We’re Complicit In Sexually Objectifying Her

Posted by on Thursday, Nov 16, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

At one point or another, every woman must deal with the fact that her body is a problem. Isn’t that what we learn from the #METOO movement? Women face sexual objectification, assault, and rape in alarming numbers. Last year there was an outrage for a brief moment. There was hope that change was in the air. Finally, women’s voices heard and bodies appropriately honored. It wasn’t long-lived. The November 8, 2016 vote minimized us, silenced us, – or so it seemed. And as a woman of faith, the deafening silence by my male leaders left me feeling betrayed and disturbed. It’s been a year since Trump was elected, and once again I have a spark of hope. I contribute the outcry to be directly related to last year’s tape and election. Outraged women were silenced but even still the smoldering stayed. Last year‘s silence made way for this year’s cry of “ENOUGH!” I believe that’s what we’re observing with men like Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K. and as I write – Roy Moore. But even with the loud outcry of “enough” I’m bothered by the silence or worse yet, support reported by my brothers of faith. I’ve been noodling on why they support men who objectify women. I choose to think the best and forgo the idea that perhaps they don’t think what’s being done to women as a very big deal. You know, the “boys will be boys” attitude. Rather I’m wondering if it’s because they truly believe the church doesn’t contribute to the sexual exploitation of women. They don’t have a dog in this fight because they protect women rather than sexual objectify them.” It’s time to rethink that! We, the Church, also teach that her body equals sex. We hosted a salon on body image and had women write on sticky notes the messages they received about their bodies from their mom, culture and the church. As we read them out loud you could feel the toxicity. What caught my attention, which I’m sure it’s due to the climate right now, was how the church is also complicit in sexualizing the female body. We don’t do it the same way as our culture, but it’s still very real and present. Here’s a sample of the women’s sticky notes.   Take note how every message relates to her body and men. Sex, purity, and marriage. Her body is a problem for her and for him! Just like those men being accused, we too see her body as sex. Whether she’s a temptress or frigid, she’s defined by her body. And although I’ve never had a man of faith sexually assault my body (there are women who...

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She’s Putting Us On Notice

Posted by on Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Next April I’ll be in Israel teaching on women in the Bible.  One of the women I’m teaching on is Tamar (2 Samuel 13). Tamar was raped by her half-brother Ammon. She pleaded with him not to do it; she knew it would be her demise. In fact, she even suggested he go to their dad, King David, and ask for her hand in marriage. What does that say about her desperation? How many women ask their rapist to marry them? Immediately after he raped her he felt contempt towards her and instructed her to leave his room asap. Can you imagine your rapist looking at you like you violated him? As she left his room she ripped her clothes to let others know what happened to her. Her other brother, upon learning of her rape, instructed her to be silent. Have you ever had someone silence you? Voicelessness is an act of dehumanization. And what did her father do? In her culture, the father was to avenge the dishonor done to the family. As King, David was to obey the law and bring justice. He did nothing. Nothing! It’s like she kept getting violated over and over again. Violated. Discarded. Shamed. Ruined. Silenced. Ignored. Her story is the story of so many women throughout history. And obviously, it’s still our story -in America 1 out of 4 women is sexually assaulted. So when we read the headlines with names like Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., and now Roy Moore – as much as it feels like dominos falling – we must remember we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Over the weeks I have sat back and quietly waited. I’ve waited to see if we would brush this under the rug like we did when we elected President Trump. Last November many of us woke to learn that once again we’d been violated, discarded, silenced, and ignored. So I’ve been waiting. Waiting to see if those in power are willing to take a stand. For us, their sisters. There have been a few voices speaking out, like this morning when Russell Moore tweeted, “A church that worships Jesus stands up for vulnerable women and girls. A church that worships power sees them as expendable.” He couldn’t be more right. And what Tamar’s story conveys to God’s people is… Well, I’ll let you connect the dots. If we look at the book of 2nd Samuel we find: First 10 chapters are David’s successes and the rise of Israel. Last 10 chapters are David’s failures and the decline in Israel. In the middle is what some might call a Hebrew chiasm. Don’t freak out. It’s easy to understand....

