Next month, me and my girlfriends are going to the place where my first boyfriend assaulted me as a teenager to do some Iroquois cleansing of the area. We won't be doing anything extravagant, just simple, burning sages from different places, saying simple prayers in Onondaga and old Irish, in modern English. The different languages will honor our individual traditions and also honor that silence being broken about sexual violence.
I am very pleased about that part because it's so poetic. There's a saying in my work with survivors of violence: It's not taboo to rape, only to talk about it. That is, people feel free to be violent in this way, but get in an uproar when the survivors discuss the crime and how it affected them.
By praying in Onondaga and Irish, we are symbolic about the similar ways that our languages were almost stolen by violent invaders. Since the Irish and Onondagas didn't have a written language originally, one effective way to try and break down our spirit was to force the English language on to our ancestors.
Today, both the Iroquois and Irish people have taken steps to create written versions of both these native tongues and to ressurect them in common knowledge.
So this is much like the silence survivors face in the world and within themselves about disclosing and healing via speaking up and out.
Then will release baloons to set free our hurt and rage about what hapened to me when I was a girl, what happened to us gals, since the other people there are mostly survivors or love a survivor.
I am looking forward to this taking me one more step away from seeing myself as a victim of life's tragedies. Already to be able to participate in this, I've come a long, long way towards seeing myself as simply a survivor, a person of strength. Leaving my precious victimhood behind has allowed me to become more responsible- not for the rape but as the healer of my own violation. And also, leaving my identity as a victim behind is allowing me to take more responsibility in every area of my life.
Because we in recovery from addiction are not always the healthiest people in relationships, I was hesitant to really talk about being assaulted on my first few 4th/5th steps. But I finally found a healthy sponsor who told me I was only responsible for one thing about being raped: the way it changed me: how it changed the way I treat the nice men who try and court me and the way it made me distrust my instincts and start to close off from other human beings and life.
She told me it was my responsibility to regain trust in guys and to reclaim the grown up instincts about guys that I had stopped trusting after being harmed by someone I loved as a girl.
Awesome lady, my sponsor.
We have come a long way since that revelation and I am definitely able to say I have followed her suggestion quite fully.
I know- the Punk in me is like: Hippy Crap! But that's only one part of me. As much as I trust that part about matters like music and ethics, it's not the aspect of myself that understands being wounded and healing. So I'll get over it!