The Revolution is well underway. It’s time to choose sides, because it’s going to be bloody.
It started with one tweet—the tweet heard around the world. #MeToo
Historians will look back on it as the beginning of a life or death struggle to throw off tyrants who don’t care who they hurt, as long as they can fill their unrelenting appetites for sick pleasures.
Like the American Revolutionary War, offenses built up for quite some time until the sting of tyranny could be tolerated no more.
- Decades of oppression of eager young actresses by powerful and influential men in Hollywood.
- A Stanford judge only gave 6 months in county jail and 3 years of probation to a rapist, in order to prevent “adverse collateral consequences” for an attractive young male athlete. (And he wasn’t the only judge to shirk justice.)
- Countless politicians suffered no repercussions after abusing silenced and paid-off women.
A Battle Won!
This week we’ve had a decisive victory in the courtroom, thanks to one Justice Rosemarie Aquilina. After allowing 156 victims to speak about Nassar’s abuse, she told them to leave her court not as victims, but as survivors. Each one received affirmation and encouragement as they ended their remarks. “Leave your pain here,” she told one of them. “Go out and do your magnificent things.”
Critics claimed she overreached her authority by allowing women not included in the case to speak up. But Justice Aquilina read aloud a plea agreement Nassar signed that specified victim impact statements including over 125 women.
His short, monotone apology was milquetoast in comparison to the tears and pleas that he not be subjected to their statements, which media sources aired to the world.
Here’s why it matters that these women get to speak: He plead guilty, but still claims innocence. “What I did in the state cases was medical, not sexual,” he said. “But because of the porn, I lost all support — thus another reason for the state guilty plea.”
Do these sound like the words of someone who is sorry for what he did?
I won’t repeat what some of these brave women had to endure. But if you’ve heard some of these accounts, you already know that any thinking person understands his actions weren’t “medical” procedures.
The War is Far From Over
Nassar’s trial is only the first skirmish on this front. Survivors hinted at systemic abuse allowed by MSU and the USA Gymnastics organizations; due diligence requires investigating the people who ignored or dismissed reports from those whom Nassar called “ignorant” of his “sophisticated medical work.” Are we to believe that officials acted responsibly by chalking up multiple reports of sexual abuse as a misunderstanding?
The tide is turning. But we can’t stop working toward justice and education. We won’t have won this war until it’s no longer possible for a judge to wink at rape or blame the victim. Victory depends on women in the workplace feeling safe from harassment and young girls unafraid to speak up when an authority figure violates them.
In short, what happened in the courtroom this week must continue. As Justice Aquilina put it, “Inaction is an action. Silence is indifference. Justice requires action and a voice — and that is what has happened here in this court.”
Our Revolution is only beginning. We have battles to win before sexual harassment and assault is no longer woven into the very fabric of our culture. For us to be free, we must continue to expose ways of thinking that make systemic abuse so easy and natural.
Certain Christian Leaders
Rampant, unchecked sexual abuse has gone on for too long, because it is tolerated from the top down.
Much of the church has confused conservative political ideals with following Jesus. Let me be clear: Being a Republican and being a Christian are NOT interchangeable. Those two words are not synonymous.
This isn’t a broad criticism of Christians or the hardworking pastors who lead them. I’m talking about high-profile, outspoken personalities who care more about political power than what’s right in God’s eyes. I’m looking at you, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Franklin Graham, and Tony Perkins.
These men are way off the mark about who to care for and how to serve. The way we treat our most vulnerable is 1000 times more important to God than who sits in the oval office.
Any support given to a man guilty of sexual assault or harassment (especially with so much evidence stacked against him) is the same thing as silencing and shackling his victims.
But who is the champion of the downtrodden? Who lifts up the oppressed? Who is condemning sin?
Is it the high-profile leaders who claim “to advance faith, family and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview?”
Nope. You’d think, but…no. There’s no real faith, family, or freedom advancement when you turn a blind eye to sin.
Or the leaders of organizations who purport to “develop Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential to impact the world?”
Again, nope. These values they support are impacting the world, all right. But Christ-centered? Not even close.
Or, how about someone supposedly devoted to “providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world?”
So who is ministering to the downtrodden and oppressed?
Publicly? Right now, it’s all those dangerous, liberal feminists the Family Research Council and Liberty University keep warning us about. Imagine, liberals being the ones to obey Leviticus 19:15 and embody Psalm 140:12 (“I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy”) while those who purport be the face of the church aid the oppressors.
Christian leaders who side with abusers and assaulters are like the Tories who housed and fed British soldiers while George Washington’s men froze and starved in the winter.
It’s time for men who condone sin to step down from representing the Christian Church. It’s long past time for us to stop following them.
Second Battle: Rape Culture Fueled by Media
It starts in our own minds. TV, movies, and music condition us to what is acceptable and what is not.
I’ll give you an example from my own living room. The other night, my husband and I sat down to watch another episode of Poldark. The BBS series is about a former British soldier hero home to the beautiful coast of Cornwall from the American Revolutionary war to find Elizabeth, his one true love engaged to his cousin.
For almost two seasons, I’ve hailed Ross Poldark as a lovable scoundrel. Sure, he smuggles goods into the country, but with good reason. His efforts help to feed the poor and oppressed under the government’s tyrannical tax duties. Every hero has a flaw, right?
But as the episode ended, our hero learned that his first love, the widow of his cousin, Francis, was to remarry Ross’s archenemy. After nightfall, he pushed his wife aside, rode over to Elizabeth’s house, and kicked in her door. After tromping up the stairs, he argued with her angrily before throwing her onto the bed and forcing himself on her.
My husband and I sat stunned. This was more than a hero’s flaw; it was an unconscionable act that no circumstances could ever justify. As we tried to wrap our brains around the plot twist, we started the justification process. “If she hadn’t led him on two episodes ago by saying she’d made a mistake in marrying Francis…”
But no. Our hero had crossed the line by committing an irredeemable act. The only redeemable part of that episode is that it ended with Ross’s wife, Demelza, cold cocking him and knocking him flat when he returned home.
But why did my husband and I have to think so hard about what happened in order to define Ross’s assault for what it was? We’d been conditioned to cheer for him from the beginning. He was the underdog. He stole from the rich to give to the poor. He rescued Demelza from poverty and abuse, and gave her a home with the children she doted on. We wanted to root for him.
But no matter how charming, how philanthropic, or how much of an underdog he was, his actions can’t be justified. We had to call a spade a spade. And Ross, former hero, committed nothing short of rape.
It’s not just in this TV series. It’s on the radio, at the movies, and pretty much anywhere we consume media. Our minds accept what we’re told, often effortlessly.
We must be vigilant to recognize and label sexual harassment and assault when it happens. Sometimes that means giving up a beloved TV series before you even get to season 3. Other times it means facing criticism for speaking out.
After all, how can one defeat the enemy if we have no idea where it is? Unfortunately, in this war, it’s not quite as simple as looking for a bright red coat.
I’ll let George Washington sum up here. Though his words were penned in the 1700’s, they serve us well in the Revolution we find ourselves in today:
“Our cruel and unrelenting Enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance, or the most abject submission; this is all we can expect – We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our own Country’s Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions – The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny meditated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world, that a Freeman contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.”
― George Washington