I just read this, on Unfundamentalist Parenting.
Tamar was wearing a long robe with many colors. The king’s virgin daughters wore robes like this. Tamar tore her robe of many colors and put ashes on her head. Then she put her hand on her head and began crying. Then Tamar’s brother Absalom said to her, “Have you been with your brother Amnon? Did he hurt you? Now, calm down sister. Amnon is your brother, so we will take care of this. Don’t let it upset you too much.” So Tamar did not say anything. She quietly went to live at Absalom’s house. King David heard the news and became very angry, but he did not want to say anything to upset Amnon, because he loved him since he was his firstborn son. Absalom began to hate Amnon. Absalom did not say one word, good or bad, to Amnon, but he hated him because Amnon had raped his sister Tamar.
~ 2 Samuel 13:18
As a child and survivor advocate, I find Tamar’s story to be one of the most haunting in the Bible. Along with the murder of Abel and the rape of Dinah, Tamar’s abuse shows how parents and leaders have failed to properly understand and respond to child abuse since the beginning of time.
Their actions have amplified the damage instead of fostered healing. It was Amnon who first caused Tamar to tear her robe in grief. Yet her father David and her brother Absalom cause a second tearing of the robe, by forcing Tamar into further silence and shame. Absalom later goes on a murderous rampage against Amnon, but Tamar — her story, her injustice, even her very existence — vanish from the text, as absent from future biblical narratives as they are from most sermons and pulpits today.
It shows how people have been failing child abuse survivors, forever. And it still goes on. Particularly with church people. Continue reading