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Sexual Assault and Sovereignty

12/12/2017 4:23 PM | Dr. Vicki High (Administrator)

My passion is words – reading them, writing them, speaking them, repeating them. Words are the very building blocks of communication.

One word – Sovereignty – comes to mind in the recent allegations of sexual assault from people in the spotlight, whether politicians, stars or ordinary citizens. I believe more victims will continue to speak out.  And what about “innocent until proven guilty?” What about the outpouring of sympathy for alleged perpetrators, while the victims are questioned about why it has taken decades to reveal their abuse? How are we to deal with that? All good questions with sometimes complicated answers.

Sovereignty. According to Wikipedia, Sovereignty is the concept of a state or governing body that has the right and power over itself without ANY interference from outside sources or bodies. An act of war is the direct offense or threat where borders and boundaries are overrun by forces, by dictators, who feel rules do not apply to them. These forces hold no respect for integrity or the boundaries of others. They would not tolerate the same behavior if directed at them. No encroachments allowed. They would not hesitate to use force to do what they want without retribution.

If the United States were the victim and North Korea was the perpetrator, then if North Korea attacked the United States, the sovereignty of the United States would allow for us to protect and defend ourselves against attack. We do not tolerate aggression nor threats, and retaliation would be a certainty. We get this, right? No question. There is absolutely zero difference in the sovereignty of a victim of bullying, domestic violence or sexual assault.

The victim has a right for retaliation, defense, and aggression to defend its boundaries. If we understand this art of war, we surely can understand it when a personal war is waged against an individual to to submit to the will of another who wields power and control over the individual regardless of that individual’s sovereignty. No means no. Crossing the line has consequences. Today, it’s way past time to teach each child, teen and adult that they hold the power over themselves and that someone forcing him/herself on them is an act of war. 

Here’s my take on it: Bullying, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault have to do with power and control. Let’s talk about that. Why haven’t victims found their voices before now? Could it be that the very people who perpetrated this violence are the people who are in power? You know – the glass ceiling, the good ole boys club, the untouchables. They hold the advantage. Remember, most of these victims depended on the same perpetrators for their livelihoods. It’s not surprising that these heinous acts were shrouded in secrecy and veiled threats, including, “no one will believe you.”

Once a few brave, courageous victims began to break their silence, the cracks began to shatter the glass ceilings and rip the shrouds of secrecy from complicit “good ole boys”. Soon a few more voices joined in telling their truths. More secrets were revealed, and the cracks continued… We had a chance to address this with a preview of coming attractions – allegations and accusations against the man who played the beloved Dr. Huxtable. His reputation protected him for decades until the details from his trial were broadcast into every home on the nightly news. We heard the truth. From the reports this week, we are made to feel sympathetic for the perpetrators losing their livelihoods. If they hadn’t been accused publicly, then they would continue doing what they’ve been doing, heedless of the devastation they created in these victims’ lives.

If the only voice we hear is the voice of the perpetrator covering his lies with, “People will just believe you. You just tell them, and they will believe you,” and there is no rebuttal, then people will believe these lies. However, if the voices of the victims are heard, the truth will ring out and echo in the hearts of people everywhere. Maybe then it will be real - as if it happened to my daughter, your son, my sister, or your brother. Each one of us is built with an indicator to hear the truth. The more we practice that gift, the clearer the words we hear. It’s time to stop the lies and hold people accountable for their acts of war and aggression. It’s time to stop the pain of sovereign violations. Tell the truth, make amends, then seek forgiveness. It’s time to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Don’t you agree?

Dr. Vicki High, Advocate, Speaker, Author, Counselor, Integrative Medical Practitioner, Woman #metoo

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