很久以前我跟一位在台灣跳舞認識的女性朋友提到我小時候曾經多年被姑丈性虐待，她很驚訝的說：「我以為這種事只會發生在低收入低教育的家庭裡。」其實性侵害很常發生在我們週遭的人身上，但是因為保守社會忌諱談論性，這種事件通常不被討論，不被追究，也不為人知。今天我想趁我生日討論一下我個人身為性虐受害者的經驗，以及與 swing 最近一個悲哀的醜聞的些許反省。
Once I told a young woman I met through swing in Taiwan that I was sexually abused by an uncle when I was a child. She said I thought that only happens in low-income uneducated families. This kind of horror happens around us all the time, every day, to people we know. But it's taboo, so we don't talk about it. Today is my birthday and I'd like to talk a little bit about my experiences as a survivor of sexual abuse, and the some thoughts relating to the swing scene.
Here's my story.
我約九歲到十三歲間被我的姑丈性虐待。當時我們一起住在多倫多。每年在我生日的那天我都會藉機來談論這個經驗/揭露兒時性創傷的經驗。而每年我把這件事 po 在網上後，過去一年中我交到的新朋友也都會有一兩位主動跟我聯絡，告訴我他/她們也是性侵的受害者。這些人大多從來沒有跟別人提起過他/她們受害的經驗。
I was abused from the age of 9 to about 13 by an uncle by marriage. At the time I was living with his family in Toronto. Every year on my birthday I try to use the opportunity to talk about my being a survivor of childhood sexual trauma. Every time I post about this on Facebook, friends (that I have made in the last year) write to me and tell me that they too, have been abused (many have never told anyone else).
So it's not that sexual assault doesn't happen. It's just that we don't talk about it.
I talk about this as often as I can because I believe that the more open we are about this problem the less likely it is to recur. Sex related crimes are often taboo and victims are hesitant to come out with their experiences because of this. However, this silence is often the result of misplaced shame, and makes it hard for the victims because it means they cannot receive support and understanding from those around them, and it protects the perpetrators because they are seldom held accountable for their crimes.
This is a ridiculous situation.
A few concerns that victims often have with coming out include:
What if no one believes me?
I do not care who believes me. I know I am telling the truth. Telling the truth empowers me because I am no longer living a lie. When I was silent, every minute of every day was a lie which protected my abuser. When I spoke the truth, I was set free from his entrapment. With regards to how to tell family members or the police and other practical matters, feel free to msg me. I'd be happy to share my experiences and offer help and support. The most important thing is that affirming your own experiences is an important part of the healing process. Do not let the possibility that others may doubt you deny you of your right to believe in yourself and your experiences.
I feel ashamed.
I am not ashamed. I did nothing wrong. I am not damaged goods. I am not tainted. These thoughts are irrational. I am stronger and more understanding and compassionate because of my experiences. My abuser should be ashamed, not me.
I'm afraid the truth will hurt people I care about.
Because my uncle was the one who abused me I was worried that coming out with the truth would hurt my cousins. Then I realized that if he didn't want them to have a Paedophile for a father, he shouldn't have abused me. They are not my children and it's not my responsibility to take care of them. The fault is not mine.I also worried that my family would be hurt if I told them. Then I realized that if my family were in difficulty, I would rather know so that I can help them. I imagine the same is true the other way around. The thing is that we are all adults and sometimes things in life hurt. But if we stay strong and be there for each other, we can get through it together. It's not good to avoid doing what is right because you're afraid that it will hurt yourself or hurt someone else. We're all grown-ups, and we have to face things with courage rather than try to avoid them.
The most important reason to speak out
I used to be very careful about telling other people what to do but more and more now, I urge other victims to speak out.
I think that by speaking the truth I protect other potential victims. If your abuser is alive, you can press charges and try to put him/her behind bars, so he/she will not be able to hurt anyone else. Even if your abuser is dead and can't possibly hurt anyone else (mine is), I still urge you to speak out. We need to speak out because we need to defeat the taboo that surrounds sex crimes, and erase the shame and guilt felt by the victims. Every time we speak rationally, openly, and courageously about our experiences, we encourage other victims, who may still be silent and isolated, to do the same. We need more examples of courage among survivors. We need to seek justice for ourselves, and encourage others to do the same.
這個跟 Swing 有什麼關係？
How does this relate to swing dance?
