Some women are sometimes granted justice - Olympic team gymnasts in this case - at least justice in the form of their criminal abuser going to prison. Numerous articles have appeared today. As a trending topic it is certainly something all decent people can celebrate! I do question the supposed wisdom of including the video of the impassioned pleas of the offender for forgiveness which are included in much of the coverage. It tends to create sympathy for the individual whose stated criminal charges are associated with 130 people, including children. The victims deserve better.
I will be commenting here on much more than this particular victory. And also, without detracting from the victory, I have to say that imprisonment does not do much to address the personal trauma the victims have experienced since their abuse, but at least it prevents the abuser from engaging in further opportunistic abuse. And at least, for a time, it probably has the effect of other abusers in the same career field putting any potential criminal behavior on-hold. We can certainly hope so. It may also encourage those who have been harassed and/or assaulted to actually report the problem, if only because it may contribute to preventing others from being abused, similarly. As such, it is a victory for decent people everywhere.
Work related sexual harassment and assault consists of a demographic of victims for whom justice is more likely to be possible, as compared to familial abuse, date rape, and crimes of varying degrees as a result of far-reaching collusion. That is not to say that the perpetrator in the Olympic gymnasts' case was not protected by a network of like-minded people in collusion within varied fields, like medical, higher education, and government. How could so many crimes have been perpetrated for such a long time otherwise? However, work related crimes are oftener prosecuted than those which are not work related.
Licensed professional people (like m.d.s) who commit crimes and violate their professional ethics are one subset of those who abuse and harass in the work place. The nature of the organized work structure includes strict professional standards which actually state and expect no harassment and abuse of patients or co-workers. So when a problem does occurs, especially if it targets more than one person, it is more likely to be handled instead of ignored IF it is reported, and IF it is handled carefully as it should be once there is awareness of problems. These are both big "ifs".
Catching a suspected offender in the act at the workplace (or anywhere else) while our system of justice is upheld, by extending the right an alleged perpetrator has to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, certainly becomes a skilled balancing act which mandates many variables being objectively and skillfully applied. When that does happen, sometimes there is justice. The potential for justice often depends on the skill and ethics of the human resources people along with the values of the business and those tasked to do the hiring.
I, myself, had problems long ago in the past with m.d.s but as far as I have been able to ascertain, rather than being gender related harassment they were almost entirely related to the ethical problems allowed which are innate to an institutionalized "illness industry". Later, I was also fortunate enough to have been seen by several trustworthy m.d.s who, as it happens, are integrative medicine m.d.s, before that also another few who were not totally dictated to by a for-profit nationally unstandardized system of health care.
I did have a problem with two unethical m.d.s who crossed the line, years ago, one being totally inappropriate behavior from a male physician, and a decade earlier the other being an unacceptable choice that was made for me without my knowledge and without my approval which was not the female physician's choice to make for me. But unless the same people did the same to other women, also, who would want to have reason to believe it? So, I said nothing because I knew it would not do anyone any good to report it given the organizational and enabling structure involved, and my relative place in it. The point is, once again, about victims of abuse maintaining silence - often for very long periods of time.
People wonder why women remain silent for years even decades - and some, forever. As usual the short simple answer is because of the trauma that was experienced which not only includes what happened but the fear of retribution if it is reported. For good reason reporting it is expected to do nothing but further traumatize because of making the incident public and being reacted to as if the offender is without blame, because that has been a nearly universal first response to reporting incidents of a sexual nature. Simple? No. But as simply as it can be stated while covering all the bases.
People also wonder why, after so long, women would decide to speak up. That has everything to do with wanting to prevent others from being harassed and attacked and with finally feeling strong enough emotionally to be able to report the problem. And in some cases we speak up because it will help bring perpetrators to justice who have gotten away with perpetrating crimes for a very long time.
The length of time between an incident and the reporting of an incident has everything to do with the extent of complex trauma, not necessarily the intensity of trauma which varies from person to person over time, but the complexity of it in the way it affects personal and professional life and future opportunities.
Future opportunity is a variable not often spoken of because it is too easy for people to assume a woman invited the behavior as a way of trying to secure future opportunity, or her 15 minutes of fame which could bring her opportunity, or to try to secure the opportunity of a tidy monetary reward, or to ruin someone's career by leveling bogus charges without reason. Unfortunately, some women actually do fit that profile. Like men with little or no ethics, such women are also perpetrators, as enablers, of the criminal harassment and abuse that is committed against other women.
