On March 8th, New York Times printed an article titled “Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town.” This article informs the reader about a gang rape of an elementary aged girl. The incident took place in a Texas community and involves 18 young men. The crime itself seems almost unimaginable. Yet, it gets worse; the writer seemed to point fingers at the victim. The victim being an 11-year old child!
In a journalistic nature, Mr. McKinley interviewed individuals in the community. One has to question though not only his type of reporting, but the community in which he was investigating. Quoting from the article, “she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.”
What? I had to reread that sentence. Surely the person quoted didn’t mean she deserved it. Did they? Then a neighbor goes on to question the victim’s mother. Are you serious? Even if the mother was negligent, that does not constitute rape?
What type of society have we become when we blame the victim or the victims mother? I will tell you what type of society we have become:
A Rape Culture.
Definition taken from the book Transforming a Rape Culture,
“A rape culture is a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm.
In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable as death or taxes. This violence, however, is neither biologically nor divinely ordained. Much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change.”
Before I go any further, let me clearly state I do not consider myself an all out feminist. Although growing up in the sixties, embracing burning bra’s and listening to Helen Reddy sing “I am Woman, “ did my teenage heart good! Those are years gone by and I strive to be the woman of God I am called to be. A calling which includes deep respect and submission to my husband. Not in a subservient type of way!
Scripture tells me my husband is to love me like Christ loves the church and I am to be submissive to him. (which I probably haven’t mastered yet.) These verses are not telling my husband to hoard himself over me and treat me like some second class citizen. No, he is to love me like he loves himself. While I am called to respect him and his decisions as he leads our family.
Being somewhat of a feminist, I do in fact defend social and equal opportunities for women. I strive to raise my three daughters to be strong, independent women, because this day and age…they have to be.
Do you get the picture? This post is not being written by some “man hater” trying to bash men. It is written from a woman who believes deeply in right and wrong. One who has serious concerns within my own heart and soul about the moral fiber of this society. A heart which sees men and woman on the same playing field with lines clearly defined by our Abba Father.
Those clear lines include sexual boundaries. A boundary where sexual violence is certainly NOT a fact of life. This blog has presented information which leads one to believe that we are in a war against women and children. The article mentioned above confirms that for me. When reading down through the article, it was apparent the writer as well as those interviewed felt more compassion for the perpetrators and community than the victim.
So, where and when do we as a society take responsibility for this “rape culture” mentality? Are we to stick our heads in the sand? Do we pass it off as the signs of the time and only pray for the victim and these young men but nothing more. The answer is a resounding NO.
Referring back to my post at the beginning of the week, Jesus was not some mansy pansy and we should not be either. We need to get angry at moral failure. We can not be afraid to confront the attitudes and behaviors which are affecting the core of our society!
It is time dear ones! Time to rise up! Sound the alarm! Speak up and out against this shameless culture defined by disrespect, lackadaisical attitudes and moral failure.