Shaming: A Common Enemy!

Abuse is probably so widespread that it has touched most of our lives, whether physically or mentally, either mildly or severely; in one way or the other, may be because of our weight, ethnicity, the clothes we wear, gender, orientation, and so on.  Wikipedia has classified abuse into 117 different types, so far, which would suggest that there is tons of awareness on the matter, yet we have not been able to eradicate it like we did with small pox and almost polio. Worse, it is a pandemic that has strengthened its roots worldwide. The slow progress in eradicating the regression makes me feel that many humans either lack the courage to fight it or are sadistic to keep it alive. Hence, I decided to speak my mind on intersectionality and add some insignificant bits to already available plethora of information.

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Image Credits: http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/

I was recently made aware of a poem, that beamed creativity,

Yet, I couldn’t admire its beauty.

It was by a rape victim, narrating her dark memories.

The misery she withstood, the shame she was subjected to,

And I could do nothing, but, shed some tears as I was reading through.

The motive of a crime, ends the investigation of even the bloodiest of murders.

Then, why do we judge the unsuspecting victim, assaulted sexually by a monster,

Whose sole motive is, only sinister!

If clothes and similar excuses were to be the reasons for these adversities,

Men and children would not have come under their evil jaws!

Abuse of any nature and sexual assault on anyone are alarming because quite often the convicts get away because of lack of evidence. We may not believe the victim, but the least we could do is NOT judge them, while the law takes its course.

Not only is the shaming limited to people with unfortunate experiences, but even transgenders and homosexuals are made to believe that they are lunatic. People who lack confidence, or who are not so-called physically perfect are bullied. Even worse, young people, who are yet to LEARN from their mistakes are made to go through hell when their personal photos are purposely leaked! These are just a few examples, there are no dearth of instances where the society tries to guilt trap the victim by shaming them. This is not only true in-person; but also over the internet and social media, where folks have absolutely no idea who the person is, yet they conveniently form an opinion and make a post viral, which in many instances are factually inaccurate.

Why do we do this? Do we not realize that our actions are empowering the perpetrators?! Believe it or not, there is a term for it called “Gaslighting”. The Everyday Feminism website defines Gaslighting as a form of psychological abuse “in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.” Monika Lewinsky in her TED talk titled, “The price of Shame”, had quoted a research finding that said, “Humiliation was a more intensely felt emotion than either happiness or even anger.” She goes on to mention that public shaming is a money making business! And that anyone suffering from it can survive it, although it may not be painless, quick or easy, but with determination and self-compassion. (Do watch it, if you haven’t yet!)

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As responsible individuals, we could try alleviating their suffering to some extent: By not becoming a sheep and inducing mental torture, even unknowingly; By creating an environment where they feel encouraged and welcomed to come out and fight their nemesis, without being shamed; By supporting them, at least morally, when we come across someone around us. Whitney Thore, who had to faced constant abuse because of obesity, had quoted in her TED talk “Living without shame: How we can empower ourselves”: “We can’t magically have confidence before we do something; confidence is a product of action, not the other way around”; Therefore, we must try our best to motivate and encourage them to peruse their dream, so that they can restart feeling good about themselves and regain their confidence.

 

Featured image credits:
https://healthpsychologyconsultancy.files.wordpress.com/

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