As a woman, I can’t help but get sucked into the Ghomeshi scandal. (In case you haven’t heard, Jian Ghomeshi was a very popular Canadian radio/television host whose sexual proclivities ultimately led to his very public job termination, as well as a lurid court case. 3 complainants have come forward to charge him with 4 counts of sexual assault and 1 count of choking to overcome resistance. Let’s just say he liked “it” rough and violent.) He has the top lawyer in the province on his side – a beautiful, but deadly, woman determined to get him acquitted of any wrongdoing. And I’ve been reading about how she has been going about ‘winning’ his case – attacking, or “whacking” (in lawyer-speak) the complainants on the stand, relentlessly and aggressively questioning those who have come forward to accuse Ghomeshi of sexual violence, attempting to get them to back down, confuse them or contradict themselves. It’s all a big ‘he-said-she-said’ revolting mess of darkness and violence, enough to convince a woman like me to never leave the house again.
I’ve been reading about it – angry, bitter pieces by the man-haters at Jezebel, lawyer-y, technical posts in online newspapers and then friends’ own thoughts and feelings on the matter. But the thing about it all that hits me right in the gut, that keeps me from sleeping at night, is the sheer volume of women who have been saying the details of this trial have been reminding them of their own attack, the abuse/violence done to them, and some of these women have been keeping their attacks/abuse secret for decades!
Whaaaat?! So many women are walking around, deeply wounded!
Several years ago my friend Tess and I gave a talk about our experiences growing up as female. I talked specifically about how the Devil hates femininity more than just about anything else. Not that I experienced anything like this ‘Ghomeshi’ awfulness, but Satan takes great pleasure in wounding our feminine hearts in any way he can, and mine too had been bruised. Stacy Eldredge, in her book “Captivating”, put it this way:
“If you listen carefully to any woman’s story, you will hear a theme: the assault on her heart. It might be obvious as in the stories of physical, verbal or sexual abuse. Or it might be more subtle, like the indifference of a world that cares nothing for her but uses her until she is drained.”
The devil has an intense raging hatred for the feminine – all things life-bearing and life-affirming. He hates you, your heart and soul and he works fiercely to shatter you completely. And if he can’t shatter you, he’ll drown you – in work, in “should be’s” (I should be thinner, taller, better, nicer, etc.) because he can’t have women out there being happy and fulfilled! Too much good can come of them.
So it doesn’t at all surprise me to hear about this trial – the exploitation and violence. It makes sense. The devil is a real and prowling lion, devouring whatever he can, whenever he can, but most especially woman, whose special gift and charism it is to bring life to the world! If he can wound her and shut down her heart, he can take down entire families, communities and eventually, civilizations. Sounds dramatic, I know, but it’s entirely true. Women have a great power, and responsibility, to cooperate with the Divine in bringing new life in many different ways to their families, to their communities and to the world. Deep wounding (of the sort which was laid out during this particular trial) damages and greatly reduces a woman’s ability to be fully present to Love, to know the depth of her own worth and the respect that is due her by virtue of her humanity and gender, it robs her of any satisfaction, contentment and joy that life offers, and hampers her ability to give herself to others with all the zeal and abandonment her gifts and charisms allow. Fulton Sheen was right when he famously said that the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood.
Incidentally, this is just another confirmation for me on the logic and significance of the Church’s teachings on sexuality. God’s laws surrounding sex, marriage, love, contraception, and the like have been put in place to protect us all, but especially women, from predators, from those who would see the body as something to be used, abused and discarded whenever they feel like it. Because when it comes to sexuality, the Church is unwavering in it’s belief that the human person matters, and matters greatly. We are not just bodies to be used, but a messy mix of body and soul, destined to be ‘little less than gods’ ourselves. A great deal of respect is owed to every human person. Full stop.
While reading about this trial has disturbed me – bad things can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of whether they follow God’s laws – I find solace in the fact that Jesus is always the answer. While women of every race, creed and nationality will find that they have their own specific woundedness they must face - circumstances, situations and people that have hurt them within their femininity - God is always present. He is closer to us than we can ever imagine. In him we have a healer, a listener, a comforter, a forgiver and a friend. He is, after all, the Way, the Truth and the Life, and there is no one that can give our lives back to us in their fullness, than Life Itself.
“Come to me all you who labour and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28