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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Young, Single & Her Faith Part 2

Posted by on Thursday, Oct 2, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I’ve been wondering what’s on young single women’s minds when it came to issues like  marriage, work, gender issues, homosexuality, politics and their future dreams. I asked Stacey, a young professional (Christian) woman living in Dallas to write a few blogs to help us know what’s on women’s minds. Here’s what’s on her mind. (Part 1).  From pre-K through twelfth grade I attended private school. The majority of my time was spent at a small Church of Christ school. My graduating class had approximately eighty students. This was the right size to know nearly everything about everybody, and yet not have to be friends with all out of necessity. With this fertile soil and a perfectionist streak, I was an excellent legalist growing up. How sad it is to say I was voted “Most Christ-Like” my senior year! Since then I have encountered the life shattering, tour de force called grace. At times I wonder if some of my evangelical friends/acquaintances have felt the whirlwind of grace at all. Or it could be that my pendulum has swung too far in the other direction, as others have implied. Regardless, I’d rather spend my free time with non-believers. In my small sample size, I have found them on the whole to be very graceful, forgiving, and kind. It’s puzzling and disheartening to see my non-believer friends exude these qualities in greater quantities than far too many of my evangelical friends/acquaintances. Also, I treasure how open-minded my non-believing friends are. The term “open-minded” can easily spring defense walls among evangelicals. This should not be the case. An open-mind does not mean standing for nothing and falling for everything. It is a desire to find truth and confidence in your belief system. Other ideas don’t ruffle your feathers, but instead, deepen your faith. In addition, every time my faith has been challenged, I have come out stronger for it. Though it can be terrifying to examine your worldview – in essence the bedrock of your life – it is critical to know what you believe and why you believe it. Before I digress any further, let me share a few examples heard often among my evangelical friends and the at large community. In no particular order: (1) treating the Republican Party as if it is God’s political party; (2) claiming to be antiabortion while actually having the appearance of being probirth; (3) holding antiquated views of rape culture; (4) the entire homosexuality issue. We shall save immigration for another day. Just because the Republican Party is more conservative and seems to attract more Christians does not make it “God’s party”. God is much bigger than a political party. Moreover, this is extremely...

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Cheeseburgers & Hobby Lobby

Posted by on Monday, Jun 23, 2014 in Blog | 7 comments

In a few weeks we will celebrate Independence Day. On the 4th of July, we watch parades and fireworks and have family barbeques by the pool. Rarely while eating a cheeseburger or drinking ice-cold coke do I contemplate the 50,0000 men and women who paid a price for my independence. It’s just too far away – they are too far gone in the distance. Now, mention 9/11 and immediately violent emotions are evoked as well as images of those planes slamming into the World Trade Center. Distance from an event can move us from somber reflection to eating cheeseburgers. Truth be told, I’m eating cheeseburgers when it comes to next week’s Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The court case raises the question of whether a corporation has the legal right to refuse to comply with provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which would require it to provide contraceptive health insurance for its female employees. Hobby Lobby argues that it should be granted exemption from the law because it conflicts with the corporation’s religious beliefs. There are many nuances to the case and my point here is not to present or argue them, but rather to remind us that perhaps we should at least pay attention. I grew up in a time when having a choice over our body was normative, especially in the area of contraceptives. I’ve been taking contraceptives for decades without any consideration of how we got to the point where it was a non-issue. Cheeseburgers. That’s why when I or other women I know hear about the Hobby Lobby court case, we yawn. “Are we really still talking about contraceptives?” It’s so passé’ At least that’s how I used to think…until I spent a summer in East Africa. News in the village that summer morning of 2013 was that a woman had spent the night in jail because she told her husband he could not take another wife. Polygamy is normative in some countries like South Sudan. For instance, just this past month Kenya legalized polygamy. Although some women’s groups applauded the decision because the long fixed tradition now legitimized all marriages including customary marriages, they also acknowledge the law gives men the ability to marry other women without the consent of the first wife. Why anyone would want more than one wife is beyond me. Don’t those men know that women living together end up on the same menstrual cycle! Anyways, the woman in Yei, South Sudan was arrested because she violated her husband’s right to multiple wives. Now, hang in there, because this does have implications to the Hobby Lobby case. Unlike us American women, women in places like South Sudan...

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