Of Education and Privilege

When I arrived in the US in 1985, I relived the high of privilege to which I had been exposed when I had been trafficked to this country as a nine year old girl. Living in the vague expectation that something big was about to happen, I was a guest at parties in enormous apartments overlooking Central Park, invited to dinners over Krug champagne, and marveled at by a business tycoon who told me, somewhat incredulously, that I was on his level. At the time, I believed he thought of us as equals because I didn't want anything from him, rather than that the powerful projection of an American perpetrator had been triggered by setting foot once more on American soil, and I exuded all he had once predicted. Under the admiring gaze of the rich and powerful, I felt that high once again, which leaves one feeling very light - lifted off the ground - living on a cloud above humanity, disconnected from the reality of life, and from one's own and others' sorrow and pain.

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M Becker
The first person I met when I arrived in the US in 1985 was the son of a family where I spent Thanksgiving.

The first person I met when I arrived in the US in 1985 was the son of a family where I spent Thanksgiving. Though we went out, our communication was so poor I was never clear on whether we were officially together. I moved to LA and in 1991, on a layover flight from LA to Europe, he met me at JFK and we kissed. The plane never left and passengers were bused to a nearby hotel. He came to pick me up and drove me to his home outside the city. 19 years earlier, I had been in a very similar scenario, being flown to JFK on the private jet of a perpetrator, and taken to a similarly somber hotel room where I was left alone, convinced I was going to be tortured and killed. A gopher knocked on the door and led me to the backseat of a chauffeured sedan, where the owner of the private jet was waiting for me, smiling. As we drove to his home in the night, I took in the atmosphere and surroundings like manna from heaven, believing myself to be deeply loved because I was not tortured or killed, and instead offered nurturing touch and praise: sexual abuse for sure - but of the kind most confusing to a child - the kind that calls itself love.

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M Becker
Two years ago, I interviewed with Paul Gilmartin for the The Mental Illness Happy Hour and first spoke of a particularly horrendous ordeal I lived through as a child.

This particular method of torture is one I've not since heard of, perhaps because it wouldn't kill a person, and requires means and connections as far as collecting the instruments. What is most staggering is the time and effort this perpetrator, whom I considered "the boss" of the network - a high ranking Belgian politician - went through to win this "game" which he had started to play with me a few weeks earlier, in a small room where we were alone in the night, when he looked at me with a twinkle in his eye, like we were going to play a game, and then brutally hit me in the face with closed fist. He proceeded to beat me up, and the game, it appeared, was that I should withstand the blows without screaming.

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M Becker
When People are the Addictive Substance

To objectify another person requires self-objectification. Anyone who is fully in touch with their own humanity sees it reflected in all. Anyone who carries the burden of self-objectification sees others as tools to take on some of that burden. The exploitative mindset that is suffocating the world, and the lies that have long comforted the middle class in reaching for a purely materialistic heaven, are coming to an end as we wake up to our humanity and feel the pain of the earth and all suffering beings as our own. To return to the places where I was trafficked is a great way to check on my personal progress.

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M Becker
Pericles: A review

At the age of 19 I was living in Paris, and after someone mentioned Shakespeare's Pericles, I read the play. From the very first verse, I was riveted.

Right in the prologue, Shakespeare addressed the subject that informed my entire life, yet was completely taboo. It was as if he had been writing just to reach me across the ages, speaking directly to my soul. I might have felt very lonely and isolated, but it was as if he was one who could truly understand me. From that moment on, I took comfort in the knowledge that Shakespeare, whose work's depth and breath touched on the truth of my tragic personal experiences, would have been able to hold the full weight of my story.

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M Becker
Capitalism and Incest

Thus incest is the secret formula to keep families attached, to keep fear-based protection of authority figures alive, and to preserve the hierarchic structure of the capitalist system. 
Victims of incest need to protect the secret, because if they don't, they will be kicked out of the family. Many of my fellow survivors who confronted their families have lost out on their share of the inheritance, often strategized by siblings faithful to the unhealthy family dynamic. This happened to me as well. This is why the wealthier and more powerful the family, the harder it is to deal with the reality of incest, the harder it is to move away from matter-bound consciousness, and the harder it is to find the courage to face the trauma. 

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M Becker
Fashion and the Culture of Sexual Abuse

These particular physical signs accentuated with make up were present when I was being abused. I was once given a police file with the faces of child victims of the Zandvoort CD Roms internet child porn scandal to help identify victims. The graphic parts had been cut out or covered, but it was still extremely triggering to see the images, and recognize my young self. The boys and young men in this fashion shoot look exactly like the victims of child porn, with a dead look in their eyes, or the sad arrogance that comes from feeling the power to arouse a man.

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M Becker
Anger has always been the most difficult, and most rewarding emotion to uncover within the process of healing.

