December 23, 2018, Phoenix-
The second day of the Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference continued the examination of issues around wealth and building a sustainable new society. There was, however, a necessary sidebar: The curbing of violence against women.
Ms. Layli Miller Muro is Director of Tahirih Justice Center, a nationwide network of programs designed to safeguard women facing all manner of attacks on their person, especially with respect to arranged marriages, particularly of underage girls. Her two presentations today placed a searing light on the many aspects of this issue.
I have long been concerned with the maltreatment of women and children, especially of girls. In my initial work, there was a tendency towards paternalism-though just shy of infantilizing my charges. I have made it a lifelong goal to foster strength and independence- the lioness being more of a model than the fluffy rabbit. What that entails, in real terms, has been a learning process, for yours truly, despite having been raised by an indomitable woman and growing up surrounded by powerful females.
Nonetheless, my learning has continued apace, and the shedding of counterproductive, if well-intentioned, attitudes and thoughts is ongoing.
Mrs. Muro’s major points, in her first presentation, bear intense consideration:
- “Unity is not possible, without justice.
- The beginnings of justice are messy. Purification requires blistering heat.
- Justice is the foundation of a spiritually-based global civilization.
- As an individual, it is better to be killed, than to kill.
- As a society, we must ALL serve as advocates.
- As an individual, immediate forgiveness is essential.
- As a society, swift and complete justice is equally essential.
- It is NOT the victim’s job to arrange justice.
- In the next life ( a spiritual life), justice is even harsher. It’s therefore better for a perpetrator to face justice in this world.”
In the afternoon presentation, Mrs. Muro noted that social action is a tool for achieving justice. We, even as individuals, may not be able to control pain and suffering, but we can control its duration and limit its severity. She noted that justice which does not end in unity is not true justice.
Furthermore, she noted that, if those who face incarceration realize the severity of justice in the spiritual world, they would certainly seek out appropriate punishment in this life.
These thoughts and statements, to me, are worthy of deep thought on the part of the hearer or reader. With me hardly being a paragon of virtue, historically speaking, I am taking Mrs. Muro’s points very seriously and will be devoted all the more to both self-purification and to aiding women and girls in both their self-protection and in advocating for those with a history of victimhood.