She died this morning, the young woman who was gang-raped
earlier this month. She died.
Sometimes I forget that I too have been a victim of rape. As
Nilanjana Roy said so beautifully in her blog earlier today,
"There is only so much darkness you can swallow."
(Click here to read Ms. Roy's post, For Anonymous)
I'm not a victim any more. I am a survivor. That girl, in the two
weeks she lived after her rape, she was a survivor too. But I can't
compare myself to her. With her insides ripped to pieces, with
all that had been done to her, in the raw freshness of her pain,
she still said to her mother, "I want to live."
I don't know if I could have that kind of courage. But I too,
wanted to live, and I have been able to. So her message IS
my message, although it took me many years to say it. It's
the message of so many millions around the world - generation
upon generation of women, girls and boys - who have taken
the worst kind of pain, brutality, betrayal, fear and humiliation,
but somehow manage to say, in one way or another, these four words:
"I want to live."
This is the message I'm taking forward with me tonight, into
Not a rant for beheading, hanging or castration.
I don't want my
tomorrow to be a day where I respond to violence
with still more
Tonight I lit a candle, in awe of her courage, and in grief for
her unanswered wish and her death, and in grief for everyone
who has known that pain, and for everyone who lives in fear,
and for the little child who still lives within me.
It's not easy to rein in rage, to say yes to justice without saying yes
to violence. To look at a man, any man, and not wonder if he has
the potential to rape. It's not easy, but it's possible. And I think
it's important for my humanity. So tonight, I lit a candle, and
tomorrow, I want to live. With dignity, and non-violence.