Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rape and Molestation of Children

This CNN article discusses a rape in Arizona in the Liberian community and uses it to discuss rape in Liberia, where 92% of women report some kind of sexual violence. President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson is working to try and increase anti-rape legislation and prosecution of rape. It is difficult.

So, sure, let's all look on and pity the poor Africans, and be grateful it doesn't happen here to us superior Americans.

Maybe I'm wrong that that would be the attitude of many in this country. But anyone who doesn't think it happens here is dead wrong. Rape and molestation of children is a national nightmare that we do our best to ignore. I DON'T ignore it anymore. I was molested by older boys in my neighborhood when I was 5, and it has affected my whole life. I agree that people have to learn to deal with such things, and not see themselves wholly as victims, but part of that is to speak out about it rather than letting it be swept under the rug with all the other molestations that occur.

I speak out in part because I'm convinced that our culture gives boys covert approval for any sexual venture, and approves of any sexual venture because it makes them "men". For 30 years I dismissed it with the same attitude as "boys being boys". Finally, when someone used the word rape to me about it, it ripped off the lid I had put over my emotions on the issue, and the next days were not fun... not at all fun. Oddly enough my best reaction was to write a poem, which doesn't actually refer to rape outright. Around that time I was reminded of how Prometheus was chained for 30 years to a rock with an eagle eating his liver every day, and the coincidence of the 30 years produced this poem:


© July 1993; by Mary A. Axford; all rights reserved

Thirty years and my muscles have adjusted a bit...
the back has learned to stretch so,
and I'm not sure my arms could hang at my sides again,
chains or no...
The eagle...
Well, you know, I think her proud eye
has softened a bit over the years...
She seems to do her job quickly now.
She's learned surgical precision and
how to gaze into my eyes until I cease to struggle.
Almost I welcome the sight of her --
We are such intimates, and I have none other on my lonely rock
(just wish I could persuade her
to take the pancreas rather than the liver -- it
hasn't been working so well). But I lie...
the gods do drop by once in a while.
Luscious Aphrodite and proud Athene
(she comes with her golden boy brother)
quick Hermes and grave Hera
and laughing Pan.
Pan, of them all, my lover of old,
laughing Pan hides his tears
I see my pain tearing at him as if
he had his own eagle.
Zeus came to gloat once.
The others stroke and caress
til I am drained and drenched with sweat.
No matter, the salt spray washes
sweat and tears and cum alike.
Soon I shall be delivered, though.
Heracles the jock is coming to free me.
How will I live?
I've forgotten freedom...
my little vast world of rock and sea and sky is all I know.
How shall I say hello and be polite
at parties?
I fear I don't know current fashions and
grow tired of discussing the weather.
Apollo comes to show me the sun...
the warmth will feel nice.
But I think I shall sleep with the moon.
After thirty years of stability
I shall like her inconstancy.
I shall like to grow with her,
and wane with her
to constantly be born then die with her. The wheel turns ever on...

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