A Lament to Bring an End to Abuse of Women
We have just concluded a week in which we heard pieces of stories from the female victims, now survivors, of sexual abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar. (Who received a sentence of 40-175 years in prison.) The stories are disturbing, the length of time, over 25 years, coupled with the evidence of reporting that went unheeded leaves us sickened and stunned. We have heard it said “it takes a village” and that is true in the case of Larry Nassar and all those who failed his many victims, it took a village to abuse all of those girls.
Red Tent Living remains committed to the fight to end human slavery and trafficking. And, this month we are widening our prayer circle to include prayers for all the women who remain in abusive environments, as well as those who are recovering from abuse, and the survivors speaking out to sound the alarm calling for change.
Please consider the following taken from the #SilenceIsNotSpiritual statement:
Evidence of physical, sexual and psychological harm—ranging from sexual harassment and assault to trafficking and rape as a weapon of war—is on the rise. Globally, 1 out of every 3 women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence and 200 million girls are missing. According to a 2016 Center for Disease Control report, 1 out of every 5 women in the U.S. have experienced rape or attempted rape. Forty-four percent have experienced some other form of sexual violence, including: sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact and non-contact unwanted sexual experiences. Among women who have experienced rape more than 28 percent report it happened between 11 and 17 years old. Twenty-five to 85 percent of women in the workforce report that they have experienced sexual harassment. Yet, 75 percent of harassment victims experience retaliation when they speak up while 95 percent of reported incidents go unpunished.
At the intersection of racial and gender violence women of color bear the disproportionate burden. 43.7 percent of African American/black women, 37.1 percent of Hispanic/Latina women, and 19.6 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander women have experienced rape, physical, violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. Native American women are most likely of all women to experience violence in their lifetime (84 percent) and on some reservations they are murdered at 10x the national average. Finally, when disability, gender identification and social stigma is considered, rates of violence increase dramatically for all people.
We pray a prayer of lament.
How long O Lord?
How long will you allow your daughters be dominated and humiliated?
The abusers beat and batter.
Your daughters are afraid to move,
afraid to leave,
afraid to ask for help.
The abusers curse and blame with words like hot knives.
Your daughters feel crazy, responsible,
worthless, depressed and crushed,
trapped by the words and manipulations.
How long O Lord?
How long will the cries from the sexually abused pierce the night.
How long will their abusers ravage their bodies, even as little girls.
Your daughters are violated in their homes and hotel rooms, in massage parlors, and offices, in jungles and huts and even in the church.
Where oh Lord are you?
Where are you while the vulnerable wait for your rescue,
While the privileged consume those they should protect?
Grabbed and groped by those who are supposed to offer care.
Will you come for your daughters in their shame?
They feel dirty, used and discarded,
dominated and humiliated,
terrified and traumatized.
We cry to you for rescue.
We cry to you for healing.
We cry to you for justice.
We cry to you in hope.