Dear Ones, what’s happening with Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford has taken a regrettable turn that makes me feel embarrassed to be an American. Let me make one thing clear. I do not consider this a political issue. I consider this a stand against our tolerance of violence against women. Period. I stand for zero tolerance of Democrats who assault women. I stand for zero tolerance of Republicans who assault women. I stood against Bill Clinton’s assault of women. I stand against tolerating Kavanaugh’s tantrum in the face of a credible woman standing up for herself in the face of an attempted rape.
We can’t prove who did what or who’s telling the truth. Given that the attempted rape is alleged to have happened 36 years ago, an FBI investigation will likely fail to find a blue dress with semen on it. But still—we have to take a stand, regardless of our politics. We need to do the right thing, not the political thing.
What Side Of Love Are You On?
I am so tired of people saying “But I don’t like to get political.” Or “I’m so spacious, unconditionally loving, and non-dual that I don’t take sides.” To say such things is to admit your privilege. Silence is a privilege. When someone is attempting to rape you and has a hand over your mouth, your silence is understandable. But if no one has a gun to your head or a hand over your mouth, SAY SOMETHING. DO SOMETHING. TAKE A STAND.
Vomiting the venom of your privilege on others with differing political values is not the solution either. Use your spiritual practice to keep what you say clean. Don’t attack. Don’t demonize and dehumanize the people you’re angry at. Keep your outrage clean and use it like a sword, cutting clean through the bullshit and slicing through everything that is not love. Let Kali cut off the heads of those whose egos have run amok. Use your fierceness to take a stand for love without dehumanizing or turning hostile and aggressive against those who are behaving in an unloving way. Polarizing our country or splitting down gender lines or political parties is not the solution. This is why we practice our spiritual practices, not so we can look the other way when blatant injustices are running rampant, not so we can devolve into righteous indignation and hostile attacks, but so we can take a stand for love when it’s time—with fierce anger fueled with the heat of our broken hearts.
Use Your Power To Take A Stand
I believe that now is the time that anyone who has a big platform must dare to take a stand, even if it means losing followers. If you have a voice, please say something, especially the men! Speak up! Even if you don’t have a platform, now is the time for all of us to get off the sofa and stop expecting others to bear the burden of standing up for what is right. Yes, it’s scary to take a stand when our culture is so polarized, and doing so means you risk getting attacked, not just for your views, but for your character. Yet, speak out we must. While it may feel more comfortable to keep quiet in the privilege of silence, now is the time to enter the messy fray and have your voice heard. Whether it’s a #METOO voice or the voice of someone falsely accused standing up to tell his or her truth or the voice of the accused who knows that the #METOO story is probably true, even if it happened in a drunken, otherwise inconsequential moment, the time for silence is in our past. Everyone’s voices matter—all genders, all people who don’t identify with a gender, all races, all political parties. Everyone deserves to be humanized and treated with respect, and I am sick and tired of listening to everyone just shred each other to pieces just because you can’t handle your own trigger enough to acknowledge that the person who is triggering you is a human being who deserves respect. LEARN TO WORK WITH YOUR TRIGGERS, PEOPLE! I say this with love, but also with frustration. It’s okay to be triggered, but do your work. Don’t lash out at the person who is triggering you as if that “other” is not a human because he or she is of another political party or race or gender.
We are all made of love. Period. Please, I know it sounds naive and childish, but can’t we just love each other?
I’m not saying we should not have intense feelings or that we should not take a stand. As Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said, “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.”
I Stand For Zero Tolerance Of Sexual Violence—Regardless Of Politics
So let me be fully clear. I believe Christine Blasey Ford, not just because my politics stray to the left, but because I am a very intuitive empath and I feel what people feel, and her terrified feelings feel real, the way any abused woman would feel when talking about the terror of having someone’s hand over her mouth when she thought she was going to be raped and possibly murdered. I believe Dr. Ford’s testimony should be about sexual assault, not politics, and she should be treated as a brave woman who is hurting, not as some sort of political hitwoman staging abuse as a way to interfere with the Republican agenda. Frankly, I’m outraged at anyone who suggests such a thing. If there’s even a chance that she’s telling the truth, then to treat her as if she’s a lying, manipulating political hit is to be complicit in retraumatizing her—and THIS IS NOT LOVE. She is a woman who tells a credible story about attempted rape. I believe survivors. I believe people with #MeToo stories have a right to feel outraged. I grieve with their broken hearts and their stolen innocence. I pray that our children do not have to endure the hell we’ve all been through, trying to survive in a rape-tolerant culture. #METOONeverYou. (Hat tip to Shameless Warrior Laura Goodman for coining #METOONeverYou. Pass it on.)
