Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?” - Ruth 2:5
There’s a popular meme circulating that says: “She’s someone’s sister/mother/daughter/wife.”
The premise of the meme is that women deserve to be loved and respected because they mean something to someone else.
The people who share it hope a man won’t be physically or emotionally violent toward a woman because she could be someone’s sister, mother, daughter or wife. Her relationship to others is supposed to call men to see her humanity—to care about who she is because of who she belongs to. And that recognition is supposed to stop them from committing harm.
Yet, seven out of ten rapes are committed by someone the victim knows; 45% of perpetrators are acquaintances of the victim and 25% of perpetrators are the current partner or spouse of the victim.
Identifying a woman’s interpersonal relationships as a way to convince men to stop being abusive is a dangerous precedent to set, especially because abuse is likely happening at the hands of a man the victim knows.
I’m glad the original meme inspired an equally viral spinoff meme. In the new version, “sister, mother, daughter and friend” are crossed out. It says: “She is someone’s sister, mother, daugher and friend.”
She is someone.
A woman’s safety shouldn’t depend on the clothes she wears or how much she drinks.
A woman’s safety shouldn’t depend on the kinship she has or the career path she takes.
She is someone.
And her existence as someone, who is fearfully and wonderfully made, should be a good enough reason that she doesn’t have to live in a world in constant fear of violation.
Dear God, she is someone and so am I. In a world that wants us to justify our right to safety, let our humanity be enough. Amen.
Marchaé Grair is the Director of Public Relations and Outreach for the Unitarian Universalist Association and a member of South Euclid United Church of Christ, South Euclid, Ohio.