Andrew Schmutzer, a frequent responder to this blog, commented, “They don’t know, because they don't want to know. This is an ETHICAL issue, not a cognitive one.” His response resonated with me.
Immediately I thought of the trial of Jerry Sandusky of Penn State. He sometimes took his victims into his basement, and one survivor said he screamed for help. Sandusky’s wife testified that she never heard any cries.
I can only conclude Sandusky’s wife didn’t want to hear.
We often don’t hear or see those terribly unpleasant things. Too many men have told me that other family members didn’t believe them or insisted, “You’re angry and making up things.” Or “He would never have done such a thing.” Those words add more pain. Like Andrew says, “They don’t want to know.”
In the film, A Few Good Men, Colonel Jessup (Jack Nicholson) is asked to tell the truth. He ends his diatribe by shouting, “You can’t handle the truth!”
Too often those who should believe us can’t accept the truth. But then, I realize that all of us have some of that not-knowing-the-truth.
When any criticism or accusation is something we’re not ready or unable to hear, we deny it. I think of many times my friends or enemies tried to tell me something distasteful or repulsive about myself. Until I was open, I never “heard” them.
I make this point to say, we also need to learn to forgive those deniers. They help victimize us without realizing their wrongdoing.
I forgive my perpetrators;
I also forgive those who hurt me by being unable to face the truth.
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