comprehensive sexuality education without the shame

The Stanford Trial...

Reading about the recent trial on the Stanford rape case, my heart and soul hurt again. The pain is a familiar feeling because it is felt every time the justice system re-traumatizes the rape victim. It is hard for me to understand why the victim needs to be harassed with ridiculous questions about their current or past relationships. How much alcohol was consumed? What they ate for dinner that day? None of those questions have anything to do with rape. Rape is rape; and no one by any means should have their body violated. Even if the sexual activity is at first consensual, a person has a right to change their mind if something doesn’t feel right.

What hurts the most about this trial is that I believe it makes every woman feel again that we are only worth our body. We are just a vessel for a man to have for his own use. It also reminds us that our voice often doesn’t matter. We are criticized when we can’t use it during an attack, and when we decide to speak out, we are questioned in a way that is offensive and intrusive. This woman was unconscious. She was not cognizant and couldn’t use her voice. She had no say. That makes it impossible for there to be consent. When she used her voice to stand up for her well-being and quite frankly all rape victims, it was insulted by the lenient sentencing of her perpetrator.

There is great damage when we take the soul away from the body of another. This is what this man did. He rendered this woman as soul less. For him she was flesh. She was disposable. That is one of the worst things you can do to another human being. Because, we are spiritual and sexual beings and when you wound and harm one of those beings, you wound and harm both. They are one in the same. When our sexual beings are stripped down, battered, torn, and seen as flesh with the absence of soul, we then feel hollow. Our bodies become a foreign land, one where we wish not to have a part of any longer. One we wish we could exchange. Our worth has been stripped away; our connection to the Divine has also been stripped away. It can take years to rebuild that and it can take just as long not to feel a sense of shame and disgust every day.

A woman or man should not have to feel afraid to report abuse. We should not live in a society where when abuse and rape are reported and clearly has happened that the victim gets shamed. That is repulsive. It is never the victims fault. A victim did not ask to be violated no matter what clothes they wore, how much they had to drink, or if they were in a fight with a significant other. I am tired of that mentality. Our bodies are ours. They are the reflection of the Divine.

We need to figure out a way to offer comfort for the victim. Forensic questioning should only happen once. We also should not tell the victim to just, “go about your day and get back to life as it was before.” Those words are like knives. The victim is no longer the same person, so it is impossible to “get back to life.” They need care, therapy, a space to grieve, a space to cry and spit with holy anger. They need space to rebuild.

My prayer is that we start having more education around this topic, around sexuality. A lot of times rape and abuse isn’t always about the sexual act, but about power. How can we help others feel like that have worth and agency over their own lives, where they don’t have to strip others of theirs?

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