Deliver Us from Evil

I read a story on the Internet
This morning, how a young man pulled upon
The bra strap of a classmate once, and twice,
In fact so many times they both lost count,
Until the teacher told her, “Ignore him,”
Until she off and banged him in the nose.
Her mother, summoned, heard the sorry tale,
Demanded why the teacher failed to stop
A sexual assault upon the girl
And why her daughter now faced discipline
For acting to defend herself when the
Officials of the school would not. This prayer
Is not about the girl. This prayer is for
The boys, the boys and men: the boys and men
Who act as if they own the women they
Encounter, act as if the metaphor
Of Adam’s rib grants power that cannot
Be questioned. “Once the rib was mine, so you
Are mine, and I can follow every whim,
Shout epithets, touch wantonly, decide
For her, invade her body sexually
And surgically. As if the rib was not
A sign of shared connection, seal of joint
Authority. O God, you came to Earth
A-walking in the robes of man. You stood
Upon the temple with the tempter, looked
Across the world a-glitter, turned aside
The proffered gift of power. “Lead us not
Into temptation,” you invited us
To pray, who knew temptation’s charm and lure.
Equip us to resist temptation, we
Who cannot seem to understand that we
Deserve no privilege of power one
Over another, no ability
To shape the life of woman (or of man)
To our will. Equip us to resist
Temptation, and deliver women from
Our evil. In your holy name, Amen. 

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