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The white ribbon. November 25, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in Uncategorized.
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Silence Dogood here. When I went on Google this morning, I was surprised to find a white ribbon—like the pink breast cancer ribbon or the jigsaw autism ribbon—at the bottom of the screen. I’d never seen a white ribbon before, so I scrolled over it to see if its meaning would come up. Sure enough, the awkward name of the ribbon appeared: “The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.”

My first thought, of course, was “just ONE day?!!” And then, as an editor and writer, I thought that surely they could have come up with a more compelling name. But whatever the case, the point remains: Violence is unacceptable, be it directed towards women, children, men, or animals.

I have mercifully been spared first-hand witness of violence, with the exception of a cashier at one of my local groceries who often appeared at work with a black eye. And occasionally witnessing that other horrific violence against women, anorexia. Just two days ago I saw two anorexic women while out running errands, one young, one in her fifties. Our society’s unrealistic expectations of female appearance has created unspeakable suffering among the weak and vulnerable: Anorexia leads to death, just as being beaten and tortured can lead to death.

Today, if you’re a woman who, like me, has never suffered abuse, give thanks. Pray for those who have, like that poor, gorgeous Afghan girl on the cover of Time whose nose and ears had been cut off by the Taliban, and the women who’ve been kidnapped and held in slavery, or murdered for their dowries, or sold into prostitution. Or a cashier who gets whacked by her husband when she’s not fast enough with the next beer. Or high-profile celebrities like Madonna and Kelly McGillis who’ve been attacked and raped.

The lesson here is that no woman, and no child, and no man, and no animal, is ever completely safe. I’ve endured having a gun slammed against my head and being robbed, though that was just a crime, not a crime against me because I was a woman. Maybe you’ve had your identity stolen or your car “jacked” or your wallet lifted or your computer invaded. Abuse is rampant in a society as huge, as sophisticated, as diverse, and as superficial as our world is today.

In this week running up to Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for our own safety, if we have it. And let’s pray for those who don’t. Let’s keep the white ribbon in our hearts and minds and pray for every single victim of violence, down to the last abused or abandoned pet, not just for one day, but for every day of the year.

‘Til next time,