以下有關 Steven Mitchell 我主要是為台灣舞者而寫，因為英文不流利的話難有管道了解這件事。
I wrote the following paragraphs relating to Steven Mitchell mainly for the benefit of Taiwanese dancers who may find it difficult to read English. Most of it is a brief summary so I omit the English. Anyone who is interested can read about this on Sarah Sullivan’s blog, and also on The Track.
Swing 的圈子裡也有壞人。Steven Mitchell 是早期一個非常著名的國際老師。我們目前很多環遊世界教學與比賽的老師們都曾經是他的學生，而且深受他的影響。約一年前一個叫做 Sarah Sullivan 的 lindy 舞者/老師在她的部落格上揭露 Steven Mitchell 有戀童癖並且曾經多次在她才十幾歲的時候用跳舞的機會/藉口性侵她。在 Sarah 的揭發之後，Steven Mitchell 已經公開承認了他的罪行，而後許多其他同輩的女性舞者也透露了她們類似的痛苦經驗。
最近，Ramona Staffeld（是的，就是 Todd 的舞伴，曾經在台北教過跳舞的那個很親切很可愛的 Ramona），在一個 swing 相關的訪問中也透露她約十五六歲的時候被 Steven Mitchell 強暴，而且 Steven Mitchell 利用「教她跳舞」以及「參加 workshop」的理由不時欺騙 Ramona 的父母，把年幼的她從父母身邊拐走，帶她去汽車旅館強暴她，為期多年。
Steven Mitchell 當時，甚至一直到最近事情爆發之前，一向是 lindy 社團中受人崇拜尊敬的導師。他濫用這個地位藉機性侵害了多位幼齡女舞者。
你可能會認為 Steven Mitchell 只是一個特例。跳舞的圈子真的會有這麼糟糕的人嗎？很可怕的，他不是唯一。另一個跟他同期也一樣出名的早期舞者（現在很多國際級老師都上過他的課）Bill Borgida 幾年前因為在海關被搜出攜帶兒童色情刊物被關進監牢，從此之後從跳舞圈子銷聲匿跡。因為這件事情發生的時候網路社群還沒有現在發達，所以知道的人較少。
這個跟台北的 swing 圈子有什麼關係？
How does this relate to the Taipei swing scene?
為什麼這些在國外發生的事情會關係到我們呢？因為我們活在一個互通的世界裡。國外的舞者會來台灣跳舞、教學，我們也可能到國外去跳舞、教學。就算台灣只有台灣的舞者我們也不一定能免疫。台灣也是有壞人，誰知道台灣的跳舞圈裡面有沒有？就算今天沒有，未來會不會出現？為了保護自己以及保護我們跳舞的朋友們，我們應該從 Sarah, Ramoa, 或甚至是我的經驗學習。
Why is this relevant to Taipei? Because people come and go. International instructors come here, and we travel to foreign countries to dance. We are not immune. More importantly, there may be bad people among us - we don't know. Maybe there isn't any now, but who knows if there may be tomorrow? To protect ourselves, we can learn from the experiences of people like Sarah, like Ramona, like me.
The lessons I take away
1. 不要被「老師」的身份（或是任何的身份唬倒了）/// Don't be fooled by a title.
我們可能會因為某個人的身份而過度信任他/她（就好像我父母覺得姑丈是家人，可以信任一樣）。Ramona 說當年的 Steven Mitchell 是一個 "lindy hop god"，而："there's a problem with that. That we've put him up on this pedestal"。中文翻譯的話應該：Ramona 認為把 Steven 「神化」本身就是一個問題，因為「我們把他放在一個高高在上的位置」。再者，因為 Ramona 的父母當年也是 Steven 的學生，而 Steven 的知名度蒙蔽了他們的戒心，讓她的父母認為十幾歲的女兒跟他一起去夏威夷或是其他地方「教跳舞」不會有問題。
We may trust someone undeservedly because of a title such as "teacher" (in the way my parents trusted an "uncle" because he was family). Ramona said Steven was a "lindy hop god", and "there's a problem with that. That we've put him up on this pedestal." Because of his particular status, Ramona's parents (who were also dancers) trusted him, and trusted their teenage daughter to him (on fictitious "workshops" trips to various destinations).
Someone might be a good dancer, a good artist, a good musician, or a good actor - but does that make him/her a good person? Being good at one thing doesn't make someone a moral being. Try to remember that they are just people too, with strengths and weaknesses and flaws. Idolizing them makes us blind to their faults and lets them get away with things we would not tolerate in others.
