Recently the U.S. backed President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, reportedly signed a law which legalizes the rape of a wife by her husband by not allowing her to refuse sex, and prevents women from leaving the house without a man’s permission. This is a blatant attack on womanhood…and another example of the abuse of power that is rampant in our world. But this abuse is now out in the open, ready, waiting, and even screaming to be healed.
Rape is an act of power and control. The act of rape is often a defense against ancient inner wounds to a man’s relationship with his own mother, and a reaction to the feelings of powerlessness he may have had in childhood. How could a man be willing to treat women like this . . . unless he’s still angry at the first woman in his life, his mother?
And why would we, women and men, stay silent and allow such an act to go unchallenged? This too has its roots in childhood wounding. Healing this vacuum where effective use of power needs to be cannot stop at the here-and-now level. We all, men and women, need to heal our own early wounds around being powerless – with mother and anyone else in our childhood, whether it be a particular person, a family tradition, a cultural norm.
Right action on the here and now level is of course necessary and a crucial first step to the healing process. But…by itself, nothing in the outer world in the current day will truly resolve rape and violence against women and create sustainable change. Not the legal process. Not incarceration. Not injunctions. Not anger. Not politics. Not government. Not even therapy that deals with controlling behavior, feelings, and thoughts. Healing the experience of powerlessness and all the feelings involved to the source in childhood is absolutely crucial if we are going to create and sustain the changes we need to have happen in our world.
How do we do this? It’s a big task. . .
Taking children’s feelings seriously is crucial. Parents doing their own inner work of mind, body, heart, and soul is also crucial . . . so they won’t abuse their power with their children out of their own childhood wounds. Helping our society not be afraid of our feelings is absolutely crucial. Teaching people the difference between feelings that are truly right to act on in the present moment and feelings that are guides to healing ancient wounds, not to be acted on in the present moment is absolutely crucial. Drawing a boundary between the feelings that are from the past and action that could be destructive, then getting the help to use those feelings for healing is absolutely crucial.
Reweaving the fabric of our society to include an understanding of feelings, an honoring of feelings, an inclusion of utilizing feelings for healing is absolutely crucial.
Our not using our power to challenge laws and attitudes that condone rape is an abuse of power in itself. Healing our relationships with power – in a way that helps us work through our feelings at the core – is not only possible, but crucial – for the sake of ourselves, our sisters, our mothers, our daughters…our fathers, our brothers, our sons…and for the sake of our world!
© Copyright 2009 by Judith Barr, MS, LMHC. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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