A young woman sits in my office, her face bathed in tears, her story finally coming out in convulsing bursts, like a pipe that has long been out of use finally allowing water to flow again. She has been carrying the shame for so long, she can’t even form the words. She wishes she was someone else, anyone else, with a different story.
Sexual violence becomes shackles, ever so carefully hidden under layers of “I’m okay,” and “I’ll get through it.” It encircles stomachs, destroying appetites and causing eating disorders; it pounds against the quiet of the night, preventing sleep and causing depression; it chains a woman to her room, breaks down her relationships, turns up in bad grades, or overwork, or unexplained and sustained terrors.
“ ‘And God saw what God had made and it was very good.’ ”
She looks up at me, daring to believe for this one moment.
“Those words are about you.”
And one, two, three, four, more, so many more of us, begin to believe enough to rattle the chains, to pull on them with force, to remove them from each other and fling them far into the void, never to return.
We walk on the way, believing we are good and there will be resurrection.
“Survivors.” We become.
Dr. Cecilia González-Andrieu holds both a bachelor’s degree in Film/Televison and Spanish and a master’s degree in theology from Loyola Marymount University. She earned her doctorate degree in Art & Religion and Systemic Theology at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley. Her work has since bridged theology and the arts, and she has written and presented on topics including the relationship between justice, beauty, and art, art as a bridge to community, Latino/a theology, immigration, and educational justice and was named one of the most promising theologians of the next generation by America Magazine. She is currently an Associate Professor of Theological Studies in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at her alma mater, Loyola Marymount University and is a contributing writer for America Magazine.
La doctora Cecilia González-Andrieu es profesora de teología en Loyola Marymount University, donde también se dedica a servir a la comunidad Latina de muchas formas, especialmente los asuntos de estudiantes indocumentados e inmigrantes y la defensa de los derechos de los trabajadores. Es también reconocida ensayista para la revista católica en inglés mas importante de los Estados Uniods, America (un ministerio de los Jesuitas) y miembro de la mesa directiva del Ignatian Solidarity Network (la red de solidaridad iganiaciana), dedicada a trabajar con la comunidad y entrenar a los jóvenes para vivir “una fe que hace justicia.” Es la autora del libro Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty, co editora de Teaching Global Theologies: Power and Praxis, y a contribuido a muchas otras publicaciones, entre ellas el libro Go Into the Streets: The Welcoming Church of Pope Francis.