Beverly Donofrio had just been “looking for a monastery to join, for Christ’s sake.” She had closed her laptop, having bookmarked religious communities she might write to, then had fallen into a deep sleep. During the night she was raped at knife point in her home in Mexico.
If you haven’t realized the urgent need for an expanded Violence Against Women Act, read today’sNew York Times, where novelist Louise Erdrich restates the theme that runs through her powerful novel The Round House(reviewed in a previous post): Native American women are being battered and raped by non-native men, and they have no legal support for pursuing justice—because non-natives are immune from prosecution by tribal courts.
It's hard to imagine a more efficient way to rack up diverse denunciations than Rep. Todd Akin's approach in an interview on Sunday, when in one breath he both promoted a foul bit of junk science alleging that rape victims don't generally get pregnant (and thus don't need abortion services) and coined the term "legitimate rape." Pretty much everyone everywhere has condemned his comments, and rightly so.
A number of rape victims have written responses, including Shauna Prewitt, whose post at xoJane went viral and taught a lot of us something appalling that we didn't know.
Six years ago, in a powerful article in these pages, Ruth Schmidt wrote about how her entire way of perceiving the world changed when she was raped. It was as if everything she had been during her previous 16 years had been thrown away. Since that event, "I see differently. I hear differently. I surely believe differently. I listen to music as a woman who was raped.
Six months before she was scheduled to be released on drug charges, Marilyn Shirley was raped in 2000 by a guard at the Texas prison where she was serving time. "I am still haunted by the words he whispered in my ear," Shirley recently recounted. "Do you think you're the only one?" her attacker asked her.
South Africa has the world’s second largest AIDS epidemic (in gross numbers). Its neighbor, Zimbabwe, ranks first. During the past ten years, while AIDS has come under control in central African countries with far fewer resources, the disease has gone out of control in South Africa, in the richest, most cosmopolitan nation in the whole sub-Saharan region.
Support the Christian Century
The Century's work relies primarily on subscriptions and donations. Thank you for supporting nonprofit journalism.