We have to be terrified – fearing the loss of our own safety, and in fear of imminent danger before we react with a desire for change. But we are the dangerous ones.
We are shocked by the recent events in India, a girl travelling home on a bus was gang raped so violently, her death resulted from her injuries. Following on from the story of the same happening to a 13 year old girl. There was an outcry in India, but not from fathers, brothers, uncles, or boyfriends. Sadly not, the outcry came from the women who are no longer able to convince themselves that the victims in some way did not ‘keep themselves safe’. That the victims ‘did something stupid’. These women could no longer convince themselves they would be safe, because they would behave as had the victims, and therefore they would be safe where these victims were not.
As the women in India could no longer do that they too felt the vulnerability of being an unprotected woman in a land where women are truly not safe and society, men, and women, stand by whilst women in large numbers experience violence of this nature. For these women in India they could not avoid the vulnerable part of themselves as easily as could the men, who do not experience the same imminent danger.
As the world is in the grip of financial problems the security felt by numbers of individuals is rocked, anxieties are raised. Poor people who expect to be poor, who acknowledge their place and accept that place are secure. But now people who expected to have some financial security are afraid for their economic security. They are anxious and worse than that, they feel powerless. It is these people who pose a danger. Please understand I am not suggesting it is these individuals who are committing rapes, or violent acts. It is these people, the majority of us, that will turn away and do nothing. Why?
Now more than ever we are all in danger of violence. Without care, experiences of violence of all kinds will increase, as always the vulnerable in our society will be the first to experience it. Violence on busses going to school, cuts in health care, disability living allowance, housing, job seekers allowance. All of these are increase our vulnerability and leave individuals feeling isolated and uncared for by our society. And we will turn away as they become the victims. Why?
We, in the financial life boats with a drowning sense of agency in the world, who worry that we are losing control of the security in which we hold our families are fearful, and it is that fear that we cannot bear. Our only path is to not bear it, to deny it, to split it off from ourselves.
When we allow rape, and violence, in our societies we allow parts of ourselves to be split off, to roam free, without a restraining guide. The part of us that is desperately in need of power and control goes off onto the busses in our towns.
Sitting alongside the powerful disowned part of us is another part, the victim. The part that is vulnerable and afraid, that is unprotected and frightened. As we fear being the victim more than we fear the powerful controlling part of us we turn from victims and do not want to see that vulnerability. If we let in the vulnerable part we fear we will be weakened, so we do not let it in. Whilst we fear our own vulnerability more than we fear the part of us that needs to be in control, that needs to feel powerful, we will turn away from the victim and ignore the destruction of ourselves that the perpetrator represents.
We need to be brave and take all our parts to ourselves. Think about our vulnerability – give it air to breathe, and let it know we see it, as the women in India now have no alternative but to do. Only then will be brave enough to take to ourselves the parts of us that need to control.