Sometimes I come across a source of excellent information that is so well written and thorough, that I really can’t add much more to it. This occurs when the viewpoint expressed coincides so closely with my own thoughts, that I feel impelled to share it as a perfect expression of my own thoughts. One of the blogs I follow is K.S. Bowers, writings of her own fiction and of the issues involving the abuse of females. Kimberly has to my mind covered the broad subject of the abuse of females and connected it to her own upbringing in a Christian community. She details the horrid experiences she was made to endure, in the first piece which I will link and quote. She then followed it up with a post exposing a broad perspective of how some aspects of Christianity have taught, that directly link to the oppression and abuse of female followers.From K.S. Bowers:
“I’ve spent a lot of time writing on abuse and equality. Mainly abuse and for good reason. The UN says 1 in 3 women will experience violence in her lifetime and the NY Times reports 1 in 5 women will be raped, and again this information is available upon a quick Google search. Those are horrific numbers for a nation that touts its Christian morals while simultaneously opposing Planned Parenthood and equality for the LGBTQ+ community on the basis of those same morals.
During the course of my activism, the responses I get are typical but infuriating nonetheless. They usually go something like this:
- You sound angry. You need to tone it down. Be quiet.
- You sound like a woman who’s trying to get revenge.
- You sound like a victim.
- What about men?
- Not all men.
- Whatever happened to you must have happened for a reason.
- You need to move on.
- What did you do to cause this?
Now, the last few sound like victim blaming and they are and yes, I get these responses because some of my readers do know me on a personal level and realize that though I’ve kept my private life private from my activism at least publicly, I am in fact, a victim. However, being a victim of abuse does not mean I don’t also have an obligation to speak out, at least, that’s how I feel (nor should my activism be considered biased or suspect). Not all responses were like those above. I also received emails from victims of rape and violence worldwide and I began to notice a trend among the majority of the victims with whom I spoke. Most were from religious backgrounds whose abusers were practicing Christians. These women (and some men) oftentimes did not see the link between their abuse and the religious beliefs that made that abuse okay. That was something I felt needed to be addressed.
That said, I’m going to do something I hadn’t planned on doing, at least not in this way. I’m going to tell you my story because I think it’s time for the Christians in this country to step up and address the role they have played in not only the creation of perpetrators who commit crimes against women and children but also in the legal protection they have provided these criminals.”
Kimberly goes on to describe the abuse she suffered as a child surrounded by a Christian community:
“I was a young child when my abuser began grooming me. By age ten, I was being sexually molested on a regular basis. I remained silent first out of ignorance being a child and later out of fear. I didn’t speak out until I turned fifteen. During the summer prior to my junior year of high school, I told several church friends about the sexual abuse. The physical abuse had been spotted by numerous schoolmates some three years prior, but I had urged them to remain silent. Again, out of fear. Another of my abusers had told me that if I wanted to report them I could, but that I would be sent to a place where I would experience something far worse. This tactic worked. I felt the abuse I endured up to this point was at least physically survivable.
It took me years to realize that the abuse would not end. It would only worsen. The last day I was sexually abused, I had been sound asleep. A sharp pain in my vagina woke me from my dreams and without time to wake or assess the situation, I struck out at the source of pain and hit my abuser who fled from the room. It was at this point that I realized I could soon be raped. Pregnancy was not even a fear as I hadn’t begun menstruating yet and wouldn’t for several months later. Truthfully, I knew very little about sex. Sex education had been withheld as it was ungodly (note that withholding this education made grooming and abuse possible).”
This was merely the beginning of Kimberly’s tale, which left me with tears in my eyes after I read it. As a father of Daughters and the husband of an extraordinary wife, I feel sensitive to the issue of the abuse of females. Then too, I spent eight years working in Child Welfare in New York City and was recognized as somewhat of an expert on Child Abuse and Neglect. Please click the link above to read the rest of this extraordinarily honest piece, by someone who has been there, survived and lived to fight against this disgusting abuse.
Now if you have read K.S. Bowers initial, very personal post, there is a second one that she has written, that puts the issues of her life’s work into a broader context. My own opinion is that this second post can serve as a reference for anyone interested in the subject of how some versions Christianity and the abuse of females, intersect with terrible consequences. The second post is titled:
“Over the years, while writing on abuse and women’s issues I began to notice a disturbing trend. A good number of abuse victims I spoke with were Christians who could not see the link between their abuse and religion. The majority of these women had left their abusive husbands, but for many, their rehabilitation ended with the *leaving. Further, a good many of these women were against equality and many women’s rights issues. It astounded me that so many women were unable to see that discrimination formed the foundation for not only the abuse they had suffered but also their bigotry towards others, specifically those in the LGBTQ+ community.
I have always been a skeptic, even during my time as a Christian. I never could wrap my head around certain beliefs and teachings, and hatred toward the LGBTQ+ community was something I never understood. I had always firmly believed in a separation of church and state and though I tried, I could never see an actual war being waged on Christianity. It wasn’t difficult for me to see the link religion had played in my abuse, but that’s not to say I didn’t have my own issues to sort out when I left my abuser. I was quite misogynistic and patriarchal when I left my marriage but didn’t realize it at the time. Education followed and as I evolved, these harmful belief systems were eradicated from my life.
I intended to make this post first, rather than When God Triggers, but as I began researching this subject, I realized there was simply too much to unpack for one post. I’m not entirely certain I can even do this topic justice, but as I’ve posted so much on abuse, I feel not including this post would be a mistake. My attention to this subject will be brief as it’s so vast. No doubt there are others better suited to tackle this subject matter, and do feel free to share links to such posts in the comments below, providing they’re in keeping with this site’s views on women’s issues and equality. (Obviously, MRA content is not appropriate).
Links between religion and abuse can be found in three different areas associated with faith: patriarchy, biblical narrative, and religious tradition. There may be additional ways religion can be linked to abuse, but for this post, we’ll touch briefly on these three. Now, while patriarchy coupled with religion or on its own may not necessarily be abusive, it does provide an environment in which abuse is able to flourish. Christian patriarchy puts the woman in a subjugative role while placing the man in a role of dominance, entitlement, and power. Biblical narrative enforces this view with its teachings on women and in its likening of women to possessions.”
Please follow the link and read the rest of this comprehensive article, all of which I endorse as a complete coverage of its subject.
Let me end by saying something with which I’m sure Kimberly would agree. Since she was reared as a Christian, she is uniquely positioned to discuss the intertwining of religion and the oppression of females. As a Jewish male, this is an area that I only see from the outside. Yet as a thinking individual, who has studied much comparative religion, I can say that ALL organized religions Fundamentalist Right Wings are similar to Christianity, in their oppression and abuse of females. So while the posts I’ve linked here have a Christian focus, their insight is universal and very important for thinking people to understand.