roses – how the purity culture taught me to be abused

by Samantha

[warning: I am going to be talking about sensitive, sex-related issues today, including rape and sexual assault. ]

First, let me share my rationale for talking about this. When I started this blog, my intention was to leave a lot of what I’m about to say unsaid. I wanted to discuss, mainly, more of the philosophies and ideologies entrenched in the IFB movement and conservative evangelicalism at large, instead of some of my personal hang-ups.

But, I’ve been doing an incredible amount of reading recently, and her.menutics at Christianity Today has announced they’re going to be talking about some of these things, and they have been under heavy discussion by many writers, including Dianna Anderson and Sarah Moon. However, there is one area of this discussion that I’ve noticed is missing, and that’s what I’m going to be contributing today.

Essentially, I will be arguing that the modesty/purity/virginity culture, especially in more conservative areas, is one of the main reasons why Christian young women stay in abusive relationships.

Many writers have already made the connection between the purity culture and the rape culture, and they have done a much better job establishing that than I ever could. I encourage you to read their arguments. You can find more links on my “other dragon fighters” page. What these men and woman are arguing for is incredibly valuable, and they’re establishing a healthy, productive rhetoric; what I’m offering here is merely a subset to that discussion.

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When I was fourteen, I went to a month-long summer camp at the college I would later attend. Like most Christian summer camps, this one involved going to a chapel service twice a day. Most of the time they were fun, lighthearted– until one evening they split up the girls and the boys. Great, I remember thinking, because I knew exactly what was coming. Segregation can only mean one thing– they were going to talk about sex. I sighed when they made the announcement. Again? I thought wearily.

That evening, when the camp counselors had shooed all the men and boys out of the building, the speaker got up to the podium. She didn’t even beat around the bush, but launched right into her object lesson. Holding up a king-size Snickers bar, she asked if anyone in the audience wanted it. It’s a room full of girls– who doesn’t want chocolate? A hundred hands shot up. She picked a girl close to the front that wouldn’t have to climb over too many people and brought her up to the stage. Very slowly, she unwrapped the Snickers bar, splitting the package like a banana peel. She handed it to the young woman, and asked her, very clearly, to lick the chocolate bar all over. Just lick it.

Giggling, the young lady started licking the chocolate bar, making a little bit of a show of it. At fourteen, I had no idea what a blow job was, so I missed the connection that had a lot of girls in the room snorting and hooting. The young lady finished and handed it back to the speaker. As she was sitting down, the speaker very carefully wrapped the package around the candy bar, making it look like the unopened package as possible.

Then she asked if anyone else in the room wanted a go.

No one raised her hand.

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My sophomore year in college, another speaker shared a similar object lesson– ironically, in the exact same room, also filled exclusively with women. She got up to the podium carrying a single rose bud. At this point I was more familiar with sexual imagery, and I knew that the rose had frequently been treated as a symbol for the vagina in literature and poetry– so, again, I knew what was coming.

This speaker asked us to pass the rose around the room, and encouraged us to enjoy touching it. “Caress the petals,” she told us. “Feel the velvet.” By the time the rose came to me, it was destroyed. Most of the petals were gone, the ones that were still feebly clinging to the stem were bruised and torn. The leaves were missing, and someone had ripped away the thorns, leaving gash marks down the side.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I could go on. I imagine many of you have heard similar object lessons. These “object lessons” aren’t isolated to evangelical culture, either– Ariel Levy writes about one she saw involving packing tape in her book Female Chauvinist Pigs.

However, all of these object lessons contribute to one message: your identity and value as a woman is tied to your sexual purity. If you surrender your virginity, you are worthless. Disgusting. Repulsive. Broken. Unwanted.

My generation has gotten that message loud and clear. Our virginity is the “greatest gift a woman can give her husband.” My own father, who was a virgin when he met my mother, on repeated occasions has told me that my mother having sex when she was in highschool bothers him — to this day, and they’ve been married twenty-six years. Mark Driscoll, in his new marriage-advice book, tells his readers that if he had known of a single sexual encounter his wife had at nineteen, he would not have married her. Finding out about it, over a dozen years into their marriage, sent him into a self-admitted emotional tailspin (however, we’re supposed to completely ignore the fact that he had sex, too).

There are so many other examples I could cite, both factual and fictional. The ultimate message is that if we give up our virginity, or even our “emotional purity,” which I’ll get to in a minute, makes us completely repulsive to “good Christian boys.”

I know a young man who told me, point-blank, that finding out his ex-girlfriend had sex made her unattractive to him, and that he would no longer consider “getting back” with her, even though until that point he had been relentlessly pursuing her.

He is not a virgin.

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But what if your sexual purity, or your virginity, is stolen? What if you are sexually abused, or raped?

The answer, terrifyingly, is the same.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I met “John” at the tail-end of my sophomore year. He was handsome, charismatic, an excellent musician, talented, popular, and respected. He was running for student council president, was a part of the “in,” crowd, and… I was not. That had never particularly bothered me. Growing up IFB kinda means you get used to being a weird outsider. But, I could still appreciate those qualities. The night we met, he basically ignored me, which, I assume you can imagine, felt pretty typical.

My junior year, though, we were both percussionists in my college’s symphony orchestra, and the conductor asked us to be a part of the school’s major production that semester– The Pirates of Penzance. Rehearsals were four nights a week, from 6 pm to 1 or 2 am. As percussionists, we didn’t have a whole lot to do, except occasionally whack the cassa bass or the triangle. That left a lot of time for bonding… and, by the end, we were “talking,” the evangelical intermediary between “acquaintance” and “monogamous relationship.” We were official by February, and he proposed in August.

For my own emotional stability, I will be brief. The relationship was emotionally, verbally, physically, and sexually abusive. Like countless other stories, the abuse slowly escalated– I had no idea what was happening until it was too late.

Women in, or who have recently escaped from, violent relationships typically get asked “why do/did you stay?” Very frequently, they don’t have a solid answer to that question. There are a host of common reasons– daddy issues, economic stability, shame.

I know exactly why I stayed. I was crippled, paralyzed, and overwhelmed by fear. Fear that he would abandon me. Fear that, if he left, I would no longer have any value. John had literally ruined me, in my mind, for anyone else.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Long story short: he did leave me, breaking our engagement two months before the wedding. His reasoning: I was not “submissive” enough. One month before he broke it off, I had cut off anything sexual. I would no longer participate in the degrading phone sex where he referred to me exclusively as “bitch” and “whore.” I shied away from his touch. And I had the audacity to tell him that he couldn’t call me a “God damn fucking bitch” anymore. Yup. Definitely not submissive-wife material. I was certainly not Created to be his Helpmeet.

It’s been three years since then, and I’m now married to the most amazing, loving, gentle, tender man I couldn’t have even dreamed to ask for. But, I’m still healing from a lot of the abuse, and there are a few things I still violently struggle with, mainly that:

my internalized “purity” narrative tells me that what John did was not rape.

The first “sexual” thing John ever did was to put his hand, facing palm-up, on my percussionist’s stool. I was standing to turn the page, and when I sat down, he grabbed my ass. I found this titillating, exciting. I didn’t protest, I didn’t correct him. I coyly asked him what he was doing, and he said “oops.”

I wore v-neck sweaters that just barely showed off my cleavage, because he liked it. I wore a skirt that showed off my ass– because he liked it.