So frequently what remains unspoken whether or not crimes are reported, is the potential for a victim to be put on a list by an offender - a list of people who are to be excluded and marginalized from having opportunities. Being listed is a sure indicator that what the offender is part of is an informal large and powerful network of like-minded ill-intended supporters. Being listed actually happens whether or not there is reporting, but has potentially worse repercussions when something is said. Being listed is also not without damaging repercussions to the people the person being listed cares about, particularly family and close friends. The fear of that threatened extortion is one is one of the most significant ways perpetrators gain and maintain a victim's silence.
Although the fear about possible damage to those one cares about is a strong motivator of silence, there is also the matter of unwarranted guilt if something bad does happen to anyone a person cares about whether or not it is connected to the criminal incident one has experienced. Sometimes there are clear indications it was, other times, not. The fact is that an extensive network can and does do "peripheral damage" whether or not an incident is reported. Often it takes years before victims of the crimes perpetrated understand more fully the parameters of the damage done and how it was enabled. And then it becomes a matter of feeling secure enough within a group of which they are part, to have a reasonable expectation that they will be protected from further harm, before being able to allow themselves to report a crime - fearful still of repercussions.
I know, because I said something. I mentioned something within a legal environment in a somewhat innocuous and unofficial way in relation to a less offensive injustice. And of course even though it was not an officially filed report I was further traumatized, like many have been, by the institutionalized system in place to protect sexual assault and harassment offenders and their supporters, initially and repeatedly, while their intended victims are treated as if it was they who invited the perpetrators to commit the crimes. It is part of a system that is insidious, dependent upon and enabled by collusion.
When one is listed after experiencing a criminal violation, it is a sure indicator of an admission of guilt to the intended victim, if no one else, that a crime did occur and that it was the result of collusion and is being protected by those in collusion. The extensive damage from being listed (i.e. an organized effort to prevent opportunities of all types), is often not identified as such by victims except in retrospect even when having been told it would happen. The less one knows about the evil that motivates crimes of collusion, the longer it takes to understand damage done because of collusion. And of course any type of similar behavior one experiences later in life is a trigger which sets off the same morass of suffering that was initially experienced due to the incident which caused trauma - a typical PTSD response.
Because of the unwarranted obstacles and resistance put in place in their lives which are associated with the active prevention of opportunity based on having been listed, it often takes a long time for victims to understand that collusion existed and continues to exist as the origin of a plethora of difficulties plaguing their lives which have no rational cause or reason for happening.
When listing is recognized early on and addressed directly to the perpetrator, being listed then becomes a form of extortion considered by offenders to be negotiable. The offender then might further offend by offering to provide opportunity rather than deny it, based on whatever the perpetrator dictates as "cost". Many women are totally unaware of that dynamic because of not being able to create a safe opportunity to directly confront the perpetrator, even when interaction with the perpetrator continues to occur. But some eventually do recognize they have been listed as they start to recognize the collusion which is at the foundation of ongoing victimization. Of course collusion is not at the foundation of all sexual harassment and assault. But it is a part of more incidents than most recognize or are willing to admit after they become aware that collusion, at some level, enables sexual offense oftener than not - enables many types of crimes, actually.
A person who is the victim of sexual offense may or may not ever understand the extent of the collusion and all that is involved in it, and she rarely knows the majority of people enabling all aspects of it. It is a system which extends to all type of crimes that are committed, not only those crimes of sexual harassment and assault specifically directed at women.
It is possible to understand the who, what, why, when, where, and how of collusion in any context to some extent, based on a combination of clear evidence and sloppy circumstantial evidence which, if pursued, can lead to real evidence; and when adamantly not pursued is as close as some will ever get to an admission that knowledge of guilt exists. But when the breath and depth of a network is suspected, investigated, and understood, it does nothing to diminish the original trauma that was experienced and often increases it, instead, causing delayed CPTSD. At that point it is truly understood to be dangerous to speak up. Often it is not uncommon for despair to lead to any number of self-destructive attitudes, behaviors, and choices.
