May 10, 2018

Learning what is not normal

Conference spotlights sexual assault problem
By Edna Sailor
Second of a two part series
 “What if our Normal Meter is broken? Dr. Diane Gaut posed that thought provoking question to participants of the recent TAT Sexual Assault Conference held at the 4 Bears Casino and Lodge.
She explained that it is important for families, victims and communities to understand that the dynamics of sexual victimization are profound.
“Normal may mean conforming to standards. Those may include political, community, cultural and family. Normal is complex depending on the context and where we are in this world in time and space and how it is defined. Normal also has a history of changing. Roles of women, roles of men and roles of elders are all examples of those changes Gaut said.
Gaut shared her own painful stories of sixteen years of sexual abuse at the hands of her own father, a high school boy friend, and her first and second husbands as well as others. People who grow up in abusive environments have difficulty knowing what normal is. She posed more questions as she described the self exploration process.
“We often ask ourselves how did we get here? Why do we stay? How do we reject the shame we feel? How do we learn to recognize the importance of family?” she said.

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