No Sense

The past several days my mind has been caught up in the recent news story out of Steubenville, Ohio, where two teenage boys were charged in the rape and distribution of a nude photograph of a sixteen year old female acquaintance. 

This story has haunted me, dug inside me, and I haven't been able to let it go. 

I don't fully understand why this story is bothering me so much, more than the other horrific stories we are surrounded with on an all-too often frequency.  I feel fear for these two young men and their futures, wonder at their pure stupidity and for their absolute lack of compassion, humanity and common sense.  

But I think what is bothering me most about this situation, is the lack of understanding, the lack of any sense. I can not understand how these high school boys could have done this, how their friends could have stood around, watching, cheering on, and not say anything. How no one could have stepped up and said something, anything. I fear for the other children and young adults in our country who have the ability to act in the same manner. I desperately want to understand what is behind this cruelty, what makes something like this humorous; I desperately want to make sense of it, so that by knowing the cause, we can identify what needs to be fixed, to prevent something like this from ever happening again. But sadly I think we may never fully understand what is to blame, what led to this, what allowed this to happen.

My heart breaks for this young woman. Whether she was completely sober or insanely drunk, it matters none to me. To contemplate the level of fear she must have faced discovering what happened to her, what was done to her, is sickening.  In a personal situation, by no means even remotely similar in the weight of what occurred in Ohio, I have dealt with waking up in an unknown place, with no memory of the night before. Through the various rounds of medical and police appointments, I was asked questions that would help the professionals search for any potential criminal acts in my case. I will never forget my chest tightening as the level of what could have happened registered within me, and my heart aches for this girl, as she realized that what she feared could have happened to her, actually did, and probably worse. 

And as the verdict was declared in this case, others made news. The rampant rapes in India are beyond horrendous, barbaric. The kidnapping of a mother and daughter in a town near where I grew up; the mother stabbed to death, the 10 year old girl raped. As I read these stories, tears appear. It just doesn't make sense. 

You feel helpless. 

I don't know what should be done. I struggle with this search for understanding. But I can not do nothing. With all the suffering in the world, I've felt overwhelmed with where to even begin to help, to give time and energy. We can't do it all; I can't give to every charity, I can't solve all the worlds problems, but I can give of myself to a cause that matters to me. I can start somewhere.

And so, I've gone back to One Billion Rising and V-Day, an organization working to end violence against women and girls around the world, that jump started their campaign this past Valentine's Day with an amazing world-wide dance off. 

I've begun looking into ways, in any form, that I can contribute, starting with putting my thoughts into written words and sharing these views. 

While my individual actions may not lead to great changes, the abolishment of cruelty, and safety for all, I will still do something, even if that is simply voicing ones opinion, making oneself heard. Because worse than a feeling of helplessness is actual helplessness, of standing by and letting horrors happen without any sort of productive reaction. And while it sounds cliche, just maybe, one person at a time, great changes will occur.

photo via Pinterest

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