I direct a non-profit ministry committed to addressing the silence that surrounds the epidemic of sexual abuse through awareness, training, and healing. In the years since we began we have seen the awareness piece gain momentum to where the media is covering and exposing the issue frequently. That is a welcomed development and hopefully the attitude will continue to expand.
In the world of sexual abuse those in positions of power take advantage of weaker individuals and exploit them. The victims, usually younger, are in a position of vulnerability and trust. The more powerful swoops in with promises and acceptance. The weaker welcoming the attention willfully submits to the advances. The abuser maintains control, as long as the victim cooperates and keeps silent. When the abuser is finished with the latest prey, the broken are further devastated by the betrayal and relegated to a world of silence. Occasionally a survivor musters the courage to speak out against the villain only to be refuted and further betrayed by the powerful and his or her supporters. The prevalence of this behavior goes across all of culture at epidemic proportions.
One would assume that everyone would agree that this behavior is completely unacceptable and when uncovered should be addressed or prosecuted aggressively without any questions considered. Unfortunately, that does not happen. Take this specific case. An incredibly powerful man uses his position of authority, celebrity, and power to manipulate a nineteen year old girl into engaging with him in inappropriate sexual behaviors. Never mind that he is married has an enormous reputation to maintain not only for him, but for the many he represents. His charismatic high-profile and status is irresistible to a nearly adolescent idol worshiper. When called to his office the thought of resistance never crosses her mind. This is the opportunity of a lifetime to be close to a man who has devoted genuine attention to her. Not long after the first meetings, the man in power manipulates the young girl into playful sexual talk. After monitoring closely her responses to insure safety, he moves the behavior further until he gets what he desired. From there h will go as far as he chooses and as long as he perceives safety.
Not long after, the girl in passing mentions to a friend of her encounter with the man of her dreams. The story slips out and begins to spread like wildfire finding its way to the perpetrator. Quickly, the man steps out to deny and discredit the story as the make-believe fantasies of an idol worshipping immature girl. The papers cover the story but because of the man’s power and influence it doesn’t take long for them to turn on the girl citing a lack of any evidence in her claims. Life quickly moves forward. The man and his power and influence remain intact, and his reputation remarkably grows in stature. Even after acknowledging a slight misjudgment in behavior he moves on seemingly unaffected.
In the meantime, the girl has now lost her life. She was manipulated and abused. All trust was betrayed and as time goes on every time the incident is mentioned, the betrayal feelings resurface. She attempts to present herself as unaffected and unscathed by the whole ordeal, but years later she continues to strive for value that was stripped from her by a selfish powerful man she adored and admired.
Tragedy? A woman’s life and future stolen and broken a tragedy for sure. Worse, the man moves on without any repercussions or remorse. The powerful around him pretend it never happened and as time goes by he continues to maintain superstar celebrity status.
Monica Lewinsky spoke at the Forbes Under 30 Summit yesterday in New York. Her remarks demonstrate the power her abuser still holds over her. She said her life has been ruined, not by the man who abused her, but by the media that marked her as the villain. Read between the lines of her remarks:
“But back then, in 1995, we started an affair that lasted, on and off, for 2 years. And, at that time, it was my everything. That, I guess you could say, was the golden bubble part for me; the nice part. The nasty part was that it became public. Public with a vengeance.
Thanks to the Internet and a website that at the time, was scarcely known outside of Washington DC but a website we all know today: the Drudge Report, within 24 hours I became a public figure, not just in the United States but around the entire globe. As far as major news stories were concerned, this was the very first time that the traditional media was usurped by the Internet.
In 1998, as you can imagine, there was a media frenzy. Even though it was pre-Google, (that’s right, pre-Google). The World Wide Web (as we called it that back then) was already a big part of life.
Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one. I was Patient Zero.
She continued to talk about her experience, her embarrassment, and the bad press, urging people to have compassion for people like her who are the focus of scandals, concluding with:
Actually, what we really need is a cultural revolution. Online, we’ve got a compassion deficit – an Empathy Crisis, and something tells me that matters a lot more to most of us.
Oscar Wilde wrote: “I have said that behind sorrow there is always sorrow. It were wiser still to say that behind sorrow there is always a soul. And to mock at a soul in pain is a dreadful thing.”
My feelings, exactly.” http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/monica-lewinsky-drudge-ruined-my-life
“It were wiser still to say that behind sorrow there is always a soul. And to mock at a soul in pain is a dreadful thing” Her feelings exactly.
I have no doubt that Ms. Lewinsky suffers in pain every day. The way to begin healing from the pain is to acknowledge that she was abused by a married man. That he took advantage of her innocence with his power and prestige. She will need to transform her thinking from; the perpetrator is innocent to, he took my life. She is mourning what she lost, unfortunately in the public arena with a false narrative. One day, she may discover that if she truly wishes to heal her soul, she will have to move toward forgiving the rock star and refusing to allow him to control her life anymore. It won’t be an easy journey given the stature of the man, his media loyalists, and a culture that accepts evil as long you are on the same side.
I hope she finds the peace her soul is longing for.