Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Is Sexual Harassment Different for Men? (Part 6 of 9)

Another cruel argument against the women who claim to have been sexually harassed are these five words: her story doesn’t add up.

Because of a few inconsistencies in reporting, does that make the molestation invalid? It’s normal, especially when we finally speak up. Time has lapsed and the memories have abated, even though the pain lies dormant inside.

For many of us, the agony is too severe to recall every step in the sexual rape we endured. When I reflect on the abuse by a female, I can’t give details. Two things stand out in my memory. First, the smell of the powder she wore, and second, her breath as she put her face next to mine.

What people often don’t understand is that when we tell an experience, we don’t tell it the same way twice. With each telling, we add details or omit something. That’s human nature. One therapist said that when he hears a traumatic story and the person tells it exactly the same way each time, that causes him to doubt them. “If they’ve memorized the details, that often points to false accusation.”

Some truly harassed adults or molested kids don’t get heard properly because of those inconsistencies. It’s easier to disbelieve than to be open to the victimization of the speaker. It takes courage to speak up.

I hope authorities will recognize that, listen, and truly hear our painful tales.

Do you struggle/have you struggled with trying to remember every detail?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For years – no, decades - I tried NOT to remember. There was always something there on the edges of my consciousness that I knew I didn’t want to look at or know about – almost like a corpse that has been covered by a sheet.

I succeeded in pushing the awareness of the abuse down deep enough that it did not surface until I was in my 30s and in a spiritual/relational/emotional/financial crisis. My resistance was too low to continue to deny and repress it and the memories started to rise to the surface.

At first there were partial memories – snippets, flashes, fragments of various lengths and degrees of complexity and detail. But I recognized them as if I’d always known them. As time went on, with the gentle support of a Christian counsellor, more connective material emerged and more complete narratives began to form.

There have been times when I wished I could remember everything and other times when I wished I could go back to not remembering anything. There are still gaps in my memories. I am OK with that. I do not need to know any more than what I do now.

But if you were to press me for exact dates or even years, I would have a hard time answering accurately or being sure of those facts. Things that occurred when I was around 6 to around 16 are not as definitively documented in the mind of a child. I can estimate the age when certain events happened and the season, but not the exact month and date.

Since I never reported the abuse to any authority, thankfully, those precise details have not been required of me.

- Lee