Know her name: Roxanne Gay
After being gang-raped at 12, she was certain she was going to go to hell, because of her Catholic upbringing. Her rapists were boys at her school, who went on to slut shame her for it. She internalized it and sought to become bigger to protect herself from future sexual assaults. How many other young girls and women have been shunned by their places of refuge because they were violated?
Religion is meant to be a source of comfort for people, but what of those of us who have faced strife that is a source of repudiation from religious leaders? What do we intuit from The Word when it says women who have been raped are to be stoned? Are we to interpret it differently, or accept that the Kingdom of God was stolen because of what men did to our bodies, without our volition?
Why does God allow suffering? Society blames the victim, and if you grew up in a religious home, you start to believe that your assault was a punishment from God. For not praying hard enough, for not dressing in a conservative manner, for being away from home… Religion speaks of forgiveness, yet how are we to forgive crimes that go unanswered?
I have so many questions of God. Babies have literally died because they were raped by men. Where does one find faith and light and peace in a world like that? What is this world, where I read an article of a woman being raped and murdered and think, “death is better than a lifetime of dealing with the aftermaths of a rape.”
Where does one find faith?
How does one find faith?
Are you there God? It’s me, someone who’s desperately trying to figure out how to be a survivor.