Friday, May 26, 2017

I still hurt...

If you had told me a week ago that I would feel the way I do tonight, I would not have believed you.  When I found that article on acute lower back pain, that is exactly what I read, that I would be better in a week and most injuries are healed within four weeks.  I tried to believe that, but I admit that I did not.  Not really.

I hurt.  I really hurt.  But I hurt absolutely nothing like I did last Friday.  Oh, how I hurt then!  The pain is mostly a stiffness and a soreness, sort of like when your muscles are overworked, but not exactly.  When I try to bend over, it feels as if I will never be able to bend over again, but I try, slowly and carefully.  For a while, it is better, but when I sit for a while, I stiffen up and standing becomes so very nearly impossible.  Then, struggling to breath against the pain, I move enough for it to subside.  All of that, though, is nothing compared to the blinding pain of a week ago.  For that, I am immensely grateful.

Of course, I do not want it to take another three weeks to heal.
I am weary of new pain.
Of more pain.

I also have been hurting in other ways.  Ways that are difficult to express.

I read about a judge who lowered a sentence from six years to four for a migrant in Vienna who brutally raped a 10-year-old boy, leaving him with serious bodily injuries.  The judge's reasoning was two-fold:  1) this was a one-off for the boy and so it's not likely to affect him the way it would if he had been repeatedly abused and 2) it was a one-off for the rapist, being his first conviction.  The excuse the rapist used was that he had a sexual emergency, that it had been too long since he had had sex.  Why he wasn't laughed out of existence I am not sure.  But the arguments by the judge just ... floor me.  And fell me.

It is a total fallacy to say that just one rape will not affect someone for the rest of his/her life.  Some might heal well.  Some will not.  There is absolutely no research evidencing that a single rape is better with regard to the survivor's outcome than a second or more rapes.  Frankly, I would like to see that judge experience a brutal rape the likes of which the young boy experienced, live with it for a few years, and then consider reducing a sentence.

The second reasoning is a bit beyond me.  This is a man from a region where rape is perfectly acceptable.  He is also from a region where little policing happens.  I highly doubt that this was actually the young man's first rape.  However, that is speculation on my part.  It is also speculation on the part of the judge.  He could not conduct or have cause to conduct a thorough investigation of the young man in his home region or his actions all along the route he took to enter Vienna.

The judge's attitude toward a single rape galls me.
Infuriates me.
Leaves me in despair.

Nothing has changed.

I also read about a fourth grade teacher who was caught on camera kissing one of his students.  The boy's sister claimed he also kissed her, but the teacher only confessed to kissing the boy.  The teacher is on probation, but still allowed to teach.  He's also planning on continuing his career in education.  Caught on video kissing a student.  Probation.  This enrages me.  Any teacher caught on video kissing a student should be fired immediately.  I suppose it is more realistic that he be suspended pending a full review.  But, seriously, what the heck is there to review?  He was caught on video kissing a fourth grade boy.  There is absolutely no excuse and no need to review anything.

What also enrages me is the teacher's statement that he plans on remaining in his educational career.  The fact is that even with a sexual battery charge and conviction (it will most likely be pled down, even though there is a video tape because our world takes sexual abuse so very lightly), this teacher could move to another state and continue teaching.  There is no national database for teachers who have assaulted students and there is no national database for criminals.

I personally know someone who got off on a DWI in one state as a first time offense whilst having a pending case for his second DWI in another state.  That second DWI was also treated as a first because the first and the second were in different cities.  Our criminal justice system is woefully inadequate with regard to data keeping.  Even if the teacher is required to register as a sex offender, that is still a voluntary action.  Moving to another state really is a way to escape pesky things like a criminal past.   

What is worse is when there is an altercation and the school buries it.  That is all too common.  It is the same, really, as when businesses fob off problem employees by hiding their crimes.  One of my employers had an embezzler as an employee.  She was required to make restitution in private payments.  She went on to embezzle at another job.  At another one of my jobs, an employee was caught embezzling whilst I was working there.  It turns out that employee had done the same at a previous job.

These two bits of news came after reading some of the AP report on sexual abuse in schools across the United States.  A long, investigative report turned up seventeen thousand sexual assaults.  Swallow that number for a second.  Many of them covered up, swept aside, or ignored.  There is this persistent opinion that children will just get over it.  That what happened is not so bad.

I am not over it.
I am not the only one.

This is an informative website maintained by a foundation in Australia committed to:  "...improve the lives of the five million (1 in 4) Australian adults who are survivors of childhood trauma, including abuse. We support survivors, their families and communities through professional phone counselling, information and resources, advocacy and educational workshops. We also deliver professional development training, group supervision and consultancy for workers, organisations and practitioners working with survivors."

I want to move to Australia.

There are resources for survivors, medical personnel, mental health professionals, legal and justice professionals, and other organizations and staff in the pursuit of the fight against child sexual abuse and the support of adult survivors.  I particularly like this one page on myths about child abuse, because the remain such a problem for survivors.  But the entire website is the most impressive one on sexual abuse that I have ever seen.  Seriously, we need this national organization here in America.

What hurts so much is that, looking back on the past 50 years, as I have been doing of late, I see little change since I was a child with regard to sexual abuse.  It remains a silent epidemic and falsehoods about its impact continue to harm children (and the adults they grow to be).  It also remains a source of shame.  Something that you cannot really talk about, given how inappropriate the subject matter remains.  And having a history of child sexual abuse remains a huge obstacle to getting proper medical care for physical needs due to what amounts to prejudice born of ignorance.  There is this collective belief that patients struggling with their history of child abuse are all mental patients who's complaints are born of their past and not usually a physical reality.

That might be a harsh generalization, but I have experienced it, other survivors I now have experienced it, and medical personnel I know have spoken of experiencing it from the other side of things.  It stinks.  It deepens the wound.  And it is wrong.

I still hurt in so very many ways.

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