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What to Know If The Bob Dylan News Triggers You

Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

Another day, another news cycle in which a male celebrity is accused of sexual misconduct of some kind. This time, legendary and multiple award-winning music icon Bob Dylan. The allegations, filed with the New York Supreme Court on Friday, August 13 by a woman who goes by the name “JC” outlines a pattern of abuse occurring in April and May of 1965 at Dylan’s apartment in New York’s Chelsea Hotel. The claim details that the rock star “exploited his status as a musician to provide [her] with alcohol and drugs and sexually abuse(d) her multiple times.” The victim was only 12 years old at the time of the alleged abuse.

While it’s easy to feel triggered, overwhelmed and hopeless every time allegations like this come forward, particularly if you are a survivor of sexual violence of any kind, it may help to view these allegations from a couple of different perspectives.

1. This particular case was filed under the Child Victims Act, which temporarily lifted the statute of limitations in the state of New York, enabling historical abuse allegations to be filed. So many victims have not been able to pursue any kind of meaningful justice due to strict statutes of limitations. The fact that this was even possible gives me hope that some victims will eventually get their day in court and those who would have otherwise gotten away with their crimes will be held accountable.

2. Our culture appears to be having a kind of “awakening” with regard to violence against women and children, particularly sexual violence. For such a long time, abusive behavior was simply tolerated, brushed under a rug and normalized because it was so pervasive. Whether it’s the fruition of the #MeToo movement or the natural progression of it, women are standing up and telling the world that they’ve had enough of this kind of treatment. There is a sense that many women are done playing within the patriarchal misogynistic rules society has heretofore held them to and they are not willing to compromise their humanity any longer. And, even more importantly, people are listening. Where women’s voices used to be dismissed and silenced, they are now being heard and their cries for equality and justice are being telegraphed to a widespread audience. This feels like a monumental and meaningful shift, even if there’s still a long way to go.

This isn’t intended to be some kind of “toxic positivity” spin. Frankly, I despise that kind of thing. But, as a survivor and advocate, I find that I need to find ways of not getting completely emotionally burned out by the persistent barrage of news stories alleging sexual violence against someone famous. Trying to reframe it as a positive step in the right direction helps me feel less helpless and is a way I can continue to do my advocacy work. It’s a powerful aspect of my self-care in a world that can otherwise feel too heavy to carry.

Image via YouTube

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