2. 堅定，自信，果敢的表達自己 /// Express yourself assertively
保護自己以及保護別人的方法就是讓自己堅定，自信，果敢，並且堅持的表達你自己，清楚設立由你所定義的界線。換句話說：no means no（不行就是不行）。如果有人要求你，或是對你做出任何讓你感到不舒服的舉動，你都可以直接拒絕（而且你沒有義務解釋為什麼你不想要這樣做），不管這個人是你的家人，老師，長輩，立委，電影明星，還是任何其他的頭銜。 他們沒有權力把快樂建立在你的痛苦上。
One way to protect yourself and others is to be assertive in setting your boundaries. In other words, “no means no”. If anyone asks you to do something you’re uncomfortable with, or tries to do something to you that you’re uncomfortable with, you have the right to refuse (and you’re not obligated to explain why). This applies regardless of whether this person is your family member, teacher, an elder, a politician, a movie star, or in any other position of authority. They have no right to build their pleasure on your discomfort.
說到這裡我想要舉一個實際例子。有一個 follower 跟我說在跳舞的時候她有時難以分辨某些 leader 的舉動是否是跳舞的一部分，特別是有一個 leader 在跳舞的時候吻了她的臉頰，讓她感到不太舒服。
I want to talk about a real example. A follower in Taipei told me once that she finds it hard sometimes to distinguish if something is part of dancing. In her case, a leader once kissed her cheek when they were in the middle of a dance, and it made her uncomfortable.
跳舞有一部分的成分是「玩」，所以這個 leader 是否在開玩笑呢？還是說這個 leader 對她有意思，所以這個吻是 flirting 或是追求她的舉動？不論如何，當時她感到不舒服，但是沒有馬上告知這個 leader，也沒有跟別人說，而今事情已經過了一年多，她也覺得不知道是否應該提起，或是應該怎麼提起才好。
A part of dancing is play, so perhaps this leader was being playful? Or perhaps this leader was romantically interested in her, and was trying to flirt and/or pursue her? Regardless of his intent, she was uncomfortable. However, she did not mention this at the time, and did not tell anyone else. It’s been over a year, and now she’s unsure if she should mention it, or how to do so.
人的很多行為處於一個灰色區域，而如果你是一個特別會為別人著想或是天生個性含蓄的人的話，發表：「你的行為/要求讓我感到不舒服，請不要這樣」這種負面的評語非常的困難。我們可能會自問：「或許他/她沒有惡意？」或是「我這樣說會不會傷了感情或造成尷尬？」但是「表達」不代表「擴大」，只是冷靜的讓對方知道你真誠的感受。就像如果有人做得很好，我們應該表揚，如果有問題發生，我們也應該提起，而不是因為想要迴避窘境所以不吭聲。如果這個人沒有惡意，那他/她更需要你的意見回饋，不然他/她可能在不知情的狀況下不斷的做出讓你或他人感到不舒服的舉動。如果真的沒法自己啟齒的話，我建議告知相關的 organizer 或是老師，讓這些人協助處理。
Many behaviors exist in a grey area. If you are very considerate of others and/or naturally more reserved, it may be hard to say something like: “you are making me uncomfortable, please stop.” We might ask ourselves: “maybe he/she didn’t mean anything bad by it?”, or “maybe I’ll hurt his/her feelings if I tell him/her, and it’ll be really awkward?” However, expressing yourself does not mean escalating the situation. It just means calmly expressing how you genuinely felt. By the same token, if someone does something awesome, we should tell them “hey, that’s awesome!”, so if a problem arises, we should also give honest feedback instead of trying to avoid awkwardness and staying silent.
If this person genuinely meant no harm, that’s all the more reason to be honest with him/her. Otherwise he/she may continue to make you or others uncomfortable while being totally unaware. If you really find it impossible to speak up for yourself, I would advise going to an organizer or a teacher on the scene and asking for their help.
This is about all I have to say. Lastly, I’d like to wish myself happy birthday. My birthdays are always a time of reflection. I’ve had some really rotten luck in my life (such as having an uncle who sexually abused me), but I’ve also had some really awesome luck (such as having a loving and supportive family). Every January 26th, I hope that my experiences might reach or help someone. If any of this has had a beneficial impact on you, that would be all that I could ask for on my birthday.
謝謝你看到這裡，see you on the dance floor!
Thanks for reading this far. See you on the dance floor!
p.s. 歡迎分享 /// feel free to share.