me were narcissists and skilled in the art of cooking… that is in getting the metaphorical large pot of water, and inviting me, the metaphorical frog, to sit in that pot, while the heat was turned up slowly. I thought I was crazy.
This problem was compounded by my desire to not rake anyone over the coals… and to allow others to “save face”. And emotionally, it was tumultuous.
I believe in my heart of hearts that people are good. Therein may lie the problem. That being said… I believe in goodness. I believe that people become who they become because of their experiences, and the paths they choose, oftentimes not recognizing that there are other paths. To that end, I believe in restorative and transformative practices… because I have seen them work in my classrooms.
I have learned about maturity and emotional immaturity…. I believe people do the best the can. I also believe in boundaries, and being flexible brained. I advocate for mental health programs because I understand how important it is to have a strong mind. When people criticize things they do not understand, it is because they do not understand, but do not know how to speak kindly. So then the receiver raises up in defense, and the gloves come off.
What can we do? We can share our stories… they are #TheSameButDifferent