*Trigger warning for discussion of rape*
I was at slutwalk yesterday, and as I’d volunteered to be a marshall at the Melbourne event, apparently I was a “slut wrangler” – thanks The Age. It was a fantastic event and the organisers did a great job liaising with the police and the city council regarding the march, getting great speakers and keeping everything together. This post isn’t about the great signs, fantastic people, great speakers and the courage that everyone showed by marching or attending yesterday, no, this post is about the protesters to the march who just don’t get it.
As reported in The Age today:
Two lone Christian protesters holding signs saying ”Rape is horrifying but so is immodesty” and ”God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” were the only visible opponents.
Rape is horrifying but so is immodesty
So, apparently being immodest, is as bad as being raped. I take it that the author of this sign hadn’t:
a) thought for more than 5 seconds;
b) been raped;
c) know anyone who has been raped (though if they do, they probably think that it was the victim’s fault); and/or
d) listened to the experience of someone who has been raped/sexually assaulted and asked why/how the rapist could do that.
The author of that sign also clearly missed the entire point of the march. The fact is, that regardless of what women wear, rapists will rape. I was (sadly) briefly friends with a woman at university who was raped at knifepoint when walking home from school one day. She had her throat slit during and was incredibly lucky to survive. She was wearing her school uniform and carrying her school bag – she was not dressed immodestly. I was raped by my then boyfriend. I was partially naked at the time, which I suppose is considered immodest, but given I was in a relationship with him, then again no – any more than I’d be immodest if I was raped today by a partner (which wouldn’t happen).
Before I started reading this post I thought I’d do a little bit of reading about modesty (on wikipedia of course), to make sure I understood what the protesters were talking about. There are some very interesting quotes in the wikipedia article on modesty which I thought I’d share.
Modesty may be expressed in social interaction by communicating in a way exhibiting humility, shyness, or simplicity. The general elements of modesty include:
- Downplaying one’s accomplishments;
- Behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency
Standards of modesty vary by culture, or generation and vary depending on who is exposed, which parts of the body are exposed, the duration of the exposure, the context, and other variables.
Proponents of modesty often see it as a demonstration of respect for their bodies, for social norms, and for the feelings of themselves and others. Some people believe modesty may reduce sexual crimes. Some critics assert that modesty reflects a negative body image, and there may be a correlation between repressive body attitudes and undesirable outcomes such as sexual crimes, violence, and stress.
Most discussion of modesty involves clothing. Issues of modesty and decency have arisen especially during the 20th century as a result of the increased popularity in many countries of shorter dresses and swimsuits and the consequential exposure of more of the body. This has been more pronounced in the case of female fashions. Most people consider the clothes that they are wearing to be modest. Otherwise, they would not wear the clothes. What is considered “modest” in this context will depend on the context when the clothes will be worn and can vary between religions, cultures, generations, occasions, and the persons who are present. [emphasis added]
Modesty is such a fluid concept, it changes year to year, and what is considered modest now, would be considered highly immodest 100 years or more ago. The fact that modesty has different rules depending on which gender you present is also incredibly suckful and unfair, and good reasons for it to be ignored. Immodesty is not as horrifying rape, I’d happily walk naked across the CBD of Melbourne, but I’d not happily be raped.
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble
I’d just like to laugh at the irony of this statement. Humility is nicely defined as:
Humility (adjectival form: humble) is the quality of being modest, reverential, even obsequiously submissive, and never being arrogant, contemptuous, rude or even self-aggrandizing.
I’d like more Christians to be humble, and to not attempt to dictate to others what they should and should not do.
Let’s assume for the moment that there is an all loving, all knowing, and all present deity. Let’s also assume, for the moment, that this deity wants the best for everyone that they created, disregarding the fact that each creation has free will, lives on a planet that would as soon as kill you as look at you, and that the free will given to each creation is often used against the creator’s guidelines.
(Let’s think about a world where an all loving, all present, and all knowing deity existed and wanted the best for its creations – we’d never be sick, we’d never die, we’d never be injured, we’d not have disabilities, we’d not age, we’d never be in pain, we’d never be at risk from earthquakes, floods, fires, poisons, carnivorous animals, etc. We’d be wrapped in swaddling clothes, kept as infants and never know the world.)
But I digress… So there is this deity, and he/she is everywhere, everywhen and loves everyone – even those who do not acknowledge his/her existence, those who’ve done the wrong things, and those who’ve never heard of him/her. So, this deity wants the best for his/her creations, wants them to be happy and to feel his/her love. So when this deity hears that one of his/her creations wants something, what does this deity do? Just to be clear, I’m not talking about a small desire (winning the lottery for example), but a really big need – that their partner not be chronically ill, that their house not be flooded, that their family have not burnt to death in a fire.
Right now, according to most existing beliefs on the planet, gods work in mysterious ways, which is a way of saying that your prayers are as likely to be answered as they are if you pray to me. Seriously, if any deity existed, floods would be reversed, the dead would be brought back to life now (not eventually some time in the distant future when you’re also dead), earthquakes would be reversed, bushfires would burn out and restore everything to the way it was, injury would be reversed, illnesses reversed, and crops restored.
Surely, if any deity existed, there would be no poor, there would be no natural disasters or “acts of God” (what type of God causes such things anyway?). Surely if any deity existed, he/she would want to demonstrate their presence (this act of faith thing is yet another scam) by saving those that are at immediate risk of harm or death. Surely, an all loving, all present, all knowing deity would actually intervene in natural disasters to make sure that people were safe, their property and livelihoods were safe.
Nope, I’m not buying the existence of a deity right now without some actual proof – reverse the floods, bring the dead back to life, heal the sick, and go on bring some world peace while you’re at it.