One day I decided to go on a diet and to eat healthier food. I prepared a dinner of nutritious fare and followed it up with an orange. That night, I became horrendously ill, and someone told me it was because I had followed up dinner with the orange.
By the next morning it was apparent that I had contracted the stomach flu, and the person next to me in bed was also violently ill.
I say this to say that sometimes what we consider to be a cause and effect situation is nothing of the kind but an indication that something else is the matter.
Lately Christians have been backlashing against the #metoo movement. There have been several arguments that I have witnessed floating around my Facebook page, and I wish to mention a few of them here.
Some of those around me have said that the rash of sexual harassment allegations are the rotten fruit of the sexual revolution. I scratched my head when I heard that, but as time has gone on, I have heard this sentiment repeated with more and more frequency.
The idea goes like this: if a woman can be sexual with a man when she wants to, sex, therefore, has no meaning, and thus you cannot expect not to be sexually harassed. Again, I scratched my head.
It is victim shaming at its finest.
An article that I read even had the audacity to claim that a young Harvey Weinstein would have been attending school during a period when sex was thus meaningless in a classroom with no Bible and no prayer and that this very environment would not have equipped him to know not to sexually harass women.
I, at first, saw one Christian leader post this message, and others have followed suit. This reasoning implies that if you are somebody who eschews the sexual revolution that you won't be harassed.
Statistics show that women who wear modest clothing are not any less likely to be victims of assault and I wrote an entire piece that you can read here about how modest clothing is not the answer.
Another problem with this message is that it came after the Matt Lauer allegations, and it it absolutely shocking to me that we would victim blame those who were at their job trying to deliver the news.
It's also implying that if a woman should choose to be in a sexual relationship with a man or to wear what she wants that she can only expect to get raped. It's to say that it's her fault, and it's giving an invitation to any predator out there, because victims will be shamed and blamed.
Please note I am not advocating sex outside of marriage. What I am saying is that sex outside of marriage, to some Christians, means that you are fair game to anyone who wants to assault you. That reasoning is very, very wrong and is sick.
Another message I have heard recently is that victims are complicit if they do not quit their jobs when inappropriately propositioned. That is to say that they aren't 'real victims'.
The problem here is that we're saying that sexual harassment should be a protected set of behaviors and that it is the job of victims to stay away from the perpetrators.
We have laws in this country against sexually harassing people on the job so that women should not have to quit and give up their livelihoods in order to be protected.
When a boss exhibits these behaviors, it is bullying, because it employs intimidation, a fear of reprisal and a threat of losing her job as a repercussion for not allowing his advances. When we, as Christians, for some reason also feel the need to add to the pile on and question the motives and actions of these women, it is also a type of bullying.
The people listening to the rhetoric and the pushback may be people who have experienced sexual harassment and abuse and may now realize it isn't prudent to stand up, because they may not readily be believed. It does much to silence victims and to keep people from coming forward.
I've heard people questioning the circumstances of some of the public allegations heavily, too, and this makes it harder for people to report things in the future, because victims will also question themselves and feel confusion as to whether they share blame if they perceive the circumstances to be ambiguous.
But like the stomach virus that was blamed on the orange, the issue is sexual predators not immodest dress, having sexual partners, using alcohol, going out on a date, or any other factor.
People have also been claiming that rape allegations often ruin the lives of men. An article that you can read here shows that studies reveal clear patterns regarding false rape claims. They either tend to come from teenagers past their curfew who are afraid of getting in trouble, or they come from troubled people with histories of false accusations, incarceration, and severe mental illness.
It also found that 52 cases of false rape accusations led to jail time in the past 28 years but that 790 such cases existed for murder charges. It is also well-known that only six men will ever go to jail for every 1,000 rapes. Let that sink in for a moment.
The anger that I'm hearing seems to be directed at women, because women shouldn't do be successful or ambitious, or flirty, or sexual, or anything that we deem threatening. And since this anger seems to be directed at women, it appears that the #metoo movement is threatening a system that many people hold dear.
What is terribly and unbelievably sad is how unaware people are that #metoo affects men, too. Men are also sexually harassed and bullied in this manner, but usually stay silent because there is even more shame associated with it.
Still, the vitriol I am hearing is directed at woman as if this is a gender war.
It might be the patriarchy at play, but it could also be a system that accords certain people power as long as everybody else knows the role that they play. If women no longer know their roles and can be afforded the same rights as everybody else, perhaps it threatens to topple a system that only benefits some.
It seems that girls are not as important in this power structure, and I daresay that people of other ethnic groups are not so either. Why else would people be so strongly against the coming forward of victims in America in every walk of life?
It makes me think long and hard about the people that I choose to fellowship with and those who will I allow to be around my daughter. I wrote here about how I do not trust anybody around her and why.
It also seems apparent that some women are more than happy to silence and belittle their own kind in order to maintain the measure of power and influence that they have.
But there is a better way.
Proverbs 31:8 says, 'Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.'
We can do better than this. We don't need to uphold a system that denigrates others or that looks the other way when other people would dare to do so.
We are famous for asking ourselves what would Jesus do, and the one thing I think we can be certain of is that He would tell us that those of us who are without sin can be the first to throw a stone at the women being accused.
His words might imply that she isn't a virgin or free from sin in this life but that we who would accuse her don't really care about her sin. We have another agenda in place, in this case, diverting attention from something we're trying to protect.
In Jesus' case, the leaders wanted Him dead to protect status, power, influence, and their followings, and in our case, well, perhaps we should stop and think about who and what we're protecting.
It might make us wonder why we, the religious, are so keen on casting rocks in the direction of the victims of rape and sexual harassment and whether this is a cause that Jesus would have died for.
Think a woman can't take an active role in her own life and pop the question? Think again!
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