Dear Daughters – Letter #7
To my three daughters,
Girls, I am writing you this letter today because I know you are still too young to understand the weight of my words, and in hopes that I can share this with you once you are older.
You see, a very tragic and unfortunate event has been mainstreamed this past week reaching all across the world. The story itself is not new, however, which is just another unfortunate piece of this all too common story. Knowing only the details I have available to me, the story goes something like this: a woman in her early 20’s went to a college party with her younger sister, their intent was to have a fun and harmless night out together just as many college aged kids do, the older sister unintentionally drank too fast and too much, she ended up being separated from her sister at some point, and the night ended with her being found behind a dumpster…unconscious…with a drunk man forcing himself upon her. He blames the alcohol for his poor choices and he claims she was compliant. She was too drunk to remember anything from the incident, so she has no recollection of even being with him; However the evidence shows she was aggressively assaulted — lacerations and debris found inside of her, underwear stripped away, dressed hiked up, and absolutely no memory of what happened to her.
Girls, I hope you are beginning to understand the severity of this story.
The moment I read about it my mind began racing with questions like: Who is to blame for this? Why was she in this predicament in the first place? Shouldn’t she be allowed to enjoy herself without fearing what others may have in mind? Did this young man make a one time mistake or did he show up ready to rape a young girl too drunk to defend herself? How did she get out to the dumpster in the first place without anyone noticing? — I mean, just endless amounts of questions filled with “what if?” — None of which really matter, and it’s just heartbreaking.
But then I asked myself, “what if this were my daughters: You?” — a huge lump fills my throat just thinking about it. And I have to look past all the puzzle pieces, and opinions and the “what if’s” of this story and somehow figure out how can I learn from this tragedy? How can I better prepare my own three daughters so they don’t have to go through something like this?
And it starts by me making a few things very clear with you.
First and foremost, not a single thing I say dismisses what happened to this young woman. And not a single thing makes it okay for a man to force himself upon you at any time.
Girls, there will come a time when I share certain things about my past with you that will contradict the life I live now; but I intend to share them with you in hopes to spare you the many years of confusion, anger and heartache I went through. When I was young I too thought it was harmless fun to go to parties where I did not know everyone. I thought it was funny to be so drunk I couldn’t even stand on my own two feet and speak in complete sentences. And sadly, I remember what it’s like to be so drunk that you can’t remember having sex with someone — yet you do because people tell you you did, and you have random flashbacks of being there in that moment.
And I have to be real honest with you here, and real honest does not agree with everyone, but you are my children and this is the rule we will stand by: There is no such thing as harmless fun, and especially when alcohol is involved. Yes, you have a right to make your own decisions; but throw it out the door right now that your decisions shouldn’t be weighed against the potential hazards of this world. And get it through your head that the decisions you make only affect you and no one else. And lastly, get it through your head that the choices you make today won’t affect your future. There has never been a time where it was safe to drink (and certainly not with people you don’t know.) And don’t you dare say “but Jesus…” — young ladies, you very well know we live in a fallen world where God-created things no longer operate in their perfect intent.
Now, I understand you are inevitably going to find yourself in situations you would not have otherwise chosen had you known the outcome; but I’m here to tell you that we can learn from events likes these and better prepare ourselves for the future. And that is exactly what I want to help you do.
- Your entire life you will be given the opportunity to do things you are allowed to do that are perfectly accepted by those around you, and even legal. BUT not everything you are presented with will benefit you. Yes, you can have sex before marriage. Yes, you can drink and get drunk. Yes, you can x,y,z — BUT please tell me how those things actually benefit your life and bring glory to God’s name — Then we can have some real discussions.
- The choices you make today will, in fact, determine your future. I know, it sounds scary. It scares me too. But, the everyday choices we make will either lead us to live lives we regret or lives worthy of hearing the words, “job well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with little, now you will be ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” The great thing is, we get to choose. And it’s as simple as making good, daily decisions.
- Your lives, and your bodies have been paid for with the price of death. This means you are worth more than what feels good momentarily; you are worth more than what someone else says is right or wrong; you are precious, highly favored, and valued — please live like it.
- And please, understand me when I say this: stop expecting people to understand your worth and to treat you accordingly. Not everyone on this earth is going to reciprocate the kind of treatment you want BUT if you already know who you are, and how valued you are then it won’t matter. Likewise, if you know these things then you will conduct yourself in a way that exemplifies these truths. — you will learn, and see soon enough, we live in a very broken world. It is filled with many wonders and beautiful things, but it is also filled with people who will take advantage of you at any moment, and it is my job to help you work diligently to prepare yourself for such things.
Girls, you are called to live fearless and brave lives, and you shouldn’t live in fear of what might happen if you make a mistake. But, I want to encourage you to live in the fear of the Lord which leads to wisdom, knowledge, and life. I want you to look at my past and desire to make better choices for yourselves. I want you to read these words and be teachable.
As your mom, I love you more than you will ever realize. I can’t imagine (and don’t want to imagine) what it would be like if something like this ever happened to you. And it pains me to think about all the other daughters who have lived through these unthinkable acts like I mentioned above. There is going to come a time where you won’t always be right by my side or within my sight, and I want to know that I have done my very best to train you, and prepare you for this world we live in. So that’s what this letter is — a way for me to tell you that though tragedies like this happen we can still learn from them.