Our lives resemble journeys created as if in a theater of living reality within our minds. The journey is often our choice; made up of small decisions and major changes some good others not so, but tomorrow rolls around and then next week. The drama of the day changes and re-arranges for the next. This too shall pass becomes a mantra of survival. Life moves on whether we like it or not. One thing we all know is we cannot stop time. There are no do over. Whether we smile or cringe, we must walk on. If the choice or issue repeats itself maybe we will have the courage approach it differently.
I am a survivor of rape, domestic violence, and incest, extreme physical and emotional abuse over a long period of time. I am a survivor – not a victim. The difference is my choice of perception. The journey of my youth was invaded, but the years after have spawned hard work, self-help, and formidable understandings. The road has been a roller coaster. Many having survived the same have had similar effects in their lives. It is a struggle…every day, no matter how long ago or how you view it – it is a daily struggle with choices.
People who have no reference for the experience often misunderstand or make the mistake of equation: “well if it happened to me.” It did not thankfully, so excusing their ignorance is about all we are able to do. One never knows how that personal violation becomes so overwhelming until they experience it. One basic freedom is the right to control our own body and what happens with it. That right -when taken- becomes a monumental degradation that eats away the inner being much as a corrosive material eats away at steel over time. Positive steps to overcome and regain a healthy mentality take time, firm resolve, as well as hard work. Some already struggling with lifelong issues may fall by the wayside before (if ever) gaining their footing.
Rape is used as a weapon of war and is becoming recognized as such. Warring groups use rape as a weapon because it destroys communities totally, says Major-General Patrick Cammaert, former commander of UN peacekeeping forces in the eastern Congo. “You destroy communities. You punish the men, and you punish the women, doing it in front of the men.” Adds Cammaert: “It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed conflict.” (OHCHR, 2012)
How did Rape become such an effective tactic? “From the systematic rape of women in Bosnia, to an estimated 200,000 women raped during the battle for Bangladeshi independence in 1971, to Japanese rapes during the 1937 occupation of Nanking – the past century offers too many examples.
So what motivates armed forces, whether state-backed troops or irregular militia, to attack civilian women and children?
Gita Sahgal, of Amnesty International, told the BBC News website it was a mistake to think such assaults were primarily about the age-old “spoils of war”, or sexual gratification.
Rape is often used in ethnic conflicts as a way for attackers to perpetuate their social control and redraw ethnic boundaries, she said.
“Women are seen as the reproducers and carers of the community,” she said.
“Therefore if one group wants to control another they often do it by impregnating women of the other community because they see it as a way of destroying the opposing community.”
A report by Medecins Sans Frontieres says it first came across rape as a weapon in the 1990s. “(BBC, 2012)
One thing we can all be certain of is: if someone decided it was an accurate weapon of war, then it was/has been used centuries before it was discovered… Men are often slow to admit the obvious. This deals with the women and girls – what about the child soldiers in some of these horrid situations?? Ever wonder how they are tortured into submission or subjection? I bet it isn’t with candy and toys. When will their cries be heard? How long will it be before we – as humans – get a grip on our own trifling realities. This is twelve years into a new millennium – and there is nothing new under the sun. It makes you wonder doesn’t it?
There is an answer. It lies in our faith. Never before has there been such disgraceful or degradation of the earth and its inhabitants. Ecc 1:4 sets the promise the earth will “endure forever.” That being said what about the people who cause so much trouble – Psalms 37: deals specifically with the cleansing of the earth and the result to those “righteous or meek” ones left. (Mat 5:5 Meek to inherit the earth.) If you are sick and tired of the infinite badness and sorrows of the times – it is not a permanent issue. There is hope ahead. Revelations spoke of a 1000-year reign of Christ and we are nearly there. The horrible things being endured now are “birth pains of the kingdom.” The upcoming promise is that all things will be: “made new and all tears, sorrow, death, and pain will be wiped away.” If you are struggling or a survivor of cruelty of some form seek out comfort from a local ministry service, church, or faith-based program. There is hope as well as comfort. We will see a new day dawn.
My contact information is available on request. God’s best..
OHCHR 2012 http://www.ohchr.org/en/newsevents/pages/rapeweaponwar.aspx
BBC 2012 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4078677.stm