History warns us that the media have been too late in the past to react to an autocratic movement or a despotic leadership. The press was censored with little to no resistance under Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini's movements and in astonishingly quick fashion. The press has crumbled under autocracy, overtaken by propaganda and become mouthpieces for leaders. It has failed in the past, absurdly, to do its job and serve its purpose - and we're painfully aware of the consequences of a biased, politically driven press.
President Trump's first week was not going to plan before it even started. The rumblings of potential headcounts for the women's marches overshadowed his seemingly puny inauguration. Mourning for the loss of Obama from the oval weighed heavy on social media, and that leering, ludicrous Moscow debacle still lingered around the edges of the media. There was no excitement, no international awe at the impending swearing in - just anger, fear, consternation and rebellion.
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world" -John Muir pic.twitter.com/AJYOGAVeu8
— JohnMuirNHS (@JohnMuirNPS) January 27, 2017
His reaction was, as predicted, immense. Bold, brash misogyny littered newsfeeds for the entire week - an outpouring of grief from the rest of the world. What have you done?
The marches did little to deter from his agenda; he didn't listen, see, nor did he care about anything emboldened on the hundreds of thousands of signs made to get his attention. And when one of his underling agencies inflamed him with rage on his favourite social platform for verbosity - gag orders were sent down from the oval.
The horrifying word that was rattled around in the wake of his election and his tirade against the media became a reality last week when he imposed a gag order on some of his governmental agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) among others, who have been sceptical of the new president since his appointment of Scott Pruit to leader of the agency.
The National Parks Service twitter was deactivated after they retweeted the picture that has gone viral indicating the major difference between Obama's inauguration and Trump's, a difference he vehemently denied in a cringey statement made at the C.I.A.
NPR suggest that these accounts could be a logical way to oppose media blackouts, and indeed they're right. Where history indicates people were too slow to react to a potential autocrat and report on their malice or wayward political approach - these rogue twitter accounts pre-empt what has the potential to become a very angry, insolent and ignorant presidency.
Instead of the media having to plunge itself into what during the wars became known as 'The Underground' press, the internet - social media and other outlets allow for a new type of freedom that cannot be reduced to a meagre newsletter handed out through rebel channels.
If this past week has proven anything it's that the president continues to align himself with those names we dare mention above, that have haunted history since the beginning of the last century, and does not look like stopping. His ascendancy to power bares a striking and unnerving resemblance to that of the Nazi party in the 1930's backed by racism, fear and a discontent with a 'weak' government(and some foreign governmental help). The anti-semitism that pervaded Adolf Hitler's campaign is near replicated in the beginning of his immigration policy implemented this past week. His next step would have been to censor the media and place a trusted adviser to take over and begin impugning the press with propaganda.
Therein lies the major difference between the 1930's and now.
You cannot shut down the New York Times or silence the Washington Post - you cannot close Twitter or Facebook, and you most certainly cannot eradicate internet sites like Buzzfeed or Mashable. They are too large, too prevalent, the presidency only gets you so far.
What you can do — and what is futile — creating an even bigger resistance, is shut down these minor accounts, only to serve the purpose of cutting the head off a monster similar to Fluffy from Harry Potter. Another will always come up in its place.
Nazi Propaganda Chief Goebbels.
Courtesy of New Statesman
Marriage can be a tightrope act: when everything is in balance, it is bliss and you feel safe, but once things get shaky, you are unsure about next steps. Add outside forces into the equation like kids, work, finances or a personal crisis and now there's a strong chance that you'll need extra support to keep you from falling.
My husband and I are no strangers to misunderstandings, which are expected in any relationship, but after 7 years of marriage, we were really being tested on how strong our bond was and it had nothing to do with the "7-year itch"--it was when I was diagnosed with PTSD. As a survivor of child sexual abuse who is a perfectionist, I felt guilty about not being the "perfect partner" in our relationship; frustrated that I might be triggered while being intimate; and worried about being seen as broken or weak because of panic attacks. My defense mechanism is to not need anyone, yet my biggest fear is often abandonment.
I am not a trained therapist or relationship expert, but since 2016, I have learned a lot about managing survivorship and PTSD triggers while being in a heterosexual marriage, so I am now sharing some of my practical relationship advice to the partners of survivors to support my fellow female survivors who may be struggling to have a stronger voice in their relationship. Partners of survivors have needs too during this process, but before those needs can be met, they need to understand how to support their survivor partner, and it isn't always an easy path to navigate.
To my fellow survivor sisters in romantic relationships, I write these tips from the perspective of giving advice to your partner, so schedule some quality time to talk with your boo and read these tips together.
I challenge you both to discuss if my advice resonates with you or not! Ultimately, it will help both of you develop an open line of communication about needs, boundaries, triggers and loving one another long-term.
1. To Be or Not to Be Sexy: Your survivor partner probably wants to feel sexy, but is ambivalent about sex. She was a sexual object to someone else and that can wreak havoc on her self-esteem and intimate relationships. She may want you to find her sexy and yet not want to actually be intimate with you. Talk to her about her needs in the bedroom, what will make her feel safe, what will make her feel sexy but not objectified, and remind her that you are attracted to her for a multitude or reasons--not just because of her physical appearance.
2. Safe Words = Safer Sex: Believe it or not, your partner's mind is probably wondering while you are intimate (yep, she isn't just thinking about how amazing you are, ha!). Negative thoughts can flash through her mind depending on her body position, things you say, how she feels, etc. Have a word that you agree on that she can say if she needs a break. It could be as simple as "pause," but it needs to be respected and not questioned so that she knows when it is used, you won't assume that you can sweet talk her into continuing. This doesn't have to be a bedroom only rule. Daytime physical touch or actions could warrant the safe word, as well.
3. Let Her Reconnect: Both partners need attention in a relationship, but sometimes a survivor is distracted. Maybe she was triggered that day, feels sad or her defense mechanisms are up because you did something to upset her and you didn't even know it (and she doesn't know how to explain what happened). If she is distant, ask her if she needs some time alone. Maybe she does, maybe she doesn't, but acknowledging that you can sense some internal conflict will go a long way. Sometimes giving her the space to reconnect with herself before expecting her to be able to focus on you/your needs is just what she needs to be reminded that she is safe and loved in this relationship.
4. Take the 5 Love Languages(r) Test: If you haven't read this book yet or taken the test, please at the very least take the free quiz to learn your individual love language. My top love language was Touch and Words of Affirmation before remembering my abuse and thereafter it became Acts of Service and Words of Affirmation. Knowing how your survivor partner prefers to be shown love goes a long way and it will in turn help your needs be met, as they might be different.
5. Be Patient: I know it might be frustrating at times and you can't possibly totally understand what your survivor partner is going through, but patience goes a long way. If your survivor partner is going through the early stages of PTSD, she feels like a lot of her emotional well-being is out of her control. Panic attacks are scary and there are triggers everywhere in society. For example, studies have shown that sexual references are made anywhere from 8 to 10 times during one hour of prime time television (source: Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media). My husband is now on high alert when we watch TV and film. He quickly paused a Game of Thrones episode when we started season 2 because he realized a potentially violent sexual scene was coming up, and ultimately we turned it off and never watched the series again. He didn't make a big deal about it and I was relieved.
6. Courage to Heal, Together: The Courage to Heal book has been around for many years and it supported me well during the onset of my first flashbacks of my abuse. At the back of the book is a partners section for couples to read together. I highly recommend it so that you can try to understand from a psychological, physical and emotional stand point what your survivor partner is grappling with and how the two of you can support one another on the path of healing and enjoying life together.