By Phil Foley
There was a strange twist to a news article covering a burglary at an office complex.
Looking for a lead the police questioned several homeless people in the area of the burglary. The officer provided the homeless people with background information on the services provided by the organization targeted in the theft.
The very next morning the officer was called back to the scene and was shocked when informed that everything was returned along with a note of apology.
After the thief became aware that the items taken belonged to an organization that helps victims of sexual assault, the thief was compelled to return everything. It turns out that the thief had compassion for victims of sexual assault.
Part of the trauma suffered by victims of sexual assault is the stripping away of their dignity. How many times do they suffer additional cruelty at the hands of an ignorant and judgmental public pointing the finger of blame at them for what they had to endure?
Many of those who find themselves homeless understand this type of judgmental cruelty. They understand the loss of dignity for things that are out of their control. When the officer solicited their assistance they were able to show compassion for others and rise up to encourage the return of the stolen items.
Victims of sexual assault can help themselves towards wholeness if they work to understand the limitations the general public has when it comes to knowing the personal journeys they were forced to walk. The general public, the politicians, the church and society as a whole seldom show the compassion they should to those who have suffered from atrocities and calamities they cannot/will not fully understand. Victims of sexual assault can work to overcome the pre judgment’s our society, culture and religions place on them.
Perhaps Elizabeth Cady Stanton, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Cady_Stanton said it best with the following insight: The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.
If you suffer from the devastation of sexual assault, raise your voice, if only to yourself, to identify who and what was done to you.