A few days ago I was sitting outside of Ms. Mahy’s door going over my music as I prepared for a lesson, when a friend walked by. She didn’t say hello, as I was looking down at my music, but I called out her name and asked her how things were going. She looked back at me and shrugged and barely managed to peep out “fine.” Jill, (name changed) What’s up, are you okay? At this point she began to cry. She bawled and then began to tell me everything. She had just walked by the boy that had assaulted her last fall, she hadn’t seen him since, and thus was struck by how his appearance brought everything back. To make matters worse he walked by singing when he saw her. Her story of abuse continued and she poured out the details, the pains, and the frustrations. I sat there next to her, hugging her, and trying desperately to know what to say, how to comfort her. All I could tell her was that she was a beautiful person, that she didn’t deserve to have such horrible things happen to her. That she has great potential. My heart did and does ache for her, and for women everywhere who are sexually abused. I feel a great need to do something for such women, to stand out against abuse and to demand that aggressors are dealt with in a way that will promote change. Jill said the school sent her aggressor to counseling, but that was it. “Nothing has changed for him, his friends are still his friends, nothing has changed.” I haven’t come up with a good plan for what the school should do to people that commit such horrendous acts, but I don’t think a round of counseling is sufficient.
Since our conversation I have thought about what I should have said. I wanted to tell her of the rewards of sexual purity, but I didn’t not wanting to make her feel judged or guilty at a time when she was already so low. However, it has increased my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel’s standards. I have never talked with someone who said they regretted staying faithful to their spouse; however, I know many girls who have regretted their choice to treat sex trivially. The saddest part to me is that dear Jill was seeking what we all seek- acceptance, love, and union. That is what sex in it’s noblest form: intimacy, provides. What so many people don’t understand is that when intimacy is stripped of commitment, selflessness and charity, it becomes nothing more than sex- the result of untampered drives that too often result, as in Jill’s case, in rough insensitive actions.
How delighted I was, then, yesterday to attend the marriage of a friend of mine. She had invited many of the voice majors at Oberlin to her wedding. It was interesting to watch their reactions, as many of them witnessed a wedding for the very first time. Many of them came away feeling like they wanted to get married, especially those who are in relationships that have been talking about putting it off for several years. Afterwards at the reception the conversation naturally turned to marriage and family, and I was grateful for the opportunity to say from experience that marriage is wonderful and that I highly recommended it. Several of my friends have boyfriends they have been dating and living with for a while, and they are waiting until they have money to get married, and I was so happy to be able to tell them that they need not wait, that if they truly know that person is the one, it’s worth going for it and making it work. After my experience with Jill and at the wedding I feel a desire to change and be more vocal about the benefits of chastity and marriage.