The Discomfort Of Truth

The past couple of days have been troubling for those in this world who cherish freedom and peace and in particular for women and children.   I was going to write this post the day before yesterday, but changed my mind as the cares of running our business and being a mother tilted my universe in the other direction.  After ruminating on the ‘mother’ part this morning, I’ve decided to discuss a couple of news items and a blog post by a fellow writer that have piqued my interest for very personal reasons.  My hope is that it will positively open up for discussion an epidemic that is usually dismissed as soon as it’s mentioned.  Let me explain by starting with the news items.  The first photo below is obvious. Singer Rihanna at singer Chris Brown’s assault trial and Rihanna covered with the bruises and blood Chris Brown inflicted on her body.  I will briefly encapsulate the verdict, in case you’ve missed it:  Chris Brown was found guilty as charged.  He was sentenced to 5 years probation, 180 hours of community service in addition to attending domestic violence classes. For a first offence many have stated this to be harsh.  What do you think?  I’ve my own opinion (you just know I do), but I very much want to hear what you think.  Why?  Because you not only change laws, but as writers, you are artists who deal in words and they are power.  Words change lives and the world.  Before you comment, please look closely and contemplate those images, then scan down and look at the other image of   Neda Agha Sultan, a beautiful 27 year old philosophy student who was shot dead June 20, 2009 while attending a protest against the elections in Iran. It’s pretty graphic and if you can’t tolerate that sort of thing, then please don’t watch it.  I ‘ve posted only the link for this very reason.  Neda’s story is far more tragic but it is still about the same thing: violence.  No matter the context, why is it one human being feels it is their right to oppress, imprison, beat, murder, terrorize and torture another simply because they don’t agree and are delighting in their human right to be free.  Okay, now the blog post.  Here is the link

Debbie Schubert I won’t elaborate, it’s important to read it and I urge you to.  Debbie is a wonderful writer and an even more wonderful person and this is a story that is all to common and happening around probably this very minute, somewhere on the street where you live.

My story.  This coming August 1st, it will be seven years to the day I was beaten and my daughter was thrown in a truck and abducted by her other parent.  I won’t go into details but suffice to say after three months I found her and it was truly a miracle.     We were abused by the system over and over again and the person who did this got away with it.  I’m sorry to say, this is usually how it all goes down for victims.  Why?  Because the public doesn’t demand a change to the law and the subsequent enforcment of that law.  Why? Because people are hindered by the shame of it happening in their own homes.   The usual picture of an abused woman, for example, is that of a weak waif, uneducated, pregnant in highschool, poor etc.  The True portrait is this,  but  it is also, a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, a nurse, a dentist, a singer, an actress, a dancer, a…now get ready for this, psychiatrist, an accountant, a CEO, a pilot, a writer, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a grandmother, a black woman, an oriental woman, an asian woman, a white woman, an aboriginal woman, a persian woman etc…I think you see what I’m driving at.  For all any of us know it could be YOU.  It’s impossible for me to condense or distill in one blog post everything that needs to be said, but it will always boil down to the dialogue.  First we must talk, then we must agree and decide, then we must inform.  Fiction, fantasy, chick lit, horror, satire, poetry, no matter the genre, it’s a writer’s job to expose the truth and inform or teach through the entertaining use of words.  If you don’t believe this, ask someone who has their right to use words taken away.  You may see it in a new light.  Okay, that’s it.  Remember to send the good vibe to your fellow scribes, talk about that which makes you uncomfortable and utilize that talent you have.

Neda Aghan Sultan Protest Shooting:  http://foolblogger.com/neda-agha-sultan-video/

Neda Agha Sultan

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Author: valo

I am a poet, writer and activist with a special interest in human rights for children and women as well as the elimination of poverty worldwide. If you read this today, feed someone locally for me will you? Drop off a non perishable food item at the food bank nearest you and consider yourself hugged. Thank you!

28 thoughts on “The Discomfort Of Truth”

  1. I cannot move beyond Neda’s story, her end, and in a real way, her beginning. She will live forever now and will be the face of the movement and a new generation of truth-seekers and freedom fighters. It’s a reminder for those of us who live in perfect houses on perfect streets that out there.. beyond our comfort zones, people are dying to live. Val, thank you so much for sharing these stories, all of them. You continue to astound me with your versatility as a writer and your compassion as a human being.

    We are all the same. We must remember that.

