How does my experience or lack there of, fit in this conversation. I study lamentations and in the beginning of the book, Israel is compared to a desolate woman, a woman who undergoes a sexual assault. 

Lamentations 1:10 
The enemy has laid his hand
over all her precious things; 
for she has seen [pagan] nations 
entering into her sanctuary —
whom you commanded
“They will not go into your assembly.”

“Jerusalem’s sexual misbehavior is followed by the enemy’s treatment of her, described as a heinous sexual act. He molested her (“spread his hand”) and he raped her (, “enter,” has sexual connotations). The image is both of a woman violated and of the desecration of holy objects and holy space. “

My grandmother survived the passing of Germans (who were polite though they were invaders) and then Russians (who stole and mistreated though they were the liberators) through her town,  and then became a widow around age 30. 

She had two sons (eldest and youngest) and three daughters, and my mom was the youngest daughter. 

I inherited my grandmother’s strength. I feel it in my bones and in my spirit. I spent much of my childhood summer and early adolescence with her. 

She could overcome any obstacle, challenge, with a quiet spirit. But she had one fear that she instilled in me to be cautious about. The fear of lusting shameless boys and taught me without apology to avoid lurking men. I don’t know what happened to her. What dangers knocked at her door. But I embraced her advice, her forewarning. I was called icy, frigid, aloof, unapproachable, untouchable. And I was a young adult when I held a boys hand for the first time. Even then I feared they want to steal something from me. 

Walking home at night from church or school, I feared rape. And prayed every time that God would protect me. 

A friend of mine was raped on her way home late at night when she was 16. And she was so ashamed she didn’t say anything to anyone. Until she broke. Eventually she told her family who never sought justice. Her brother wanted to go out and avenge her but my friend was afraid for his life. The man who raped her lived near by. He did go to prison for something else, but when he got out he triggered my friend’s  demons. She was admired at a mental health hospital. Which is the most disturbing place to in be as an adult. You lose your dignity and freedom and nobody believes you. You are tied to the bed and your roommates all scream in fear like they are possessed. These stories my friend told me when I was 16. And the plea of such hurting is still hunting me. I’m on the sideline fretting.

I am not averting my eyes. I stay here. Seeing my friends. Accepting my limited understanding and pursuing further knowledge and empathy. 

This Friday morning I came to the pool and on the mirror there is an add about what to do when witnessing street harassment. I scanned the QR code here is the short training and affirmation to stand up for each other.

As a mother of daughters I realize we had to have these conversations early. 

There is a mom on my street who has a son who is Jackie’s age. He likes her but the way he expresses it is through physical interaction that is often unwelcome. A few years ago when he was pushing her she pushed back. Then her mom came to defend him, and scold Jackie. In tears she yelled: he was harassing me and my daddy taught me to defend myself. That shut the boy’s mom up. She gets involved often in defending her son to other kids though he is not disabled. A bit too spoiled maybe. 

I reached out to her and we smoothed things over, and to clarify what happened. But to this day, Jackie will stand up accordingly to defend herself, or her sister. She will push back with incredible force if she is pushed. She will not be silenced.