This posting was to be about yoga with a great quote from Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk about the study he talks about that showed greater progress in healing from trauma with yoga than drugs, for some. But then pop, pop, two stories jumped out of my NPR app – stories I’ve known about but, seeing one sitting on top of the other in the newsfeed pushed yoga aside, for now. Story #1 is about Attorney Deborah Daniels’ 70 recommendations resulting from her investigation of USA Gymnastics on how they can prevent the sexual abuse of girl gymnasts. And #2 – Cardinal George Pell has been given a leave from his service as finance advisor to the Pope to return to Australia to testify to his innocence for the large number of accusations of the sexual abuse of children dating back to the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.
Now – we could go down a whole lot of different paths about the parallels of these two stories. The power dynamics between children and their elders – coaches and priests. The similarities of both these cultures being closed as apposed to open and transparent.
I just got stuck. The pen stopped, I laid my head onto the back of my rocking chair and the voice of my inner critic, Pacasandra, rose to the surface, chortling, “Blah, Blah, Blah. There you go again – same rant as always. You are boring me to pieces and you’re only going to upset people with this constant complaining. Can’t you think of anything nice or funny or positive to say for a change? This dead horse of yours has been beaten enough, Jenson.”
Well, actually that’s the problem, the horse isn’t dead. It’s not even lame or starving or half blind or looking like it’s so old it may die out any day now.
No, this horse is alive and kicking. And what keeps gnawing at me is the spot-on certainty I carry that it’s all still happening right this very minute. Two things are for sure – these crimes don’t get looked at unless a victim speaks. And, by and large, if victims speak it’s not until long after the fact. Take me for example – my abuse stopped when I was 12 years old but I didn’t speak of it until I was 32. Not surprising – I needed those twenty years to gain enough steam to take the plunge into the deep waters of truth telling. I needed to build a life jacket from hours of therapeutic relationships with both personal and professional healers.
Let’s get back to USA Gymnastics. The CEO resigned and one molester is up on charges. Yay! Over 100 girls have slammed through the closet doors they’ve been protecting their sanity with. One guy did harm all those girls. But I don't believe there is only one person harming girls in this organization. And there isn’t just one administrator in one town’s gym that fired one guy so he could go to a new gym and start all over again.
Attorney Daniels was right to say in her report that they’ve got a culture of non-protection, which is exactly what the Pope is sitting on top of, too.
I want to say to the board of directors of USA Gymnastics – don’t anybody give a sigh of relief, the worst is not over – it takes a whole lot of time and energy to change a culture.
Now I just want to cry. I HATE getting to this rant and rave place that’s wallpapered with rage and carpeted with hopelessness. I want out of here. I want to take this god-awful heightened consciousness, throw it in a lake and run for the hills. I don’t want to know any of this anymore. I don’t want to feel this anymore. I want all of us to know we are beloved and belong.
Look, that culture change is not going to happen quick enough to stop the crimes of today. Except – there is JFK High in Northampton MA. A group of students, girls and boys, staged a sit-in in the principles office – YAHOO! – because one of the girls was told, in response to her claim of sexual harassment in her class, “boys will be boys.” And instead of going to that class they’d let her spend that hour in the library for the week till the incident cooled down.
A teen fueled sit-in. NOW you're talkin’!