    1. Neda is a martyr, whether she wanted to be or not. I don’t like martyrdom, more to the point, I despise the climate that requires it to exist in the first place. Neda is the bell ringer for many people around the world, that is if they haven’t stopped up their ears so they can’t hear. Bryan, a hefty price is paid by people who take on that behemoth called government, no matter where it is in this world. You very astutely mention comfort zones and yes they are a barrier to the connectedness of human beings. We are indeed all the same Bryan and if we don’t remember it, life will bitch slap that truth into us all if we don’t start caring for one another properly. Thank you for liking my writing, you are a gem of a person, friend and reader. hugs 🙂

    1. Jam, if you want to lurk, you go ahead and lurk. I do it sometimes too. When you do comment you are so very witty and intelligent and you make me think. I visited that link and I’m deeply moved by it. They are doing something interesting there and I’ll put it on my blog roll. I’m just glad you found my blog one day and made me laugh out loud with your remarks, because you are a ray of light my dear. hugs 🙂

  2. Hi Val. You won’t get any argument from me that we need a positive dialogue. I don’t know how to answer your questions regarding the ‘why’ of violence, but I didn’t want to let this post pass by without acknowledging the fact that you have made a valuable contribution to my thoughts. Thank you. That link to the video of the young lady being shot dead has also left me emotionally scarred, and I won’t be thanking you for that; though I do appreciate the warning.

    I find it interesting that I watched that video fully expecting to be moved but not overwhelmed. I was wrong. Is the encouragement of emotional distress a useful motivation for positive action? Based on what I have seen and heard of popular media, i.e., Australian talkback radio, and it’s treatment of issues like the Cronulla race riots and Tampa ‘children overboard’, I think not. If I think right, the first duty of the writer is to encourage educated reflection as opposed to informed debate. I would like to show that video to my 13 year old son, but we should probably give him the tools to ‘think’ about it first. Thanks, Val.

    1. Firstly, thank you Brad for commenting and understanding my purpose. I agree with you regarding emotional distress being a deterrent to positive action rather than a motivation. Distress paralyzes, therefore nothing is accomplished. The media is in the business of chaos and that, at least to me promotes a political agenda to maintain an non-thinking society that is malleable and easily controlled. Talkback radio is simply bickering on air and it’s nowhere. This is why artists of all stripes are the backbone of civilization, change and free thought. You are also bang on right about educated reflection as opposed to informed debate. The former encourages creativity and progress while the latter is an endless circle walk. Thanks Brad for taking the time to leave your remarks and feelings about all this and for what it’s worth, I won’t allow my daughter to view that video either.

  3. Hi Val,

    As always, a thought provoking post.

    If Brown’s sentence is considered harsh then it is fitting. It reflects reform; if he wasn’t strong enough or aware enough to address his violence before, this sentence may be his best opportunity to receive help. If its considered harsh, it helps send the message that this type of violence is not acceptable; celebrity or no, people must take responsibility for their actions.

    People have the capacity to do terrible and wonderful things and often we will never know why. More importantly people have the capacity to change but if offenders/victims do not choose change then all the help in the world will amount to very little. I wish all parents could be as strong for their children when it matters most as you were/are.

    Likewise,I wish we could all be as strong for our beliefs when it matters most. When we choose to look away from anything, we do so as much from feeling helpless as from our inherent selfishness (“what can I do? I have problems too”etc). There are so many causes to support, it can be overwhelming. Who said “if we weren’t all slightly insane, we’d be paralysed with depression over the state of our world”?

    Choosing to focus on a cause or causes close to our hearts allows us to hope and gives us the strength to join with others in effecting change. Causes may differ even if they have the same endgame but when words focus on an uncomfortable truth and also offer hope that is when the walk of discomfort becomes easier to face.

    Be well, j

    1. Hi Jam! Long time no read. You’ve been missed. 🙂 We humans are such walking contradictions and you are so correct about the harshness aspect. Everything including this is all about perspective. You are also right about all the help in the world not being enough if it’s not accessed and used. It’s odd you remark on the insanity required to live with the daily horror of this world because my husband and I were talking about this yesterday. The balance is so difficult sometimes to achieve. I have hope, albeit a guarded hope, that this world will walk through the darkness and into the light but it will take controlling something else you mentioned, our inherent selfishness. Thanks Jam, for being you and for always expressing so eloquently the facts of the matter no matter what they may be. hugs

  4. Val – you are very brave to put up this post and to keep real faces out there about these issues.

    I think the issue gets so hidden because people don’t want to see ugliness so close to their own homes, in people who are like them. I think it is easier for people to watch someone dying in Iran because they think that could never be them.

    And when they see Rhianna on TV, they think – celebrity – but she is still a real person who is confused and appears to have been abused.

    Women, are taught to stay quiet, to be nice to everyone. they feel guilty if they stand up for themselves and are called the big B. But I have no regrets about people I have told about my past, and I’ll be honest about it (when people talk about drinking and driving -maybe I’ll post about it too..hmm) because I hope, the more someone knows me the more they will believe and try to change instead of someone they don’t know saying the same thing. Sorry I babbled!

