Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My "Struggle"

I began following a blog about South Africa and its politics about a year ago, called "I luv SA." I was engrossed by the content of the blog and I found myself getting drawn deeper into the discussions to the extent that I recently became a contributor. I was always aware of the similarity between the experience of being a white South African and a rape survivor. Both were victims.

Wikipedia described some of the consequences of crime under the term 'victomology' and victims may experience the following psychological reactions:

1. Increase in the belief of personal vulnerability.
2. The perception of the world as meaningless and incomprehensible.
3. The view of themselves in a negative light.

That was nothing new to me as a rape survivor. I was well acquainted with these reactions. My interest was stimulated when I began to observe the extent to which white males from South Africa showed similar reactions to my own, despite their impressive attempts to turn things around in their favour. The world was beating down on the white male and the odds just seemed to be stacked very high against the guys.

Wikipedia expanded on the concept of Victimology, "The experience of victimization may result in an increasing fear of the victim of the crime, and the spread of fear in the community."

That was not new to me either. Ironically, one of the bloggers from the site observed that the guys became withdrawn around me after I shared my history about my rape with them. I suspect the reason was that these guys that withdrew were still victims, i.e. still suffering from the psychological trauma that they experienced. Guys, in general, tried to live up to the stereotype that they were invincible and therefor these men were not equipped to process their emotional reactions.

If men experience a break down in psychology, the implications for women are enormous. One particular incident that comes to mind is my own rape. White women from South Africa have an interest, as much as anybody else, to fight against the injustices that white men suffered during South Africa's transition from Apartheid to the Rainbow Nation.

7 Opinion(s):

Islandshark said...

Very good post, FishEagle. I think it is very brave and noble of you to stand up and fight for the cause when you have been a victim yourself.

Ranger Tom said...

Sometimes I think guys don't shy away, they just don't know how to respond.

Me for instance. I saw this post, read it but sat for a long time thinking of something to respond and came up blank, so I just kept coming back to see if anything would register.

Even now, writing this I hope I don't come off as an imbicile...

I really do understand, somewhat. I was molested from the age of 10 to 12 when I was a boy. For years I thought it was my fault that this happened to me.

It took me a long, long time to bring closure to that point in my life and realize it wasn't my fault. Being raised Catholic didn't help, for I was taught to feel guilty over everything.

I learned a lot on the police department, one, that rape isn't about sex at all. It's about power over the victim. And the rapist, in making you think it was your fault, is actually defelcting the guilt off of him.

A lot of examples of 'deflection' are in society now. The black man, in his misguided belief he's been mistreated and a victim of racism, treats the white the same way he precieves he's been treated.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

Another example of deflection... For years my ex-wife accused me of running around on her, when it was later found out it was she who was the adulterer.

Wether it's mental or physical abuse, it's still abuse.

I hope that makes some sense, because this subject for me is also a painful one at times.

Islandshark said...

I'm in the presence of very brave individuals indeed...

mawm said...

Wow! You are a brave woman.

I'm an expat and of the things I miss most SA women must be at the top of the list.

FishEagle said...

To the guys that gave the great responses, thanks so much! It was very much appreciated.

@RT, you have it spot on!! By the way, I know how much it takes to talk about such an experience and it just shows how much character you've got. I love it!

Pensioner said...

This was a very brave thing you did Fisheagle, to publish this post. Like @RT, I was also raised in a Roman Catholic home and like him, I was also molested as young boy of around 8 or 9 by a cousin of mine who was in a seminary training for the priesthood.
I am now old and retired but the pain and the shame still haunts me from time to time. I have lived a happy and fortunate live and I am married for more than 43 years to a truly wonderfull woman.
I am not sure if the event has had a lasting effect on me, I have not seen my cousin in more than 50 years. I have totally lost all respect for all things Catholic and I am, to this day in a spiritual wilderness, believing in God one day and doubting life after death the next day. I do feel a total abhorence toward homosexuality though, but I suppose that is to be expected.
I must say that having looked at the consequences very long and hard, the three psychological reactions do describe me to a certain extend.
I wish you well in your journey through life.

FishEagle said...

Pensioner, thanks. I'm sorry to hear that you also went through such an ordeal.