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Today's rhaps is on ... St. Thaney

St. Thaney - Protector of the Abused

St. Thaney of Wales and Scotland was only eleven when she was thrown off a cliff by her parents to die, hurled from rugged Trapain Law near Haddington, East Lothian, into the cold North Sea. By her parents. Her own parents.

Blamed and shamed for her pregnancy, mercy would indeed have let her die, a kinder death releasing forever the pain of human hatred. For when that hatred comes from one's own family, it is exponentially magnified. Honor killings may indeed be less cruel than their survival. If they be quick.

Not all cultures kill you for disgracing the family. Protestant families don't kill you, for example, at least not all at once. Instead of sudden death or Catholic absolution, what is dealt is rather perpetual shame and eternal blame, a lifetime of "othering" or outright ostracizing. This is considered superior to killing one's girlchild. It's a slower death, like a virus planted at the base of your spine, an incurable condition. It is, in other words, life without parole.

Surviving trauma may be bleak, unless both an honest acknowledgment of one's innocence is paired with a new kindness towards one's person. In St. Thaney's story, a coracle, "a wee boat without rudder or oars," carried her through choppy waters to a new family of life and joy, where she and baby were taken in, loved, and thereby fully healed.


Today honor killings continue, all over our globe. According to the UN, 5000 women die every year in honor killings perpetuated by family members.

Syrian artist Fadia Affash depicts the humiliation, horror, and survival of this trauma in her Interrogation, Honor Crime, and Transformation:

I find in her Transformation a profound message of hope, deep within this world of despair.

What in us continues to live and breathe, nurtures and heals our broken hearts.

For when we survive, we are the hope.

When we survive, like St. Thaney, we are testimony to a truth larger than hatred, a courage larger than the fear, a reality larger than the tribe.

And like St. Thaney's coracle, "a wee boat without rudder or oars," may we be carried through choppy waters to a new life, a new family of joy, where healing and love can grow again.

11 November 2021

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