In the moment of abuse in childhood, the first time, my natural reaction was one of indignant anger. In teaching in prisons, I like to mention anger a lot because it is a natural reaction to injustice, and yet when it is expressed to the abuser, it reflects their action back to them, and they will resort to intimidation so as not to be confronted with themselves. The prison system perpetuates the anger cycle. In my childhood, I was graphically threatened with death, and understood my anger and free expression would lead to death, and my silence and submission would keep me alive. The repression of anger led to all mental imbalances I struggled with for much of my adult life. After my mental health was restored, I continued to deal on subtler levels with repressed anger. I'm just getting in touch with how specifically I placated a certain type of man, who because of their wealth or status, reminded me of one perpetrator who had a great emotional impact.

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M Becker
I entered into a strange contract with the woman who was my mother.

Severely mentally ill yet never diagnosed, she was unrelenting in her destructiveness towards the little girl in whom she saw the unloved little girl she had once been. She placated men with flirtation, submission and flattery, and on good days told me how troublesome they were, offering me a way to love her. This I did with all my heart, hoping she would one day receive my love, and begin to love me. But instead she would turn on me, starting by criticizing, jokingly, so I couldn't react.

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M Becker
When broken people meet in romance, parts of the self hiding in the subconscious meet each other to play out trauma stories.

When broken people meet in romance, parts of the self hiding in the subconscious meet each other to play out trauma stories. The greater the similarity in underlying emotional issues, the greater the connection. In the game of love, partners are polarized in a power play, taking the role of either the child victim or the adult abuser. In the beginning of such a love cycle, there is admiration for the love object, so that person is lifted up, the way a child looks up to an authority figure. 

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M Becker
As a child sex slave, my abusers were parental figures.

There were three men - a politician, a world leader who ruled over the politicians, and a gangster - who influenced my upbringing most. They formed my character, my personality, the way I think. I watched an hourlong video interview with the world leader and was stunned how much the way I express myself resembles his. Ironically, my code of ethics originates in his everyday behavior. These men gave me what I couldn't find at home and verbally affirmed qualities in me that I had never known about. Two of the three, the world leader and the gangster, were emotionally attached to me, and came as close to love as they ever would in their lives I'm sure.

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M Becker
When I speak I never know how I will be received.

Saying goodbye for now to Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, a new place to call home with a beautiful, loving family awaiting. When I speak I never know how I will be received. I expected I might be asked to leave or ignored afterwards, because my story and the harsh truths it reveals is often hard to swallow. In the talk I also mentioned that I was once touched inappropriately by one of the Indian gurus who is highly revered in the West.

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M Becker
Power gives the illusion of freedom. Self-empowerment is freedom.

Power gives the illusion of freedom. Self-empowerment is freedom. Freedom from what? From suffering. Preparing talk on forgiveness, it has not been easy to forgive these abusers, who are the darkest criminals on our planet, perpetrating the worst horror stories, in a calculated, organized way, skillfully hiding these crimes from the public, themselves above the law. It has been hard to overcome my envy, imagining my perpetrators in spectacular houses on the Mediterranean, on their yachts, respected and admired by the public, while I was struggling, feeling all the pain.

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M Becker
When I came to the US from France in 1985, I had been used to be treated as low class, vulgar sex object because I had no higher education.

Arriving in the US, everyone automatically assumed I was wealthy and educated. When I grew up in Belgium, people with working class jobs were proud of what they did, and while the class system was rigid, there was no great desire for most people to move up in society's echelon. This is not to say that there was no racism, of course. Remember the Belgians were the perpetrators of the greatest Holocaust on record, beginning during the reign of Leopold II, when we ravaged Congo and enslaved, tortured and killed 10 million of its inhabitants.

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M Becker
Today is a day of resurrection.

I was born on Good Friday, and always felt its meaning because of the extreme violence and injustice of my past. Today is a day of resurrection. The New York Times published an article about my advocacy work. I'm in Philadelphia to speak at University of Pennsylvania about sex trafficking and healing. It's the start of a very industrious time of using what I learned to create change.

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M Becker
Without a workable spiritual conception that offers a larger, beneficial context of world events, it’s impossible to know the forces of darkness creating the chaos in the world today.

True spirituality is grounded in true feeling, which equals consciousness. If we don’t understand psychopathy, we help create the platform for those responsible for wars, famine and the destruction of the earth. As we feel into our own pain, and open our eyes to our own shadow side, it invariably reveals itself as a young part of ourselves; shamed, hurt, afraid, and vulnerable - in need of acceptance, nurturing, understanding and love. That journey of healing towards our own integration, opens our eyes more fully to the pathology of the emotionally infantile men in power causing the destruction of the earth. The corporation executives, politicians, dictators and other plunderers need to be recognized for the infantile, sick people they are, because today, it is only our denial and disbelief about their destructiveness that keep them in power.

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M Becker
The process of harming, or abusing, requires finding abusive qualities in the other, to get in the victim-consciousness - from where you can justify causing harm.

One way to see if you are involved in such a dynamic, is when you focus excessively on the other. Once you stop speaking about yourself, you're off in projection land, and you can get so lost there you may never find your way back to the reality of the other person. Even if you think of yourself as the al-anon type, if you engage with a narcissist and focus on them and their actions, you are unconsciously setting yourself up to get your revenge.

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M Becker