Biblical Book: Daniel
sexual assault, disbelieved Women
The story of Susanna comes from the Old Testament Book of the Bible Daniel. In it, Susanna, a wife and mother, goes out into her yard to bathe. She sends her attendants away for oils for her bath, and so she is alone. While this happens, two town elders find each other both secretly watching Susanna from behind bushes. They both lust after her, and so they devise a plan to rape her and blame it on someone else if things go wrong.
When they approach, they tell Susanna she must have sex with them or else they will accuse her of sleeping with an unknown young man. Though she knows that accusation would have her put to death for adultery, Susanna refuses and screams. When others arrive, the elders tell their story and the community believes them rather than Susanna because of their status in the town.
As Susanna is put on trial and about to be sentenced to death, a young man named Daniel who is in the crowd hears her cries to Heaven and says he cannot be a part of putting someone innocent to death. He demands the elders be questioned separately. When this happens, they are asked under which kind of tree Susanna met the young man. Both answer vastly different types of trees, and so they themselves are now condemned to death for their lie. Though we don't know what happened to Susanna after this, Daniel becomes very popular, and her family rejoices not over her life being saved, unfortunately, but over her not having committed the act she was accused of.
You had the unjust, dehumanizing, scarring, traumatizing, and evil crime of sexual violence happen to you. You were questioned, blamed, harmed, disbelieved, shunned, and forever changed because of it - just like, unfortunately - women still are today. Be with and protect all victims of sexual violence and change our society to help rid us of our sexist rape culture.
As a commission with the wishes to portray her with white hair and lilies (the meaning of her name), I also wanted to convey her fear, her strength, and her agony at the unfairness of the system.