Everywhere you look it seems the shadow side of humanity is revealing itself. What used to lie in the dark, shrouded by secrets and denial, is coming to light daily. Recently, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s wife Evelyn courageously shared her experience of sexual assault by her OBGYN. Her doctor violated numerous patients, lost his license, but managed to evade a prison sentence. Harvey Weinstein’s fate hangs in the balance with only old strategies of victim blaming left as his defense. We will never hear from Jeffrey Epstein, who died under suspicious circumstances, but we will hear from his victims who were mere teens when they were groomed, manipulated, and violated for the pleasure of powerful men.
On a personal level, the shadows have brushed up against my family members and even consumed me completely for a time, decades ago. My niece, while on the national gymnastics team, was treated by the infamous Dr. Larry Nassar. Fortunately, her coach insisted he be present during her appointments and she was kept safe, while some of her teammates were molested. My brothers’ Boy Scout leader died while on permanent house arrest after molesting numerous scouts. My brothers knew many of his victims.
Our eyes must stay wide open to the potential for abuse of power by individuals unhealed, uncensored, and unleashed. We can no longer stay in denial and blind trust to keep us safe and sound.
I find it hopeful that my husband just had an “in-service” at his place of employment on what makes for healthy boundaries between students and teachers. This is yet another sign that our culture is moving towards more consciousness around roles, boundaries, and potential abuses of power.
No longer can we rely on stale ethical codes of behavior that are often not enforced to keep behavior in check. Humans are complicated and all of us are vulnerable to our unmet needs, our lack of awareness, our isolation, and our unhealed wounds that may hijack our judgement.
I am hopeful that my book, “Seduced into Darkness: Transcending My Psychiatrist’s Sexual Abuse,” (to be released March 1, 2020) will add to the conversation about boundaries, ethics, and self-care, and help to educate health care providers of the dangers of the slippery slope.
It is time to move beyond the polarity of victim blaming or total demonization of perpetrators and have more nuanced conversations about shame, vulnerability, power, and abuse. People in power must be actively taught about the dangers of losing one’s way and be held accountable for their health and consciousness, so that they don’t turn to the more vulnerable for their needs to be met in unhealthy ways. For too long, shame has muted conversations around victimization and perpetration and kept us frozen in a recurring dynamic that has been with us since the beginning of time. We seem to be at a unique time in history when conversations on what it means to be seduced, betrayed, and exploited, but also what it means to heal, empower, and embrace our light, spread rapidly across the globe. Our world needs active, inspired conversations to lead us out of our own personal and collective darkness and into the light of love and connection. I am excited to be part of the conversation. Now is the time….