I started writing publically in January 2017 after agreeing to be silent in 2016 after yet another slaughter. There was little choice in the silence, it was more of what Lawerence Langer rightly coined a “choiceless choice.”
Choiceless choices are “damned if you do and damned if you don’t choices.”
They are which “damn” is the least worst choices.
They are “choose between the lesser of two evils choices.”
They are “choose between a rock and a terrible hard place choices.”
They are “choose between actual survival and inevitable slaughter choices.”
They are “choose between exhausting pyrrhic justice and restless injustice choices.”
They are “choose between life and loss of dignity or death with piecemeal personhood.”
You get the picture — they really aren’t choices at all.
Making the choice to pick up the pen and write (in concert with rigorous research, and trauma informed therapy) allowed me to gain some sense of agency, informed choice, and transcendence above the trauma of it all.
As a result…
I do not write about any one offender,
I write about all offenders.
I do not write about any one victim,
I write about all victims
I do not write about any one institutional betrayal,
I write about all institutional betrayals.
I do not write about any one individual abuse,
I write about all individual abuses.
In writing about all, I get to write about one. In writing for all I get to write for one. In writing with far sight, you get to read with insight.
For if I write about one predator/enabling community, the human tendency is to cluck the tongue and say, “Well, that is a shame. That happened over there, it could never happen in here. That is them – it could never be us.”
We can gain psychological distance from abuse and oppression by making it other. I endeavour to shine the light a little further afield and and little closer to home — your home.
While I DO NOT recommend it, the “choiceless choice” of silence, has made me less focused on the few and more focused on the many. It has cultivated more creative communication. It has caused me to dig deep and reach far for words to frame reality. It has also forced me to look at the bigger issues of victimhood and violence; of individual and institutional betrayal; of trauma and recovery.
It had never occurred to me that the oppression of “choiceless choices” could force far sight and enable insight – but it has.