I have been painting now for a month. I certainly do not know yet what my style is and it has been fun experimenting and exploring this new medium. What I didn’t expect was to have such a strong urge to become an activist on a topic I know very little about. The subject is Rape. It has been flooding the news this week after the light sentencing of a Stanford boy. Then there was also the massive protest on Brazil’s Copacabana beach after a young girl was gang raped.
Like I said, this is a subject I know very little about. When I was a young girl I had some close calls. I had friends who were raped or also close calls just like me. I may have even unknowingly left friends behind at parties not realizing they may have needed my help. I have always been an independent person and can usually smell trouble from a mile away. But I have also been just plain lucky.
Last night I was dead tired but felt this overwhelming urge to paint. I wanted to sit down, my legs were aching, but I kept going. For five hours I painted and thought about how my leg pain was nothing compared to what some women endured while raped and then the aftermath of getting no justice. The shaming. The fear. The isolation. Again, I know nothing of this firsthand.
In the Stanford case, the girl was very drunk and didn’t remember much of anything. Was she irresponsible? Sure, for drinking too much. But that does not justify what happened to her. She was unconscious, naked and lying behind a dumpster. A man was sexually assaulting her. That is Rape. Rape is Rape.
He got six months in prison, what???
This painting was tough. I didn’t want to paint the red hand across the women’s mouths. The idea scared me. Their faces were so beautiful. It stirred an emotion in me of fear. Of not being able to breathe or speak. If this painting disturbs you as much as it does me then my mission has been accomplished. Art dipicts life.
When will these real women be heard? When will their words have value in our societies? Why did it take 30 years and a busload of women to shut down Bill Cosby? Why did the Stanford boy only get six months? Why did 30 men rape a 16 year old girl in Brazil and no one tried to stop them?
…like I said, Senza Parole. Without words.