By the time he had become fully abusive, these behaviors continued, largely because I was terrified of what he would do if I didn’t. At one point our relationship was long distance, and he bought me a webcam. The first time he told me to take my shirt off, I told him no. I even shut my laptop. He spent the next two hours screaming obscenities at me, and he was violent the next time he saw me in person. The first time he raped me, I fought him– for one brief second, until he dug the band of his watch into my knee– leaving a cut so deep I have a long, puffy scar. It was a warning.

I have to constantly fight against the oppressive lie that an outsider looking in would think that I had consented. Geez, just because you never had an orgasm doesn’t mean he violated you. C’mon. You’re just frigid. 

I have to constantly fight that lie that because I didn’t “fight enough,” because I didn’t choose to immediately leave the relationship, that it meant that I deserved what happened to me.

I have to constantly fight against the lie that says because I wasn’t pure enough, that because I had “dressed provocatively,” because I had allowed myself to be alone with him, that I invited it. That I had allowed it to happen.

I have to fight the lie that says that maybe I’m making all of this “rape” stuff up to make myself feel better about allowing it to happen.

He didn’t actually rape you, you’re just saying that because you’re blaming him. You didn’t keep yourself pure, that’s all. You just know that if you really allowed yourself to face the facts, you’d see the truth. You’re a disgusting piece of shit. You’re worthless.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That last one is why the modesty/purity culture can be so incredibly damaging. Many girls and women I’ve talked to have it so deeply ingrained into them that it’s virtually inescapable. When it comes between choosing what’s worse– staying in abusive relationship, or facing the “reality” that you’ve “surrendered your purity,” guess which one we choose?

Comments open below

Samantha grew up in the homeschool, patriarchy, quiverful, and fundamentalist movements, and experienced first-hand the terror and manipulation of spiritual abuse. She is now married to an amazing, gentle man who doesn’t really get what happened to her but loves her anyway. With him by her side and the strength of God’s promises, she is slowly healing.

Samantha blogs at Defeating The Dragons and is a member of The Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

 

About Suzanne Calulu
  • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com Retha

    Oh, Samantha, I pray that people with hearts read this and take it to heart in what they teach. I love your spirit and am so glad you found a loving husband.

  • Theo

    Oh yeah, I can relate to this. I was in a verbally/emotionally/physically abusive relationship for 10 months when I was 18. (There wasn’t any physically sexual component of the relationship, just lots and lots of innuendo, usually at my expense.) By the time I accidentally ran across a similar story and a list of warning signs, I was suicidal and doing my best to avoid the guy at every opportunity, and when I did work up the courage to break up with him, I became the bad guy in my church, my family, and their circle of friends. Part of the reason I stayed for so long was because, I guess, he had mentioned all kinds of sexual things he wanted to do “to” me (a la “fuck you till your eyes pop out”) and I believed that I had already lost my worth to anyone but him. And of course he threatened me that once we got married (after graduating high school…HAHAHA no), divorce was not an option, and for some reason I felt like /that/ was also a reason I had to stay; because I’d already told him I would eventually marry him.

    I think that /so many/ of the Church’s teachings–on human nature and human worth, on gender roles, on friendship, on romantic relationships and marriage, on wrongdoing, damaging behavior, and abuse, on children, on respect, on walking away–perpetuate the culture of abuse and degradation. The entire atmosphere seems very toxic to me now.

  • Libby M

    I am so sorry that happened to you. I personally like the Porsche analogy a lot better. You have the keys to your Porsche. And you can let people drive your Porsche but it is still YOUR Porsche, not that other persons… Ever. And yes, someone can come by and steal the keys for the car from your purse but it is still theft. And when you get it back it still has worth… You still have worth. Yes you are violated and you have emotional scaring from it but you are still worth something! Yes some men (really inferior men) only want to be the very first driver and never want to give up the keys even to you, but not all men. You can have a fun time driving the car all by yourself in fact! It is wise to let someone you might want to let drive it know its history be that the abuse it when through or and how it likes to be driven… But that isn’t the law. I mean it isn’t like the other guy is on the title!

  • Libby M

    Another theory that is interesting though I don’t like so much (too out there for me) is the jam model. You can see the YouTube video by searching jam 2013 SexEdProjectVideos. As I said it is not how I see it so much as the car one…

  • http://sarahoverthemoon.com Sarah Moon

    I stayed with my abuser because he would tell me to my face that most good Christian men would want a virgin. Since I was abused as a kid, I wouldn’t be good enough. But HE was just so merciful and generous that he didn’t care. He told me this all of the time and I believed him. Yes, to all of this.

  • http:///krwordgazer.blogspot.com Kristen Rosser

    I like this. A lot.

  • The_L

    The other one that bothers me is the lock-and-key story, which is just used to bolster the horrible double-standard about virginity. “A key that opens many locks is a wonderful thing, but a lock opened by too many keys is worthless.”

    Funny how that can be turned around. After all, a pencil sharpener that can sharpen many pencils is a wonderful thing, but a pencil that’s been in too many sharpeners…

  • http://www.davidacuff.blogspot.com David Cuff

    Samantha,
    Thank you for the candid thoughts and illustrations regarding sexual purity and self-worth. I have been married for almost 29 years and have learned overtime the importance of love, oneness, and mutual respect. I believe we live in a fallen world that often is contrary to the three qualities I have mentioned. The Bible gives us many core principles for marriage and also leaves much to exploration and personal experience.
    I am sorry for those whose personal experience has led them to doubt and challenge the Biblical principles for marriage. I am also sorry for those who have used vivid illustrations to warn of loosing your self-worth if those principles are violated. But…Jesus is our redeemer and the Bible is a message of redemption. While many of us have fallen from the Biblical standard for sexuality, if we repent and turn back to His guidance we can walk in the Light of His love for ourselves and our spouse.
    Let me also say that if we look to Christ for our redemption and self-worth then who we are does not fade or fizzle through relationship or feelings…and will keep us looking for those who respect the dignity and Christ-worth that are ours because of what Jesus did for us at the Cross.
    Thanks for allowing my two cents….
    David Cuff

  • Lolly

    Hah! Thanks. I was looking for a reply to the lock/key BS that wouldn’t get me arrested.

  • Nea

    While many of us have fallen from the Biblical standard for sexuality

    I think that while you meant your message to be one of encouragement, adding that line is only reinforcing the attitude that the slightest slip in purity is a sin and the woman’s fault, the message the original post refutes so heartbreakingly.

  • Libby M

    Ooo, are we going through different analogies now?!?

    Teapot vs teacup: you can have a teapot with many cups or just one cup and that is just fine? Really? But a teacup should only go with one teapot? Ooooook. Double standard there!

    I am sure I will think of more. We had to come up these in creative writing class in college.

  • gimpi

    I think you truly mean to offer support, but you aren’t being supportive. Did read her story? She was abused. She was raped. It is the rapist who needs to ask for forgiveness, not the rape survivor. Why do you see her as in need of repentance? You may not mean to, but you are piling on the guilt, like those who discounted her suffering, saying she didn’t fight hard enough, led her abuser on, whatever. SHE IS NOT AT FAULT!
    Being raped doesn’t mean you are worth less as a person. Being sexually active in a happy, consensual relationship doesn’t mean you are worth less as a person, either. Frankly, if you can’t at least try to get out of your bubble enough to see that, your two cents aren’t even worth that, in my opinion.
    If you can’t help, at least do no harm. I think your comment failed that standard.

  • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

    Like gimpi and Nea, I think you are intending to be supportive, but I’m actually really confused as to what you’re trying to say.

    If you’re truly speaking about what I’ve written here, I’m really puzzled as to what you mean by “doubting and challenging the biblical principles for marriage.” I don’t think any of what I wrote has anything to do with marriage– and I don’t think I’ve presented a “challenge” to biblical marriage whatsoever. Your phrasing causes me to wonder why you’re automatically connecting “rape” and “marriage.” Assuming these two are connected is, frankly, incredibly disturbing to me.

    You also talk about the abuse of the object lessons I was taught as a young woman as being representative of the “biblical principles,” and I also find THAT troubling. The object lessons have NOTHING to do with “biblical principles.” They are about THREATS. They are about telling a woman that she is PROPERTY. And unless you’re reverting back to OT Law when the only thing that mattered about a rape was how much she was financially worth to her father, this is… wrong.

    Granted, you may be approaching this from the concept that “virginity” is a biblical principle, which is… debatable, at best. The only time the Bible actually refers to consensual pre-marital sex (Ex. 22:16-17) the only thing that happens is either a) they get married, or b) the dude pays the virgin bride-price. End of story. No stoning. No moral judgment. Just more property law. And one of the few times in the NT that anyone talks about sex the terms “fornication” is used… which is pretty much a catch-all, and in some contexts COULD mean nothing more than prostitution.

    Basically, please don’t assume that the Bible is “super clear” about this issue, when it’s… just not.

    And, considering the context of my article, where I was talking about sexual abuse, violence, and rape, the line where you talk about “falling” from biblical standards, and a “need to repent,” uhm…. wow. This is incredibly damaging language. I didn’t “fall.” I don’t need to “repent.” I was RAPED. Repeatedly. I was sexually abused nearly every day. This is not “falling.” And maybe you’re not speaking about my article, in which case, I wonder why you bothered commenting on THIS ARTICLE at all.

  • Libby M

    Iam not as “nice” as these other ladies, I think you are trying to bully and attack the writer. She is very brave for writting what she has because of the responses like yours. Now, I am sure that some people here are going to think I am going a little hard on you but the truth is your a pastor and I if you were my pastor I would change churches. I think you need to pray for compassion.

  • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

    Hahaha… I hadn’t heard most of these. I should do a post JUST ON THESE. ‘Twould be hysterical, methinks.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

    Huh, you managed to get through that without a single curse word. I didn’t respond, because I didn’t think I’d be able to, but I agree with you wholeheartedly. I guess I”m even less “nice” than you!

  • Libby M

    Thanks. I see curse words as being the ploy of those with unimaginative linguistics. Also if he ever does come back I want him to actually read what I wrote. I have found that many adult bullies write you off as soon as they read a curse word.

    I just clicked through to his blog and ironically his last post is about cyber bulling….. Wow.

  • Jenny Islander

    “While many of us have fallen from the Biblical standard for sexuality”

    Yeah. Like a man who knows full well that women from his subculture have been socialized to always, but always, comply with men, and uses this knowledge to systematically bully a woman and entrap her in sick sexual games, and then drops her because she breaks her compliance-conditioning enough to protest his sinning against her, leaving her, in his culture, unable to attain what their culture has decreed as the only possible fulfillment of her life.

    This is not your bully pulpit. Quit ‘splaining and learn something.

  • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com Retha

    Samantha, you are right about the main point of this comment.
    But just a side note: I do not understand that text to be about property law. Men who wanted to believe women are property, read it that way.
    I see it as an assumption that a young women who consent to sleeping with a guy wants his long term love, and the guy should not sleep with her if he is unwilling to give it. But her father could also refuse to let her marry (we can assume that a father in a culture like that will not refuse marriage to A easily if his daughter slept with A – it was very hard to get another man as a non-virgin. He would only refuse it if he saw bad qualities in the man she did not see.)
    Even if he is found to be an unsuitable long term partner, he has to pay a price. This bride price is, according to Bible commenters, not money a father may spend. A bride price was security money for the bride, in case the husband leave her or die. Usually her father had to keep it for her during her marriage. But in this case it would be needed now, as she is a woman without a husband already.

  • Stacey B.

    Ugh…I got the rose object lesson too.

  • Olga

    Oh my… If I was not prepared by reading Razing Ruth and Permission To Live, I would have felt for you, but still would have thought ” Why did not she just do this and that to get our of this situation?”
    Having come from a secular upbringing from the family where women are empowered to do anything, I would be puzzled by some of your decisions and thoughts.
    This belief system is victimizing girls and putting enormous burden of guilt on them to keep them under control.
    When I was 20, I heard this line, that if I keep dressing the way I do, I have to expect to be raped one day and it won’t be a man’s fault. I did experience first signs of abuse the first day I moved in with the guy who said this. I ran away in a pouring rain, and bargained with him for months to get my things back.

    Samantha,
    I am so sorry that you were bound by all this guilt and expectations and false beliefs so much that you had to suffer so badly. I am so proud of you to have taken control of your life and for sharing this story, for being brave to put these thoughts out there. This helps not only other women of similar beliefs, but also women and men on the other side of the fence to be more compassionate and understanding.
    Wishing you all the best… No woman should ever be put in this position.

  • http://davidacuff.blogspot.com David Cuff

    Wow….I have never offended so many people with what I thought was a short comment on Biblical Redemption. So, while not trying to justify myself or defend my new “bully” status I will try to address what I see as a misunderstanding.

    First I never intended to offend any of you…especially Samantha the author. I simply wanted to point out a persons self-worth is not dependent upon prior abuse by others or their own failure (I did not suggest Samantha was a failure or had failed). I simply was emphasizing (I thought by way of encouragement) that The Bible Is A Book about redemption. And our lives can be redeemed from any abuse (ours upon others or others upon us).

    I also wanted to reiterate what I believe is the standard of Biblical Sexuality (sexual purity with one man and one woman) doesn’t change from opinion and experience or even abuse. We live in a fallen world and there is much pain and abuse going on but Mutual respect, oneness and love are God’s design and I believe the N.T. gives plenty of guidance for Marriage relationships. I have personally abused and have been abused (yes even happens to men sometimes) prior to being redeemed by Jesus through my own repentance and trust in His finished work on the Cross for my sins.

    If after ready my response you desire to send more negative comments my way…chill please! Sometimes you can disagree agreeably…

  • http://peroxideblondie.blogspot.com trendywendy21

    First, that guy you are all bullying? Yeah, that’s my dad. And I say that I have never seen a man respect women more than him. So don’t put your abrasive comments toward him when he took the time to read this blog on MY reccomendation. Honestly, you are all technically cyberbullies for ATTACKING him in a way he never attacked you. He may have attacked a blog in your own twisted mindset, but he has never judged or cursed at you. So just live your lives and get over the fact that my dad has more fundamentalist beliefs than you.
    Second, one question. If his post had been written by a women, there is no doubt that many of you wouldn’t have even responded because youwould think, “oh, that poor woman. She’s been so blinded by society’s rape culture.” But no, because it was a MAN, you judged. Think about that.

    -Trin

  • http://peroxideblondie.blogspot.com trendywendy21

    *woman, sorry.

  • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

    I think you’re misunderstanding our main point, since you are continuing to use the same language.

