SAAM Day Two – Somebody

It’s Saturday, and I’m a working pastor who has to lead worship twice tomorrow, so today’s notes shall be a bit brief…

Often, when we talk about rape & sexual violence there’s this strange thing that happens. People tell you to think about what would you would feel like if it happened to someone you love – your mother, your sister, your wife, your daughter.

I know they mean well by trying to personalize the issue, but it means that we, as survivors, are defined by our relationships to other people (very often as women who are somehow attached/connected to men).

It irritates me. Yes, I am someone’s daughter, and sister, and mother, and aunt, but I am somebody without all those categories. I am me, a human being, deserving of respect, and decency, and kindness, and compassion even if I weren’t someone’s daughter, sister, mother, or whatever.

That I am human should be reason enough to not hurt me. That someone, anyone, is human should be reason for them to not have to fear the violence of rape and sexual assault.

So the next time you see one of those signs or memes that invites you to think about how it would affect your sister, or brother, or some other relation, remember that we are all sisters and brothers and when any one of us suffers, we all suffer together; when any one of us is not free from violence and fear, none of us are free; when one of us is raped, all of us are raped.


SAAM Day One ~ Everyday

April is coming to my part of Wisconsin with rain, and sleet, and probably even snow. It’s grey, and if I weren’t of Scottish descent, I would probably even find it dreary. But the weather does mean it’s a good day to make some tea, do some reading, and some plotting.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), a time when people will wear purple or teal, will post lovely things on their Facebook pages about ending sexual violence, and then in thirty days, move on to whatever the next thing is that we’re supposed to be caring about.

That sounds more bitter than I intended it to, but the reality is for survivors of sexual violence, our lives are an endless time of awareness about the realities of rape and sexual assault.

We don’t get to lay it down for the other eleven months of the year. We think about it day in and day out, some days more than others, but the reality never leaves us. It’s our waking, and most definitely our sleeping. It’s in the choices we make about where we will go, who we will go with, how late we will stay out, how we can get home, how many times we check the locks on the door after we are home, and so much more.

As we work our way through these days of April, please find ways to support the survivors you know, to listen to them, to speak the most important words you might ever say … I believe you.

And find ways to make change happen. A world without rape is a very real possibility, but it will take all of us working together to make that change happen, it will take time, and grace, and hope, and prayer, and a lot of tears. More than anything it will take the courage to speak up, and speak out.