October 2019 WATERritual

Breaking Silence to End Domestic Violence

By Diann L. Neu with WATER Staff

Listen to our October 2019 WATERritual here.

Preparation

Place on a center space three candles, a container (shell or bowl) filled with lavender oil, and a towel. Gather pictures of women and place them around the space.

Call to Gather
Welcome to our gathering tonight as we pray together in our WATERritual, Breaking Silence to End Domestic Violence.

Thank you for all of your work and for your resilience. Most of us are exhausted from the stories of #MeToo, the clergy sex-abuse scandals, and much more. We hear stories. We tell stories. The silence of violence continues to be broken.

How do we heal after silence is broken and horrifying stories are told?

We come together to nourish one another and bring some healing to our minds, bodies, and spirits. We gather with people around the world to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. We commit ourselves to a lifetime of saying no to violence against women, men, children, animals, Earth. It is a long journey.

Naming the Circle

Let us share our names and then say, “I support everyone who breaks silence around abusive violence, and I pray for healing.”

Centering Music: Relaxing Music and Rain Sounds
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8GrqUSdzi0&t=2s

Prayer

Light a candle. Compassionate One, you see us working hard speaking truth to power. Strengthen us.

All: Be with us now and always.

Light a candle. Healing One, you see us growing tired. Refresh us.

All: Be with us now and always.

Light a candle. Loving One, you remind us we are not alone. Surround us with community.

All: Be with us now and always.

Reading

From The Color Purple by Alice Walker, p. 107.

“Dear Celie, the first letter say,

You’ve got to fight and get away from Albert. He ain’t no good. When I left you all’s house, walking, he followed me on his horse. When we was well out of sight of the house he caught up with me and started trying to talk. You know how he do, You sure is looking fine, Miss Nettie, and stuff like that. I tried to ignore him and walk faster, but my bundles was heavy and the sun was hot. After while I had to rest, and that’s when he got down from his horse and started to try to kiss me, and drag me back in the woods.

Well, I started to fight him, and with God’s help, I hurt him bad enough to make him let me alone. But he was some mad. He said because of what I’d done I’d never hear from you again, and you would never hear from me. I was so mad myself I was shaking.

Anyhow, I got a ride into town on somebody’s wagon. And that same somebody pointed me in the direction of the Reverend Mr. ________’s place. And what was my surprise when a little girl opened the door and she had your eyes set in your face.

Love, Nettie”

Centering Music: Relaxing Music and Rain Sounds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8GrqUSdzi0&t=2s

Listen to Words of Courage

Celie and Nettie were courageous women friends. Let’s listen to what women tell us about being brave and courageous.

From Toni Morrison, black American novelist, quoted in And Then She Said….:

“She had nothing to fall back on; not maleness, not whiteness, not ladyhood, not anything. And out of the profound desolation of her reality she may well have invented herself.”

From Adrienne Rich, poet and essayist, quoted in The Women Say / The Men Say:

“I believe that every woman’s soul is haunted by the spirits of earlier women who took risks and resisted as women today are fighting their rapists and batters.”

From Carolyn G. Heilbrun, hailed as “the mother of academic feminism,” in The Last Gift of Time Life Beyond Sixty, 1997:

“Courage in women always catches me up, moves me to compassion, and the desire [to offer women] succor, sustenance, if possible.

From Mary Daly, feminist theologian and philosopher: “You become courageous by doing courageous acts. … Courage is a habit.”

From Audre Lorde, black lesbian poet, in “New Year’s Day”

I am deliberate

And afraid

Of nothing.

 

Reflection | Sharing

What are your thoughts and feeling after listening to these readings?

Let’s take 5 minutes of quiet and then I will invite us to share our words of wisdom as we wish.

 

Song: “Brave” by Sara Bareilles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUQsqBqxoR4
You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Innocence, your history of silence
Won’t do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
See you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Jack Antonoff / Sara Bareilles

Brave lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

Prayers for Healing

Let us pray. Our response is: “We pray for healing.”

For anyone who has been abused physically, emotionally, economically, spiritually, or in any other way,

All: we pray for healing.

For those who help heal the wounds of violence,

All: we pray for healing.

For the children who witness domestic violence,

All: we pray for healing.

For those who are undocumented and most vulnerable to abuse,

All: we pray for healing.

For all survivors, that their strength may only increase,

All: we pray for healing.

For friends and supporters who accompany survivors,

All: we pray for healing.

For the increased will in religions and society to call abusers to accountability,

All: we pray for healing.

For what else shall we pray?

Blessing with Oil
The blesser touches the oil and prays:

Pour out your Spirit, God of Many Names, Wisdom Sophia, upon this oil.

Enduring Spirit, soothe us with oil when cold winds chill us to the bone.

Comforting Presence, refresh us with oil when we need strength to renew our lives.

Gentle Wisdom, warm us with oil and caress us with cool breezes.

Healing Grace, ease our hurts and bruises with oil when we need to keep open to life’s changes.

Anointing with Oil
If you feel called, dip your fingers into the bowl of lavender oil and anoint yourself, or invite someone to anoint you where you wish, as is appropriate for your healing: face, hands, feet, heart, head. Reclaim your healing powers for yourself and for others.

Song

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
See you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you

Take Action

Let us put our prayers into action this month. Here are some possible ways.

  • Take care of yourself by doing something that gives you joy and comfort.
  • Contact your legislators and urge them to support the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, one of the country’s most effective tools in responding to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
  • Wear purple on November 3, All Survivors Day, in solidarity with survivors of abuse.

Sending Forth

Let us go forth from this place

strengthened by this community,

committed to breaking the silence of violence,

and united in claiming our healing powers.

 

© WATER: Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual, dneu@hers.com