From the Genesis of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, sexual exploitation of women, rape and patriarchy are stitched into the fabric of the world’s religions.
Abram’s sexual exploitation of both his female slave and his wife, is just the first example of bigamy, sexual servitude, rape and the denigration of women that is the foundation of multiple faith traditions.
A significant segment of Christian society believe scripture tells them wives should submit to their husbands, women should have no authority over men, and that women are responsible for original sin entering humanity through Eve and Adam. These cultural Christians are the core constituency of the Evangelical GOP.
For example, the Vice President of the Unites States of America doesn’t meet one-on-one with women, because his faith dictates that women and men aren’t equal and aren’t to be treated equitably. Millions and millions of Christians around the world share some of his views, from conservative Protestants to liberal Catholics — the faith traditions of these Christians provide men opportunities not extended to women.
Patriarchal, male-dominated theology is a venomous poison as common as scripture studies in a church or a mosque. There is no place in modern society for monarchies, slavery, stoning, and other Biblical but archaic and oppressive philosophies. Despite this, faith-based discrimination against women flourishes and feeds a culture that denies women equal treatment in churches, hospitals, courtrooms and in Congress.
Faith-based sexism and gender inequality help feed a sexually charged culture where men objectify and infantilize women while controlling their reproduction and sexually exploiting and assaulting them.
If you’re a man who doesn’t personally know a woman who has been sexually assaulted, then you’re probably guilty of sexual assault. You create and contribute to an environment where the women around you don’t feel safe to tell you the truth of their assaults.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center:
Men become co-conspirators when they create a climate that victimizes anew women who confront attackers.
“It didn’t happen.”
“She’s probably mistaken.”
“If it did happen, it probably wasn’t what she said it was.”
“It was a long time ago.”
“He was a teenager.”
“Who can we believe?”
Defending the male accused and denigrating the accuser is so ingrained in our society, that we immediately question the accuser.
The question isn’t, “what does she have to gain by coming forward with her allegation?”
The question should be, “why would I knowingly give a job or promotion to someone accused of sexual assault?” Or, “How often are high profile accusations of sexual assault proven to be untrue?”
As a culture in the United States, we blame victims.
Black men shouldn’t fight when attacked.
Women should fight harder when attacked.
Victims do, or say, or wear something to provoke the response in others.
This is unbiblical and unChristian. Throughout scripture, Jesus is with minorities attacked by the majority and with women rejected and exploited by men. Jesus sides with women against men, every time and calls on women to first tell the story of the resurrection. Jesus supports the equality of women, one of his many teachings ignored by much of mainstream Christianity.
Jesus represents equality, compassion, and empathy.
The Way of Christ is compassion for the exploited, not support for the exploiters.
Through the example of Jesus, we can learn to listen to victims, and not angry mobs or powerful politicians. We grow closer to God when we recognize the Divine in others. This is the Way of Christ, and the way Jesus calls each Christian to be.