This is exactly what it feels like! It's death-defying.
I know because I've experienced it many times when I've questioned or challenged a spiritual leader.
Once I just allowed a woman to share her story on my blog
, didn't silence her, and that was enough to get me in serious trouble. This famous powerful progressive Christian dude rallied all his famous powerful progressive Christian dudes and made my life a living hell.
I'm still feeling the very real ramifications of not silencing a woman.
I know this isn't about me, but about those who report their abuse. However, this does illustrate the comprehensive damage that perpetrators can inflict on their victims and their worlds.
This is what perpetrators do. They have power. That means they're well connected. That means their connections can be called to duty at any time to not only defend them but totally destroy their accusers. It happens all the time.
You want to know what else is really sad? Yes, there are the perpetrators and their alliances that try to intimidate the victim further into silence. But there are all the other people who could have defended you but felt they couldn't because they knew they would put their own lives at risk. Understandably so. I wouldn't wish the torture that woman went through, I went through, and we all continue to go through, on anybody.
The system is adversarial from the start.
Small fish up against a frenzy of sharks.
No wonder so many victims do not share their stories. They know the cost.
This is why we shouldn't silence women or other victims and survivors. This is why we admire them so much when they do speak up and share their story.