    The word “redemption” carries a lot of baggage with it, but I think I can understand why you’re using it. However, keep in mind that the word “redemption” is usually applied in contexts where someone is culpable for “sin.” Usually, and in most of the contexts that I think a lot of people here are familiar with, “you need to be redeemed” is coupled with “you need to repent.”

    But, I can understand a broader application of the term, so I’m not quibbling with it right now– just be aware of how words like this have been used to hurt people.

    Also, you just need to be more CAREFUL. Look at this sentence, for example:

    “I have personally abused and have been abused . . . prior to being redeemed by Jesus through my own REPENTANCE . . . ”

    You’re doing it AGAIN. THIS is what we were trying to point out. Maybe you don’t think that you needed to repent for “having been abused” and are only referring to needing to repent for abusing someone else, but you do NOTHING to make this clear. You MUST BE CLEAR when you’re talking about this. Every time I’ve come forward about my experiences, about how I was RAPED, what frequently comes up is my need to “repent.” Children who suffered horrible sexual abuse are told that they need to “repent.” Victims are told, over and OVER again, that they need to repent.

    I DO NOT NEED TO REPENT.
    VICTIMS DO NOT NEED TO REPENT.

    You, sir, need to be MORE CAREFUL when you are using language that HURTS PEOPLE. YOU ARE HURTING PEOPLE when you say these things.

  • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

    Your father has completely missed the point. His language, in BOTH of his comments now, has told me, A RAPE VICTIM, that I need to “repent” for my RAPE. As if the RAPE was somehow a “sin” I committed.

    Maybe that’s not what he intends, but what I’ve pointed out to him, BOTH TIMES now, is that he needs to be more careful in his language, which he has not been.

    Also… we would have responded the exact same way if he’d been a woman. That accusation is inappropriate.

  • http://davidacuff.blogspot.com David Cuff

    Samantha,
    Sorry your personal filter has redefined “Biblical Redemption” but the point I was trying to make is our value/worth/esteem should be based upon our redemption by Christ and not our culture, community, or abusive individuals. My comments were made in a general way and I am not telling you to repent. I believe the Bible gives both abuser and the one abused a new start through redemption. Sorry you grew up in an abusive church. The good news is there is grace for you and I and we can forgive those who have abused us and move on…
    Sorry I missed your point… Not wanting a cyber war!

  • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

    Then why did you connect “abuse/rape” and “need to repent” and “falling away” so many times? You’re a pastor, you need to be so much more careful. And thank you for your apology for “missing my point,” but I am asking for an apology for making the connection in the first place and using damaging language.

    And… *sigh*…
    “The good news is there is grace for you and I and we can forgive those who have abused us and move on…”
    I’ve never heard that before. That’s completely new to me, too. Thank you for telling me that I need to forgive my rapist and just move on.

    Oh, wait, I *have* heard that before. Because, somehow, “forgiveness” means “don’t talk about it.” Forgiveness means “be silent.” Forgiveness means “move on.”

  • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

    And also, you don’t read very carefully, do you? I understand what biblical redemption is, I don’t have a “personal filter” that’s causing me to “misunderstand” you because of my abusive church.

    I said I *did* understand why you were using the terms you were using, but I was just encouraging you to be aware of how the terms you’re using have been used to hurt people in the past. You’re misrepresenting what I said in this comment.

  • http://calulu.blogspot.com Calulu

    David, I am the admin here and I have to let you know that words like “redemption” and “Biblical” happen to be dirty, triggering, reminders of the spiritual abuse suffered by many of the posters/authors here. I think your intentions were good but the language is too triggering for many people here. You really should keep that in mind if you’re going to post here.

    And… I can tell you from personal experience that no woman should EVER have to repent of being raped. Unfortunately it’s with you every minute of every day. A survivor, notice I’m not using victim, a survivor has to live with that and having people telling her to repent of it is counterproductive and just brings up all the old pain.

    I hope that you take the time to prayerfully consider what spiritual abuse actually is and apply it to how you handle your parishioners.

    Samanatha!!!! Please don’t stop writing. Regardless of the triggering language of others this was so so brave and so needed to be said. Don’t take the criticism to heart. No man can truly understand what it is like to be sexually violated and abused against your own self.

  • Margaret

    Calulu – not fair to lump all men together. There are men who have been hurt.

  • Margaret

    When I was 6 years old, I got hit by a car, trying to cross the road. When I woke up in the hospital, I said “ouch.” I spent a week in the hospital, and more time at home recovering.

    Interestingly, no one asked me to repent from being hit, or to not talk about it. When I was ready to return to class, the school sent a crossing guard to stop the cars.

    I think Samantha is saying, “ouch.” We need a few more crossing guards.

  • madame

    ” Because, somehow, “forgiveness” means “don’t talk about it.” Forgiveness means “be silent.” Forgiveness means “move on.” ”

    I’ve heard that before too, Samantha, and I’ve been told that if I don’t forgive, I can’t call myself a Christian.

    David,
    When someone has been abused, they don’t need a pastor to come and tell them all will be well if they just apply some principles.
    I think very often God works in other ways. He allows us to heal at our pace, not at a pastor’s pace. Pastors , IMO, have to give the hurt people in their care more time to heal. Pastors need to call abuse by name and not try to sweep the whole issue under the carpet, very gently reminding both parties that they need to find redemption and forgive each other. That doesn’t work.
    I agree that forgiveness and moving on is important. I believe in grace, for both the hurting and the ones who inflicted the pain. But timing is important. I don’t think you realize how triggering your vocabulary can be to someone who has heard that before and just can’t apply it, yet. If you care for people, let them heal at their own pace.

  • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com Retha

    Samantha, you are doing a great job here. What David said is evidence of exactly what you said. What you answer helps to enforce the whole message, in the mind of readers here, of how victims should not be treated.
    Hearing things like this is bad, but you can be proud of how you are making your message much clearer than it would have been if David never arrived.
    The Davids of the world have the best possible intentions. But their purity culture way of thinking make them hurtful anyway – their message is not appropriate.

  • suzannecalulu

    Margaret, as a rape survivor I believe I spoke correctly. It is VERY rare that you’re going to find a man that ‘gets’ it.

  • http://davidacuff.blogspot.com David Cuff

    Well after being called a bully, douche, an abusive pastor, accused of harming the children in my church, appropriate, and if I span all of the various replies I sure I missed some others, can I now try to remind you that I believe this all started because I was misunderstood? I get the language usage but….I NEVER said anyone should REPENT of being raped or abused! I NEVER told anyone they are wrong for the hurtful things that happened to them! I simply said the hope for the world is redemption through Jesus Christ (both abuser and those being abused) because we live in a fallen world.
    The two points I wanted to share (honestly by way of helpful encouragement) was (1) A person’s self-worth can NOT taken from them because of their abuse because of what Jesus did on the cross (2) The Biblical standard of purity should not change because of abuse, sin, or personal experience, or opinion. If those two points have offended any on this blog then you disagree with Scripture and I stand guilty of holding on to truth (not trying to justify myself just explain why I commented).

    So it is not obvious to me that my language (I did not grow up in the IFB movement) offended EVERYONE on this blog (11 twitter posts and two blog attacks).
    My apology was rejected as invalid, my plea for misunderstanding mocked, and have been dragged around like a scapegoat for everyone’s prior abuse. I have become to this blog and Samantha’s blog a whipping pole. Are you feeling the love yet?

