“Did you hear what happened the other night? That poor girl!”
“Its a shame….its a shame but oh well.”
“But isn’t it sad?”
“Oh well, it was her own fault.”
That my friends is a snippet of real conversation that took place between two of my classmates today as we all waited for our literature class to begin. This conversation was going on between a young woman and a young man as they discussed the sexual assault of another young woman that took place earlier this week on our campus.
This conversation made me physically ill. I sat in stunned silence after hearing the young man proceed to rip this young girl, the assault victim, to shreds verbally without batting an eye. He spoke in such a way that he could have been talking about how it was forecasted to rain this evening. He spoke in such a way that he could have been talking about what he had for lunch or breakfast. He did not speak in the way you would expect one to speak of an assault victim. There was no sympathy, no sad tone, no hesitation. The details of who she was, how she was doing, what had happened; none of these mattered to him.
Because to him, she is not a victim. She may as well not even be a real person.
It was her own fault after all….so his lack of respect, compassion, sympathy, or moral outrage is understandable. Right??
In a way, he is right. The dirty details of this event do not, and should not matter. But not for the reason he is thinking! These details do not matter because they should not carry any weight when it comes to whether or not we care for this young girl. Our hearts should be breaking for her!
Instead we dissect her motives, her judgement, what clothes she had on, how much makeup she was wearing, how she met the person she was assaulted by, and so on and so forth. We lay down a litany of all the ways she was just begging to be assaulted and then we go about our days as if nothing out of the ordinary has taken place.
Oh how jaded we have become. Morally apathetic. Our hearts have atrophied from disuse. We can not feel sympathetic because we no longer know what it is to feel.
Do you think I am wrong? Do you think I am cynical? If you do, by all means show me the error of my thinking. I am begging you!
But I do not think I am wrong. I simply have to look on Facebook, or turn on the news to know that I am right. Christians beheaded and no one bats an eye. Cops murdered simply for being cops, and no one bats an eye. Babies ripped apart inside their mothers wombs, and no one bats an eye. People of all different race, religion, age, and social standing are facing unspeakable horrors, and no one bats an eye. Let alone sheds a tear. So why should we cry for one girl, who made a mistake, who was asking for it, who has effectively been marginalized by the very people who should be rallying around her?
Jesus would cry. He does cry. I know this as surely as I know that I have air in my lungs. He does not care on bit whose fault it is. He cries. His heart is broken for her. And for her assaulter.
Oh Jesus, break my heart of stone. Smash it in to bits and let the pieces scatter everywhere. Let the tears stream down my face like the rushing water of a thousand rivers.
What will it take to break our hearts?! I wish that we would never have to find out. But I pray to God that we will. We can sit comfortably in our homes, detached from the world, in tune with only ourselves and what immediately affects us; but soon, soon our hearts will break. Soon we will be faced with our own apathy and we will all cry as Jesus does. And then, I pray, we will all be moved to love as Jesus loves.
What will it take to break our hearts?