Tamar was a virgin princess in the Old Testament. She was raped by her half-brother.
Tamar’s story is told in the second book of Samuel. She was the daughter of King David and had a full brother, Absalom, and a half brother Amnon. Amnon was infatuated with her, so much so that he pretended to be ill so that Tamar would come to him. David sent Tamar to care for her half brother with cakes she had prepared. Amnon urged Tamar to sleep with him but she refused so Amnon forced her into bed and raped her.
After the rape, Amnon became angry with Tamar and sent her away. She left, tore her clothes and told her brother what had happened. When her father was told what his son had done he did nothing for he loved his son, Amnon, too much. Absalom hated the half brother for what he had done but waited two years and then had Amnon killed. Absalom then fled whilst David searched for him. As is typical with many Biblical narratives involving violence against women, Tamar is silenced and overshadowed by the men in the story and so we do not know what happened to her except that she lived as a ‘desolate woman’.
Tamar’s is the story of a woman who was raped, victim blamed and then ignored. Like so many women around the world who are raped her experiences are never given the full attention or care that they deserve. Her story is all too familiar as she is tricked and abused by a family member who then places the blame upon her and then goes unpunished for a number of years as he is more important to the king, as a male, than she is.
Tamar shares in the experience of too many women around the world through her rape and silencing.
A prayer for Tamar:
Lord God we cry out to you for the suffering of your servant Tamar. We demand justice for all those around the world who are victims of rape. We plead in desperation for an end to violence against women and call out for their voices and experiences to be shared and recognised. We weep for the continuation of the cycle of vengeance and honour killings and pray for all those affected by family abuse. In your most Holy Name we pray. Amen.
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