This morning, I watched an interview of a woman who was one of Jimmy Saville’s victims, on Victoria Derbyshire. It was in the lead up to a BBC documentary on tonight. I have put it on to record, it will no doubt be harrowing.
The woman in the interview was inspiring and so much of what she said resonated to me. I am in no way comparing the tragedies, at all. Please do not take this blog in that way. However, the interview highlighted to me just how life’s shits, even the shittest of shits, have similarities in the way we approach them and the lessons that we learn from them. A lot of what she had to say transfers far beyond the situation that she is in – it relates to all forms of pain, upset, tragedy, grief, trauma, and everyday life…
She spoke about how her family had been very supportive since she revealed the history of abuse that she suffered, and poignantly, how their support came about once she enabled them to support her. I think this is such a valid lesson in life and so beautifully put. Frustratingly, if you sit and wait for support to come to you, you will most likely luck out. Of course, the well may not be completely dry, but it probably won’t keep you hydrated. We know that to get the majority to support us, we have to initiate the conversations, and then, within the conversations, we have to subtly educate on how best to support us.
I am not really at the point of wishing to enable others to support me. I am still just sat by the well, waiting. Luckily, I have enough support coming and those that don’t need the invite are cherished. Really cherished. However, I do know that other, more formal avenues of support are in our control only. I don’t agree that it should always be that way, but we have to go looking for it. I guess the lesson is, not to concern yourself with the journey to the support, but be thankful and enriched by the support once you get there.
She also shared her need and desire to talk and how not doing so, exacerbates the situation and enables repeat abuse in wider society. This reminded me of a girl I went to secondary school with, who in response to a conversation about rape, told us all to stop talking about it as it just shouldn’t be talked about. I remember, back then being just as opinionated as I am now, telling her that if we don’t talk about it, how are those suffering abuse able to talk about it.
We must talk about all those taboos out there. There is a lot of discussion about this surrounding stillbirth and miscarriage, rightly so, within society and within the maternity services. Talking about it doesn’t make it happen more, it isn’t catching. Talking about it, can actually make it happen less and can even makes the silent damage it does to people lessen. Victoria Derbyshire herself knows all to well the power of speaking about life’s shit. Through Operation Yewtree getting coverage, more and more people have come forward. Those who talk about the shit stuff aren’t seeking pity, money or fame. They generally want to know that they are not alone and to help themselves and others. Is it British politeness that keep these things taboo? Or do we just excuse ourselves with this notion?
The other thing that she discussed was her feelings of shame in regards to the abuse that she suffered. Naturally and truthfully, Victoria Derbyshire reassured her that no one would feel that she should feel any shame. Yet, the woman echoed that whilst she understands that she should not experience shame for the situation, she does still feel it. She does still question why she didn’t break the habit, speak out, say no. No sane person would ever blame a victim of such horrific abuse. No one is in any doubt of Jimmy Saville’s wrong doing. This acknowledgement of understanding that you do not need to feel a certain way, yet you still do, rings so true. No sane person would blame us for our child’s death, for not asking for help sooner, or not recognising that something was wrong. On a good day, I don’t blame myself, or feel guilty. But, no matter how much someone tells you that you do not need to feel a certain way, it cannot stop you feeling that way. Even if you do not agree with those emotions yourself. Emotions aren’t conscious entities that you decide on. They are reactive, automatic, unattached to conscious thought.
I will watch the documentary and I’m sure we will feel angry of the power that Jimmy Saville and many others like him, have had over not just childhoods, but lifes. I will use it as a reminder to myself that you never know the battle that someone is on and to be kind to others. I will use it as a reminder to keep talking and breaking silences and to find ways to enable those that are brave enough to support us.
The picture is from this weekend, when our best friends surprised us with a balloon release for Leo – proof that there are people in the world who do things selflessly, for others, out of pure and loving kindness. No matter what life throws at you, its those people who should be remembered.
2 thoughts on “Learning Lessons”
Thank you for being such a strong voice with helping to break the silence. I share your desire to do so – I agree that actually staying silent can cause a problem to occur more, as no awareness is ever generated. Why did things become taboo topics anyway? I guess maybe since losing Matthew, no longer is anything a taboo in my mind, so when things are treated as such, it’s foreign to me. Also, I agree with all your points on shame. I intellectually know I’m not to blame and that very few out there blame be, but, somehow, I still feel it, which defies reason, but it’s obviously there nonetheless… Thank you again for this great post!
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We were talking about taboos the other day and why they are as such. I guess people just don’t like the ‘abnormal’ or the shit stuff. I’m like you now, once your eyes open you can’t really shut them again. The blame is a very hard one to battle with. It’s me and me alone that can change that feeling. Xx
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