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 tomorrow.
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.
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