When we are no longer able to change a situation,
we are challenged to change ourselves.
– Viktor E. Frankl
One of the categories I love to read is memoir / biography, which enables me to learn from others’ wisdom, insights and strength gained from their life journeys. Some of the stories can be tough to digest or imagine how a human can strive through those struggles / trauma.
Just finished “Finding me- a decade of darkness, a life reclaimed”, by Michelle Knight. I needed to take deep breaths from time to time while reading, it’s unbelievable to read a true life tragedy but still stay strong to live a new chapter of life now. What an amazing woman with enormous amount of courage, power and spirits within.
In 2002, Michelle Knight was kidnapped by a school bus driver and her decade of terror was started. Then in 2003 and 2004, two more other girls (aged 14 and 16) joined the abduction. They were chained, raped, starved and experienced other unspeakable tortures daily.
“The day I disappeared I was twenty-one, a young mom who stopped at a store one afternoon to ask for directions. For the next 11 years I was locked away in hell” – Michelle Knight.
Abused become abuser?
I don’t want to believe an old saying “one who was abused will eventually become a abuser to others”. Unfortunately, this story supports the cycle once again. Psycho in this crime was abused when young, obviously he didn’t get any proper counselling but turn around to hurt others.
Why victims are not healed? Is it indicated that sexual / physical abuse etc are still taboos in society, especially when it happened to male? When people afraid to share their experiences, how can we expect the public acknowledge its importance so raise up awareness, campaigns or public education? What if we stop blaming the victims but allow them to to talk, share / discuss openly without any judgments?
Remember once I visited India, a guy told me how annoyed he felt about tourists always love to visit slumps / charities, instead of visiting other beautiful places. He want foreigners feel proud of his country by covering all the darkness. I believe “not seeing” not equals to “not existing”. Hiding problems is merely intensify the issue.
I supported Michelle’s sharing “many people were abused, but it doesn’t mean all need to kidnap 3 women and torture them to ease the anger / frustration”. I still believe public awareness and breaking taboos are essentials, but at the same time, abusers do have their own responsibilities to make any choice. There’s no excuse.
Myth of fairy-tale family
Recalled when I watched her news from TV years ago, what caught my attention was how she responded to media that rejected to re-unit with her biological parents.
Though I didn’t know much about about dysfunctional family at that time, but at least I can fully understand how it feel and why any person make such so-called “unfaithful” decision. It’s actually a trauma for any individuals. Who will give up their own family? Stay no contact or entangled from parents? So disloyal and should be criticized by outsiders.
Hold this judgment until you read her childhood stories, the reasons were there. How on earth can parents do this to an innocent child? Michelle was not suddenly learned being tough with courage to deal with abuses during her 11 hell years, but In fact, she geared up these skills since young.
Sadly, society still support the ideas of no-wrong families. If there’s something happened on child, it must be the child’s problem. People chose not to believe parents or family members do hurt their sons/daughters, either physically or emotionally. We don’t talk and discuss, all secrets hide behind family doors. What if we being brave to challenge what we listen and see, accepting that there truly have problems in certain area so victims get supports?
Disclaimer : I never doubt any abused survivor sharing their stories in promoting public awareness. I applaud people have guts to do so because it can inspire others to live / change their own healing journey. I asked myself what if this situation happen to me? I don’t think I can survive, or have doubts to see anyone who go through this trauma without shattered their soul into pieces at very early beginning.
However…media, news, books, movie and numerous famous TV shows….I doubted it. What worrying much is when I saw how she enjoyed the attention, care and love from strangers at street / store / events. As an abused survivor, I can understand how different when you get used to be humiliated / abused / ignored, but now suddenly you draw all attention from the world.
Hope this is not the sign of she can’t live without those attention. It happened to many survivors as it’s so tempting to be the center of the attention. Once people get tired of our stories, there’s a potential that we need to do MORE, to disclose MORE in order to keep the attention at it’s original level.
No matter what, this is not an easy book to read, I was in tears from time to time. This hell story bring up lots of thoughts on “humanity”, “abuse”, “dysfunctional family” taboos.
We should be more alerted for surroundings. If you are teachers/coaches, see if there’s any child react strangely, too quiet or overacted? This usually a red flag showing a child bury lots of anger / frustration inside, which they are too young to understand and manage by themselves.
Any hints of domestic violence, child abuse? Whenever you spot something fishy, please don’t be hesitate being more suspicious/nosy – asking more and offer help if necessary.
You never know that 1 minute you waste while walking by a crime, may save a person’s life.
How do you feel about this crime? Do you think you can handle this and survive?
Photo credit : Pixabay – Public Domain Pictures