WHAT DO JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT AND AN ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD GIRL FROM ARGENTINA HAVE IN COMMON?
I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to write what I’m about to write because the stories are a bit dark and heavy, but I decided that if you’re subscribed to my blog you’re down to hear whatever it is I have to say.
I’ve been perusing through the iPhone News app every morning, all the major headlines from hundreds of media outlets right at my fingertips ready for me to dive in. Most of the headlines I scroll past are clear rabbit holes of diluted facts while others are so menial they aren’t worth the read, but yesterday I came across a headline with the words, eleven-year-old, rape, and abortion. I clicked the link.
About a year ago an eleven-year-old Argentinian girl was raped by her grandmother’s boyfriend. The result of that rape was a “stomach ache” that the girl’s mother discovered to be a pregnancy once she took her daughter to the hospital. Argentinian law unlike ours, well at least for now, is riddled with mandates based on devout Catholic moral guidelines that are oppressive, in my opinion, to women. Women having the right to choose in Argentina is a non-starter. When it comes to the countries thoughts on abortion it’s clear, but there’s one loophole that states if a woman has been raped, she can legally choose to abort a resulting pregnancy. Sound like corruption to you?
The eleven-year-old girl and her mother sat in a metro hospital begging for an abortion for over a month and a half. The girl cried and screamed regularly that she wanted them to “take out what that man put in me.” A series of conspirators like the head of the hospital, political officials, head of the local church, and more visited the girl daily to coerce her into keeping the baby alive. They told her how excited they were for her, how far along the baby was, how it was a girl and she needed a little more time to grow inside the girl’s belly since she was only 22 weeks pregnant. Everyone and everything stood in her way. Her mother was devastated and felt partially responsible for the situation her daughter was in because the only reason her daughter moved to her grandmother's house in the first place was because a neighbor where she lived before raped her a few years back.
After six weeks in the hospital, two doctors and a handful of lawyers who were willing to lose their careers and potentially go to jail helped this eleven-year-old girl find some semblance of justice. She had a C section to terminate her pregnancy, although the baby was kept alive and lived for ten days.
Now fast forward to last night, a typical night of avocado toast, hookah, and bootleg television. I caught up on one of the fifty TV shows I’m watching right now, 9-1-1. My queen mother Angela Bassett is one of the leading actresses alongside Aisha Hinds and Jennifer Love Hewitt who in the last few episodes has been getting a lot more screen time. JLH plays the sister of one of the guys on the show and found herself in his neck of the woods trying to rebuild her life after an abusive marriage. It took her months to get on her feet and find the courage to serve her ex divorce papers from afar. Her ex, who’s oddly enough her husband in real life, is a psychopath. He hunts her down, finds her, stalks her for a few months, and then makes his move. On the day of her first date since leaving, her husband shows up and stabs the date and kidnaps her. Along the journey, he kills a man and the two of them get into several bloody fights.
Normally I’m not drawn into the dramatics of stories like this one, but last night I was more sensitive to it than usual. Towards the end of the episode, you see her fighting for her life, yelling at her ex-husband “I’m not running anymore.” There was fear, anger, and exhaustion in her eyes but despite it all, she found a way to survive. She stabbed her husband to death and hobbled into the woods where she found her brother and a search and rescue team that had been looking for her the entire episode. She fell into his arms and ugly cried, “I didn’t give up. I didn’t give up.”
As you can imagine the tug and pull of my energy yesterday left me in a bit of a mess before bed. All I could do was use the context of all of my emotions and thoughts and try and wrap them around my own life experiences. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be raped, twice at that, and then be used as a chess piece in a corrupted political game. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be so conflicted with love and fear that I endure aggressive physical or mental abuse from any human being. My God, the fight you have to have to survive. I’m blessed and beyond thankful for not having those life experiences, and while my experiences aren’t ones of survival I’m challenged now to ask what is it in my life that I’m fighting for and how hard I’m willing to fight for it? On the flipside, I’m asking how often am I complaining about something being too hard and creating some excuse as to why I should just move on too. I don’t have the answers to any of these questions, but if the world is what the world is and there are eleven-year-old Argentinian girls alongside half decent Hollywood scriptwriters figuring it out I certainly am not afraid to ask the questions, do the work, and come up with some real answers.