Just Sunday morning I woke up to three national news stories of rape.
It is not because rape is more prevalent. It is because girls and women, wrapped in their communities, are coming forward. Saying this is not OK. The community support is what makes a difference. It is most difficult for a woman to break the silence alone.
You know that African Proverb that says it takes a village to raise a child? Well, it takes a community to make a change. To heal. To restore balance. The definition of abuse is when one or more persons hurts another (others) taking advantage of an imbalance of power. Strength to stop abuse happens in numbers.
A tree alone on a prairie is vulnerable to the weather, but in a forest with all of the other trees roots and branches intertwining, it can endure. We can be the other trees for each other. It is not fair what some trees have to experience, but if we are with them, we can take some of the impact and they don’t have to carry it all.
What is “fair”?
My daughter this morning said, “It is not fair that Leo [her brother] has no school Friday.” I said “Yep, that’s life.” In little and big ways life seems not to be fair.
Sometimes there is traditional justice. In each of these the perpetrators were convicted but conviction is rare.
So many people who have been hurt in this way, will never see traditional justice done. 54% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. What is worse is that even those that are reported, another 43% of all rapists are not convicted. (www.rainn.org)
For example, I walked a strong woman through the grand jury last fall after a date rape. She did everything the police told her to do, yet the grand jury decided not to prosecute. This put a hole in her heart and sent a shock wave through her community. “It is Ok that you were raped.” was the message she received. “You don’t matter.” was what she heard. (I disagree.)
This is not fair.
But this is not her whole life. This ought not to be her definition of herself.
Life seems to be not fair because we only see a small slice of it. I like to think that in the very big picture (whole lives of our soul), everything “comes out in the wash.” The abuser will be accountable for his or her actions even if not in the traditional sense. In any short term time, things appear unfair; but in the whole time, all will be restored.
And these hurts, while they mean everything now, won’t mean as much. Traditional justice is only one piece of justice.
If we have been hurt, we have to find justice inside our hearts. This is where healing begins.
Today I want to do a shout out to a beautiful soul-sister from the Heal-Here.com community who in the last few years has gone beyond the strength that she knew. Today (March 18) is the sentencing of her childhood molester (after 2.5 years of trial). As allowed, she is standing up in court and reading a victim impact statement. Can you image how brave she must be? I am in awe. Among requests she is making of the judge regarding his sentencing, she is asking to attend my retreat April 12-14! This is humbling.
Please leave her a loving message in the comments below to show your support!
And if you have been hurt in this way, or anyone you love has, consider joining us on the retreat. Get more info and register here.