Before I begin, let me say that this is an opinion piece and a work in progress.
From our previous study on women–in the search for authentic woman–we looked at how women detach themselves from the other parts of themselves or are forced into an indifference to their other gifts, becoming robots, premadonnas, enslaved girls, or dolls. When they are forced into those roles, either through their own will or another’s, they disconnect from emotions and/or intellectual motivations. They often become just a body, or just a mind, or just a feeler. Being disconnected in such a way…can we consider this either mutilation at the will of self or abuse at the will of another?
Looking for Answers in Our History
In the spirit of de Beauvoir, who looked to history to discover how we arrived here today, I will be investigating women from the 20th century. To let you know where this will be heading, let me preface by saying that I was extremely thankful that a “Baby Boomer” actually admitted something key to understanding our recent American history. He said the generation before him had the tendency to fear God too much while his generation went in the extreme opposite direction and decided not to fear Him at all. He proposed that it was from a misunderstanding of the term fear of the Lord. It is not a fear of an angry God that we should have; it is a fear of losing His friendship or Love by our own choices to reject His Love. Essentially, we should have a moderate fear, not a fear that swings to either extreme, to be spiritually healthy. A Baby Boomer’s willingness to admit this is huge because it means people are starting to acknowledge that perhaps the Sexual Revolution may not have been as good for us as some people from that generation would like us to think.
What Changed With the Sexual Revolution?
Since the Sexual Revolution, I propose that sexual abuse towards women has increased tenfold. Now some of you may disagree, feeling that women have more rights now than they did fifty some years ago, but I would venture to say that not only has it increased, but it has also become socially acceptable to begin and maintain this abuse of women from a very young age.
The Loss of Healthy Boundaries
Let me clarify my stance. No longer are women given the commitment of marriage and a helpmate who will help her take care of the future (children) with her in a way that is stable for her and the children; no longer are women encouraged to protect the sacredness of their bodies; no longer do men think twice about trespassing healthy boundaries; no longer do women think that they need healthy boundaries to remain healthy. Women are not allowed to expect men to finish a lifelong project; women are told that giving into passing sexual fancies is healthy for her mentally; and women are told that healthy boundaries do not exist.
We have built an arena suitable for predators and perpetrators. Predators and perpetrators feel and think the same way–they do not regard or respect the desire and need to have healthy boundaries either because they cannot sense when they have passed over the boundary or because they love the challenge of crossing the boundaries. Classes about child/sex predators teach you what the flags are for perpetrators, and this lack of awareness/acknowledgement for healthy boundaries is one of the first signs.
So What Are the Results of This Lack of Healthy Boundaries?
Physically–STD’s that were once a problem only for those who worked the streets are now a problem that hits people in every corner, every strata, every class, every background, old and young, male and female. Chemical dependence has taken on a new meaning in this age, both contraceptive and otherwise.
Mentally–Sexual education that was supposed to educate women on how to take care of themselves provided ways that made it easier for men to use them. Sex ed lacked an essential education in the truths about the risks, consequences, and mentalities related to contraceptive devices. (Side note, I did not realize how uneducated women were about this until I started my ministry. Part of that is because my dad is a doctor, so I was informed at a young age and assumed that other young women would be too.)
Emotionally—Women suffer now more from anger, depression, anxiety, and degradation for having emotional reactions to serious problems that have become socially acceptable—adultery, pornography, divorce, the over-exaltation of outer beauty, etc.. Men disconnect more from the emotional side of sex and can’t stay connected with one woman–indifference to the heart of lovemaking replaced by the instant gratification of an orgasm.
Spiritually—With the loss of healthy boundaries comes the loss of spiritual clarity or spirituality altogether. Divorce (for selfish reasons) cuts one off from the heart of marriage, which is love. Divorce of mom and dad can cause despair in children who have not seen fidelity or the image of One lived out so cannot see that God is faithful or One either. Premarital sex reduces sex to an exercise rather than a gift to be shared by a man and woman who have accepted their responsibility to pass life onto the future. Broken from its marital significance, premarital sex tosses God out the window again. Rape can cause women to lose all hope spiritually that God loves them, the abuser now the representative for God. Pornography leads people to dwell in the realm of fantasy, to seek comfort without doing the hard work of love, disconnecting more and more from real love. And it goes on….As you can see, anything done with the body has effects on us spiritually.