    So, I have in every one of my posts been respectful and desiring this cyberware to end…but until blocking twitter accounts, and discontinuing to receive updates from both blogs, can not avoid this.
    Again, I believe I was misunderstood (my two points I thought I was posting are listed above).

    I am commenting now again (I said I would not again on Samantha’s blog) because I wanted to honestly say I am sorry to those I have offended. May I also say they way those on this blog and the other blog were not helpful in understanding each other (I still hold to a misunderstanding but am asking forgiveness for those who believe I intended to blame for their experience at the hands of horrible abusive people in the past).
    If this dialog gets more productive (as the Admin’s was) and civil I would love to continue to dialog and understand this group and their feelings. But if outsiders are treated the way I have been then this group is the one in the “Bubble” and don’t expect any outside input except from those who only say what you want to hear (If you could hear my tone I am not trying to be mean just being real). I am tempted to leave this blog and see you all as haters (honestly that is not my heart or I would never have even responded to the aggression towards me). I guess I thought this was mostly Christian people wanting dialog.

    I have grown to love these terms (Redemption and Repentance) from the Bible.
    I did not grow up in the church and have experience LOTS of abuse at the hands of others and I have also abused others before coming to Christ. I get it!

    So, I again want to say PLEASE FORGIVE ME IF I HAVE OFFENDED YOU OR HURT YOU in any way. Please forgive me………..

  • http://davidacuff.blogspot.com David Cuff

    BTW if it helps you to understand me….I am also a rape survivor from childhood. I get it!

  • Nea

    David,

    If you “get it” (meaning the pain of rape) how can you keep on using phrases like “The Biblical standard of purity should not change because of abuse, sin, or personal experience, or opinion” when it has been repeatedly explained that this very “Biblical Standard” is used by Christians as a whip to scourge women for lacking purity regardless of whether their virginity was given away or ripped from them by violence?

    I’m getting the impression that what you’re trying to say is that “God does not link purity and virginity” but you never say it that way! You always, come back to the very phrasing that has been used to hurt women – and then are surprised when hurting women lash back in pain and anger because you didn’t “mean it that way.”

    Listen to us. Listen. To. Us. We’ve been very clear about why your wording is problematic, but when we say so, you call us hurtful, repeat the same painful wording, and your daughter calls us bullies… and then you blame *us* for not holding a respectful dialog, misunderstanding you, and being hateful. It’s been a while since I read the Bible, but I clearly recall something about specks and logs and eyes.

    I guess I thought this was mostly Christian people wanting dialog.

    Can’t speak for the others here, but I’m an atheist, learning about women’s issues from a different perspective, having followed this blog from its time in Freethought Blogs. If that helps you understand me.

  • Patricia

    I am really surprised. Ladies, I do not believe that David is suggesting that any rape victim is in need to repent from being raped! Where are you reading this? I come from a secular upbringing and was blessed to be touched and transformed by God’s word as an adult. I was also a victim of abuse as a young adult, so trust me when I say that I understand the struggle, and have not been brainwashed into the indictrination you all mention and I agree is a total deceit and a disgrace to Christian testimony. However, I believe that compassion (which some of you mentioned as lacking from David) is completely missing from all of your posts. I personally find all his comments pertinent and caring, with the purpose of stressing the one thing that is ment to lift us from whatever tragedy we face, whether resulting from our sin OR NOT (which is the case mentioned here). This truth -and the fact that no one is required to repent from RAPE- has been expressly aknowledged by David in his posts, several times, so please stop feeling your anger and actually read the words. When I read David’s posts I am reminded that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. “(…) Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death?” [Rom. 8:35]. Perhaps you should read your own posts and read David’s again. Maybe his wording triggered something inside some of you and I get it -many things trigger a lot of awful feelings inside of me- . Although it is understandable, please-please-please do not try to judge his intentions by your emotions. For the sake of justice, try to objectively read the actual words he wrote. In Christ,

  • Patricia

    Madame, forgiveness doesn’t actually mean any of those things you mention. Forgiveness means forgiveness as God determined. These assumptions are a result from our experience, of which WE ARE NOT GUILTY OR IN NEED OF REPENT. However, that doesn’t change the meaning of “Forgiveness”. Do not be controlled by the emotions some words triggered. Freedom lies at the other side of those emotions. It is a real bless to be able to grasp the true meaning of such wonderful and great words like GRACE, FORGIVENESS, REDEMPTION, FREEDOM and LOVE, just to mention a few. We were all able of doing so before whatever happened to us… Let us return to that kind of place. In Christ,

  • Patricia

    David, You have been misunderstood. I find your posts kind and compasionate, while also agreeing and being able to relate to Samantha’s original post. This is all a sad misunderstanding. What makes it even sadder is the fact that no-one is willing to humbly renounce to their “emotion” for the sake of doing justice in this matter. That doesn’t necessarily mean that one would change his mind, but if at least one gives it a try…. Sorry your attempt to extend compassion has been sooooo veryyyy misunderstood. In Christ,

  • Patricia

    Nea, Thank you for your clarification. Your posts have been specially puzzling and now I get it. I believe that you, more than others, shouldn’t be judging David’s wording. You se, as an atheist (I was one myself during 34 years, so trust me, I’m also familiar with your wording), it is impossible to grasp the intention and the true meaning of “redemption”, “grace” and “compassion” as I believe is the case of David (according to the plain literal reading I have made several times now) . Those words DO have an actual meaning that is a good one. I see no discourse trying to twist them into manipulation -which I know is commonplace for most here and I should know, since I’m a lawyer-. Trust me, this is not the case. Please be reminded that emotions triggered are not a wise judge of what was actually written, much less gives us special “revelation” concerning anybody’s intention. Have a nice day.

  • Patricia

    Oh, and just as you encourage Daivd to listen to you, please follow your own advice and listen to him-Listen to him…. He has already apologized for any misunderstanding and has stated clearly in several occasions that he never intended to suggest any rape victim is required to repent from being raped… Do you expect a sain and faithful Christian to erase from his/her vocabulary words as Redemption, Grace, Forgiveness and all such because you have a wound, even if such wound is not your fault? And this goes specially to Christians posting here… Is that the case? Should we forget about this words because they have been misused and have served evil purposes in the hands of evil leaders? Is God’s grace not the greatest gift ever because someone has used such a word to manipulate us? Is forgiveness not a treasure because we have been hurt by sermons including such a word? Hasn’t evil things been justified by twisting the words of Christ? Should we then renounce to the Lord because of this? If we are here is because we have been set free from chains that were build upon what we trusted most… let us exercise such freedom tu full extent.

  • Nea

    Because I do not share your beliefs, I do not understand the meanings of words? Because I do not share your beliefs, I am unable to judge what is being said? Because David’s words have caused pain, the people hurt by them need to ignore their own pain because they’re not able to be wise?

    Wow, and you think we’re being offensive.

    Lady, if someone came up to me and punched me in the face, told me that it was a love tap, that because I didn’t believe in FirstPunchism I couldn’t understand that, and that if I complained that being punched in the face HURT ME my pain made me less capable of understanding what had just happened…. would you still expect me to say “Oh, okay, you totally disagree with my reality so I need to substitute yours for my own and completely get past what you just did”?

