Acid Rain

Tonight as I write, I am overcome by the deepest sadness. By a deep and abiding sorrow.
The reason?

 Today as I read the paper, I was brought to my knees, by two stories that had at their central core, the destruction of Woman.
On a couch, in full view of passersby, I wept for two women whose lives have been forever altered by man’s anger, hunger for power and ultimately the purest and most evil form of misogyny; rape and death.

The first woman went for a job interview, which for all intents and purposes looked valid. The job was posted on an internet site known to job hunters. She was contacted and went for the interview. On arrival, she was informed that the position had been filled and the interviewer gave her a cool drink and said she could wait inside the building for her bus. She later woke up in a field, in the dark, having been gang raped. She managed to give the police a statement before collapsing.

She died yesterday. Never having regained consciousness.

The second story is one of a young woman on her way to town. Doing what all young women do, catching a taxi as it is the most used method of transportation in South Africa.
In the taxi with her were only two other people; two men. When they got off, one turned around and threw something into the young woman’s face.

The liquid turned out to be acid.

They never even asked for her name.
That simple act changed her world forever.

Whatever she had planned, whatever her dreams were, are no longer applicable to the woman they created with that flick of the wrist..

She will have to undergo 4 years of rehabilittation before she can resume a ‘normal’ life again.
How can her life ever be normal again?

As I ponder the magnitude of this story I ask myself how are these monsters being created? As a mother of a son I am responsible for teaching my son many, many things.

Respect, honour, and yes, even obedience.

When did we (human beings) become a world of Woman haters? When did we start dehuminising the 'weaker sex'?

Believe me, I am not a dreamdweller. I have recently written an article on corrective rape and the research alone had me vomiting. So I am hyper aware of how women have been used, bought, sold and bartered with over the centuries.

I wonder at the motivation of these two men. How they could wilfully plan such an attack on an innocent stranger.

 A sister, a mother, a girl.

Did they not have to face any sisters, mothers or wives of their own that evening?
Did they not feel even the tiniest stirring when ‘Susan Forgives’ (as she is calling herself) screamed in agony as they ran away?

As a victim of incest, I can attest to many feelings of hatred and anger that have to be faced and dealt with. Just when you think you have moved on, something from deep within can surface and you realise that it is part of your journey to let go, forgive and move on. Hence the reason for my post on forgiveness not that long ago.

But would my experience make me take a stand against all men?

Would my experience make me believe that there were no gentlemen left, no  Bravehearts , or Mandela’s left out there?

No, to believe that would invalidate my own son’s potential, and that I’ll not do.

Mandela is the ultimate example of change and transformation. He was not honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize for wrath.

On an intellectual level I understand Yin and Yang, that everything has bothyin and yang aspects, as light cannot exist without darkness and vice-versa.Many natural dualities—e.g. dark and light, female and male, low and high, cold and hot— are thought of as manifestations of yin and yang (respectively). I also understand that as Westerners we have a very simplistic concept of Yin and Yang, creating a simplistic view of ‘evil versus goodness.’

But on a heart level I cannot understand why.

Perhaps I have lived a slightly sheltered life. Hoping that only good things happen to me and mine.
But when an act of brutality is levelled at a fellow sister, yes, then she becomes part of my family. Part of my circle and part of my heart space.

In her own words, ‘Susan Forgives’ has written on Facebook, ‘I am not a victim, but a survivor of a brutal acid attack. Now I am trying to get my face back and to raise awareness about victims of violent disfigurement and gender based violence.’

The fact that this woman has not given up or taken this attack lying down is a miracle.

She has gone so far as to start a Facebook page to highlight not only her situation but also others like her who have experienced such violence.

Now if that does not say something about the human spirit, nothing will.

I salute you, Susan. For not only having the courage to speak out, for having the bravery to face the world but also for having the strength to forgive.

Your spirit and tenacity will endure.
Long after the names of your assailants have been forgotten, your name will shine in the hearts and minds of those who have been touched by your spirit.

I wish you every blessing.
 I wish you a speedy recovery and I wish you Love.

The following has been copied in the hope that you will be touched and be able to help in any small way.
Susan* is the Zimbabwean woman who has withheld her name for the time being because
 she has yet to tell her family of the horrific attack she incurred and also fears for her safety as the attack is still being investigated. She has made the decision to open a Facebook account and twitter account in an attempt to share her views and experiences as well as attempting to raise funds for her important surgeries. She encourages people to add her on Facebook – Susan Forgives and to follow her on Twitter- @SusanForgives. Please send her messages of support- She has been through a terrible attack in Cape Town where randomly a man threw acid into her face in a mini-taxi on her way home from work. She is now trying rebuild her life and to raise the money for facial reconstruction. About R 450 000 is needed to complete all the surgeries. Should she raise the funds she will still have to endure many traumatic operations and about 4 years of rehabilitation. Although she has forgiven the perpetrator she still has to identify the suspect and assist in the criminal investigations ahead– mainly she wants to know why this happened- so she can rebuild her life.

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