Oh my virtue!

The Triumph of Virtue over Vice by Paolo Veronese
The Triumph of Virtue over Vice by Paolo Veronese


Virtue has a number of definitions, but for the purpose of this blog, I’m going to refer to only a few of them.
1. moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.
2. conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude.
3. chastity; virginity: to lose one’s virtue.

I wanted to begin with them as I discussed a recent news story and its subsequent end.  Because, here’s the thing: for a change, procrastination really paid off for me!

Back on the 28th, KHOU posted an article about a 15 year old girl who had been abducted and raped after getting off a bus on her way home from school.    When I read the article, I was mad because the community activist quoted stated that, “The virtue of a young girl is the most precious thing she has – it’s the most valuable thing she has…”  And I was outraged.  Seriously.  I assumed that he was referring to the third definition – her virginity or chastity.  And all I could think was, really?  That’s the most important thing?  Not her life? Not her dignity? Not her intelligence?  But if she’s not a virgin anymore, damn her to hell?  Just wow that people still think that way.  We aren’t trading women for cows for marriage around here anymore, so we need to do away with that outdated thinking.  Blah blah, more outrage on my part.

Then on the 29th, the mother of the girl spoke out to KHOU.  She said that her daughter was traumatized by it, and that she kept telling her daughter “it’s not her fault and that we’re going to get through this.”  And I thought, how very true; the girl shouldn’t feel any blame, and perhaps it was the previous comments that made her feel the blame.  After all, she just “lost” the most valuable part of herself.  My sympathies were with the girl, and with her mother, both of them dealing with a traumatic event.

But…then…it happened.  On the 1st, a new story appeared on KHOU.   After activists got involved…after her mom went to the press…after I had gotten outraged on behalf of the girl and her mother…it was all fake.  The girl had lied.  Apparently, “the detectives became suspicious of the girl’s story during the forensic part of their investigation.”  Neighbors are outraged; the original activist is planning on holding a conference to discuss what happened.  And now we get to the other meaning of virtue.

Apparently, the activist was right.  The girl did lose a kind of virtue that is now gone forever – “moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.”  Lying to police…to her family…to the community.  And we still don’t know why.  Regardless, though, it appears that virtue was compromised on that day, and it will never be able to be given back.

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