April is Sexual
Assault Awareness Month postings have begun to bring attention to this subject.
This was the first story I saw as I signed on to Face Book today.
“Telling all men not to rape is somewhat simplistic. I’m
certainly not justifying the evil in any way-but…”
- Women didn't get rape in the 1700’s they wore clothing that
covered them from head to toe.
- When you look like a slut, you get treated like a slut.
- It’s like looking both ways before you cross the street; you
wouldn't because it is dangerous. You have to protect yourself again
Yes you are justifying
rape. Telling men not to rape is
exactly what we should be saying. Sexual assault isn’t about what I am wearing
or not wearing. It IS about power and control. Men have been raping for as far back as
time has been documented. We are still
living in a rape culture. Men are still
taught they are superior to women.
Television, movies, commercials, advertising all sexualize women and few
people are objecting to it, including women.
The culture we live in tells girls and women in order to be
seen you must look a certain way. If you
use your body and looks you can have a blank check... (Provided you are willing
to participate in the very behavior that exploits you and other women). Teaching our sons to not look at women as
objects as toys, or that in some way women are somehow lesser than being male is
exactly the right thing to do.
*Following is an open letter from a father to his son:
Seeing a Woman: A conversation between a father and son
Someday I am going to have to have the conversation with my
son. No, not the conversation all parents dread giving and all kids are
mortified having. I enjoy making people uncomfortable so that
conversation should be fun.
No, I’m talking about another conversation. The one
that happens after I catch his eye doing what male eyes do well – following an
object of lust. We will probably be out at the mall, because that’s what
dads do with their sons, and I’ll catch the look. Maybe we’ll go to the
beach and see it. Doesn’t matter where it is, there will come a time when
I will see it. And then it will be time for this conversation.
Hey, come here.
Let me talk to you. I saw you look at her. I’m not judging
you or shaming you. I know why you did. I get it. But we have
to talk about it because how you look at a woman matters.
A lot of people will
try and tell you that a woman should watch how she dresses so she doesn’t tempt
you to look at her wrongly. Here is what I will tell you. It
is a woman’s responsibility to dress herself in the morning. It is your
responsibility to look at her like a human being regardless of what she is
You will feel
the temptation to blame her for your wandering eyes because of what she is
wearing – or not wearing. But don’t. Don’t play the victim.
You are not a helpless victim when it comes to your eyes. You have
full control over them. Exercise that control. Train them to look
her in the eyes. Discipline yourself to see her, not her clothes or her
body. The moment you play the victim you fall into the lie that you are
simply embodied reaction to external stimuli unable to determine right from
wrong, human from flesh. Look right at me. That is a ridiculous lie.
You are more than
that. And the woman you are looking at is more than her clothes.
She is more than her body. There is a lot of talk about how men
objectify women, and largely, it is true. Humans objectify the things
they love in effort to control them. If you truly love a person, do not
reduce them to an object. The moment you objectify another human – woman
or man, you give up your humanity.
There are two views
regarding a woman’s dress code that you will be pressured to buy into.
One view will say that women need to dress to get the attention of men.
The other view will say women need to dress to protect men from
themselves. Son, you are better than both of these. A
woman, or any human being, should not have to dress to get your attention.
You should give them the full attention they deserve simply because they
are a fellow human being. On the other side, a woman should not have to
feel like she needs to protect you from you. You need to be in control of
of how the sexes interact with each is rooted in fear. Fear of rejection,
fear of abuse, fear of being out of control. In some ways, the church has
added to this. We fear each other because we have been taught the other
is dangerous. We’ve been a taught a woman’s body will cause men to sin.
We’re told that if a woman shows too much of her body men will do stupid
things. Let’s be clear: a woman’s body is not dangerous to you. Her
body will not cause you harm. It will not make you do stupid things.
If you do stupid things it is because you chose to do stupid things.
So don’t contribute to the fear that exists between men and women.
A woman’s body is
beautiful and wonderful and mysterious. Respect it by respecting her as
an individual with hopes and dreams and experiences and emotions and longings.
Let her be confident. Encourage her confidence. But don’t do
all this because she is weaker. That’s the biggest bunch of crap out
there. Women are not weaker than men. They are not the
weaker sex. They are the other sex.
I’m not telling you to not look at women. Just the
opposite. I’m telling you to see women. Really see them. Not
just with your eyes, but with your heart. Don’t look to see something
that tickles your senses, but see a human being.
My hope is that
changing how you see women will change how you are around them. Don’t
just be around women. Be with women, because in the end, they want to be
with you, without fear of being judged, or shamed, or condemned, or
objectified, or being treated as other. And that’s not just what women
want. That’s what people want. Ultimately,
it’s what you want.