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bear by san

March 2017



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criminal minds pentiss and reid back

with one fist raised in anger. with one foot in the fire.

So let's talk about Charles Ramsey and Amanda Berry (and Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight).

Let's talk about the fact that Amanda Berry is a hero, and that she rescued herself, her daughter, and two other women from a horrible situation.

Let the record show that she did what she had to do, and if she hadn't, those four women would still be in that house.

Because the media seem to want to cast her and the other women only as victims, and that narrative is a lie.

Let's talk about the fact that Charles Ramsey is a hero, too. Because he saw a person obviously in distress, and he acted. And the fact that that person was white and female, and that he was black and male, living on a job as a dishwasher, and that his police record would be brought up afterward, definitely entered his consciousness; and he did it anyway. Because he saw a person who needed help.

That does not decrease his heroism. It increases it.

Let the record show that he did what he had to do, and if he hadn't, those four women would still be in that house.

And Ariel Castro might be getting away with it for another fifteen years.

And now I'm speaking here as an abuse survivor.

That Mr. Ramsey allegedly has a record for domestic violence is not beside the point; it is the point. It's people who abuse other people, and it's people who help other people. And people can learn better, or make a mistake one time and do something to repair it another.

Ramsey doesn't have to be perfect to be a hero. Berry didn't have to be perfect to be a hero. Michelle Knight was a hero when she delivered Ms. Berry's baby daughter, with no experience and no support, and she doesn't have to be perfect for that to stand, either. Gina DeJesus has no doubt done some pretty heroic stuff in the last ten years or so as well.

Our absolutist cultural narratives do nobody a service. People do not have to be perfect and blameless to be worthy of respect and admiration; they only have to be trying.

And one of the effects of that absolutism is to tell survivors who are not perfect and blameless (and who is, and who who has been abused can see themselves as perfect?) then they are somehow villains too, or responsible, or that they bear guilt for what they've suffered.

Another effect is that people who are capable of making a change may not, because they are scared of how they will be perceived if they aren't perfect.


(As for Mr. Ramsey's drug charges: if you don't understand the interplay of race, class, and drug-law harassment, I suggest you do some reading, and understand that middle class suburban white people can get away with a lot more than some black guy from Cleveland.)


Yes, and yes, and yes.
In the crisis response/counseling field we wind up seeing people -- heroes -- at what is often the worst time of their lives. We see them falling apart in the wake of their heroism, we see them lashing out in helpless rage now that the true source of their pain is not looming over them, and we see them turning to destructive things in order to express the pain and terror that hasn't stopped now that the moment is gone.

But they are still heroes, BECAUSE they are still people like any of the rest of us.

And also I must say, given the number of long-term kidnapping victims that we have seen winning their way to freedom in the last decade, I'm having some serious squick moments, thinking of these kidnapping incidents in terms of mice or roaches -- that we must be seeing only a fraction of what's truly there.
Yeah. This.

We don't all have to be stone-faced, butt-chinned Doc Savage clones.

We just have to do the best we can.
"Butt-chinned Doc Savage Clones" will be the name of my new blue-grass death metal orchestra.
Yeah, I'm seriously WTF?!! about the long term kidnapping... and am more than a little afraid that the social pressures have favored people eventually giving up on trying to leave. (I'm thinking here of Elizabeth Smart's comments about feeling like a chewed piece of gum.) I'm fairly certain it's not a new phenomenon.
I was thinking about what Smart said, yeah.