Fear and denial are thieving companions

BRATTLEBORO — Thank you to The Commons, Diana Whitney, and everyone brave enough to step out of the mold of silence.

Windham County wants to be a safe house of progressives' social responsibility, and when a challenge to these ideals move from being abstract to trampling our backyards, we find ourselves in a certain kind of slippery messiness.

It is almost impossible to look at abuse in your family, relationship, classroom, or community and not flinch. But what Diana and other advocates of the #MeToo movement are brave enough to speak out for is every human's primal need for this: safety.

Fear and denial are thieving companions. They will starve us with ideas of scarcity and emotional drought until we believe that in order to survive we must stay silent and comply.

In these times, we need community. Community is easy when things are going well; it is in conflict that we know our mettle, that we must bust through our individualistic tendencies taught by the fathers of manifest destiny and be one for the other, neighbor for neighbor.

We must rise against the poisonous idea that we should turn a blind eye to abuse in any corner of our little world. It is important to remember we are not fighting a person but the behavior of the perpetrator when we rise.

Perpetrating behavior does not distinguish between class, gender, age, race, profession, or spiritual preference. In order to create the community we crave, we must speak out against a perpetrator's behavior any time it puts a member of our community in harm's way.

And as a community we must support those voices, because as loud as they may seem, behind every person with the courage to speak, are many, many more with the shaking need to be heard, who do not have the resources or the strength to tell the truth.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates