Trigger: verb. An event or situation to happen or exist.
Triggering occurs when any certain something (a ‘trigger’) causes a negative emotional response. The emotional response can be fear, sadness, panic, flashbacks, and pain, as well as any physical symptoms associated with these emotions (shaking, loss of appetite, fainting, fatigue, and so on)
Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of women are experiencing fear, sadness, panic, flashbacks and pain.
Thousands upon thousands of us are waking up to a memory, or to memories, tucked so deep in our body, in our soul, and in our psyche that we are literally writhing in pain from the very thought of it.
Stories we never wanted to tell, or share, or remember.
We have kept these stories buried under a heap of other stories for a long time, and for a variety of reasons; reasons that range from being the nice girl, the good girl, the girls that are seen and not heard scenario, to protect the very folks in our lives who never protected us; folks who never believed us in the first place. To not be believed by folks who are supposed to nurture you and love you and protect you can flatten you and destroy you for a lifetime.
But to not be believed by folks – strangers – who literally know nothing about you, nothing about your life, nothing about who you are, what you do, where you live, or how you live is a violation all its own.
Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of women are now coming out of the darkness, coming out of that scary, dank, ugly place, and sharing their stories of abuse and assault; horror stories, yes, the boogeymen stories.
First with Harvey Weinstein and his ilk, what was triggered – what became abundantly and nauseatingly and sickeningly clear — was the abuse of power and privilege: ‘I can make or break you.’ Women were feeling bold enough and brave enough to speak up and stand up and share their stories about the men they worked with, men they worked side by side with, men they shared an office with, men who could get them work, or give them a raise, and men who used their power to keep women in their place, or to make sure women did not have a place.
We all sat and nodded in horrifying agreement as the stories came flooding out.
Yes, we knew men like that.
Yes, we know men like that.
Yes, it happened to us.
Yes, we have one roaming the halls of the White House, sitting in the Oval Office, who declared he could just grab ‘em by the pussy because yes, he was famous.
Vile and ugly and predatory men who abused and abuse their privilege and their power and our bodies.
And we were triggered.
Good God, we were triggered.
It’s not so hard to believe that men like Weinstein can do awful and ugly things to women; what’s hard to believe and what’s hard to swallow is how many men have done it. How many names we know, or heard of, or knew of…
And most of those men, the Cosbys and the Weinsteins will go down — hopefully in flames.
But now, with Brett Kavanaugh, it’s a different kind of trigger; a different kind of rage; a different kind of pain; a different kind of fear and sadness and panic and flashback, and it took one brave woman to set off a million fire alarms.
These are stories we were not going to tell…or share…or give away.
These were dirty stories. These were the hard-to-tell stories.
These are the stories we hid; these are the stories that we tucked into the back of a drawer, or wrote about in the privacy of our diaries. These are the gaping wounds and scars we tried desperately to cover-up and make-believe never happened when we were young girls and young women.
To not believe our stories from twenty-five, or thirty, or fifty years ago is equal to saying that we didn’t exist, and that we don’t exist; equal to saying we were and are indeed invisible. To deny us our memories, to discredit our pain, and to dismiss the moments we can’t recall is equivalent to assaulting us and raping us over and over and over again.
And maybe, just maybe the reason folks – men and women – don’t believe us, or don’t want to believe us and our stories is as simple as this; they too would have to own and remember and recall and awaken to their piece of a story that they too have buried deep down, tucked away, hidden in a box in a basement somewhere — where it’s now mildewed and yellowed, the ink disappeared. Stories filled with shame and disgust and self-hatred; stories that are protecting others and themselves.
Which brings me to this…
To expose the kind of belligerence and anger and disgust that Brett Kavanaugh shared with the millions who watched him that afternoon one week ago triggers that old saying – familiarity breeds contempt.
Contempt: noun – To disregard something that should be taken into account.
The feeling that a person or a thing is beneath you; beneath your dignity. Unworthy of being seen or noticed.
Hot-flash, Mr. Kavanaugh:
You will see us.
We are not going away.
We are seared into your memory.
author. writer. girl.
Women’s eNews Columnist Amy Ferris is a highly accomplished author, screenwriter, television writer and editor. Every Friday, you will be invited into her world, where she will champion, encourage and inspire women to awaken to their greatness, as only she can, through passion, truth, hope, and humor — along with a heaping side of activism: