Is it wrong to steal a car?

30 Comments

Is it wrong to steal a car?

What if the owner of that car was basically asking for it to be stolen?

What if the owner washed it every day so it was as shiny as possible? What if he left it in his drive-way for all the world to see?

He didn’t make any attempts to cover it up. He didn’t hide how great of a car it was.

What if he even let people from the neighborhood touch his car, or sit in the passenger seat if they asked? What if he gave people free rides all the time?

So how could someone know that it isn’t okay to just take that car?

Don’t advertising what you’re not selling, right?

He has it coming.

So, is it wrong to steal a car?

Duh. Yes. Of course.

I don’t think any judge would pardon a car thief, even if said car thief used all of these excuses.

But sometimes, a man can rape a woman, use these same excuses, and get away with it.

Some people believe that if a woman makes herself look too nice…

If she shows off the body that she owns…

If she gives out too many “free rides” to other men (if she’s a “slut”)…

She’s asking for it.

Is a woman not worth more than a car?

Rape culture is disgusting and dehumanizing. Good thing it doesn’t exist in Christian circles, right?

Well…

Let me tell you a story.

I was a senior in high-school. A Christian high-school. And I was in government class. We were having a discussion about abortion laws. Obviously, in my tiny, Independent Fundamental Baptist-based Christian school, everyone had the same opinion about abortion.

So my teacher played the devil’s advocate and asked us, “What if a woman was raped? Should she have the right to abort any pregnancy that results from that rape?”

One student raised her hand and said, “Well, no. It’s still wrong. Besides, most rape victims were raped because they were dressing like sluts and drinking. It’s their own fault. They were asking for it.”

The rest of the class (teacher included) laughed and agreed.

A victim of sexual abuse myself, I excused myself to go to the bathroom and cry and wonder what I had done wrong…how I had asked for it.

A couple of years later, I read a Christian dating book that contained a chapter about modesty. I’ll paraphrase one of the quotes (I’d type the exact quote but I can’t remember it and I can’t look it up because I’ve since ripped the book in half and thrown it away in a freeing act of therapeutic anger):

“Don’t advertise your body if it’s not on the menu. If you dress like a slab of meat, you’re going to get thrown on the barbecue.”

Then, a few weeks ago, I read an article by an extremely influential Christian author. He tried to tell women how to date. In addition to throwing the word “slut” around, he told women to “stop playing the victim” and own up to their mistakes when it came to sex. He even gave out this lovely piece of advice:

“…stop using alcohol as an excuse. Nobody gets drunk and accidentally sleeps with a hamster. You know what you’re doing, drunk or not, so cut it out.”

I wish these three examples were the only contact that I’ve had with rape culture in the church.

They’re not.

Rape culture is here in our churches. It’s subtle and it’s sneaky, but it’s here.

Every time an influential Christian author calls a woman a “slut,” it’s here.

Every time a man points a finger at a group of women and says, “Your immodesty is the reason we men struggle with pornography,” it’s here.

Every time a sexual abuse victim is forced to apologize in front of her church for her “behavior,” it’s here.

Tamara Lunardo, of Tamara Out Loud, published a fantastic article today in which she asks, “What’s a girl worth?” 

What’s our answer to that question, Church?

Is she worth more than that car that we’d never steal? Is she worth more than the pound of steak that’s on sale at the butchers’ shop? Is she worth more than products that can be advertised?

Does the length of her skirt determine the value of her soul?

Do our churches’ answers to these questions look any different than rape culture’s answers?

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30 thoughts on “Is it wrong to steal a car?

  1. Sarah, that is just awesome. I’m so glad you are so articulate on this subject. I wrote a tiny post on rape awhile back. It wasn’t profound like yours, but it has a fabulous photo that I think you would like. You can find it at http://whoivealwaysbeen.blogspot.com/2011/08/needed-sayin.html

  2. So powerful. Thank you for writing and sharing!

  3. Very powerful post. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. “Does the length of her skirt determine the value of her soul?” Wow! Wow! Wow! So many things get swept under the carpet… thanks for highlighting this.

  5. “I discovered this weekend that my father-in-law believes that if a woman is “too” endowed, she should have breast reduction surgery so that she’s not a temptation to others.”

    Unbelievable! I thought I had heard everything.

  6. I started attending an IFB church with my family when I was 13. I’ve heard all sorts of different things from different preacher’s, their wives, SS teachers, you name it! I always go back to the Bible…I know that God’s opinion of me, my clothes, my actions, are always right! Base your beliefs in God’s Word, read it for yourself, & you’ll do just fine! BTW–If you ever need to hear a preacher yell at the guys, come to our church, or send me your address & I’ll send you one of his messages—all about the man taking responsibility for his own feelings, actions, what-have-you! He believes in modest dress for the woman, yes, but our INWARD heart is what really matters-man OR woman!