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Her Presence = Sexual Misconduct

Posted by on Thursday, Apr 14, 2016 in Blog | 3 comments

I’m reposting this article in the New York Times. Should women be allowed to join “all men” groups? Is the argument they make about increased sexual misconduct legitimate? CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Members of the oldest all-male club at Harvard have almost never spoken publicly about the organization since its founding in 1791. This week, that silence was broken when an official with the group, the Porcellian Club, said that admitting women could increase the chances of sexual misconduct. “Forcing single-gender organizations to accept members of the opposite sex could potentially increase, not decrease, the potential for sexual misconduct,” Charles M. Storey, the president of the club’s alumni group, wrote on Tuesday in a letter to The Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper. As news of the comments, which came in the midst of an effort at Harvard to prevent sexual assault, spread around campus on Wednesday, so did criticism and satire, including an article titled “Club of Wealthy White Men Comes Out in Support of Status Quo.” On Twitter, Representative Katherine Clark, Democrat of Massachusetts, wrote, “Or, instead of blaming women, you could focus on teaching members of your club to NOT sexually assault people.” (Katherine Clark’s statement seems reasonable and responsible) But by the end of the day, Mr. Storey, who is the president of the Harpoon Brewery in Boston, had posted an apology to the company’s website. “I chose my words poorly,” he said, “and it came out all wrong.” Harvard has a long tradition of all-male social clubs. In 1984, the university required these clubs to admit women. At that point, the clubs broke official ties with Harvard, and they remain unrecognized by the university. The clubs, which still play a major role in campus social life, have increasingly faced pressure from the university administration and others to reverse their no-women policy. Last year, the Fox Club and the Spee Club opened their doors to women. But six clubs, including the Porcellian, still admit only men. Harvard College’s dean, Rakesh Khurana — who said in a statement that the single-sex clubs were “at odds with the aspirations of the 21st-century society” — was set to meet with graduate leaders of the groups, known as final clubs, on Wednesday for one in a series of discussions he has held with club members and alumni. “The college has a responsibility to protect our values and our students’ well-being, even in the face of perceived short-term challenges of changing the status quo,” Mr. Khurana said. According to The Crimson, Mr. Storey said in his letter that sexual assault was not a problem at the Porcellian and that the club had become a “scapegoat.” He suggested that women could not be victims...

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A Call To Men

Posted by on Tuesday, Jul 7, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Watch this and ponder how we are raising our men. If you’d like to read a book on the subject check out “The Men We Long to Be: Beyond Lonely Warriors and Desperate...

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We Are More Than A Vagina & Womb

Posted by on Saturday, Mar 21, 2015 in Blog | 3 comments

We like wine and cheese and meaningful conversation in our home. So we host “wine and cheese” gatherings on a regular basic. Here is how they work: A blind copy email is sent to a long list of people with a list of dates. People respond to a date they would like to come. No one knows who else is on the list. They show up at the door with a bottle of wine and a wonderful cheese. Each person sits around our table, never with the person they came with, and a meaningful conversation ensues spurred on by questions my husband has worked through for the night. This year our invites include a book to read prior to coming. A few weeks ago eleven of us gathered to drink wine eat cheese and discuss the book, The Underground Girls of Kabul. It takes place in Afghanistan, a place where boys are preferred over girls. In a male preferred society – a baby boy brings celebration and honor – a baby girl brings shame and burden. A woman’s value lies in her ability to marry and provide a son. To put it more bluntly her value is in her vagina (purity) and her womb (male heir). One of the women at our table was a doctor, the one they call in when a newborn baby is blue – not breathing – going to die. Her job is to make them “yelp,” she said. “I’m good at what I do,” she said. “I can’t imagine feeling shame over hearing the yelp of a baby girl.” Girls are often kept inside away from activities that might expose them to men or boys and therefore bring an appearance of impurity. Adolescent girls can’t be around boys. Period. Purity is crucial. After marriage it’s crucial she bare a son. It’s assumed her body decides the gender, if no son is provided she’s shamed. The husband is shamed as well. Without a son he is less likely to find a job or get a promotion and more likely to be harassed by the community. A son is everything. In a way I hurt for the Afghan men. They live in a country where there’s deep poverty and little employment or advancement. How emasculating to not be able to work or provide. Deprivation is everywhere. Honor and dishonor are tenuous. At any moment what little honor there is can be snatched away. In many ways the honor of a man is totally dependent on another – his wife. If she is pure … if she provides a son … I wonder if deprivation leads to domination over what few things one can control. It might...

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