You might say society is falling apart because of stories like this
That our secular culture is to blame
That our modern obsession with video games, war, sex, guns, consumerism are the root of heinous behavior.
It’s not true
Just look around and you’ll see it
No arena is exempt
Sexual violence is all-pervasive
It always has been
And it has nothing to do with sex itself
Sexual violence is about power. It about degrading, demeaning, dehumanizing, and destroying any and all sense of selfworth a person has.
The gratification experienced through these heinous crimes is grotesque and depraved
And utterly unlike the pleasure of an intimate, consensual sexual experience based on mutual trust and love.
That’s what the people in cases like this fail to understand.
But the Bible understands.
Just read this passage and think about what I’ve said:
While they were enjoying themselves, the men of the city, a perverse lot, surrounded the house, and started pounding on the door. They said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, so that we may have intercourse with him.” And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Since this man is my guest, do not do this vile thing. Here are my virgin daughter and his concubine; let me bring them out now. Ravish them and do whatever you want to them; but against this man do not do such a vile thing.” But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine, and put her out to them. They wantonly raped her, and abused her all through the night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go. As morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, until it was light. In the morning her master got up, opened the doors of the house, and when he went out to go on his way, there was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold. “Get up,” he said to her, “we are going.” But there was no answer. Then he put her on the donkey; and the man set out for his home. When he had entered his house, he took a knife, and grasping his concubine he cut her into twelve pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. Then he commanded the men whom he sent, saying, “Thus shall you say to all the Israelites, ‘Has such a thing ever happened since the day that the Israelites came up from the land of Egypt until this day? Consider it, take counsel, and speak out.’
-Judges 19:22-30 NRSVCE
Now ask yourself,
Does that story have anything to do with sex?
Not as far as I’m concerned
The gruesome encounter described is filled with violence that is not even close to any form of sex I’ve ever engaged in
It’s also speaks to my point
Brutal acts of sexual assault are not new
They are not unique to modern culture
They have nothing to do with the groups that are constantly scapegoated for creating moral decline
So instead of condemnatory statements about “the world today”
We need to confront the pervasiveness of this issue.
Recognize it’s long horrid history.
And maybe we’ll start to address the problem and even potentially form some solutions.
When we deny the history and prevalence, when we scapegoat and fail to take responsibility for our ability to influence change, we contribute to the problem
This is barely scratching the surface here, but also consider the way the women in that Bible passage were valued:
“Here are my virgin daughter and his concubine; let me bring them out now. Ravish them and do whatever you want to them”