A few weeks ago, a woman in a small Midwestern town was raped. The local newspaper reported the crime to the community—as it should. However, they also chose to report specific details of the assault: exactly what the perpetrator did to his victim, in language specific enough to re-create the scene for readers from age eight to eighty-eight.
In other words, the reporter and the management of the newspaper publicly raped the woman again, this time in front of the entire community.
I first learned about this story because a close friend told me about it—an influential woman who lives in this community. She and her husband own an upscale business and are known for their community influence. When she complained to the newspaper about the insensitive nature of the coverage, management immediately offered her free advertising for an upcoming event she was promoting.
I find it interesting and not at all coincidental that the woman who was victimized first by the sexual assault and secondly by the media was a local prostitute. I do not believe for one moment that if the woman victimized had been my friend that she would have received the same coverage in the press.
Before we jump to judgment, I’d ask us all to evaluate who we see and how we respond when we look into the face of the broken. Do we see a child of God? Do we see our own battered son, daughter, mother, or father? Or do we see a prostitute?
And what do we offer in response? Judgment? Or hope, compassion, and Jesus’ hands of healing?
I invite you today to listen to a song written by my dear friend Steve Siler at Music for the Soul, written for women who have been victimized by sex trafficking or caught in the sex trade. My prayers go out today to a dear woman in the Midwest – a Child of God. My prayer is that God gives me the opportunity to speak hope into your life in the weeks ahead.