  • Patricia

    You seem like someone refusing to read -and judge- above your emotions. And sorry Nea, but certain words require faith to be able to grasp their full meaning. In any case, the word “forgiveness” or “Redemption”, even outside the Christian context, are not to be taken as an offense. I am not denying your hurt, I am advocating for justice in judgind David’s coments. Although this may come as great surprise, you being hurt by emotions triggered by someone’s words doesn’t necessarily mean this person meant any harm or said anything offensive. You have assumed a lot from his words, giving them a sense that they don’t have -literally-, and is also not to be implied from the context. All I am saying is that we should refrain from trying to judge someones intention from our own feelings, particularly if these feelings result from bad memories being triggered. I personally refuse to be tyranized by my emotions. I don’t deny them, I mostly embrace them, but I will certainly won’t let them be the judge in a matter like this -as well as many others-. I must insist, being hurt doesn’t give you some sort or revelation into someone’s heart and grants you the authority to judge their intention… We here have all been hurt in awful ways… we didn’t deserve it, we are not to excuse ourselves or repent from that. However, we are given the opportunity to be free. How in the world my invitation (not to judge with the emotions triggered by some words but by the actual meaning of those words and the sense in which they were written) is pretending for you to substitute your reality? I never said something like that. David has apologized several times for any hurt his message has caused. To use your example, ff someone unwillingly punches me in the face while trying to be tender, and apologizes for that, I will accept his apologies and move on. On the other hand, as I indicated clearly, the last part of my post was not directed to you. It was a thought for those who believe in the God of the Jewish-Christian tradition. This is not intended to be an insult in any way, just stating a fact.

  • http://davidacuff.blogspot.com David Cuff

    Patricia,
    Thank you very much for the kind words and benefit of the doubt towards my original vague post. Last night I posted on Samantha’s blog an additional request for forgiveness and clarity because I never thought my post would cause so much pain in her and the others here from the past to resurface.
    Clearer heads will prevail and I appreciate the reminder from this blog experience.
    Thanks again for your kindness…..

  • shadowspring

    I know men who have been raped, and they understand it very well. I think that’s what Margaret meant, and if it’s not, it does need to be said.

  • shadowspring

    The Christianese- it burns my eyes! Words like “redemption” ,”repentance”, “wounds”, “judging” these are all common in Christianese but the rest of the world rarely uses them. Also, “forgiveness” does not belong to Christianity, that is a word every one uses, Patricia.

    Though outside the church, people don’t use it nearly as often because they don’t feel compelled to apologize for being human.

    “Should we then renounce the Lord because of this?” ROFLOL Christianese flowing fluently, magnificently! Grand and lofty eloquence abounds!

    LOL and LOL some more…

  • anon

    @DavidCuff, i am very sorry to hear you are also a survivor and hope you have been able to process it and find peace and happiness. I was horrified recently to learn that 1/3 of women and 1/6 of men will suffer some sort of sexual abuse in their lifetimes.
    Thanks for apologizing when people called you out on the wording. Many people on this blog are still trying to find their anger and learn how to be able to express anger at all.
    One thing I think is an odd part of church culture is how people often use many words and say a lot when what they are trying to express is something as simple as, “That sucks” or “I’m really hoping the best for you now!” and that can easily lead to misunderstandings. I hope you stick around here and keep reading, I’ve learned a lot on this and similar blogs the last few years!

  • Nea

    You are not advocating for Justice for David, you are advocating for privilege. Everyone had the same reaction to his poor phrasing, yet you tell us that we must put his interpretation over ours. You are telling us that his hurt over the backlash is more privileged than our hurt at his refusal to listen.

    As for intent, that DOESN’T MATTER. The Titanic wasn’t intended to sink. It doesn’t matter what he intended, it matter what he continues to do and what you continue to excuse.

    So I don’t care that you don’t intend to be insulting, I care that you ARE being insulting. I care that your beliefs have redefined English words and you say that’s more important than the Engish other people use. I care that your reaction to a universal reaction is “every one of you is wrong.” (Doubly offensive in a post about privileging men’s point of view over women’s and tha damage that does women.)

    I doubt that you can listen to me, actually listen; you’ve made it clear you’re picking sides and finding reasons to discount anyone not on yours. But if you believe, truly believe, in a Jesus of love and redemption, think hard someday about the witness you have made by coming into this post saying “the man is right; you mean, emotional women are all wrong; none of you understands our common language because the whole world not in my sect uses it wrong.”

  • http://saralinwilde.wordpress.com Sara Lin Wilde

    Trin,

    We don’t know your dad or how he behaves towards women in real life. All we have to go on are the words he types in this forum. People here are not attacking him as a person; they are attacking the ideas he expresses, and ideas are never off-limits.

    People here are trying to tell your dad that the way he talks about rape feels very scary to women who have been in their situations, because he is echoing the same things they have been told in the past about abuse they’ve endured: that they somehow caused it and therefore need to repent, or that they are bad people until they are ready to forgive the attack on them. I can give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t mean to say those things, but they are trying to give him feedback that the way he uses the language may be causing more harm than help, which is good information that he seems to not want to take in.

    Not everyone is necessarily going to use polite language to express this, and frankly, that’s their right. Some people won’t be in a place to help him understand why what he said hurt them. But if I were religious I would hope for a pastor who would take the feedback he’s given – attacks as well as constructive criticism – thoughtfully and try to understand instead of pushing back and insisting he was right to say what so many people are telling him was hurtful.

  • http://saralinwilde.wordpress.com Sara Lin Wilde

    David,

    It’s horrible that you were attacked and violated as a child, and I’m so sorry that happened to you. I think it’s also worth mentioning, though, that the experience of a man who was raped in childhood may not be the same as that of a woman who’s been raped. In particular, while most people understand that a child is not responsible for being raped, a woman who has been raped often has to deal with a very high degree of victim-blaming behaviour asking how she caused it – what was she wearing? did she have anything to drink? was she flirting with him? was she leading him on? why didn’t she walk away from him if she didn’t want sex? And so forth.

    Also, I believe part of the point of the original post was about the imagery young women in Christianity are taught, which (as far as I know) is not taught to men. These women are taught that, once they have had sex (whether or not they’ve been forced or coerced) they are no longer valuable. They are only precious, worthwhile individuals as virgins. Men are not given this message.

    So, while I don’t doubt you had very many terrible emotions to process while you were dealing with what happened to you, your culture was not telling you the event had robbed you of all worth and now no one would ever be able to love you . . . and it was all your fault. Please accept that, even though you are a survivor of rape, you still may not know what it’s like for other people in different circumstances. Please learn from the women who are trying to communicate why salient differences between your rape and theirs make ideas like “repenting” and “contrition” very hard on them.