So what can young women now expect after years of this revolution?
It is likely they will be raising their children alone. It is likely that they will be considered odd if they are not sexually promiscuous. It is likely that they will have difficulties emotionally and spiritually as a result of that promiscuity. It is likely that they will be unable to handle mature decisions because their maturity level will be stunted by disconnecting from their spirit. It is likely that they will feel the need to be on several types of drugs to alleviate depression and anxiety, to avoid the “burden” of their natural gifts, to take care of the STDs that they will likely obtain either because she sleeps around, her ex-boyfriend sleeps around, or her husband sleeps around. And finally, it is likely that she will be told that this is normal behavior for intelligent human beings.
Is this a dire view of the Sexual Revolution as the primary cause of abuse in women? If the revolution sought to cause casualties, it has served its purpose well. And what are these casualties for? Have we gained anything for this sacrifice of women’s bodies and well-being and to a massive extent for the sacrifice of their children as well? Isn’t it time to look seriously at the goals and consequences of this revolution to see if and whether we have actually been accomplishing anything?
According to today’s messages that developed from this revolution–chastity is a bad word; doing things out of naiveté is better than making choices from pure and complete knowledge; taking another woman’s husband is a good show of empowerment; abstinence is unrealistic and unhealthy because nobody believes that anybody is actually capable of doing it since women are just a clump of biological reactions, animals without souls, creatures without intelligence (ladies, does this sound familiar?); beauty begins with the body; being immature is a freedom that should continue into adulthood. Whatever makes us feel happy at the moment and whatever is a reaction to anything is good, noble, and true. Agh!
This is a nightmare for a woman who longs to embrace her true nature, loves unity and true happiness. Indeed, many of the messages women are given are just new dresses on the messages women have heard throughout the ages: she can’t think for herself; she is inferior because she has no soul; she is just an animal incapable of making decisions based on reason; she is just a body.
Since woman has agreed to become so detached from her inherent dignity–a body married to a soul–
She has to live in denial of the pain of infidelity. She must “move on” according to the latest social standards.
She has to live as if promiscuity is healthy. She must be on birth control and accept that men cannot expect themselves to control themselves. She shouldn’t expect this from herself either.
She has to be in denial of her truest self and her noblest gifts. She must make money and honor her top priorities.
The revolution demands that she be synthetic like the materials that are produced in a factory—she has become a product like the products pushed on her that promise to make her happy. She must revolt against herself!
Now by this time, you are probably asking about the abuse of women. You may have thought that I would throw out statistics about domestic abuse, rape, and what not. But clearly by now, I am asking women to take a look at themselves to see where they are being willing participants in their own use and abuse. Is it because women don’t even know what the term abuse means anymore? Is it because they don’t know when they are being used? Have women been mutilating themselves? Only deep reflection helps us discover this.
The following abuses are not exhaustive and overlap because women are made up of more than just one part as set forth in the previous article…
When she is raped, hit, or having sex with an unfaithful husband, when she is made to scar her body or use chemicals so that she can just be a body for someone’s use, when she is enslaved, oppressed, trafficked… Strength dominates and controls the weak in physical/emotional abuse whereas it was meant to uplift; chemicals are now given to fix something that is not broken rather than to be used for healing.
When she is not allowed to get an education; when girls are taught to be sex objects; when someone uses manipulation, propaganda, or morally grey literature to make her perceive that femininity is bad or evil, promoting male domination as the perfect goal; when her talents are considered less important; when she is encouraged to go against her nature to obtain talents that are more esteemed in society; when she is called names; when she is told that her gender is substandard; when she is not shown how to accept and esteem her gender; when her gender is hidden for an experiment; when she is made to feel stupid for having a feminine gender; when she is not allowed to explore the beauty of her gender’s natural talents; when she is told her gender gifts and talents are a burden to society; when she is physically and/or sexually abused and told that the abuse was not a sin or wrong. Any degradation of her natural feminine gifts, including this tendency today to make motherhood the least important facet or the facet that is not important at all in our humanity, is emotional/intellectual abuse.
