“Why would you want to read that?”
The question is honest, but it takes me off guard.
I’ve just cried my way through the first forty-some-odd pages of the book Half the Sky.
The question jars me out of Pakistan, Nepal and India and drags me across shards of glass back to reality.
“Because…because the stories need to be told.”
I’m surprised how upset I am getting. It was a valid question.
I love statistics and info graphics and charts and bar graphs. They’re like information mega vitamins.
Big punch. Small package.
As Americans, many of us live very insulated lives.
We don’t see the slaves who make our clothes,
…harvest our coffee
…pick the cocoa beans for our chocolate
and many of us will never see any of the millions of women and girls trafficked for sex every year.
Out of sight, the lives of these precious sisters become mere numbers and statistics.
Fodder to fill our bar graphs.
Their story lost in the silent abyss of a nation who has lost it’s ability and will to lament. (Save election outcomes and dissatisfying conclusions in made-for-tv drama.)
So why am I reading?
Why am I wading through story after story of rape and abuse?
Of women, themselves enslaved in brothels, whose newborn daughters are then taken to be raised to become prostitutes themselves?
Because at some point ignoring the story and letting it be transformed into numbers and nothingness becomes participation with the pimps themselves.
We forget numbers. Stories stay with us.
Graphics provide a visual. Graphic accounts provide vision.
We are midway through 16 Days of advocacy to end violence against women.
Today, what stories have you silenced?
Is it your own story even?
Who is your silence betraying? Who is it hurting?
Derek Webb lamented: “I join the oppressors of those I choose to ignore”
Tell hard stories.
Read things that make you uncomfortable.
That challenge you.
Break the silence.