A Braided Essay about Women and Silence and Shame
by Ronna Detrick, M.Div.
“…the COO stood in the doorway of my office, looked me straight in the eyes –
his stone cold, and politely asked if I had time to talk. It wasn’t really a question.
I instinctively looked away from him as I nodded my yes.
Shame coursed through my body before he spoke another word.
I felt caught without even knowing why…”
It is only in naming what is true – no matter how hard – that we can hope for change.
Throwing Stones, though “only” one essay and just over 20 pages in length, is far bigger.
It has taken a lot – time, courage, perseverance, emotion – to get this story out of myself and into my world.
Throwing Stones weaves my contemporary experience with an ancient, sacred one. It speaks clearly and powerfully, even painfully, to the silencing and shame that I have known, that too many women have known – and know still. More, it acknowledges the beauty and power of a woman’s lived experience which, when seen, heard, and honored is impossible to ignore.
There was a part of me that felt it was too much to publish, that it was too much to make it a physical book, too much, period. But to NOT make it available would perpetuate the very reality of which this story tells, of which my story tells. And that was not acceptable to me.
It is my deepest hope that Throwing Stones will resonate with every woman (and man) who reads it, that it will generously and honestly reveal painful themes and realities that yet remain, that it will invite conversation, and most of all, that it will compel change.
I would love it if, after buying a copy for yourself, you would buy more. Not for my sake, but for other women (and men) you know – and those you do not. Leave a copy in a coffee shop, a corporate lobby, your doctor’s office, the church foyer, any and every place in which women find themselves, where women ever feel silenced and shamed.
May we boldly and endlessly speak our truth.
And may our truth be the very thing that ushers the beauty and strength
of our voices, our very selves, into the world.
Weaving together an ancient story of shame and silencing with her own story, Ronna’s words brought me to tears. Viscerally, I felt her own humiliation and the scorn of the angry crowd who desired to deny her a voice – not one of them blameless. A poignant reminder that maybe our world is not so very much different from the ancient one in the text, and a call to each of us to stand and speak truth and help each other to do the same, Ronna’s work compels me to action on my own behalf and for the sake of everyone who has felt powerless against the status quo. My deepest hope is that some day my daughters will read this text and wonder how being shamed and silenced must feel, instead of having the words resonate from the depths of their souls.Renae Cobb
Ronna Detrick is a fierce storyteller. In this short and densely powerful piece, Ronna has masterfully woven together two powerful stories – so masterfully that at times it feels as if the two are one. Truth be told, they are. Throwing Stones is a heart-grabbing read; one in which you will find yourself and your experiences as a woman both mirrored and illumined.Julie Daley
Powerful, moving, profound. A painfully timeless story, known all too well by so many of us, but with an offering of redemption that feels like sweet soul’s salve.Tanya Geisler