Monday 10 April 2023

Tangential Issues 1: Groundhog Day anyone!

 Backgrounder to this label. A few months ago, I was asked if I wanted to put together a book proposal and I said yes very quickly. My response rather surprised me because I had, to a large extent, decided that I really had little more to say that I hadn't already said - either academically or in this blog. When people ask why I wasn't still writing, presenting or at least researching in the area of Christianity and child sexual abuse and all the issues surrounding that focus, I said "why bother", nothing has changed, not really. And I don't need the grief! However, I said "yes" to creating a book proposal. I have begun to do my reading  (there is a lot to catch up on) - classes are done, only marking which is not as consuming as teaching. What I have found so far is that, in the end, I was right, nothing much has changed where the big issues are concerned. Things are more informed about "sexual abuse" and "domestic abuse" issues (we can thank #MeToo for that), but I feel like I am Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Been there, done that and it is once more into the breach.

I have found a few things that give me some hope that there will be a shift a-coming but I doubt that I will see it. I figure that I have about 20 years left - give or take - and as long as "the Alzheimer's" doesn't get me, I will still be doing this and hopefully, die with "my boots on".

 I am not talking about what I will propose because it is very specific; so the purpose of this label is to write about things that come up that are related to the topic but are really tangential because, if I don't, they will drive me crazy. 

This morning I woke up to a wonderful email from a student in my class who thanked for me everything that they had learned over the term. It was quite lengthy and brought tears to my eyes. The course was on the history of women in the pre-industrial world and focused on the "creation of patriarchy". Emails like this are one of the things that keep me going and make me realize that yes, what I am teaching does have an impact that changes things, even if in very small ways for one person. That is all I can ask for. 

1. Tangential issues are not triggers. They are issues that are coming up as I read these academic tomes (books, articles, blogs, podcasts, etc.) that are not clearly germane to the topic that I want to address in my book proposal. They just make me angry or sad.

2. Need for external support systems. I have found a therapist to replace Neville who died a few years ago. He will now be my "on-call" support system should I run across triggers related to my childhood sexual abuse as I am doing this work.

In future posts, there are already topics that have come up that I want to write about. "Vicarious trauma" and "Witnesses" the latest buzz words for avoiding pain (I'm such a cynic!); "Triggers" and "Trigger Warnings" - I have a draft post that needs to be finished and will come under this label - for example, I will write about how I deal with those in my classroom; "Theory" - how that box is a real problem; and finally "Stigmas", which will be a re-visitation of my very first post. Maybe I will start another "label" called "They mean well, but..." 

Once more, into the breach!


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