  7. It’s a responsibility issue. We have never taught our boys to be responsible for their actions. We’ve always blamed it on the women. You know….since Eve and all. All the women’s fault. We should hear preaching like, “You know, young man. You should keep your mind right. Keep it out of the gutter. You should be able to witness to a girl who is naked and NEVER let your mind wander. Keep your mind and your actions right and NEVER blame anyone else for what you chose to do.” Alas, not so. At least not in the branch of fundamentalism I am desperately trying to escape.

  8. Thank you Sarah. I am sorry for your experiences in this.

    I just don’t get how anyone could ever have the gall to say that anyone deserves to be raped, molested, etc. I don’t care how they are dressed, how they walk, talk, or whatever NO ONE asks to be raped! The idea that they do is so offensive and outlandish that maybe those who support and espouse such non-sense are a danger to society, no they are a danger as that facilitate those who actually commit the crime.

    It really doesn’t surprise me that this rape culture is well established within the church. We’ve adopted all the other elements of the world: hate, violence, idolatry, etc.

    • We have become very indistinguishable from the world in many cases. And it feels like when we are separate from the world, it’s because we’re behind on equality issues. Sad.

  9. Thank you for having the courage to post this. I admit that my exposure to this kind of culture is basically non-existant. I have never heard a Christian use a term like “sl*t”; in fact, as a kid I remember hearing it and asking mom what it meant. I got quite a lecture from both parents. We were raised to love and respect women. As a husband, I love and respect my wife, and hope to love a daughter or two someday. The idea that this kind of attitude even exists is troubling, that it would be linked to Christianity is downright disturbing.

    • It’s awesome that you grew up in a church/family like that! I hope that more churches jump on that awesome bandwagon of love and respect!

  10. That quote from the influential Christian author is infuriating. First of all, he’s completely and utterly wrong. Second of all, at least in Texas, the law agrees that he is completely and utterly wrong (drunk people cannot legally consent to sexual activity). So not only is he going against the truth of people’s experiences, he’s going against the law itself, and showing no kindness, love, or respect towards women.

    This post is filled with so much truth and I wish so badly that it didn’t have to be written. Your analogy to stealing a car is excellent. Thank you for this post.

  11. This hits me hard. Right now all I can say is thank you.

  12. Wow! You girls are speaking the Truth I want you to get on my radio Station at http://www.wwjsnow.com and the number is 2146996048. it 10 to midnight central time.

  13. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/take-all-prisoners/201001/vulnerability-and-other-prey-psychopaths

    It’s not the girl’s fault at all…or at least not because of how she dresses. Those that prey on others dont even take into consideration how the woman dresses.

  14. What a powerful post.

    I do want my kids to exercise good judgment and modesty, but because they have respect for themselves. Because I want them to know that their value is more than their appearance. But I also never want them to be ashamed of their appearance. And garbage like this teaches people (females in particular) to feel shame. Shame if they’re too pretty. Shame if they’re not pretty enough. Shame if they want to be noticed. Shame, shame, shame.

    That’s not okay.

  15. Thank you.

    Thank you.

    God in heaven, thank You.

    I discovered this weekend that my father-in-law believes that if a woman is “too” endowed, she should have breast reduction surgery so that she’s not a temptation to others. Thank God my husband is nothing like his father. Thank You, God.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, read, and even thought the same things. That was before my assault, granted. And even some afterwards, since I believed that it had to be my fault.

    (sigh)

    I love this post. But I hate that it even needs to be written.

    • I hate that it needs to be written too. I was like, “Why am I writing this? This can’t be true!” I experienced it first hand and I still have trouble believing that anyone who loves Jesus could buy into rape culture like that. but it happens all the time. :(

    • My husband read this with me and asked, “So if a man is *too muscular and attractive*, should he be forced to be fat?” Ditto.

      (hug)

      • I feel like most church folk would say no to that, just because so many are under the false impression that women do not have any desire to initiate sex (unless they are initiating it to obtain a non-sexual goal) and therefore cannot rape a man.

        That being said, I know a few IFB men who admitted that they planned to get fat after marriage so that they wouldn’t be tempted to cheat on their wives…which is illogical for SO many reasons.

        It’s weird to think that I used to be a part of a culture like that.

        • UGH. I hate that. A woman’s only value or identity is tied to her sexuality, and she’s shamed for it anyway. Ughhh. And yeah, men get raped. Not as often, but it happens more frequently than we’d all like to think.

          That’s nutso about getting fat so you won’t cheat. Because how we look dictates our sexual desires (and others’ desires for us). Please.

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