  • Patricia

    @shadowspring:
    Emotions running the show do blind, whether one is willing to admit to her own or not. I learned this the hard way, so I’m not patronizing or trying to play “perfect” here. I’m sorry this wording is offensive for you too. I was lucky enough not to have grown up in an abusive church, and I thank the Lord for that (sorry, can’t avoid that). I was therefore able to approach the meaning of such words with a clear eye, no emotions involved, no bad feelings triggered. This is not your fault at all. I am just stating a fact. My triggers are others, so I can relate to that part.
    I intervene because in my “untriggered” mind, David’s messages were all kind, compassionate and in no way suggesting a rape victim is to be blamed or requiring to repent. He even clarifies it in his second message. I find it sad that, in a forum that consists in people sharing a terrible experience (David included), we let our emotions trample over each other. I am only advocating for a fair assessment of the words actually written, and some benevolence and grace (sorry, can’t use other words for that) when receiving someone’s apology.
    Your cynicism is not only unkind (which has really not much on an effect on me), but unnecessary and it actually weakens your argument. I believe one should avoid assuming to know the condition of anybody’s heart, and whether they’re just showing off their “christianese”. Your see, English is not my first language. I do not live and never have lived in an English speaking country. Being a Christian is not appreciated where I live. I can’t say I’m persecuted, but my children have to face bullying any given day. Me and my family are discriminated in some ways more evident than others. On the other hand, I am a lawyer. Speaking (or writing for that matter) is what I do, and my intention was not to use lofty eloquence as you indicated. You used words like fluently and magnificently to mock me for what I understand you consider a vain, shallow and substance free Christianity. I will not burden this discussion with my personal story, but you don’t know it. You are jumping into conclusions here. And this is my whole point. I do not know you or David either, I only have what I believe is an objective (meaning “triggered emotion free”) on David’s messages, and found the reactions were very disproportionate. Again, my “lawyer thirst for justice” rose and couldn’t help but intervene.
    When mocking my “fluent christianese” you cited my last rhetorical question. Please read what I was responding to. Nea had just criticized David for not avoiding those words but instead repeating them. I used several rhetorical questions not because I was really requiring an answer, but because it served my argument which is the following: The fact that some words have been twisted and used as weapons doesn’t mean every time they are pronounced they come with the same intention and therefore hold the same message. My invitation was to try to get rid of the emotions triggered for they are not a wise and accurate judge, in order to be able to discern the actual meaning of those words (and I would say this in English, Christianese or Spanish).
    Finally, I couldn’t get the meaning of ROFLOL. You wrote it several times, so I believe it may be relevant to your argument. Perhaps I am missing something critical here, so please excuse me for not addressing that, but I chose to let it go because I believe it was meant to serve primarily your laughing out loud.

  • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

    Hi Patricia,
    I”ve read Davids posts… I don’t know how many times now. Over and over again. Many times. Honestly, with prayer. I asked my husband to read them to make sure I wasn’t over-reacting. I wrote my first response after praying over it for hours.

    You ask the question “where are we reading” where David said a rape victim needed to repent? I wrote a post about how I was raped, and how the people in my life– both before and after I was raped– and the culture I was raised in, told me that my rape was something that was “my fault.” That my rape was “my sin.” And this is what David Cuff said:

    “While many of us have fallen from the Biblical standard for sexuality, if we repent and turn back to His guidance we can walk in the Light of His love for ourselves and our spouse.”

    He is commenting on a post about how I was raped, repeatedly, as an adult woman, and how, as an adult woman, I believed, to the very core of my being, that my rape was my fault. And he says that “many of us have fallen” and that “if we repent” we can “walk in the Light.”

    His words, which he has, as yet, even now, never taken back, cannot be taken any other way in the context of commenting on my post about rape. When we asked him to clarify, this is what he said:

    “I have personally …been abused … prior to being redeemed by Jesus through my own repentance and trust in His finished work on the Cross for my sins.”

    We told him, specifically, how telling a rape victim that “many have fallen away” and “need to repent,” was so hurtful, and he makes the same exact statement in a slightly different way. He has never actually explained these words, he’s just denied ever saying them.

    Yes, his words triggered me. Yes, his words hurt me. But his words are still the words he used twice, and then only denied ever saying. And my emotions don’t invalidate an objective understanding that his words were wrong, in the context of my post where I was talking about rape and his response was to talk about repentance. Twice.

  • Nea

    ROFLOL means “rolling on the floor, lauging out loud.” Would that I had Shadowspring’s sense of humor; what she finds hilariously funny, I find annoyingly pretentious and priviledged.

    Kindly take your own advice to “believe one should avoid assuming to know the condition of anybody’s heart” and stop insisting that you’ve got superior emotions, intellect, and language skills than everyone you disagree with. It’s not only a risibly wrong position, it’s the world’s worst witnessing for the religion you’re trying to pitch.

  • Pingback: understanding, communication, and being wrong | Defeating the Dragons

  • Patricia

    @ Nea,

    I have never said you should adopt a particular interpretation of David’s words. All I am saying is that one should try to settle down the emotions when judging the content of a message (for the sake of oneself above anything else). I stand by that and don’t understand why a position as such should be considered an insult to anyone, or sound pretentious or privileged.

    I mentioned that I never understood David’s message as you did, to prove that there is a misinterpretation somewhere down the line (either yours or mine). Since David has repeatedly stated that he never meant to say or suggest that a raped woman should ask for forgiveness or repent from anything concerning her rape, his apology should have settled the discussion, yet they have been ignored. I’ll say it again: Emotions are not the best lens through which one should judge other people’s intentions. I do not pretend to know David’s intentions either. I have never referred to that, just as I have never referred to your intentions or the condition of your heart, so there is no need to remind me of my own advice. I am just referring to the literal content of such messages.

    On the other hand, concerning the assumptions you keep making about me, let me tell you that I sincerely do not consider myself as being superior in any way to any of you. I have no idea who you are and what’s the story behind each one of you ladies. I respect that. To me, that’s off limits. I just tried to explain why I might sound a little over-rehearsed in my messages. English is not my native language.

    However, while I am trying to state the value of overcoming negative emotions fueling this discussion, for they are subjective and personal, and privilege the literal meaning of the words as written, you keep mentioning things you have no way of knowing and never address my sole argument: Emotions triggered by words related to a traumatic event in one’s life are not the best guide to judging someone’s message. I believe one should try to stand by the literal meaning of the words and avoid connecting them to a feeling. It is possible that you might find a different message than the one perceived initially. It looks like you are still reading what your emotions tell you to read and not the actual words. Your emotions will settle down eventually, but the damage produced in the meantime may be long lasting. Finally, I do not think that manners and trying to keep the discussion about ideas and not people suggests any confidence in some sort of emotional, personal or spiritual superiority.

    I would only ask you to sincerely consider my argument, cited various times. This would spare you the energy to find more clever ways to mock and ridicule. Laughter is great, but not like this.

  • Patricia

    @Defeating the Dragons,
    Will you mention the argument and David’s apologies?
    The sole argument is this (I am citing myself): Emotions triggered by words related to a traumatic event in one’s life are not the best guide to judging someone’s message. One should try to stand by the literal meaning of the words and avoid connecting them to a feeling. The fact that some words have been twisted and used as weapons doesn’t mean every time they are pronounced they come with the same intention and therefore hold the same message. It is wise to try to get rid of the emotions triggered for they are not a an accurate judge, in order to be able to discern the actual meaning of those words.

  • Nea

    Emotions triggered by words related to a traumatic event in one’s life are not the best guide to judging someone’s message. I believe one should try to stand by the literal meaning of the words

    Oh, bless you Patricia, you just won me $25. She said you’d give up or actually listen, and I said no, you’d be unable to resist explaining again that we in general and I in specific are too emotional to understand English ($10) and simultaneously that David’s hurt feelings count but ours don’t ($10) . The extra 5 was for not even noticing that you’re saying our emotions cloud us but David’s don’t cloud him.

    It’s double if you repeat yourself because you have to have the last word and nothing if you manage to sincerely consider the arguments cited various times to you.

    I could really use that $50.

  • http://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

    I presented his comments in their entirety on my blog, and he also has his own comments there. They speak for themselves.

  • Conuly

    The literal meaning of words?

    The literal meaning of “redemption” is the act of being saved from sin or error. How does that apply to a rape victim?

