Diamond-Cut Life

More Joy, Less Stuff

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Standing Beside Mr. Elizalde

October 12th, 2008 by Alison · 2 Comments · health & well being, work

I respect the Oregonian for running a large front-page story this Sunday morning on the prevalence of military personnel who get raped — by fellow military personnel. In particular, I respect Jeff Elizalde for going public with the fact that this happened to him 30 years ago. He has guts.

Why am I covering this topic in a blog about sustainability, a blog about more joy and less consumption in the face of global warming? Primarily because crimes like rape block the victim’s option of joy altogether because they create emotional terrorism and throw him or her backwards into issues of survival. Mr. Elizalde, for instance, reports that his life fell apart altogether after the rape happened. We have to survive and be safe before we have a shot at joy.

Like many rape victims, he kept it a secret at the time, knowing it wasn’t safe to talk about it or prosecute the rapist (in this case, his sergeant). My vision of a good world, the diamond-cut life I would like all of us to have, is that people are safe, particularly vulnerable people who are victimized. And one way we become safe is through a lack of secrets, a free flow of information that makes it no crime to be vulnerable or to have been victimized.

So I’m going to do my little part here, and follow the lead of the courageous Jeff Elizalde. I was raped 28 years ago when a stranger came into my apartment. Like Mr. Elizalde, it was not my fault I was raped, and I have nothing to be ashamed of about the incident. Unlike Mr. Elizalde, I found a lot of support at the time, through my ministers and my college chaplain. I was blessed in that respect, and my healing came more quickly than his. But it was awful.  I’d been terrorized.  A person who rapes you cares so little about you, you feel they could have murdered you.

Later this week: why I see unbridled aggression to be a common denominator between rape and the plundering of natural resources it takes to consume the way our culture consumes.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Bubba Dave

    I lived through years of clergy sexual abuse in the Boston area. It took me years of therapy to be able to overcome the damage that was done to me. As it is, the statute of limitations in MA is such that I can’t take the guy to court. Even if I could, the therapists that I went to at the time are long gone, and the records as well.

    Today, I am going for my Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling, and the main group of people that I expect to be working with are those who have suffered through clergy sexual abuse.

    Those of us who have lived through this type of trauma have not done anything to deserve what we experienced. I’m only grateful that there is life after sexual abuse.

  • Alison

    Thank you, Dave. Your path sounds excellent . . . I’m a long-time believer in using our experiences to ‘give back’ to the world. It’s like a form of alchemy. Blessings to you!

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