The following article was written by Dori Abbott, one of our Woman Within Eastern USA members.
Re-membering. Becoming whole. Reconnecting our souls, hearts, and minds with our bodies. This seems an impossible task for those who have been traumatized by sexual or physical violation by others. And that’s a lot of women—according to UN statistics, over a billion women on this planet have experienced severe sexual and/or physical violence. Many who have experienced this violence are disconnected from their own muscles, sinews, and feelings. And while they may be vocal about destroying “rape culture,” they have lost their authentic voice—the voice that fights for their own “remembering” as women. What would the world be like if all these women could be heard? Could be made whole again by re-membering? What productivity, what beauty and magic could they; would they create if given the chance?
Charlene Smith, reporter of violent, global conflict, and rape survivor equates being raped with being under fire in a war zone. Both are an assault on the most intimate, spiritual parts of our being. Both require the same calm, the same suppressed emotion, and the same bodily disassociation. Post-traumatic stress disorder is the mind’s reaction to life-altering trauma. Do doctors and therapists understand what is truly needed—what is the best medicine? Sometimes. But not always. The usual answer is prescription medication—most likely antidepressants.
Oftentimes these psychiatric drugs don’t facilitate healing because they don’t allow the mourning and grief necessary for true, deep healing. They suppress feelings, they numb. And aren’t we already numb enough? We so badly want to forget, that all kinds of our parts go numb—our hearts, our souls, and our capacity for sheer joy. Drugging us helps society silence us, says Smith, because our words remind society of its role in our pain and the imperative for those who consider themselves “good” to act against this type of violence.
So what is the best medicine? Being respectfully heard, without judgment, without comment, and without action. This is the best medicine, and this is what the Woman Within weekends offer—the chance to be heard, believed, and validated. Sometimes drugs are necessary, sometimes therapy can be healing; but the simplest, most straightforward approach is nearly always best. Other women who listen and support. This is the power of Woman Within.