Memorial Day is a time to remember and to pledge, yet again, that there shall be no more wars of any kind. The so-called ‘war on women’ should be included in these memories and in the pledge to make war no more. But they are not. Below is an excerpt from my book Women’s Bodies as Battlefield: Christian Theology and the Global War on Women.
The Honored Dead, and Living
After the battle of Gettysburg, the dead, especially the Confederate dead, lay for days in the sun and rain and many were hastily shoved into mass graves. For years afterwards, dead bodies or parts of bodies would heave up from thawing ground.
Abraham Lincoln believed the mass death at Gettysburg “hallowed” the ground as no dedication could do, for it was their deaths that provided the consecration.
It is my argument that the ground at Gettysburg was not “hallowed” but, in following what happens to the body on battlefields, it was a mass grave resulting from mass injury and death.
But the bodies of women killed in the war on women do not even get the recognition of speeches, the places they are injured and buried are not considered consecrated by their deaths, and their fatal injuries not regarded as a mark of heroism.
Today these fallen women’s bodies are heaving up and demanding their lives be valued, and their loss mourned as a vast human atrocity. They shall not indeed have died in vain if we commit ourselves to end the scourge of the war on women. Their suffering and woundedness shall no longer be hidden, excused or even deemed their own fault. And women around the world who live in thrall to fear and suffering inflicted on them too shall be valued, and their value made plain so that women’s bodies can no longer be a place where violence can be enacted as justified or even sacred.
And from this we will learn to study the war on women, and war itself, no more.