Link – As a criminologist studying child abuse, I feel like I live in the upside ‘down’.
I haven’t ever seen the show, but this sounds about right:
There’s a moment in Stranger Things where one of the young protagonists confronts a monster from the ‘upside down’, and it invades him. When I’m confronted by people who deny the seriousness of sexual abuse, I wonder if that’s what they are afraid of too: that they will somehow be infected by the fear and the terror that comes with severe sexual abuse. However, it’s only by sharing in the knowledge that such abuse exists that we can understand what victims are trying to tell us, and hold perpetrators to account.
I often say the thing that causes the most harm to victims of any kind of violence, or crime, is our immediate need to find a reason why this scary thing won’t happen to us. (It was what you wore, where you were, how much you drank, who your parents let you be with, etc.) I understand the need to find a reason, usually something the victim did, that “explains” away the seriousness of something like abuse. We have this innate need to smooth our own fears, but we miss out on how we are blaming the victim. Instead, we all need to be aware of how often these things happen, and accept that they could happen to anyone.
That’s not to say we just accept living in fear. Far from it. We accept that life can be dangerous, and that we’ll be strong enough, with the support of a community that isn’t going to not believe, or blame us, to overcome it.
If only we could become that community.