    I’ve read the original comment three times now, and if its not intended to more or less blame the OP for her rape then, to be honest, it looks completely meaningless, just a wall of text full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. But, really, I’m sure David can defend himself. No need to jump in – you need to study your dictionary, as the fact that English isn’t your first language shows. Pro tip here: try not to correct native speakers on their use and understanding of their own language. You WILL be wrong.

  • http://davidacuff.blogspot.com David Cuff

    I believe Redemption Biblically has a bit more than Just being saved from sin. The point was in my prior post we live in a fallen world and all of us need redemption.

    6720 redemption
    “The buying back or release of an object or person. In Scripture redemption refers to God’s ransoming of believers only through the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross and to all the benefits that this brings.” Dictionary of Biblical Themes by Martin H. Manser

  • Nea

    You can’t learn from experience, can you?

  • http://davidacuff.blogspot.com David Cuff

    One of the three times I was raped was at knife point….and included a physical beating prior….
    The three times were three different people at three different stages in my young life. As a man my culture (non-Christian at the time) taught me to hide it or else be viewed as less than a man. I also then grew up with a less than Biblical view of sexuality and as a result hurt others….I don’t deny and even agree that many on this blog and the other (defeating dragons) have been told the rape they experienced was their fault. Which I believe in any instance is a completely insane thing to say to anyone! Believe it or not I believe there is much we have in common (though I do not believe we have had a chance to explore that because of the saber rattling).

    It may sound crazy to everyone on both blogs except @Patricia and @Lasseter but I still hold to the fact that I was misunderstood in my original post and agree it was vague. And my response could have been more humble (I was caught off gauge because of the saber rattling).

    BTW I have not shared my personal experience since it happened over 30-34 years ago (three different events) except to a couple of people and this blog in hopes my original post and the misunderstanding could be sorted. But even after my apologies and attempt to understand those on this blog, the Rhetorical mean spirit has continued.
    I should have realized that I was labeled a “dragon” early on and never come back to this site or the other.
    When Patricia could see the misunderstanding and commented she then became a dragon and received the same type of response as me. I agree with @Lasseter that arguing in text on the internet is difficult and I agree with @Patricia you should not judge anyone’s motives and heart during a misunderstanding.

    Anyway….You will never have outside input on this blog and the other if you continue to respond with those who have a different perspective then you the way I was…Especially if they apologize and try to explain themselves. If that matters to you great! If not, then goodbye and sorry I ever stopped by to comment (and hurt anyone’s feelings).

    I have moved on from the abuse I have lived through and the abuse I have done to others because of the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. He has radically changed my life from age 22 on…. I still hold to the Biblical Standard for sexuality as well. He has healed me and now is using my life to help others receive the same.

    David Cuff

  • madame

    David,
    Your story is horrific! I’m so sorry you went through all of that!
    I did post a short reply (which I hope you didn’t find attacking or offensive) with my opinion that pastors often want to rush things in their churches. Forgiveness, reconciliation, moving on, all have to happen very quickly, and often before any circumstance changes. It’s like there is fear that if we don’t all reconcile, the church will fall apart.
    I’ve never experienced sexual assault, but there is someone who is part of my life indirectly, that has done things to me and my family that I can’t just leave behind. When I have tried to confront him, he has denied having done anything I say, he even denies that I can feel the way I do towards him. It’s all just my “sinful and unsubmissive response”. In his eyes, I owe him big time.

    The words that may mean something beautiful to you, mean something dark and painful to many people who are not ready to go through the process of forgiving.

    There are also people on here who are at different stages in their struggle with their faith. I’m one of those people. I tried, for years, to let Jesus heal the wounds and I tried leaning into God big time, but then, every time, there has been one more lie, one more manipulation, one more messy situation that I’m left having to deal with.

    I hope this person and everyone who has been hurt by him finds healing. I can’t be around this person without feeling very bitter, as much as I’ve tried to forgive and move on.

  • madame

    Sara,
    I don’t think it’s fair, at all, to give rape different “levels of awfulness”, or to tell a victim of rape that his experience is somehow less painful than someone else’s.
    Rape is rape. It’s a violation.

  • http://www.defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

    “I don’t deny and even agree that many on this blog and the other (defeating dragons) have been told the rape they experienced was their fault. Which I believe in any instance is a completely insane thing to say to anyone!”

    Yes, yes it is. Should have led with this one, instead.

  • Pingback: Purity Culture and Staying in Abusive Relationships

  • Gaelmor

    @David Cuff.
    Sir, I am sure you had the best of intentions when you commented on this blog post. However, I feel it is only fair, regardless of your own past of surviving abuse, to point out that there is a fundamental misunderstanding that has not yet been addressed: that of assumed male privilege.
    Trying (and continuing to try) to tell ladies how they should feel is the best and probably most direct path that a man can take to eliciting a vocal and emotional response that is not in stride with what it seems you are attempting to achieve.
    The author of this blog and many of the posters were attempting to talk about how the male dominated sub-culture that they were raised in has and always will find a way to find THEM the culprit of any perceived sexual crime or slight.
    If you could imagine how it would be if you were judged not only by the blatant sexual behavior human can illicit, but also every outfit you’ve ever worn, every way you’ve worn your hair, every tightness of every pair of trousers or shirts you’ve ever worn since you were 11 years old, every swimsuit you’ve ever donned, every time you’ve shown any skin to another human being, every time you’ve talked or even met the glance of a member of the opposite sex, no matter how innocent, somehow still boils down to contributions to your sinfulness, you will still have only a fraction of an idea of what it is like to be female in our society.
    These good and decent women were talking about how they needed to vent about how that sub-culture takes female opinion, emotional reaction, and fair assumption of accountability and responsibility of terrible abuse, then sweeps it under with the language of “Redemption” which assumes that the burden of sin, as they have been taught, is on them, on women.
    Being male, there is no way that you can understand the dynamics of how dogma can be twisted to force many women within this sub-culture to take on every burden of responsibility; for her own sexuality, her effect on others, her position and authority within a family or marriage, and her worth and autonomy within a community, especially if it is for the good of herself or her children.
    There is no amount of empathy that can equate to understanding the difference between being male and female, then abused, within the Fundamental Christian community.
    All that said, I am sure that your intentions are good, but are plainly doing no good here, so maybe it’s time to admit that you’re doing more harm than good, and move on to green pastures.
    Women came here to vent. A man stepped in to “fix” it. This is not a space for “mansplaining” or “quick fixes.” This is a place for healing through dialogue and frank discussion. This is a space that is not lacking because there is no “guiding male voice.” As a matter of fact, this is a space that thrives because there is little male vocalization.
    Perhaps you are better serving your congregation by listening to the raw, honest voices of these women rather than trying to tell them what they should or should not do. By listening leads to a path of construction rather than discord.
    I ask you as a man who claims to be kind and empathetic to understand that sometimes, a male voice is neither required or welcomed.
    I would like to suggest an idea; and I don’t mean it with any sarcasm. Why not emulate Jesus, and listen to the poor, the downtrodden, the cast aside. There is much they can teach you if you have ears to listen rather than preach.
    Now, if my suggestions of what you should and should not do have raised a negative or masculine reaction in you to explain how I am wrong, you just had a taste of what these ladies have had to suffer through during this discussion with you.
    Time to move along, Mr. Cuff.

  • Hee Kyun

    I also attended Pensacola. Thank you for your contributions


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