Posted by: Millard J. Melnyk | January 30, 2014

What Comes Next From In Between

All my life I was given to believe that we have two choices: bear up under injustice with dignity (which usually means silently, because if we opened our mouths at all we’d just scream) or end up no better than the unjust. 

I have a problem with that choice: either way, it leaves abusers and oppressors free to do what they want. I no longer accept that.

Then I realized: that’s the same line that abusers and oppressors use to keep their victims stuck and vulnerable in abusive and oppressive situations. That made me suspicious.

So I asked, “What really happens when you explore the options in between?”

What happens, as I’ve found so far, is:

  • The oppressors go, “WTF?”
  • Bystanders go, “WTF?”
  • Other oppressed people go, “WTF?”

And everyone stops breathing a second, wondering what comes next.

Then, people react in a variety of ways. 

  • Abusers and oppressors try intimidating me to preempt what comes next. 
  • Moralists and those who think they have “authority” or feel “responsible” for the situation step in with the many, many reasons why I can’t or shouldn’t or better not do what comes next. 
  • Oppressed people who made havens for themselves jump in so that what comes next doesn’t threaten their security or disrespect the hard work and risk it took to “earn” or “build” their little safe zones.
  • Other oppressed people who have no havens jump in to prevent what comes next from making the hell they live in any worse than it already is.

I rarely find people who want to find out what comes next. Almost everyone agrees that we must avoid it, and they don’t even know what it is!

So I know that’s where the power lies.


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