Saturday, September 21, 2013

I Hate the Gutter

My mind's been in the gutter again lately.  Not bad thoughts of my own, but reminders of the gutter that affects so many women and children in the world today.  I've been hearing stories and statistics that are disturbing from a number of different sources.  And just when I think I'm getting my mind out of the gutter, something reminds me again.

I wanted to go see a documentary that was shown by some friends on Monday night.  I know a bit about this film and want to see it in it's entirety eventually.  But I knew that this week I just couldn't.  There's already enough beating around in my head for now and making my stomach sick without adding to it.

The New Zealand Herald published an article recently saying that while the word rape wasn't used in the survey, men were asked in various Asian nations if they had ever forced themselves on a women who was not their partner. One in ten men said, "Yes."  1 in 10.  When their wife or girlfriend were included, the number rose to 1 in 4.........

We recently watched a very enjoyable documentary as a family that took place partly in Papua New Guinea.  It was lovely to see something that reminded us of our Fijian home!  My enjoyment was marred, however, by sweet, smiling faces of women and little girls as I wondered how many of them had suffered sexual abuse? (Like I said, I have the subject on the brain)  In the article mentioned above, PNG had the highest rates of any of the other nations where the survey took place.

I read another secular article recently about how pornography is changing the culture of youth (NZ based article).  How youth are turning to internet porn as a 'how to' in sexual expression and how much of what they are seeing has aspects of violence and domination.  The article went on to quote young women as saying that what they were experiencing as an expected 'normal' part of their dating experience was leaving them feeling used and abused.

And don't get me started on porn and the correlation of those who end up in this industry and past sexual abuse.  Make no mistake, porn is a result of abuse and promotes abuse.  There's nothing innocent about it no matter what your personal morals are.  It's insidious.

Sexual abuse is an issue that has touched or will touch us or someone close to ALL of us at some point.  True fact.  It may be hidden but it's there.

The first part of my life was far removed from that.  I had always felt very good about the fact that I was female and while I had a foster sister for a bit my last year in school who had suffered abuse and learned quite a bit through her eyes, it had never entered my world otherwise.

I was 25 the first time that my confident, American self was treated like something to be discarded because of my gender.  A neighbor (from Fiji but not indigenous Fijian) came to my door in Fiji with something quite basic to discuss and refused to talk to me.  "GO GET YOUR HUSBAND!" he yelled when I didn't instantly obey.  I was too stupid and worthless for his time.  It took me a couple of hours to stop shaking from hurt rage that night------especially when it dawned on me that this was how many women are treated always.

I'll never forget the night a couple of years ago that I was followed home for sex. I brushed it off at the time reminding myself that I am never out of His hands, yet later found myself glancing behind quite a bit more often when the door was open for air while I cooked in my kitchen.  A friend put it this way recently, that sometimes when something has been traumatic the body response has to catch up to the brain.  My brain reminded me that there were thousands of women in our area who couldn't say 'no' to the men who came to their doors that night and how lucky I was to be safe, but my  body was jumpy for some time.

I read a blog a couple of days ago by a Facebook friend who works in Africa.  She called the article The Story Women Need to Tell and talked about how in her area all women receive constant sexual harassment, yet know that they just have to put up with it. But really should talk about it and process it more.  I related so much to what she said. Many of the things she mentioned I've experienced in my recent other home as well.  It's not easy being a target every time you walk out your door.  Every. Single. Time.

She said, "I learn to the depth of my core that I am human and that I am created in the image of God.  If I wasn't, it wouldn't hurt so bad when people strip me of that basic dignity.  I learn how to offer that same dignity to others, to lessen the incidents of my own dehumanizing of others."

Maybe that's the answer to my contemplations. And why I can't let the impact that this has on the world at large and on so many individual hearts off of my mind. As created in His Image, our very beings are the thing the Enemy most wants to corrupt; to despise, disrespect and destroy.  And far too often he doesn't have to push humans too far to get them to do just that-----to themselves.  And to others.

While I don't like the ways that this issue has invaded my personal world through the mere fringes that I've experienced, there are those that I love who it's touched far more.  And I just can't look, don't want to look, at people as invaluable any more.  Not anyone.  Not even the 'users'.  Those whose perversions have made them a slave as well.

Victimization is a street with many lanes.  And the Enemy is out to destroy any way he can.
"“Where, O death, is your victory?

    Where, O death, is your sting?”
............ But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

                         ~I Cor. 15: 55,56

Death certainly can look victorious.  It's so easy to find the sting.

The victory may not be visible much of the time yet.  And the death is quite obvious in its powerful, foul stench and hollow eyes.  But the victory is won.  And freedom is coming.

It is finished in Heaven and it will be on Earth as well.  Come Lord Jesus.  Soon.