Saturday, March 14, 2015

Inclusive Freedom (helping people escape abuse)

It's disturbing,  no doubt,  the tales of underage marriage,  the traps of lacking health care and community resources.   I've been enthralled by a genre of books this year relating to cults.  I've brushed up on Scientology,  polygamist groups, and Jehovah  Witnesses, to name a few.

From the memoirs of escapees to chronological histories by journalists, it's given me a window into the patterns all of human kind seem to grapple with in living their beliefs.  I definitely can see it as a spectrum, with all belief finding its way on there, and the way it is lived determining how controlling it can be.

It's painful in a unique way because most of it isn't ancient history.   It's the present.   There are people around us living this way.  And we go about our free lives.  For that reason it's more upsetting. 

I could do something.
I should do something.

I don't know much about the logistics of cult escape but thanks to my reading I've gleaned some opinions on how to support others.  And as opinions they are flexible and open to critique.

Here's what I think:  people need people.   If someone is shunned they'll physically become ill.  We are pack animals and at our most fundamental level we know we are in danger when all alone.   In my opinion it is lack of "outside people " that traps people in unhealthy situations more than any gates or physical bars.  It's the fear of losing the only community one feels they'll ever have that makes escape seem fruitless.

I know I have been guilty of judging people in abusive situations (whether group or loved one) because they stay in it.  I've thought they were different than me and already "had all their friends" and didn't assume they'd want any connection.  I think I couldn't have been more wrong.

Just one friend, one contact who doesn't judge could give the hope to someone that they might have help in the outside world.  No, they may not act like you will be besties, especially if they are still trying to stay safely in their community (at this point).  But immediate reaction doesn't determine whether the gift of your acceptance was wasted.

Here's where I could help:  In social media comments, in greetings out in public--letting people know I think they are worthy and okay in whatever situation they are in.  I think, especially on facebook we try to glean our feeds down to only the people who culturally look like us in opinion and thought.  This is dangerous to us because of the love we miss out on, but more to those who are living in fear and need to know unconditional acceptance to ever have the courage to be free.

Be acceptance (even when you disagree on details).  Be love.  Someone's fight could be depending on it.  And this song is dedicated to everyone who needs it.

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