I have always looked at the things human beings do to each other and wondered why. When you think about it, we are the most brutally violent creatures on Earth. No other species kills its own kind for sport. No other species brutalizes its own kind for the hell of it. No other species so openly discriminates against its own kind quite the way human beings do. It seems that animals commit these acts only when pushed into a “survival of the fittest,” “kill or be killed,” “attack or be attacked,” situation. While I am not speaking from a stand point of an authority on all things related to the animal kingdom, when you think about it all it begs the question, “Why do human beings do such horrible things?”
When I think of the things that have been done to friends and family, and the things that have been done to me, I can’t do anything else but wonder why. It is in my nature to need to know why. I want an explanation. I want that absolute answer to the unanswerable questions…What the fuck did I do to deserve this? How much of an asshole was I in a previous life to deserve what happened? Which karmic god or goddess did I piss off to warrant such karmic retribution?
Logically I know that I will never have these answers because there was nothing I did to deserve what happened. Logically I know that the things that have happened are not my fault, but some days that is not good enough. Some days simply knowing that there are horrible people in the world who will hurt you for sport, brutalize you for fun, and rape you simply because they can is not anywhere near good enough because, in the words of Fantine in Les Miserables, “I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I’m living.” I would amend her words a bit though because, even on my bad days, I am not living my hell any longer. I have survived it and am building back up from it, and just like any growth period there are bound to be aches and pains along the way. I just have to keep in my mind that there will always be triggers and some will be easier to deal with than others. I just have to hold on to how far I have come from the person I was 12 years ago and even who I was 2 years ago when I first disclosed. I am stronger in so many aspects of my life than I was then.
I have closely followed the story of Jyoti Singh Pandey, the courageous woman who lost her life due to injuries following a gang rape in India. I prayed for her survival, and mourned her passing. I read about her parents and her father’s reason for releasing her name to the public. I applauded that brave decision because she is an inspiration to all of us who have survived and lived through rape. While we did not know her in life, we certainly know her now as she has become the catalyst to create change in Indian law. While the steps are small, they are still steps toward progress. Each small step adds up to a larger goal. Seeing what has gone on in India - citizens standing up to say they will no longer put up with the way things are being run by corrupt politicians, many of whom having assault or rape charges pending against them - is inspiring. Yet, with such a corrupt system in which victim shaming and victim blaming still runs rampant, there is much to be done. I truly hope that the citizens of India do not forget Jyoti, or the multitude like her. I hope the citizens continue to fight with this new passion for the cause and refuse to put up with this any longer. I hope they continue to fight for the rights of women and girls to live with a sense of safety and security. I hope they fight for those who, like Jyoti, can no longer fight for themselves.
Please take a few minutes to learn about her story if you don’t already know it. If you need a place to start, check out the People You Should Know page on this blog. It provides a link to an interview given by her father explaining why he released her name.
If you have any suggestions for additions to the People You Should Know page, please feel free to contact me and let me know. I am always looking for new heroes to add!