Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sexual Crimes and Colonial Trauma

Recently received an email from a lawyer asking me to be a "cultural expert" in the case of a Fil Am client accused of a sexual crime against a female minor. The lawyer wants to know if I could provide "cultural insight" on his client's response to a "bizarre interrogation" that led to a false confession.

This is not the first time I've been asked by lawyers to be a "cultural expert" on sexual crimes committed by Filipino/Fil Am clients. Prior to this last request, I turned down another request because I didn't feel qualified to address sexuality issues in Filipino culture. But last year, during our Fulbright trip, a feminist professor did a lecture on the connection between sexual (mis)behavior and colonial trauma which confirmed my own intuition on the subject.

I usually have a difficult time theorizing about a subject matter that I haven't personally dealt with on the conscious level. Sexuality is one of those issues. As the various pieces of this subject are making their way into the surface of the psyche, I am beginning to discern certain connections (sorry, you won't get my personal story here).

Some broad strokes on this topic:
1. The split between the body, mind, soul and spirit: history, social construction, beginnings of western dualism.
2. Uncolonized Indigenous cultures: sexual norms and taboos are different from western modern constructs.
3. If Jung is right, are colonial projects and projections the manifestation of this psychic split in the western self -- a primal wound in need of healing?
4. How then do the colonized, as the repository of colonial projections, internalize this wounding? How is the colonizer damaged by same?
5. How does the colonial wounding affect the psyche, especially its powerful sexual aspects?

Ok. Too broad. Can you please backchannel if you have more thoughts on this?

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