In K. Cross & K. O'Donnell (eds.), Feminist Trauma Theologies. London, UK: (2020)

York St John University
In the face of violent crime, mothers are often the most vocal in fighting for justice. When those mothers are also active in a Christian Church, they are well versed in the motifs of sacrifice and forgiveness. From a feminist perspective, these motifs have been severely criticised for weighing more heavily on women than men, given Christianity’s long history of teaching the submission of women and the dominance of men, and, further, have been instrumental in keeping women in abusive relationships. This paper will ask whether: when faced with the traumatic loss of a daughter or son due to the violent actions of another, are the motifs of sacrifice and forgiveness equally problematic or do they help mothers through their grief? Is forgiveness another form of sacrifice required of Christian mothers in the aftermath of violent crime? Does a mother’s fight for justice require that she does not forgive the perpetrator? How do mothers navigate their Christian faith and these varied motifs in recovering from the traumatic grief that they experience following sudden bereavement? This paper will explore these questions by engaging with the accounts of, for example, Julie Nicholson, the Anglican Priest, whose daughter was killed in the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005; Doreen Lawrence, whose son, Stephen, was murdered in a racist attack in London in 1993; Sybrina Fulton and Lucy McBath, whose sons, Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, were fatally shot in separate incidents in Florida in 2012; and mothers affected by the Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017.
Keywords trauma, violent crime, justice, forgiveness, Grenfell
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