It is not always easy to recognize that destructive behavior could be the intended outcome of the crimes committed; that organized networks protect those who commit the crimes and are networks of people addicted to the strong negative emotions generated by the victims which continue to be generated well into the aftermath of criminal incidents. Those who have the strength to refuse to engage in self destructive behavior are the lucky ones, but they also challenge the intent of obsessed victimizers. They also are considered more of a challenge and are often put further into harm's way. The only relief from being criminally targeted in some way or another, again and again, is when someone tasked by the ill-intended victimizing network of colluders to do further damage, cares enough to not do so, and/or speaks up about it, for whatever reasons. Sometimes that choice is without repercussions for that individual of apparent integrity, other times it is not. The purpose associated with the intent of the perpetrator who targeted the original victim might determine that.
Given the reality that is associated with crimes of collusion, it is a near miracle whenever justice prevails. There is always untold and unknown damage to many more people than the victim, in the wake of the network of like-minded individuals who protect the offenders. When an offender is publicly offered up as a token scapegoat for prosecution, unless the public pressure stays on the institutionalized system to shine a light on the extent of the individuals within the informal but well organized networks supporting the offenders, it does not stop except temporarily during reorganization of such a network. Informal networks consist of like-mind people, across and within large corporations, organizations, and institutions of many types, who are people that intentionally support the abuse that occurs. Their supporting staff at the work place often unwittingly helps to logistically enable the abuse.
Look no further than the well-organized criminal system of slavery (sexual and otherwise) that is still being perpetrated worldwide, to understand the nature of the problem of networks in collusion which do exist and function unsuspected and undetected under the radar because good people who do know and/or suspect ill-intent, say nothing. The encouraging of willing participants, and the forcing of unwilling participants to engage in sexual misbehavior, health damaging drugs (illicit, prescribed, and wrongly prescribed), plus all the associated crimes, increases the breadth and depth of the problem which in its most extreme forms eventually can lead to armed conflict. It might be on an individual criminal basis, or on the block gang style, or up to and including wars between nations and/or ideologies.
Those dedicated to superimposing extremely controlling and abusive political ideologies can be the most insidious enablers because of their hoped for personal gain of an eventual position of status and power within the organizational structure of the ideology, so they become puppets intent on victimizing anyone who they even vaguely imagine might not support their personal intent and efforts. A narcissistic type of toxicity motivates them to work hard to try to invalidate and gaslight those unwilling to converted to their ideology but when it comes to collusion they are several levels removed from the actual perpetrators, their puppet-masters whose crimes they enable - some naively oblivious to what their dedication to personal gain, enables. The puppets, too, often find themselves to be unexpected victims.
The effort to superimpose political ideologies always includes some type of armed conflict being precipitated which depends on the extent of the network of collusion and the collective negativity that, due to crimes committed, builds up to huge proportions, over time - a negativity that is worshiped by the ill-intended who hope to gain the damaging energy of it through their violence which is intended to deprive as many as possible of as much as possible for the benefit of their own malicious desire to claim exclusive ownership and control of others and their skills, talents, and resources.
Many of the sex crimes that go unprosecuted, about which victims are silent, have been politically motivated at some level, from the personal level, to the collusion of those whose efforts are dedicated to superimposing a political ideology. Most people understand sexual offense to be of a personal nature intended to offend and damage. Sometime that is exactly what it is. Oftener than not the cause is more complex and those doing the deeds are not always aware of the ways in which they are like cogs in the wheel of a network of crimes being perpetrated at many levels . Those who know a criminal offense has been politically motivated will rarely speak up about the details in any ways which could easily identify the perpetrators and their network of colluders.
When considering there could be, and knowing there will be worse consequences for speaking up, women with a lot to lose prefer to not invite further disaster and trauma, so remain silent. The harassment and assault that happens to women of all ages, sometimes from childhood, onwards, is not because we are collectively naive, foolish, and inviting. Far from it. The more trusted the people and institutions that protect those involved in the collusion of accessing the energy of fear, terror, even love that they lust after from new victims . . . every strong emotion involved that is experienced by victims . . . the more the damage remains hidden, except to the victims.
The victims who live with the damage, daily, are often able to successfully rise above the damaging spiritual effects of it - until triggered by something that threatens further damage, and requires recovery - again. It is a cycle triggered by abusive words and actions from anyone, especially if anyone is repeatedly abrasive. And it is true across the board no matter the group being targeted as victims. Such are the long-lasting effects of criminal actions due to collusion which make undeserved perpetual victims of women because of gender.
