The word “traumatized”is a fascinating and viciously misused word.
You had a brutal experience? You saw something no one else should ever see?
If you responded to it like a normal person, then you're not 'traumatized', and we don't need new words to describe it. You had the mother of all bad days, and that sucks, to be sure. You're sad, depressed, confused? Sure. But we don't need a new word for that, I already gave you lots of words, just now.
The word 'traumatized' came about because of people who DON'T react normally, whose actions are counter-intuitive, who defy the norm, who respond in ways that just don't make sense to anyone, likely even themselves. If you understood how they react, we wouldn't need the word 'traumatized' at all … it'd just be someone having the mother of all bad days.
Some people are trauma-proof. Like our police chief and fire chief. They can walk through trauma every day, feel it deeply, but never act in any way other than what makes sense. I watch them like a hawk, trying to figure out why they're like that, and we're not. I have no answers on that, yet.
What 'traumatized' really means (and I'm sure scientists all over the world will be horrified at my laymans term, here) is that that awful experience made a gasket snap in your brain. A synapse to misfire. Your brain just got broken, and your nervous system is totally shot.
That thing – your trauma – made you be someone other than who you really are.
I cannot say this loudly enough: THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT – but it IS your problem.
Here's an analogy. You're talking to someone you admire and are attracted to - to the point that you offer them the ultimate trust of sex. Then they gut-shoot you.
Literally, with a gun, shoot you in the gut.
So you're standing there, with one hand clutching your abdomen, bleeding all over the floor, and your reaction would be what?
A sane, normal person would run away, or find a gun and shoot back.
But here are two utterly normal trauma responses:
You look down at all the blood, then look at him and say, “You just really badly broke something, and I need you to fix it.” You look to the cause of trauma as the answer to same. Sane? No. Normal? Yes, and we've been trying to tell the powers-that-be that for a very, very long time.
Or worse, but equally normal as a trauma response, you look at this person you like, admire, and are attracted to, and say, “Why did you do that? What did I do wrong?” The world has taught you cause-and-effect, and that your decisions impact your life, so you stand there, bleeding to death, and you try to make amends because you honestly believe it must be somehow your fault, that you did something wrong, or else why would anyone you care about do such a thing? And here's the worst part of it- you actually apologize for bleeding on their floor.
This is normal traumatic response.
It all may sound crazy to you, but if it was normal and sane, we wouldn't need a word to describe it. Traumatization creates a mental break in which sane and normal don't factor.
This is not new information. We, as a society, have dealt with literally millions of domestic and child abuse scenarios, we KNOW this.
Expecting Ghomeshi to fix this is looking at the guy who just shot you and hoping for redress, in my opinion.
The Canadian justice system is where we should look for redress.
But we'll look a long time, because the Canadian justice system is easily confused, and, in my opinion, ultimately corrupt in this regard.
The Canadian justice system will look at a brutally traumatized woman, see all the symptoms of traumatization … and still let those symptoms be the way the defence discredits her. I'm stunned at that outrageous, sexist, immoral stupidity.
This issue is, to me, black-and-white. Back to Ghomeshi.
"Do you like rough sex?"' means, to most sane people, a little hair pulling, or pinning them down, or some other act of dominance. It does NOT mean getting punched in the face. For THAT to be consensual, there can be no hints or innuendos. You have to say, flat-out, "Do you like being punched in the face while being taken?" (And I mean 'taken' in the ugliest sense of the word). Frankly, I think if the answer is yes, hospitalization is the best call, but whatever. It's your legal right, no matter how repugnant I find it to be.
If she says 'yes' to being punched, it is, then, consensual.
Anything else is just assault.
In my opinion.
You get permission, or you get jail time. Period. That's how the system should work, and NO ONE should be on trial but you.
And nothing, I mean NOTHING, she does thereafter should be relevant, and the courts know that as well as I do.
There is no grey area here, much less 50 shades.
But our courts don't see it that way – they see trauma responses as admissions of guilt, despite the fact they are proof of traumatization, and this has been known fact for decades.
This needs to change, and it needs to change right now, and Ghomeshi is certainly the trigger … but he's not the bullet. The bullet is our continuing, abject failure to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.
Shame on Canada for this horror show.