I was emailing with Cis White of ACEs Connection this morning and she asked how I’m doing. As a sexual abuse survivor in this time of blatant and repeated misogyny and rape culture, it’s a hard time for many of us. Cis just wrote a blog post titled “Post Kavanaugh Pissed“, so you can guess how she is feeling.
I told her it feels like the scab has been ripped off and the puss-filled wound of misogyny is just being seen in all its horrific glory. This is nothing new, it’s just that for the first time the true extent of the damage is being seen and recognized. This is why this time is so hard for us survivors. Most of us have spent a lifetime minimizing the damage for the sake of our sanity, for the sake of our families, for the sake of our livelihood. The true cost of what was done to us is being seen in a way that is unprecedented. And it hurts like hell. But out of that pain comes a powerful blaze of anger. And here is what I have to say about that:
You have a right to your anger
some will try to calm you in the name of spiritual growth
do not let them
some will turn away when faced with a woman’s rage
let them go
some will deny your right to feel anger at all
they don’t know
maybe they even mean well
your anger needs you
to dance with feet on fire
to breathe it in to your bones
to give it voice
to name it
to name it
So right now it hurts, but I am hopeful that this pain will lead to a level of healing that has previously been impossible because the world at large did not want to hear about our pain or our rage. The wound cannot be healed until it has been fully exposed, and that process is not going to happen quickly. In the meantime, we must find ways to turn to the wounded girl inside of us, and give her rage a voice. This week I saw Lady Gaga speak to Stephen Colbert about the impact of trauma on memory and brain function. It was amazing to hear her share that on national television.
Not everyone has or wants to have a public platform to address these issues. But I do believe that every survivor needs to find a way to voice her rage right now. This doesn’t have to be a public gesture, it could be a journal entry that no one ever sees. But that wounded girl needs to know that she has been seen and heard.
Personally, the way I give voice to my rage is through art. Whether it’s a painting, a poem or a song, I have spent my whole life using art to heal and express myself. So in answer to the question Cis asked about how I’m doing, all I can say is that I am surviving the best way I know how. In times of insanity, the only sane response is to make art. So I’m going to keep doing that. If you need me, I’ll be at my art desk.
P.S. I am inspired by these fellow creators, who are taking this pile of crap and through some amazing alchemy are turning it into art. Please support the important work they are doing by sharing these videos far and wide.
Gracie + Rachel: Her
Amanda Palmer and Jasmin Power: Mr Weinstein will see you now
About the author:
Joyelle Brandt is a parenting coach who specializes in working with mothers who are survivors of abuse. As a speaker, mothering coach, and multi-media creator, Joyelle works to dismantle the stigma that keeps childhood abuse survivors stuck in shame and self-hatred. She is the author of Princess Monsters from A to Z and co-editor of Parenting with PTSD, the groundbreaking anthology that breaks the silence about the long-term impact of childhood trauma so that parents can break the cycle of abuse.
When she is not busy raising two rambunctious boys, she is most often found playing her guitar or covered in paint at her art desk. You can keep up with Joyelle at www.joyellebrandt.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for art and inspiration.
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