The Healing Journey as a Site of Resistance

The following quotes are excerpts from a transcript of a 2002 presentation by billie rain (bio: “billie rain is a survivor of familial abuse, ritual abuse, mind control and experimentation. She works to build bridges between survivors and other activists working for social change. She believes child abuse must be challenged as part of larger oppressive systems and survivors have vital insight and wisdom to contribute to movements working for social justice. The title of her presentation is: ‘The Healing Journey as a Site of Resistance.'”)

The following trigger warning is provided: “Some of the topics discussed may be heavy for survivors. Survivors may want to read this with a support person or therapist.” Trigger topics include: child sexual abuse and ritual sexual abuse.

Click here to access the full transcription.

“The more we have suffered in the past, the stronger a healer we can become. We can learn to transform our suffering into the kind of insight that will help our friends and society” (Hanh, Touching Peace, 1992, 8).

Healing has manifested itself in my life as a form of resistance. My healing process is inherently a rejection of who the abusers told me to be. I was taught to turn my life over to people who controlled me through pain. They tried to control my self-concept, my body, the thoughts I was allowed to think, the experiences I could be conscious of. They taught me that the only way to survive was to either be in control or to be controlled. The main definition of power I was exposed to growing up was power-over. Now I am learning the meanings of power-with and power from within. Remembering, speaking out, and deciding for myself what I want for my life are acts of resistance. Building communities based on mutual respect, compassion and honesty is one step towards creating the kind of world I want my children to live in.

The word activism is centered on the word act. An act doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical act like going out to the middle of the street. Activism means, I have a vision for the kind of world that I want, and that vision has to do with compassion and justice and I’m willing to take action toward that goal. That’s how I see an activist. I don’t agree with what everyone who’s an activist is doing. But that’s what I see as activism. To me, “activism” implies working for something beyond your own self-interest, even if your goals benefit you as well. Oppression happens to people in their bodies, and all these complicated issues that we’re dealing with as activists are affecting people in their lives and in their bodies. When someone is suffering because someone else is using power to control them without their consent, that’s what oppression is to me.

Later in the article, billie writes,

I am not willing to live in a society that tolerates child abuse. I am not willing to accept the system that exists in the united states just because it is here. I do not believe that I have to exploit others to survive. This society is rotten to the core. From the beginning, the United States has foundationally relied on violence to establish itself. Understanding and articulating this, and the ways it has affected my personal and the social present, has given me the space to envision alternatives, to realize that there is always a choice. I want to live in a society based on the values that are important to me; communalism, respect and love. This is what I mean by revolution.

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