Rhonda Begos-Zolecki

Rhonda Begos-Zolecki

It Matters To That One

There is this crazy dynamic in our society in terms of judgement. We look at people, and see their circumstance, and can't understand why they are in it. We scream about policy, and laws, and presidents, and world leaders - and talk about the "why's" behind everything....as if we truly knew the whys. As if we had done the research - put ourselves in the trenches, and lived the lives of those who we deem to be worthless and hopeless. 

 

This is more prevelant with adults who have suffered any type of sexual violence in their lives. The event itself does its own damage, however, the most damage is done by society. 

 

We have those people who say "Get over it. It happened a long time ago." We have those people who don't understand the residual effects of that trauma. We have friends who tell us, as if to be experts, that our current circumstance cannot be an effect from something that happened so long ago. I truly believe that most people who have experienced that trauma begin to believe what they hear on the outside, and when those feelings and triggers happen, instead of getting the help they need, they drown it in alcohol, drugs, dysfunctional behavior, anger, violence or complete isolation, never understanding where the behavior is coming from. Some give up completely, never being able to see that light at the end of a very long tunnel. 

 

Well why should they? The world says you're not suffering internally because of anything that's happened to you. You're just a loser who can't get it together. 

 

I know that there are people reading this right now who have been abused, who experience problems in relationships - choosing partners who are verbally or physically abusive, and not knowing why; always fighting with bosses or co-workers, because you don't like being put in a corner or made to feel like less of a person; I know there are people who are suffering with severe depression, and even though the money is good and they should be happy, they are miserable with the battle that they are fighting with themselves. I know that there are people when someone does something devestating to them, they want to get revenge and want to make sure that this person knows they will never get an opportunity to hurt them again. I know there are parents who have had this happen, who are terrified to leave their children alone, because they are afraid that something will happen. That they won't be there to protect them. I know that there are some who don't understand why they are drinking so much, why they can't get off drugs, why they can't live functionally. I also know that most of these people have said nothing. Have admitted nothing. Have told themselves nothing bad happened. Well why should they? Those closest to them have probably told them the same thing. 

 

Sexual violence is something that a person who experiences it never asks for. In adult life, those who have experienced this trauma do not know how to deal with the memories and with what has happened. No one chooses to be afraid when they have to have a routine exam because they don't want to be touched - or when they have a CT scan that forces them to be in an enclosed place, because they don't want to feel trapped. No one wants to feel fear, or sadness and no one wants to feel alone. These feelings NEVER GO AWAY....however, there is hope for people in these situations. It requires a lot of support. It requires a lot of understanding, and it requires people who do not judge. 

 

I will be speaking at a women's prison at some point in the future, I'm not sure when. A huge population of these women have experienced sexual trauma - extreme violent sexual trauma, and have never been given an opportunity to find their worth. They have acted out in society society because they haven't been given the opportunity to let it out to someone who would listen. They are angry, and they are pissed off at the world, and at that themselves. And I've come to the point that my judgement stops now. My feelings of discontent for women and men who have experienced this stops now. 

 

When I saw Pope Francis speak at that prison, I saw the need for him to witness God's presence in his own life, so that those prisoners would be inspired to change. One very important thing that I have learned and that I learned at the first place where I spoke is no matter how large the audience, no matter if there are men, women, or even very young people in the audience, all religions, all ethnicities and backgrounds - there is always 1 person. Always 1 person who has been effected personally by sexual violence, but most of the time, I know there are many more. I also know that there are always people who never believed that they had been violated by what they've been told - but at those talks, they can finally acknowlede that something did happen, and that it wasn't their fault. 

 

The most important thing that I learned - in my speeches and in seeing Pope Francis. If I can get 1. If I can get 1 to hear that message, then I've done more than I thought I could. 

 

The story about the starfish is very important. When you read the story about the woman on the beach who see that there are hundreds of stranded starfish, and no one is doing anything to help them, because they see the task as too monumental, she begins to throw them back in the water, one by one, alone. When a man sees her doing this, he tells her that it's ridiculous what she's doing, because she'll never be able to save them all. He told her that it won't matter to all of those starfish because she can't do what she's trying to do. 

 

She picked up one starfish, and put it back in the water and she said "It Mattered To That One." 

 

For those of you who are suffering at this very moment, I want you to know, you can end your suffering now by knowing that you matter, and by understanding that it wasn't your fault. By knowing that there are people who understand and know what you are going through and that most importantly. You are not alone. You matter. I know you matter. 

 

It's your time to know that you do and it's time for society to stop. YOU get it together and learn about those who you are judging. STOP. 

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