These past weeks have dredged up deep pain for many recalling personal experiences of sexual assault, rippling through families, circles of friends, synagogue communities and beyond. This prayer, offered at Shabbat services at Temple Israel, seeks to give voice to the silenced.

A Prayer for Assaulted Bodies and Souls

On this Shabbat and every Shabbat,
around us, among us, and within us
are those whose bodies and whose souls
and whose hearts suffer assault:
Bodies harmed by the power of another,
scarred by unwanted advances,
and pained by forceful encounters desperately refused.

There are around us, among us, and within many of us
souls hurt by the harm of another’s hateful words,
and hearts wrenched by the woe our loved ones suffer.
For as they weep, their tears seep
into the broken cracks of silence and disregard,
a flowing pain seeking solace…

Around us, among us, and within us
are bodies, souls, hearts
that cry out to be heard, to be seen, to be believed;
they cry out to be understood, represented, protected;
they cry out for repair, mending, for healing…
And so we pray…
for healing that softens hurt,
healing that mends the breaks,
healing that repairs the tears,
healing that dries flowing tears…

Whether they are around us, among us,
unknown to us…or they are US
We pray for the healing of hearing and witnessing.
We pray for the healing of solidarity and strength.
We pray for all who cry out to us to be heard and seen.
Mi shebeirach avoteinu v’imoteinu,
may the One who blesses the generations
Hear us, see us, heal us. Amen.

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