    1. Hi Jessie, you are absolutely right about people keeping a distance between themselves and anything that smells the least bit like negative familiar territory. Change will come, probably not as much in our lifetimes as we would like, but it will happen because we are too self aware now and there is no turning back from progress. Regardless of a person’s politics etc, I feel the way Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were treated by the press and the other candidates, expresses the disparity perfectly. Women may play it down in mixed company, but we have all found ourselves walking on a street at night, wondering if we will make it to our car or home safely. We all bond over that fear and it is a certain type of fear unique to the female experience. It shouldn’t be that way. I am flattered that you think I’m brave, but to me, it’s more about love than courage, but then again, perhaps they are both the same. I love my daughter and in light of our paralell struggle to heal and overcome violence, I love her deeply and want this world to be better for her. I owe it to her as her mother. Because of her I’m a better person Jessie and in the end, that is all that will matter when it’s my time to leave the planet. Jackie Kennedy Onassis summed it up nicely: “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” Thanks Jessie for being brave and leaving a comment, your opinion and words matter to me. 🙂 HUGS

      1. You are gonna make me tear up!
        July is always motherhood month for me, because if she was alive, my mother would be still so young at only 57 so i think I will be posting more about motherhood as well, even though I have chosen not to be a mother.

        I watched a Primetime special yesterday off my DVR about teen pregnancy and I think it ties in to what you are saying here as well – we have to show our daughters, and our sons, how to respect women (even though I do not have children I feel I have to do this with my nieces and nephews) and all people.

        You should read the book “The Myth of the Slut” sometime, a real study in gender issues!

        And you are strong! *hugs*

      2. I’m sorry you don’t have your mother Jessie, HUGSHUGSHUGS and tearing up is a good thing it shows your heart. 🙂 Whether you are a mother or not, you are a woman and that is the whole matter entirely. The fact that we can make that choice, is for me one of the many positive changes made by the women who came before us. I will look for that book and read it, you can count on it. 🙂 It gives me joy to know that you are influencing your own younger family members to learn healthy ways of relating because there is no substitute for a living example. They are lucky to have you for their aunt. HUGS Thank you Jessie, you are a wonderful person.

  5. I’m not so sure there is a True portrait, Val.
    Generalizations abound. Every story has it’s own particulars. Each state has it’s own way of dealing with it. Some men get completely screwed, and plead guilty, because it’s their first offense.

    I don’t know about Chris Brown, or how many times. It depends on the severity of the crime also. Pretrial diversion for first offenders keeps it off your record. 24 classes cost $1000 here. Community service is required.

    I believe that everyone has a tipping point. Most of us are not consciously aware of it, and perhaps, a lot of us have never really been pushed to the edge.

    Expectations breed disappointment, and these turn into resentments. The pressure builds, and we may think that we can ‘bear all things’. I no longer believe that.

    I’m sorry to hear what you’ve been through, Val. I’m not attempting to justify this type of reaction, or behavior. People can be quick to judge. The fault and the blame can fall on both sides. That’s all I’m saying.

    What’s happening in Iran…it’s not a fair comparison, imho. They have a long, long way to go where concerns the rights of women.

    Sincerely, Keith

    1. Hi keith/Tree, I appreciate your response and comment. I agree, there is no true portrait, which is why I listed professions because people who are in those professions are not seen as being the victim of violence, and yet they are. You are the first man to respond and to be perfectly honest, I didn’t think any men who visit my blog would say a word. Thank you for expressing your beliefs on this subject and giving another point of view, because it’s important. All points of view are important. Of course, you already know I don’t agree with you because my point of view is this: No one has the right to lay their hands on another in violence. I feel that what is happening in Iran is connected, because once again it’s about violence against people. There is the self defense situation and that is completely understandable, if you are in danger you must protect yourself and your loved ones. However, to use physical violence against another due to a disagreement with them or because one wants to impose their way of life on that person/people, is spiritually immature and a primitive behaviour that is rooted in ego. Many people say that when someone hits someone it is because they have lost control, but in actual fact, it is because they are taking control of that other person. Thanks Keith for your comment, I truly appreciated it. My hope is that some day there will be no need for this sort of discussion because violence will be a distant memory and an atiquated behaviour. 🙂

  6. I really can’t imagine what you and your daughter must have gone through – that’s truly and utterly horrific. I’m just so pleased you got her back. What a nightmare fo r you both though …

