This morning I read about the Steubenville rape case. I read that Jane Doe, the woman who was raped, was receiving death threats. My heart broke.
I then went to Wild Writing where we write using certain phrases from poems that Laurie shares as prompts. The first poem read was “Prayer in My Boot“, by Naomi Shihab Nye. The following is what poured out of me. And as I read it aloud, I could feel waves of grief roll through me.
The phrase from the poem is in teal. The lines that begin with ‘For’ are the elements of my Prayer. May it be so.
Pray it is universally applicable, because it is. How could Delhi be any different from Stuebenville, India from the United States?
Rape is rape. It tears us all apart.
We are no different here in the US, except we seem to think we are, seem to be really good at turning away, pretending it has nothing to do with us, pretending we aren’t like them. We’re more civilized, more under control, more egalitarian. Everything swept under the rug. Pretending Jane Doe deserved it because she drank too much and tweeted questionable things. Pretending the two boys lives are ruined because they’ve been convicted of a crime that somehow wasn’t of ‘their’ doing.
I pray we see that it is universally applicable because it is and the more we don’t see, the more we refuse to look toward, the more this darkness festers in each and every one of us – Indian and American, woman and man.
For this is our doorway into healing.
For those moments last year in Steubenville when choices were made that led to this.
For that night in Delhi when she boarded the bus with her boyfriend, never suspecting what was about to take place.
For the man in Delhi who suggested she was a whore because she was out at night and suggested her sweetheart was at fault because he didn’t protect her.
For the boys in Steubenville, raised in a culture where we avoid talking about these things, avoid looking right at this rape culture we seem to continue to cling to.
For the girl in Steubenville who woke up the next morning not knowing what had happened to her.
For all the mothers and fathers of these children and young people who in some way tried their best and succeeded, and in other ways failed.
For every young boy and girl, including my four grandchildren, who are learning every day what they must do to belong in a culture that expects certain behavior from all of us so that we fit in and don’t bring attention to our society’s darkest secrets.
For these young girls and boys who still catch glimpses of their souls who know the truth about life, that it has the capacity to be filled with compassion and love, tenderness and integrity.
For all of us who know deep in our hearts that this is not who we are as a species, that we are capable of greatness even in our darkest moments.
I pray that we come to know that this it is universally applicable, because when we know this as a species we will know peace.