Thursday, November 15, 2012

roots and branches

          A talk about sexual assault in the military and “Shane” by Jack Schaefer both discuss support systems in individuals' lives. A good support system is vital in difficult situations and having strong support can foster a sense of security. As we as humans consistently find ourselves in difficult situations that may cause us emotional distress, it is necessary to have support from friends or family that will allow us to deal with said issues and ideally come out on the other side both stronger and better for it. 
          Rather than show the movie “Invisible War,” the Counseling Center and the Women’s Center talked about the basics of sexual assault, and then we watched a video of the Secretary of Defense answering questions about sexual assault in the military. The film was not shown because the University felt it wasn’t well equipped to handle students’ responses to the sensitive nature of the movie. When talking about sexual assault in general, the presenters stressed the importance of having a good support system. Unfortunately, people tend to victimize the victim which is the last thing one should do. Really, what the loved ones of the affected individual should do is be there for the victim and validate his or her personal response to the trauma. Victims can feel one or more of any number of emotions like anger, sadness, numbness, or an affected sense of safety. There is also the possibility of the victim experiencing PTSD which is characterized by reactions for at last a month; reactions include avoiding situations that might cause flashbacks, isolating oneself or avoiding people, nightmares that you can’t stop even though you want to, hyper-arousal or hyper-vigilance, jumpiness, becoming easily angered, and especially guilt or shame. Whatever the reaction of the victim and whenever it occurs, it is important that those who love and care about the person do not discount those feelings no matter when they occur. It is only with the help of others that those who have been hurt can start to heal and can start to feel safe once again in a world that has caused so much pain. 
          In “Shane,” we also see the importance of having a good support system allows Joe to continue to own his farm despite Fletcher and the threat of losing his farm. Both Shane and Joe’s family provide the support that Joe needs. In the end of the novel, we see Shane take on both Wilson and Fletcher on the behalf of Joe. Joe doesn’t know what to do regarding the situation and finds himself willing to concede to Fletcher. Shane doesn’t allow that and goes and shoots both Fletcher and Wilson for Joe, telling Joe that this was the one thing that he wanted to handle by himself. Joe and Shane did nearly everything together since Shane arrived at the farm. Joe and family and done so much for Shane, giving him a place to stay, food to eat, taking care of him and just generally making him feel welcome. This last ‘tribute’ if you will, by Shane, was his way of saying thank you for everything that the Starrett family had done for him. It is because of the family’s actions that Shane kills the two men who threaten the Starrett family’s livelihood. 
          Even after Shane leaves, Marian is supportive of Joe keeping the farm. Joe says that he cannot bear to be on the farm any more so the family will need to pull up stakes and move to some place new. Marian reminds Joe that Shane is a part of the farm and that they cannot get rid of him even if they tried to leave. Shane is all around the family, in the new additions he helped at, in everything he had helped to accomplish on the farm, and the farm would not be there without Shane. Because Joe is lucky to have a wife like Marian, he is reminded that he doesn’t need to run away from the situation but rather, that he can continue to live and thrive where he is with the help of his family. 
          In every instance, having a support system allows an individual to carry on with day-to-day activities. The lack of support system would lead to people giving up and sometimes a lack of trying altogether. What people need to realize is that they are not alone in the world and there are people who love and support them and will continue to do so no matter what happens. If people realize this then everyone involved in the relationship will be stronger and better for it.

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