I also believe Monica Lewinski. I believe the women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault. I believe we as a culture are making grave mistakes by elevating men who are willing to abuse women into positions of power. I believe many men on both sides of the political divide in politics are probably guilty of the same frat boy behavior as Kavanaugh. Yes, he’s the sitting duck du jour when there have been many—and we’ve tolerated those guys over and over. But we have to draw the line somewhere. I believe we should not be putting men who assault women into positions of power. Period. I don’t care what their politics are. These are men who cannot be trusted with important decisions because they clearly have demonstrated lack of impulse control and integrity.
I also believe the movie stars who bravely told their stories. I believe the stories of those who were assaulted and harassed by their bosses in the corporate world. I believe we’ve tolerated sexual assault from people in positions of power for far too long.
The Divine Feminine Does Not Use #METOO To Manipulate Or Seek Revenge
I support survivors and I have stood for women professionally since I became an OB/GYN physician 25 years ago. But I also have to call out my sisters, the ones who are abusing #METOO. I say this with all due respect for your pain. I am sorry for your pain and believe you have every right to tell your story, have others bear witness, ask for others to make apologies and make amends, and do what you must to heal. But some of you are channeling decades of unhealed rage—rage against all the men who have ever hurt you, even if they didn’t sexually assault you—into false accusations. THIS IS NOT OK. Women need to stand clean in our storytelling and not use #METOO as a way to falsely accuse someone who broke your heart but didn’t violate your physical or sexual safety. Falsely accusing someone of sexual assault can ruin lives and discredit those who are telling the truth, muddying the waters when we need to stay crystal clean, standing in the fierceness of our truth and standing up to women who are lying or exaggerating just because you feel entitled to get revenge. If that’s what your doing sister, I stand for the Divine Feminine. The Goddess does NOT lie or manipulate in order to get your needs met or get revenge. Get your needs met. Yes. But don’t lie or manipulate or pull some drama queen damsel in distress story out of your back pocket if it’s not the truth.
So what do we do when “he said, she said?” I don’t know. As this article suggests, I think it’s entirely possible that Judge Kavanaugh does not remember what happened with Dr. Ford. It’s classic for how traumatic memory works. She remembers abstract flashes of a traumatizing event, but can’t pinpoint some of the details, since trauma interrupts how memory lays down neurologically. If he is guilty, it was an insignificant event, not even worthy of laying down into long-term memory as a significant event. For her, the snapshots of memory are incomplete but burned in. For him, it may have been one of many drunken nights where men tried to take what they wanted from women. It was inconsequential to him. To her, it became a defining moment, etched into her. To him, it was a throwaway night, a memory not worth remembering, not even important enough to mark on his calendar.
This situation is classic if you study sexual trauma and understand how it’s different for the one being traumatized than the one doing the traumatizing. In situations like this, “he said, she said” is not so much about who’s telling the truth as who remembers.
We All Make Mistakes
I’m not saying that we should all be leveled for mistakes we made 36 years ago. Lord knows, I’ve made my mistakes—and you have too. But it’s also not okay to overlook, deny, defend, and attack the credibility of the #METOO survivors who are telling their stories. We need something other than the court of public opinion to mediate these tensions, something other than a court of law, because most #METOO survivors are not going to go to court. The court does not defend survivors. It attacks their credibility and makes life hell, especially when there is no physical evidence because the traumatized were too frozen to take action and the culture was too dismissive of sexual abuse to unfreeze them if they dared to tell anyone. We need to decide how we’re going to handle people who commit acts of sexual violence in the past. Does that make them unfit for any position of power? Or is it possible to redeem oneself, to get treatment, to atone for wrongdoing and show the public that you’re up for the task? Surely, having a tantrum on the stand does not demonstrate this kind of redeemed maturity. If for no other reason, Judge Kavanaugh should not be a Supreme Court justice because he has demonstrated his inability to remain impartial, committed to doing the fair thing, not the political thing. This is a job interview, after all, not a court of law. We don’t have to decide if he did it or he didn’t do it. We simply have to assess whether he has what it takes to rule the highest court in our land with justice.
