Judith had been the victim of both verbal abuse and physical assault multiple times throughout her life. Beautiful and tender yet also bold and determined, her kindness did nothing to stop the contempt some had for her. She’d been blamed for things she didn’t do and often took the fall for the wrongdoings of others, even for difficult circumstances having nothing to do with her. Somehow, everything was her fault, even the rain and the wind.
Life wasn’t easy, but she persevered, studying, working hard and finding success.
Eventually, Judith moved back home and was thrilled to be where her heart had always lived and where she knew she belonged, on her family’s land. Unfortunately, not everyone was happy.
One day, someone broke into her house in the attempt to destroy it. Feeling violated, she immediately bought deadbolt locks for the outside doors. It wasn’t enough. The burglars returned, and angered at the new locks on the doors, smashed her windows, entering her house yet again. She was unprepared for this, but upon seeing the broken glass, put up metal bars on all the windows.
Inevitably, the criminals came back, again frustrated at the security measures Judith had taken. They pelted her home with rocks, screaming at the top of their lungs for her to get out, calling her obscenities and whining about why she’d done this to them, blocking their path to her house and her things.
Judith didn’t know what to do, so she put up a fence around her property for protection. Amazingly, though some of her neighbors understood, others, both near and far, accused her of being unfair, insisting that she take down the wall of protection. She refused, upsetting the criminals all the more, and her defiance led to death threats. Many told her to get out or die.
Never questioning her right to live on her family’s land, Judith decided to hire security guards, in case someone jumped the fence or even tunneled under. Any visitors would have to check in first with the guards.
Sadly, she was right to be on alert. After more calls for her demise from the antagonistic neighbors, sure enough, two assailants jumped the fence one night. Armed with knives, they killed a security guard, broke into Judith’s home and murdered one of her children.
This time the protection alone was not enough. Judith had to act. She had to save the rest of her family, and so she shot the perpetrators on the spot, killing them instantly.
What happened next shocked Judith, her family and friends. Many of her surrounding neighbors called for her arrest, siding with the murderers, victimizing them, accusing her of being the aggressor, demanding she leave and telling the world she had no right to live there. They actually said that she was the one in the wrong for being on her family’s land in the first place, and they called the two people who had murdered her child and the guard, martyrs—martyrs because they died for their cause, which apparently, was to break into Judith’s home, destroy it and kill her and her family. And somehow, newspapers both near and far printed headlines condemning Judith’s actions to protect her loved ones, only casually mentioning in the body of the articles that the perpetrators had killed two people, who had accidentally run into their knives.
Though Judith was not arrested, the blame game went on. No matter. She stood her ground, on her land, the land of her family and generations upon generations of ancestors before them. She stayed put, beefed up security measures, and lived her life to the fullest.
The antagonists could obsess over death, but she would embrace life.
D.M. Miller is the author of the interfaith “Heart” series as well as the poetry collection, Dandelion Fuzz and the memoir, Half-Jew: Searching for Identity. The product of an interfaith marriage herself, Miller’s work explores the difficult themes of religion, politics, ethnicity, culture, family, ancestry and love. See her books on Amazon.