When Grief Crosses Seven Seas
I woke up this morning to the words “rape” and “six-year-old” being used in the same sentence. It was an unbridled assault to my senses that has left me shaken.
This week, tensions are running high as news spreads about parents protesting in the streets in Bangalore after a 6-year-old girl was raped in her school. Reports say that the young girl was allegedly assaulted when she left her classroom to go to the bathroom. The rape is now raising questions about the safety of India’s schoolchildren and started yet another nationwide outrage over rampant sexual violence against girls and women.
Motherhood has transformed me to my very core; every news report about a child is no longer about just a child, it is about a child just like mine. I tell myself that incessant lie to keep the sickening thoughts from consuming me. It won’t ever happen to my little baby. We live in America. This is not our problem. It is a third-world problem.
Except, that it’s not. 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys have been sexually abused, often by someone they know. In America. These are reported incidents, and likely to be an under-representation of the true number of incidents.
We can’t look in the other direction. This is our problem.
The fact that a little princess (I refuse to make her faceless by using the term ‘the victim’, she is someone’s little girl) is only 6-years-old makes my heartache. An ache that brings waves of tears, and leaves me clutching my chest gasping for air. As a mother and as a teacher, I am mortified that such a heinous crime could take place within the supposedly safe walls of a school.
On the other side of the world, there is a mother whose heart is no different from mine. Her every breath sings a song of love for her children, her soul dances at the sight of her child’s smile, and her heart is the epitome of all that is unconditional and pure in this world.
Only her heart has been shattered to a million pieces, and then each piece violently crushed. Her little princess, the one she so lovingly placed in the hands of educators, has experienced what no human being should ever experience. At the tender age of six.
When children are learning to read and write. When children begin to lose their baby teeth. When children are singing nursery rhymes and clapping games. When children skip to school. When children are innocent and brave enough to say what’s on their mind without fear of judgment. When children are not supposed to be tainted by the evils of the world.
With a grief-stricken heart filled with helplessness, I offer another mother the only thing I can at this dark hour. A prayer.
May you have the courage to see light at the end of this long, seemingly endless tunnel. May your mother’s love fill each one of your little princess’ physical and emotional wounds and heal her in ways that will leave doctors awestruck. May your boundless strength and resilience be a source of inspiration for others. May your tears feed the soil on which change will happen. May your sorrow give rise to voices in the community that will echo for not mere days, but decades to come. May the shattered pieces of your heart fall in the lap of future perpetrators to give them an inkling of the true horror of what they are about to commit. May your blinding rage multiply in millions of hearts to spark a revolution so that one day we will live in the world where children are safe.
May my prayers have enough strength to cross seven seas.
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