Okay. True stuff.
I have a condition called fibromyalgia.
I know. Most people have never heard of it, but it has been known about for centuries. All I can tell you is I am in physical pain 24/7 365. I am exhausted, etc. etc. etc.
But I am also happy, filled with joy, love, hope, gratitude, humor, wisdom, and curiosity. So, I’m blessed.
But check this out:
About 2 years ago, my husband and I went to one doctor to try to get a diagnosis of any sort. Why was I having this collection of weird symptoms?
My calm, cool, logical, husband threw out the possibility of investigating fibromyalgia. “Do you think that we should consider fibromyalgia as a diagnosis?”
The doctor looked at him and said, “I don’t believe in fibromyalgia. I’m just going to treat her for Lyme disease”
My husband’s jaw dropped. Yeah, I got us up out of there.
Previous tests from another doctor had already confirmed I didn’t have Lyme disease. There are no blood tests for fibromyalgia. But she wasn’t willing to go down that road simply because she “didn’t believe in it”.
Her response did not surprise me one bit.
Being a woman, I am used to doctors minimizing and discrediting every single thing that I have to say. In fact, this story surprised none of the women in my circle. Not a one.
They had stories of their own to match mine, just a different illness.
Around May 2015 research had shown that fibromyalgia was a “real” disease y’all. They were so happy with themselves.
The headlines were all, “It’s not in your head! Fibromyalgia is a real disease.”
Were we supposed to break out the champagne?
Some of the 5 million Americans were like, “Really, no ish Sherlocks. You are not telling us anything new. We have been suffering for YEARS!!!
Now, since 1987 the American Medical Association had recognized fibromyalgia as a real physical condition. In 2007 the FDA had approved a few medications that were working for some people 2007.
But let me tell you. Finding a doctor to diagnose and treat you was a trip. Most of the doctors have no expertise in it. They will not see you no matter what type of insurance you have. Even if you do, they were telling us that we were just stressed.
Those were the nice doctors. Some treated us like we were hustling them. For what, I don’t know. Pain pills maybe?
Oh, Tonya avoids those. I’m natural and holistic as much as I can stand it. I’m not special. Most of us that have this are.
So maybe they had a celebration over the results of their research. We were unmoved. We wanted them to just keep working. And, keep listening.
This is how we learn
We all must learn to listen to sufferers. The victims. The Survivors.
I don’t know how to tell you this, so I’ll just tell you.
When it comes to sexual violence most of society has this all wrong. In too many ways, society is just like the Western medical community.
When victims of sexual violence tell you what it is like to be in the grips of sex offenders, I urge you to listen to us.
When we identify them, I urge you to listen.
We are the ones who know all the little tricks. We know the con inside out.
The experts are great. I am an expert. My own experience enhances that knowledge, yes. Still, the bulk of my knowledge comes from the men, women and children that I have served over the years.
Consider the source
Why does our society insist on listening to the accused for their knowledge?
Why does our society lean on their own understanding even when they have no experience with the manipulation tactics of sexual abusers and rapists?
Sometimes when a person is a ‘high achiever”, “upstanding in their community”, “loves children”, “seems nice”, “shining example” -you might as well consider that all of that their ski mask, gloves, and break in gear.
They aren’t breaking into a home, though. These scoundrels are worse.
They are breaking into the bodies and souls of men, women, and children.
Survivors are hip to this important life lesson.
But you just can’t tell people this. When a person comes forth and accuses someone of rape or abuse the world becomes unbalanced.
I support everyone gathering the clearest picture possible of what might have occurred between two people.
But it fascinates me that people have no questions to the accused. Yet, they have never ending questions for the accuser.
Why didn’t you tell? Immediately!
Why didn’t you go to the doctor? Immediately!
Why were you there? At all?
And on and on………..
Do you BELIEVE?
I really think that it comes down to this.
Do we live in a society that doesn’t believe in sexual violence?
Do people believe that sexual violence is real?
Do we live in a society that doesn’t really believein rape?
Do people believe that rape is real?
Do we live in a society that doesn’t really believein child sexual abuse?
Do people believe that child sexual abuse is real?
Do people believe that most people are raped by people that they know?
We can talk, educate, discuss forever, but if that is the core issue……..
We have a bigger problem than I thought.
Tonya is a Social Justice Info Expert with over 23 years experience. She holds a BS in Organizational Management & Development. Her cat MiaBelle is her co-writer.
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