Our past trauma can be triggered in a variety of ways. Just after The Feast of the
Epiphany (January 6), a patient brought in an article sent to her by a friend in California;
and she was triggered. The article concerned a priest who actually blamed women
for abuse they experienced at the hands of men. She was deeply upset but laughed at
some of the excerpts she read. After all, it was all so familiar. She, as many of you have,
heard it before, in so many ways since we were children. But as she spoke about it, she
noticed that it really disturbed her.
So she began by doing what we all know how to do so very well. She began to find
reasons to explain why this man of God did this very un-Christ-like act. She expressed:
well, he’s probably done some good. He’s probably old, and being kept on due to his
past good deeds. Yes, she rationalized his actions, but she was still feeling it.
But through the process that I taught her, she began to listen to that little voice inside.
She heard this voice of reason begin to whisper, then speaking more clearly, then
demanding to be heard, and finally screaming: what about YOU? She realized that
she had caught herself being the “good girl”, yet again, explaining the abuse instead of
feeling her response to it as she remembered it, yet again.
Being so trained to be the good girl is a type of cultural trauma that is so subtle, so
pervasive, that it took her speaking to me, for her to finally hear herself, and risk
stepping outside of her conditioning to express her anger at this very poorly informed
man. All I did was to point out: you sound angry, inviting her to check in with the part
of herself that has been traumatized, and prevailed, her resilience. When she did she
discovered she was incensed!
Violence against women is making the news, as usual. It is for some sexy, young
women, usually, strong men exercising their power over women, women hurt, killed—
shot in the head, raped on a public bus, beaten by their husband. Oops, that usually
doesn’t make the news.
So what’s the big deal? Aren’t women always blamed for a man’s bad actions? Nothing
new in this, except this time it is a priest delivering this disgusting message in his
Christmas message. The Pasadena insert of the LA Times this Sunday reported on
Father Corsi’s gift to his congregation on the Feast of the Epiphany, the Feast of The
Three Kings. http://www.pasadenasun.com/opinion/pas-0104-in-theory-an-italian-
Yes, Father Corsi, from Northern Italy, was very clear in his text: Women and Femicide,
women bear the responsibility for everything from sexual attacks to sexual abuse. And
he exhorted women to search their conscience. Yes, you have that right. He didn’t
pressure the men to examine their conscience, those who are the major perpetrators
of the 1/3 increase in domestic violence deaths in Italy in 2012, but the women, who
were the victims. Now don’t be so ungrateful. So what if what he offered was a piece
of coal? Down deep inside, what do we expect?