Truth & Reconciliation
Punishing past perpetrators for the entire course of their lives is not the solution. We need another solution—perhaps something modeled after South Africa’s post-Apartheid Truth & Reconciliation. We must talk about rehabilitation. One man Sebastian made a comment that really touched me on my blog:
I am thankful for the post and I am asking the question to myself too: How can we create settings so that men (or more correct: people who have done harm) can work through their part of this.
I am a man, I have done things I am deeply ashamed of. And I am searching for a way to come clean with that. When I told my partner about what I have done, I was scared immensely (mostly to lose her but also to be seen with that), deeply ashamed and crying. I just shared what I have done with two, maybe three people and feel the heaviness of it—especially in times like now.
I also see that it blocks empathy—in the way you described. While seeing the news about the hearing, a part of me was thinking: If a thing he has done so long ago can destroy everything he built after that—could that happen to me too? And this, blocking empathy, is a major problem. If your numbers are somewhat accurate, there are a ton of men who have such empathy blockers in themselves. Maybe small, maybe big—but anyway: a clear problem.
I already reached out to the woman I hurt. We were both not very skilled and brave to talk about it. It still weighs on me and I imagine there is still weight in her. I tried to reach out to her again, half offer, half beg her for a deeper conversation. To take weight of me (surly egoistic), to take care of her (maybe also egoistic) and to learn a new way. I feel like there needs to be a way to come clean with the past. I thought about going to the police and tell them and see what happens. But I, on the one hand, fear what would happen—which is for surely cowardly. On the other hand I imagine there could be/should be better ways. I am quite sure she wouldn’t want to have me in jail or something. I imagine it would not help that she would need to go through the process too (at least I imagine that would be part of it, as police likely would not just give you a sentence without checking the facts).
I guess processing it through—alone, with her, maybe (kind of) publicly.
But I don’t yet see space for that. The #metoo movement is important, the rage and anger that is coming up needs to have it’s space. I don’t see much space in there to come clean with the past.
Maybe it is not yet the time for that. Maybe it is the right time, but there is the need to fight for the space—as their #metoo movement fought for their space.
And yes, I see that I clearly have egoistic motivations. I want to be able/allowed to feel like a “good man” and be able to stand on the good side again. But I also think that this is needed—a way that men can step into the stream of change that is happening right now…. I am open to questions, poking, trying to get ideas of next steps.”
This story touches my heart. My heart goes out to Sebastian. How do we help people like him? Yes, some people are unrepentant and continuing to perpetrate violence. We must call out these people and stop rewarding them by elevating them to positions of power and influence. We must start to reward people with ethics. We must change our ideas of who deserves our admiration. I for one admire guys like Sebastian, who are looking for a way to make things he fucked up in the past right.
I believe we must hold space for and support the uprising of outrage, grief, and PTSD flashbacks of those who have been victimized. We also must allow the shame, terror, humiliation, and anger of those who are being accused.
We are in a collective crucible right now. How are we going to deal with it? By hating on each other more than we already have? How will we stop this torture if we’re not willing to get vulnerable and make apologies and make amends, if we’re not willing to get fierce when we must and then soften when it’s time, if we’re not wise and loving enough to soften into our bloody, broken, beating hearts?
My response to Sebastian was this. “Oh wow Sebastian, I think this is so brave. Maybe we start just like this. You tell your story. We get to see your remorse and your willingness to do whatever it takes to atone for your mistake. We get to say, “Wow, brother. You are brave for trying to do what’s right.” We get to not know what’s next . . .”
These are the kinds of conversations we’re having regularly in the Healing Soul Tribe continuity program, where people on a healing journey are traveling together, based on the foundation of the Whole Health Cairn from Mind Over Medicine. October, we’re working on the sexuality stone, healing from sexual trauma as medicine for the body, mind and soul, and opening up to sexual pleasure as the medicinal antidote. Join us in a safe space here.
Please share your thoughts about all this in the comments. Take a stand. Hold space for others who are taking a stand. Do so with love, using your anger, disgust, and grief as a sword to protect love, not as a weapon to attack.
Holding the sword of love,
Enjoy this post? Subscribe here so you don’t miss the next one.