Day after Day….
Yesterday, a young woman said she wanted to learn to knit, and stitch by stitch her story of hurt and injustice came out. Where she came from, the men around her had the power and they used it to subject her to sexual exploitation. The wounds she carries are deep, and yes, as a coping mechanism to bury some of the hurt, she turns to alcohol. The messages she received left an indelible mark - she was a non-person; a thing; a possession to use when needed. No one was there to keep her safe, to tell her how precious she is. No one protected her, stood up for her, or even acknowledged what happened to her. They turned a blind eye and ignored the soul destroying actions inflicted upon her.
Why then, are we surprized when people "can't make it" in the traditional sense in our communities? Why do we look with disdain at the young woman on the street corner soliciting sex, or the one weaving down the street inebriated? We define "resilience" as the ability to recover quickly from difficulties, the ability to bounce back after misfortune. Bounce back to what? What if a person has never known a positive place to bounce back to? Perhaps their resilience is simply the act of escaping the degradation imposed by circumstances into which they were born. Perhaps resilience is the act of finding a place where you are treated like a person; where you can tell your story; where you are believed; where you find respect.
Day after day we see the resilience of our guests. Day after day we are here to show compassion and love to people who have no experience receiving it. The Oak Table needs your support to continue to be a place of hope for victims in our society who have experienced a life of exploitation. Please make a donation today.