Rape Culture

On Tuesday I attended a workshop on suicide prevention.  On Wednesday, I stayed home to cry.

I thought about the people that I meet with or people in my life; those who live with substance misuse, self-harm, suicidal ideation and suicidality as their baseline.  Most of these people are women and most of these people are survivors of rape, molestation or domestic violence.  As I write this the news is blaring in the background:  Bill Cosby sentenced to 3-10 years for sexual assault with dozens of women coming forward;  another woman coming forward to tell her story of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh who is being considered for the Supreme Court.  I wonder, why does it take dozens before it becomes possible that this might have actually happened?  Why don’t we believe the first?   Why is the Kavanaugh case now more serious because a third woman is telling her story?  The news is only blaring the high profile cases, the ones that are polarizing our media and our “civil” discourse.  What about the case of multiple rapes endured by one woman, what about the grandfather molesting his granddaughter, what about the woman who left home because her husband was going to kill her, what about the young girl raped by the neighbor, or the young girl raped by her uncle, what about the wife raped by her husband, what about the …

My world is not that large, and yet I hear these stories,  story after story after story ….. so many women have been brave enough, strong enough, and resilient enough to come forward and to speak out loud the lasting horror of enduring physical and sexual abuse.

And still I hear “we live in a world when women can lie so that men can’t get the job they deserve.”   And still I hear “she was asking for it.”  And still I hear “boys will be boys.”  And still I have to tell my daughter that although it is unfair that she has to think this way, she really needs to consider the length of her shorts when she leaves the house.

I pray for a day where women are not objectified.  I pray for a day when women can be proud of their bodies without fear.  I pray for a day when people in the dominant culture do not simply take what they believe they deserve.  I pray for the day when women do not have to carry their keys between their fingers, or carry mace.  I pray for the day when we are not searching the woods for a woman gone missing while jogging.  I pray for the day when this ends and until that day I pray that when one woman comes forward she is heard and she is believed.  I pray for all the women who have endured this rape culture.  I pray for the day that #meetoo is no more.  Pray with me.

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