Last week I posted about Felicity Goodyear-Smith’s involvement in ACC Sensitive Claims research. The articles which prompted that post (ACC advisor silent on links to sex abusers (Sunday Star Times, 29 August, 2010), and here), have created debate amongst interested parties about whether Goodyear-Smith should have been involved in the research. There are two clear camps – those who believe she is the best person to carry out the research, and those who think she has potential conflicts of interest which should have excluded her from any involvement in ACC SCU. There have been numerous blogs and websites advocating both sides of the issue, but rarely have the two camps directly conversed – mainly because it is obvious that two such opposing viewpoints will never come to any sort of agreement.
I got a hint of the emotions the topic stirred when I entered a Google Groups thread over the weekend. I thought that as all participants were adults, it would be a reasoned debate. Unfortunately, that proved not to be the case. Insults were thrown and behaviour which could, at best, be described as creepy, at worst threatening, ensued.
As I had joined the discussion under my usual Google username, the people involved had the name “castorgirl”; and they used it. They found this blog and used information about my suicide attempts to question my character and credibility. I understand that all information on the Internet is fair game, but the use of this information scared the younger ones in the system. All they saw, were aggressive men finding, and potentially hurting them.
This may seem like it caused havoc, and it did for awhile. But from this event, some major shifts have occurred.
Firstly, I was able to maintain a sense of adult self, and was rarely reactionary on the forum. I could see the behaviour of the people involved for what it was – diversionary and bullying.
Despite getting scared about the blog being found, I realised that by hiding the blog (I re-directed traffic to Google for a day), I was acting as if I was ashamed of what is contained here. If I was ashamed of what is contained here, then I was ashamed of me. This proved to be a tipping point in my thinking. I began to question whether the shame belonged to me, or those who hurt me. While I sometimes cringe at what is written here, it’s my place of safety. By hiding it, I was questioning my healing and learning… not a good message to send to the rest of the system. So, I removed the re-direct.
In addition to the drama on the forum, yesterday was both Father’s Day and the mothers birthday. I managed to make it through the day by distracting. But, as midnight rolled around, I became more fragmented and derealised. By 1am a young one was actively keeping us awake through their hypervigilence. There was enough awareness, that I was able to soothe this young one – repeating over and over that we’d stayed safe during the day and that the father was no longer going to hurt us. That he lived far away and it was a different time and place to the one they remembered.
We eventually calmed, but this internal communication continued. An unknown young one came forward and shared some of her experiences. At first she gave distractions, but then revealed part of what had happened to her. In what is a first for me, I identified this young one as part of me, and as needing empathy, love and caring. I again realised that the shame was not hers/mine, but that of the father who hurt her/us/me. We tried to see if she would go with Sophie to be cared for, but instead, she melted back into the shadows to be taken care of by One.
The pain of this young one, was what we took into therapy today.
Allison, to put it bluntly, was brilliant. She encouraged us to pause in our telling of what happened, and to check the emotional response. This allowing and acceptance, meant that another young one came forward to tell of her experiences with the father.
I was left shaking, yet in a place of acceptance. There was still denial to try and counter what had been said, but it was not the overwhelming denial that there has been in the past. It felt as if the denial belonged to the different parts of the system, rather than to me as a whole.
Oddly as it seems, I have the bullying behaviour of a group of men to thank for this shift. Young ones realised that I was willing and able to protect them. They didn’t see me as weak and unable to handle what they held. They equated these men with the image of the father, and they saw the adult me standing up to them. This is what many of them had been waiting for, some sign that I was strong and capable of protecting them.
So, I have Goodyear-Smith supporters to thank for helping me gain huge ground in my healing. There’s an irony in that, which I find amusing.
The forum discussion reached an uneasy conclusion yesterday, with the publication of the latest article by Tim Hume (Sex abuse cuts ‘all about cost-cutting’) which indicates that ACC did know of the potential conflicts of interest regarding Goodyear-Smith, but commissioned her for the research anyway.
All in all, a very odd weekend.