A very sweet 25 year old recently declined an invite to our Community Open House because he felt that the topic was too depressing.
A very sweet 25 year old that I know personally, that I like a lot, didn't want to break bread with us because the subject matter was heavy.
I had the opportunity to see him a few days later and asked him (cornered him, really) if he thought we were pretty happy people. He quickly replied, "Uh, yeah. Of course. Why?". I needed to remind him that we are all pretty shiny, happy people in spite of the pain we have been through. We have worked incredibly hard to heal from abuse and allow ourselves the freedom to enjoy the happy in life - the perpetrator in our life can't take that away from us. And so we smile, as much as we can but we cannot be silent.
I explained to this sweet young man that this isn't a topic anyone wants to talk about but silence is collusion. Not talking about it protects perpetrators whose secrets thrive in our silence. The minute their abuse is exposed, a small bit of their power is diminished. And each time we speak out about the very uncomfortable topic of sexual violence or child abuse, a perpetrator's power diminishes even more. And so on, and so on.
So, while it isn't a topic that's easy to talk about, we must. An amazing quote from The Mama Bear Effect: "There are people who cannot share their story, that there are children going through this right now. The hard part is knowing if people talked about it more, it would happen a lot less, but people don't want to talk. That's hard - the silence."