23
Mar
09

Taking a Bite of the Big Apple Part Three: The Serious

TRIGGER WARNING: PLEASE READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

It has taken me some time to get this post up, partly because my thoughts are so scattered, and partly because I’ve had to confront some of my own inner demons. But I think part of my continued healing comes from reading other folks’ experiences and taking the time to face my own.

So, in the first post of the series I told you all about my outfit I wore to an event I went to my first day in NYC. The event was a book launch and panel discussion for an amazing book called The Cries of Men: Voices of Jamaican Men Who Have Been Raped and Sexually Abused, written by O’Brien Dennis.  This book is raw, and I had a rough time reading it. Sometimes, it got a bit too real, too much…sometimes people’s prejudices, which Dennis outlined beautifully, got to be too much for me and I had to put the book down and walk away before I lost all hope in humanity.

But I wanted, no, needed to finish it.

As I listened to Dennis’ story, my heart broke. It broke for him, it broke for other men who share his experience, and it broke for women who have been through this too.

For Dennis, this book was groundbreaking in more ways than one. Men rarely admit to being sexually abused, or hell, abused in any capacity because it isn’t seen as “manly”. In Jamaican culture, homosexuality is frowned upon (a vast understatement, let me tell you), and the publishing of this book basically insures he can never go back home.

As I listened to the panel, my mind wandered a bit.  What makes me so sad is that society is structured to where those who suffer traumatic experiences are not allowed to by societal norms to share what they’ve been through and ask for help. They’re made to feel ashamed, dirty, worthless, the whole nine. They’re made to feel that the abuse was their fault, that they somehow wanted what happened to them.

It ought not be this way. Period. Yet every day another boy or girl, man or woman goes through the exact same thing, and maybe one or two might seek help.

Now, this post is short, because I don’t want to ramble. I want y’all to take my snippet in, go read the book, go read other books like it, and do what I’ll be doing: go find a place and volunteer. Be that shoulder for someone who is being shamed into silence.

And if you are someone who is/has been that person shamed into silence, please, please, don’t go through this alone. There are resources and I beg of you, seek them out and take them.

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3 Responses to “Taking a Bite of the Big Apple Part Three: The Serious”


  1. March 23, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Excellent post – thank you for sharing. I will be actively seeking out this book. If you would, could you keep us posted on finding a place to volunteer?

  2. March 23, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Absolutely! Since my life is scattered, I’m having a hard time carving out volunteer time, but I’m still working on it.

    Oh, and if you want a copy of the book, click the book title in the post–you can order it online or download it as an e-book.

  3. July 20, 2009 at 8:38 am

    It’s so sad that bad things happen in our lives but we have to be of a stronger sort. Surely there is a feeling of shame or even guilt when something like this happens but it is this that we must overcome in our lives which constitutes us as stronger beings.


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