    Love and big hugs

    Axxxxxxxxxxxxx

  7. Can’t imagine the horror of having your child taken away from you…
    Can’t imagine the horror of a woman killed for a protest..
    Can’t imagine the everyday horror of a child abused
    And I can’t imagine any justice system made of human beings who could possibly right those wrongs, at best they can stop them from hurting anyone again, by imprisonment. Because there is too much pain and how do you punish someone so that they understand the pain they have caused…It’s not possible until conscionce is awaken and you know first hand the pain you have caused. How do we accomplish this? We rarely can. That’s why I believe that the soul can’t die, because somewhere, somewhat, that person has to know the effect of the violence and hurt they inflicted. I could not live in a world as violent and horrifying as ours without knowing, that there is some kind of Real Justice at the end. There has to be, or Icouldn’t live in a world where a child can be tortured or molested or abused or beaten and another human being could have a life of ease and health for no other reason, than Tough Luck. I couldn’t live in a world like that. There has to be True Justice along the way, and it’s rarely within a person’s lifetime. You live by praying and caring and intervening when you can. So to you, I send my love and appreciation of your courage to talk and try to make it better, Val never give up, you are wonderful!

    1. You are beautiful too Lorraine and a treasure both poetically and spiritually. I agree with you about the justice aspect of the lives we live here. Karma is the all of the all. I had my ‘dark night’ of the soul back then in that place of pain and some things I know, while others still remain a mystery. I think we can’t know the entire truth while here because we wouldn’t be able to accept it, because we are so rooted in the fears of this reality. I find the condition of misery and ignorance on this earth so intolerable some days it’s truly overwhelming. We all do what we can to counteract that darkness and touch a heart and hopefully a life in a positive way with love and compassion. The poetry you write does that. HUGS

  8. So easy to overlook the pervasiveness of violence against women in our day to day. But count the numbers and it shocks you. Count the ones you actually know and it staggers you.
    So sorry to hear about your experience, so not surprised to hear the outcome.
    –Annmarie

    1. When life is going well, or respectably well, we bip along with nary a concern as the numbers you mentioned go up. Yes Annmarie, my outcome is a win/lose situation, but I’m certain that at some point what goes around comes around and that releasing it is the only real way to deal with it. Either way, my child is safe and happy and that was my goal all along.

  9. Val, Thanks for the tip. I’ll research those numbers tomorrow. Her parents have the nerve to blame her for the trouble. It’s mind-boggling how people can twist things in order to make themselves feel like the victim and, therefore, blameless. She looked her mom in the eyes and said, “Mom, I need help. I need to be safe. This is child abuse.” Her mom brushed it off and turned it around to the point where her daughter’s, once again, confused. It’s pathetic. And, of course, the father barely says two words.

    The hearing is tomorrow to determine if there should be a trial. I don’t think the daughter’s going to show up, because her parents have convinced her there’s no reason for a trial. I don’t know anything about the legal system here, so I have no idea what tomorrow is really about. She needs a legal advocate. I’m going to call my sister who’s a defense attorney in Denver. I hope she can point me in the right direction. Do you have any idea who I can call? Thanks, Val, your help is tremendous.

    1. I’ve emailed you a reply Debbie, and I just want to say that you are one in a million for not only caring, but being courageous enough to help. HUGS

  10. Val, Thanks so much for this important post, and thanks for your kind words. I’m so sorry about the pain you’ve experienced. My friend is at her house right now discussing with her parents what to do. Her parents are messed up big time – the dad because he drinks and beats his wife and daughter and isn’t man enough to get help, and the mom because she won’t take herself and her child out of harm’s way. She believes the Bible says to honor her husband. But at what cost? The life of her daughter? The situation is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as she’s making it. They need to get out, plain and simple. But when it’s your own life, it never seems so simple does it?

    1. You’re welcome Debbie, and thank you for being enlightened about this entire matter. The bible, god, family expectations etc are code for “I’ve lost my self esteem and my spirit has been broken by this person.” The truth is, when you get in a situation like that, your character is tested beyond belief and when it’s your child, you don’t dither, you do what you are supposed to do. Fear is not something any parent can afford when your child’s health and well being are at risk. I’ve not gone into too much here, but I took on some very scary people and nearly buckled, but at the end of the day I won because my child’s life depended on it. My take on this family: He gets all his power from controlling them and he uses fear of physical safety as well as her fear of god to do it. He uses alcohol to make him look weak so others will place the blame on that instead of where it belongs, on him. Basically, you can do one thing, give the daughter and the mother each the phone number to the local safe house or domestic violence shelter. They will be able to stay up to 60 days and in house counselling is mandatory. HUGS to you Debbie for being an angel who cares. They are blessed to know you.

  11. Well said, Val. I can’t really add much, being a man and not having been in the situation so many women find themselves in, except I watched that video the other day and I’m not ashamed to say it made me cry. It needs to be seen.

    I also know what you have been through, and it’s a testament to your strength, spirit and loving, kind nature that you are such a lovely person, considering everything that has happened to you.

    Your daughter has an incredible mother, and I’m a very lucky man.

    🙂

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