Consider an extensive varied network of individuals some of whom function within and are harbored, unknowingly, within huge corporations, the health care industry, universities, domestic governments, and international governments. Ill intended individuals protected by people who are part of that network can call on like minded individuals within any one of those industries as needed, sometimes all of them, for protection from crimes committed which they have instigated or committed. Those in collusion do not even have to ask because they know they are protected by their network. Though it sounds like "organized crime", it is network crime which is less structured, more under the radar, and based on unwritten "standard operating procedure" among those who perpetrate the crimes. There are few words to describe it other than collusion and Machiavellian.
In cases of far-reaching collusion, the big picture is the amazing lengths people will go to in collusion which is almost always also exploiting, in some way or another also to the people who are actually finagled into doing the criminal deeds often with promises of both protection and opportunities They are then actually provided both - as rewards for succeeding at perpetrating their assigned crimes. It is a way men gain entrance into their own notorious old boy networks, though all are not as insidiously criminal. And by extension the same process applies to the ways in which women gain entry into their less notorious, often more ruthless, old girl networks.
A friend has drawn attention when commenting on the overlooked complexity of violations that target women, to three types of women, two of which are complicit in enabling the abuse of other women. It is useful to be able to recognize: 1) the women who are "the willing players", 2) the women who are "the second level enforcers of sexism, misogyny, and harassment", and 3) the women who are "the true victims". They mirror the same three types of men. Of course there is a fourth group relatively removed from self-identifying or being identified as any of the three, and as removed from many of the associated problems experienced by those in the three categories. These are often a large majority of good folks, too many of whom believe that victims have invited their own abuse.
I suggest the possibility that some of the problems targeting women occur somewhat unintentionally when the primarily hedonistic willing players, and the enforcers of sexism, misogyny, and harassment who are both men and women, stray further outside the boundaries of the type of people they are willing to be, to get what they want out of life. Though they are often the type of people finagled and duped into collusion at the lowest level, that of actually physically committing the crimes, in some cases their personal philandering or their willing cooperation is a matter of miscalculation, instead. When that is the case and they are not part of a tightly knit web of abusers who are enabling and perpetrating crimes plus providing protection for one another, then the misdeeds of the finagled dupes are more likely to be apprehended.
But many men and women whose actions and intentions put them into category one (the willing players) and two (the second level enforcers of sexism, misogyny, and harassment) are simply intent on victimizing because the networks of collusion that have called on them, who they can call on for protection, are so extensive they know they can get away with their own personal victimizing as well. Thus the crimes committed against women become more complex to understand, and they unravel in a messy and complex way when it comes to cause. Silence about any criminal behavior or support of it enables the behavior of the category one and two people without objection, whether their own actions are personal and motivated by animosity or malice, or are due to collusion with those whose agendas they do not fully know.
I suggest the many of the additional fourth group of people which consists of decent men and women, also suffer from the effects of the problems created by unethical and/or criminal behavior which have resulted in making victims of others, especially folks from within their own ranks. Yet, when they know about the victimization, they remain silent - perhaps to avoid victimization, the same way victims remain silent to try to further avoid victimization of themselves and those about whom they care.
It is understandable that people remain silent for any number of reasons both those who know of the victimization and those who have been criminally exploited. It can be self sacrificial to not remain silent. It is also courageous to not remain silent, whether one names names or more simply names incidents. Either way, by not remaining silent the courageous bring deserved credibility to the "me too" collective, and for those part of it who may be able to experience justice or healing, or both. The predominate benefit of not remaining silent is that it makes sexual harassment and assault more difficult for those who would be perpetrators of it - be they individuals or in collusion, thus more women will be spared the damaging traumas.
It really is true that the problem lies with good people saying and doing nothing when they know about wrong-doing. Everyone is initially timid about retribution when having second thoughts about making themselves into potential targets by reporting wrong-doing. That holds true in the entire range of violations of any type toward anyone, whether it is reporting of violating neighbor noise that interferes with the quiet enjoyment of one's home, or much further afield like the reporting of violations documented by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
There is no doubt about the fact that courage is required to be able to speak up when one knows of a problem - as a victim or as a bystander. Bystanders also include those to whom either the victims or perpetrators may have confided about what happened. But as a confident, without permission from the victim to speak up, it is additionally difficult to do so. Violating the confidence of anyone is extremely difficult to do especially when it could have unintended negative consequences to that person, oneself, or others. A person who tells someone else of a crime, in confidence, knows enough to expect negative consequences about anything that is not kept in confidence, but still trusts that nothing will be said.
