If She Cry Out (beta) was launched in January, 2010 to provide a meeting place for peer-to-peer collaboration between survivors, artists, writers, religious thinkers, philosophers, psychologists, researchers, care workers and social activists.
If She Cry Out is dedicated to transforming wider society and inspiring our common search for meaning using the insights of survivors of rape, terror attacks and other very serious crimes. Survivors have ventured to the edge of human experience, to places none of us travel willingly. They come back with answers to questions that have fascinated and puzzled us for millenia: human nature, hope, life, forgiveness and the very nature of justice. They come with fresh vision to culture, media, the environment and one-on-one relationships…
If she cry out gives voice to this vision through art, music, writing, spirituality, and activism, in hopes that the plurality of voices will create a tumult that the world can’t ignore. If we cry out survivor and victim together, if we cry out untouched and touched together, we can redeem the past and heal the future.
We are seeking to accomplish this mission in four specific ways:
- Perspective. The If She Cry Out project hosts a cooperative blog providing commentary on society, research, and the arts from the point of view of survivors.
- Promotion. The If She Cry Out project promotes the work of primary and secondary survivors who are trying to use their experience to make a difference for other survivors or society at large.
- Empowerment. The If She Cry Out project provides information on business development, management and fund raising for survivors seeking to make a difference through social action, research and the arts. Eventually we also hope to build alliances with funding organizations and incubators both on and off line. We also promote the networking between those with artistic or business expertise and those individuals with stories to tell and insights to share.
- Education. The If She Cry Out project promotes and eventually hopes to develop lesson plans and curriculum built around the stories of survivors and the insights and wisdom that have come from facing and living through the worst violations of the dignity and sanctity of human life and existence.
The name of this site has a double meaning. First it applies to the crime of rape. Second it applies to its aftermath.
The phrase “If she cry out” comes from a verse in book of Deuteronomy that became the quintessential definition of rape in the Jewish tradition: Deuteronomy 24:25-27. “If a man finds a betrothed girl in a field and seizes her and lies with her … it is like the case of a man who rises up against another man and kills him. He found her in a field, and though the betrothed girl cried out, there was none to save her.
This verse happens to be a fairly good description of what happened to me. In fact the memory of this verse is what helped free me from my initial shock when the rapist forced his way into my car and announced his intent to rape me. It loosened my voice. I shouted “Fire, Fire at the top of my lungs hoping that the people asleep in the houses across the street would hear. I have a very large voice, but even in my case there was none to hear me.
But not all victims get to cry out. Under stress, our bodies are designed to fight, flee, or freeze. Most rape victims freeze. Physical flight isn’t usually an option when someone picks a rape target, but some flee emotionally while leaving their bodies in the hands of rapists whom they are too frightened to fight. And some victims never really had a choice: they were drunk, drugged, unconscious, or simply too young to understand what was happening to them.
But the crime itself is only the beginning of a story of rape. The story continues long after the rapist has left the scene. For most survivors it continues for years. But this isn’t a death sentence or a permanent wound. It gives us new options and hope.
Survivors and any who want to walk with them can still cry out after the crime. They do not need to be silent. They can cry out with their pain. They can cry out with their wisdom. They can cry out against injustice and hatred. They can cry with compassion for others who are wounded. They can cry out in the name of a common hope.
If we cry out together, if we cry out in many different voices, in many different art forms, in many different religions, with many different kinds of activism and creativity, our experience will create a tumult that the world can’t ignore. If we cry out survivor and victim together, if we cry out untouched and touched together, we can redeem the past and heal the future. If we cry out, we can write a new ending and be there to save each other.