When her husband is unfaithful; when he lies to her; when he tells her to sin to please him; when an authority figure suggests that mortal sin is okay; when she receives verbal or physical abuse from a spiritual guide, such as a priest or nun; when she is not allowed to discover God; when she is encouraged not to feel; when she is encouraged not to have a conscience based on Truth; when she is sexually abused as a child or adult; when she is used for her body; when her parents tell her that it is okay to be used sexually; when her husband uses contraceptives; when she sees her children killed or abused. Anything that leads her away from discovering the Truth around and within herself, from discovering authentic Love, from discovering God is emotional/spiritual abuse.
All of these abuses connect to her other parts because woman is a whole person. Ironically, the only thing connecting her is the abuse that will penetrate every part of her.
Have We Accomplished The Acceptance of Woman, or Is It Something Else?
To draw a comparison as to whether we have actually accomplished anything, let us take a look at the abuse of a woman in 18th century America. This is one woman’s account of having found out her husband was having an affair. It seems to be a reasonable reaction to his infidelity.
“Some vent to my private grief I found in writing it; but in such language, as none but myself, or the guilty companion, could understand. I give vent to the feelings of my broken heart, as follows; Alas, how is man’s nature depraved! so that nothing is too vile for his wicked heart to do! Those, who should be friends [the married couple], become the worst of enemies. O my soul put not thy trust in man; nor take the present world for thy portion. Its enjoyments appear to me vanity and dust. I behold emptiness and vanity in all things below the sun. Even the very sun beams seem dark to me. Great is my sorrow. My heart is full of grief, and my eyes of tears, because of the cruelty of enemies. They, who are mine enemies wrongfully exalt themselves. They vainly dream they shall never be moved; even while they live in scandalous sin, and take pleasure in unrighteousness. They know not, nor will they consider, that their folly will cause bitterness in the end. Unexpected evils have overtaken me. My sorrow is great. Relative to my present trouble, I am those who have but little hope. I mourn also in spiritual desertion. My prayer seems to be shut out from God, as though he regarded not my mourning. From the commencement of this trial my mind has been dark in relation to it. I feel unable to form much expectation that I shall be delivered from it in the reformation of the guilty party. But I must say in the language of Jacob, in another case, “If I am bereaved, I am bereaved.” (Genesis 43:14)”
She bore for her husband 14 children, endured his affair with one woman, a possible rape to another woman, and his sexual abuse (incest) on their daughter. Because of the laws at the time she lived, she was unable to divorce without evidence because the children would automatically go to the father. Her daughter was too afraid to say what was going on. When her daughter was old enough (legally free), she went to live with her aunt and uncle where she was able to give the evidence her mother needed to obtain a divorce. He was kicked out of town. Her name was Abigail Abbot Bailey, and she lived from 1746-1815.
Fast forward to today.
Women are now allowed to separate from a sexually, emotionally, or physically abusive husband. But, I propose that the abuse still exists and has become more acceptable to the laws of societal standards in the present. The law in the past needed the evidence to prosecute; the law now has enabled an abuser to be excused from admitting any wrong. The environment has changed for him–the abuser–so that abuse doesn’t seem wrong for him according to the current language and laws. Since the current laws are making his offense not offensive, boundary-less, excusable, he is allowed to abuse and will have no consequences. To add to the gravity of this situation, he is now not the only abuser. Now by encouraging daughters to allow abuses, women have become the abusers too!
Just “Be Beautiful.”
Just “Have Sex.”
Just “Accept It.”
Just Do It.
The generation before the Baby Boomer had a tendency to hide abuse all too often. The Baby Boomer generation brought this abuse into the light but often resorted to calling the abuse a good thing with psycho babble, with the word “progress,” with the word “free-love,” thereby hiding abuse again by just giving it a new name. What will the next generation do with sexual abuse?
So, have we helped women who are being abused or have we helped the abuser rework the laws and language, lowered the standards in some instances, so that it is no longer considered abuse, so that it seems like, to some, that women have actually accomplished something?