What recourse do we all have, other than reporting crimes? It seems some consider it to be silence within the bigger picture which is associated with a profusion of seemingly insignificant individual incidents in the scheme of all things which happen for no reason. But at some point when we reconsider the collective nature of the incidents, and the number of individuals involved in enabling them, and how they are all interrelated, it becomes vary clear that the only recourse is to find the courage within oneself to report crimes from whence the negativity originates and spreads like ripples in a pond which are always traced back to those who have been criminally exploited who are then blamed for having been victimized. The courageous chose to speak up and make a good difference anyway - as it always has been.
Courage is required to live life to the fullest at the highest level of functional consciousness in the temporal world, so are ethics. This is a fact of life, untold to many. Until the principles and ethics of courage are routinely and repeatedly taught to all from a very young age, as a natural inclination that is a character trait all people are expected to knowingly and actively embody and apply as required (and these characteristics are always required). then the problems will continue unchecked as informal networks of ill-intended evil-doers, across large and varied organizations, increase their strength.
If this sounds like a battle between good and evil, well . . . it is. Whether or not one views the understanding of good and evil from the perspective of organized religion, it must be understand that the nature of the battle is not limited to a religious perspective. Contrary to what some folks want to believe, neither specific denominations, branches, schools of any religion, nor organized religions in general, have a franchise on knowing what constitutes good and evil or what, within any given context, constitutes good and evil behavior. The knowledge, as instinct, is actually innate to the human species. The battle is between the collective weaknesses and collective strengths of human nature and how each individual applies those, in context, with intent for good or evil outcome.
Most simply, justice prevails when good wins, sometimes as justice in the here and now through application of law people have agreed to abide by, by virtue of where they live - laws at every level at which they are formulated and applied from local to international. Agreed upon laws among people are for the purpose of instructing us in the ways we are all expected to peacefully interact with one another respectfully, and in respectable ways, as religions and philosophies universally encourage, so as not to victimize others in favor of personal greed, the desire for which has the potential to manifest in many negative ways. A number of laws are formulated primarily to instruct people who have had no other instruction about living life successfully without being totally self-centered and thoughtless in controlling ways to other people.
Barring the absence of justice in the temporal world in which the injustices have occurred, justice then prevails throughout subsequent life times, in association with karmic debts that accumulate when agreed upon laws are not applied to put an end to injustices and the far-reaching reverberations they perpetrate in the here and now. Good does prevail and justice is done in favor of everyone - eventually - in one way or another. We can choose in life whether to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution. And we do harm to more than ourselves when we do not choose to be a part of the solution.
Considering the big picture, either we fail as a species or we succeed as a species based on humanities collective instinctual understanding that individuals are expected to choose to thrive without victimizing one another. I dare say that our instinctual understanding and our abilities as a species, together, are at the foundation of what makes us human. Being fully human to the extent of our capabilities as a species, is a complex many faceted objective consisting of far more variables than we are, collectively, currently addressing.
Not the least of these variables which benefit the human species, including benefiting posterity in sempiternity*, is in an individual's choice to refrain from violations that would victimize anyone within the parameters of a population's given environment, and the environment's capability of supplying all those who domicile within its confines with the basic necessities which allow for living a healthy life physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Humanity as a whole needs to recognize that the choice to not violate others - the right everyone has to not suffer from violation by others - is no longer a choice that applies only to one's own home, tribe, city, or nation. It applies to all of humanity who live on our planet . . . and beyond.
*sempiternity - It is a word new to me. I intended to use "perpetuity", to suggest an endless quality, but it didn't seem to fit properly. So I actually looked up perpetuity, and listed as a synonym was sempiternity a word with which I was unfamiliar. However, when looking up sempiternity the definition was more precise saying that sempiternity indicates within time, and contrasted it with eternity which indicates outside of time. It seemed fortuitous to find a word I had never seen nor heard, previously, which is precisely the meaning I intended to convey in the context used, given our temporal world exists within the construct of time and that within the construct some things seem endless, even though bounded, eventually by the construct of time within which they exist. It is a word not used frequently which is worth sharing.