Friday, December 10, 2010

Strength and Safety

My new friend Eleanor found my blog because of her studies of the Wounded Healer motif. She has come and commented here and was surprised by the reaction of one of my regulars, an old friend, Jane.
Since I value the wisdom of both women, the natural thing for me to do is to reevaluate my own position and make sense of what each is saying. Because both make sense even though they appear to contradict at face value.

Eleanor has written a review on Amazon for a book she likes by Andrew Harvey. You can read it here:
http://www.amazon.com/Hope-Guide-Sacred-Activism/product-reviews/1401920039/ref=cm_cr_dp_all_summary?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

When you click onto the main page of this book the first review there is by a Brad Laughlin. The third paragraph into the review tells a story of a elderly black woman from South Africa. During Apartheid she witnessed the brutal murder of her husband and son by a white police officer. When this officer was being brought to justice, She hugged him as she was being led across the courtroom. The man fainted.

This is used as an example of sacred activism. It is a touching and powerful story, but I am compelled to point out something about it.

The reason this woman's act of forgiveness is so powerful and profound is because it took place when she was in the position of Strength and Safety. In that courtroom there was no chance that the former police officer could hurt her without serious repercussions. The man was caught, imprisoned, and being brought to justice. He could no longer control her, oppress her, or intimidate her in anyway. Granted, she suffered great loss, trauma, and grief. But this man could, in no way, continue his evil against her.

He was in the weak position. And she was in the strong position.
Yet she didn't use her strong position against him.

It is a very different circumstance from a situation where a victim is still being victimized and she kisses the feet of her oppressor because that is the only way to survive.
There is no power in that. None. Just more oppression and destroying of her spirit, soul, and body.

Now I understand that people like author Andrew Harvey and reviewer Brad Laughlin assume that these powerful actions of forgiveness come from a place of strength and safety. But to those still in the place of oppression and abuse, their words sound like further abuse. To those who have never had a position of strength and safety all it sounds like is letting the oppressor free to continue to oppress at will.

So how do those still in positions of oppression and abuse get out? Some are able to flee on their own to places of safety. But many of those that are able to flee don't know that they are able because of the mind control and indoctrination. And many who are trapped have no way of escape on their own at all. Those being trafficked come to mind. And my friend Jane has a heart for those.

So what do we expect of those still trapped?
Do we expect them to embrace their abusers who are still abusing them?
Absolutely not. That is just plain sick and smells like Stockholm Syndrome.
If people are trapped, how can we expect them to do anything except to survive until they are rescued?

But the real question is, what obligation do we have to the trapped, oppressed, and abused?

We are obligated to sound the alarm and to speak up for those who have no voice. We are to look for ways to rescue the downtrodden and find ways to stop the oppressor from oppressing and bring him to justice. Because only when he is brought to justice and to a place of weakness where he is no longer in control, only then will the forgiveness of those he oppressed have a chance to mean anything.

Remember the priest who was beaten by the man molested by him as a boy. That priest was never brought to justice. So there was never a real chance for him to face his sin and be forgiven. The Catholic Church protected him. And in so doing, robbed him of his chance for any redemption of any value.

3 comments:

JaneDoeThreads said...

Mara best you've written, on RMott's blog, a survivor [barely] of trafficking/prostitution/violent porn [and violent sex torture in in house prostitution] she tells of her anger, still, to this day,

what many do not realize, is that there can be damage so far gone that it's death, and for countless women they are walking DEAD, and the platitudes are really, just the same lines that the pimps and the sexual torturers used, while raping them, strangling them, butchering them, while they watched the other women die, one by one, suicides in high numbers, bodies dumped with no name, that is why prostitutes don't bond with each other, death is always at the door and they know it.

This woman who tells and fights to end the industry shares from a lifetime of this, from early teen years, she is a RARE AND I DO MEAN RARE EXCEPTION of one who lived, most DIE, horrible, hellish lives that are hell on earth.

This I believe is what Proverbs means, that hell is in the depths, not the women, though patri's have defined it's the women, but the actual work of demons/hell on earth, leashed through men [and some women] onto the weakest and defenseless.

This is true of the concubines in OT as well, the private license to rape/torture, a woman of no value. It was norm in B.C., it still is, though today we gloss it over with media depictions of them 'wanting it' [the usual blame the rape victim] and we see it in churches all the time.

The emphasis on fraternity, brotherly love, male bonding, is the strong root, in which these hellish realities exist still today, with the omittance of Sisterhood,

we do not Hear sister love thy sister, patri divides sisterhood by making us into property. The love thy mother falls on deaf ears because we do not have an Image of mother, Heavenly, only one of Father, so our only image of Mother is the Eve, that our own church fathers called, Evil, gates to hell.,

until WE, women, decide to Love thy SISTER, rather than sacrifice her, for the phallic, brotherhood, all the psyches and venus's [healing] which is just another image of a Woman, tore to shreds, all demonized, those goddesses,

more women will die, Soul deaths, not just physical ones.

With the emphasis on women getting into ministry as the 'cure all' which is in fact a Lie, we've seen all through politics, that women in power simply are used as token parrots for the male agenda, fact, and the emphasis on the mega healing industry [doctors in Nazi backgrounds/Nazi's in South America are used to bring back to life torture victims, so they can be tortured again, and again, and again],

it is vital, that a deconstruct of the 'mirage' is done, if we are to really reach women, and this is why I speak up. It goes far beyond just the to forgive or not to forgive,

it's how forgiveness has been used, to perpetuate a mirage of justice, but not simply justice, but deliverance,

when in fact, the gates of hell are stronger than ever and are increasing all over, and the bodies, of thousands, souls already shredded apart, beyond Restoration,

are filling up the graves.

Love,

jane [for janedoe, the invisible dying women--who Does have a name and who matters, no mirage will silence this cry until Every drop of blood, of those girls/women, is avenged, just as Lamech's was, for killing a man, so he could fulfill his sexual lust, to have more than one wife.]

shadowspring said...

Sobering, and so true. Thank you for taking the forgiveness myth and showing when it's just another form of abuse and when it is grace in action.

Eleanor said...

"But the real question is, what obligation do we have to the trapped, oppressed, and abused?

We are obligated to sound the alarm and to speak up for those who have no voice. We are to look for ways to rescue the downtrodden and find ways to stop the oppressor from oppressing and bring him to justice. Because only when he is brought to justice and to a place of weakness where he is no longer in control, only then will the forgiveness of those he oppressed have a chance to mean anything."
What a thoughtful posting Mara and I absolutely agree with what you have said and thankyou for this statement you include - so very important.
And your point about forgiving from position of strength is spot on.
I think I may have mentioned The Lost Art of Forgiving by Johann Christoph Arnold - I want to go back and reread it to further my understanding of this hugely difficult topic.I will also go back to reread that story quoted by Andrew Harvey in The Hope within its full context and see if that changes the understanding.
Give me some more time - there is a lot to think about here.