Today parts of the church, especially those of Frankish origin, remember a 9th Century saint whose story is all too familiar: Saint Solange, Patron Saint of Sexual Assault Victims and Resistor of Rape.
Saint Solange was the daughter of poor vineyard workers in central France. She eventually took on the role of shepherdess, tending her sheep in the fields of the area. She was raised devout in the faith.
Her beauty attracted the attention of a local nobleman. She rebuffed his advances, even though he continually sought her out, especially while she was doing her work in the fields, alone.
Yet, she persisted.
Frustrated by her lack of interest in him, he snuck up on her one night and, using brute force, kidnapped her. In the moments after being taken Saint Solange struggled violently and, as a result, fell from the horse he had tied her to as they were crossing a stream. Her abductor was so angry at her reluctance to do what he told her to and give up her body to him, he killed her on the spot.
The year was 880 A.D.
But it was also this year. And last. And every year before it.
She is remembered as a strong woman who, when accosted by the wealthy and powerful men who thought they could do what they wanted to her and with her, resisted. Her tale is one of bravery, fear, and one all too often repeated in this life.
She is a reminder to me, and should be for the whole church, that patriarchal systems of power must never be reinforced, must never be taught and, where they are found, must be resisted and fought against.
And we need to teach this to all our children, regardless of gender.
Let those with ears to hear, hear.
-information gleaned from public sources as well as Daily Magic by Judika Illes