A friend recently posed a question on Facebook: What strategies have you used to teach middle-school boys about valuing the worth of girls/women?
Teach boys self-worth and how to value themselves, first, and as an extension, how to value others. Teach both physical and emotional intimacy. A lot of these things can and should start before middle school, but middle school is better than never. Teach them the realities of how women are mistreated/undervalued in society (pay disparity, job inequality, etc.), and why it’s important to advocate for those with less power. Explicitly teach them to value their bodies and women’s bodies via age-appropriate sex education, which includes discussing the realities of the porn industry and how it affects our valuing of sex and women. This also includes explicitly teaching consent (CLICK HERE for pointers on NOT Raising Rapists). Ensure parents are on board with what you’re teaching and that they’re reinforcing these messages at home and especially in the media their kids are exposed to. Teach boys to hold others, especially other males, accountable for their sexism and/or misogyny.
The time to be a leader isn’t later. The time to lead is now. Their ability to lead is now. During the preadolescent years, parental influence is paramount. But during the middle-school years, we tend to see a shift in how children internalize parental vs. peer values, so the earlier parents can model and make their ideals meaningful, the better. Likewise, the more we can help adolescents hold each other accountable on some of these issues, the better, because their peer groups become considerable influencers as they age.
How do I know it’s GOD speaking, and not ME speaking? How do I know it’s the voice of GOD, and not the voice of the enemy? These are valid questions because 2 Corinthians 11:14 says, “…Satan disguises himself as an angel of light…” which means it will sometimes be difficult to discern between the voice of God and the voice of Satan.
In John 10:4 & 5, Jesus says His sheep know His voice, and they follow Him, but they also do NOT follow the stranger and run away from him because they do NOT know the stranger’s voice. That means, it’s not enough just to know the Shepherd’s voice, but we must also be unacquainted with the voice of the enemy!
Adam and Eve spent time hearing God’s voice in face-to-face encounters, but it wasn’t enough just knowing what God said. Adam and Eve knew God’s words, but they entertained the enemy! Likewise, our Bible helps us to know what God said! But it’s NOT enough to just know your Word. You have to defamiliarize yourself with the voice of the enemy!
I posted a video reminder below on suicide, depression, and the holiday season. Watch, share, grow. Each of us have the power to be the change we wish to see in this world. You can change someone’s entire life, even change the entire course of history if you seize the moments to connect with others and make this world a better place.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
Last night I adapted the following activity (found online) with my students after a discussion on the psychological impact of the grand jury decisions (and precipitating events) in Ferguson and in NY for the officer who choked Eric Garner. Some didn’t see it impacting their particular clients or how they function professionally in our field. I had them write their names on a paper, ball it up, and try to throw it into a freshly lined trashcan at the front of the class, but they had to shoot from wherever they were already seated. We pretended that whoever made their shot would get an “A” regardless of how they were performing in the class.
Of course, those in the back complained it was unfair as others in the rows ahead of them practiced their shot. After everyone threw, I asked those in the front why they didn’t join the rows behind them in pointing out the unfairness. One student, privileged with front-row seating, said the others should have been sitting closer. Another nearer the front said she didn’t even hear them saying it was unfair (she was so focused on “making it” for herself). One student near the back made his shot and stopped mentioning it was unfair. His classmate slightly behind him rightfully called him an outlier. I told them that in reality, they have the privilege of front row seating in life, and part of their JOB is to advocate for the people in the rows behind them.
I told them to remember anomalies, represented by the guy who “made it” despite adverse circumstances (being near the back). Remember that our front-row privilege makes it easier to assume what others should have done differently (like sit closer despite being disallowed to move, or like how they should respond to oppression). Remember how easy it is to completely miss the cries of injustice from the rows behind us because we’re so focused on “making it” ourselves. And once you “make it,” remember to advocate for the rows behind you.
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Why do rape victims let time (and evidence) slip away?
A great friend asked what a great many others have asked about the rape allegations against Bill Cosby: Why would a rape victim wait to disclose his/her assault?Further, why would one wait weeks, months, years, even decades, which generally means all evidence has been destroyed. It saddens me that society seems to have fallen so far from empathy that we’re okay with blaming alleged victims for not telling us sooner that they were victimized. It’s hard to tell, though, if that’s resultant from a lack of empathy or an assertion of privilege. Regardless, I’ll share just a few of the reasons I listed for why victims/survivors of rape may delay in coming forward about what is likely some of their most pain-filled and shame-filled life experiences. The highlighted list isn’t exhaustive. In fact, you can find a link below to the Facebook thread for this conversation.
Rape is often THE most shame-filled moments of a person’s life. Rape carries with it the stigma of the victim being damaged goods. In 2014, there are still women being killed (usually termed “honor killings”) because they were raped. I’m aware some are only beaten 😩. There’s a reason only 40% of rapes are reported to the police, and only 3% of rapists ever spend a single day in jail. Do we really believe society is supportive of rape victims/survivors?
Allow me to briefly address the neuropsychology of trauma – bear with me. Many mention the ideal situation, which is that rape victims immediately report the crime to law enforcement and have a medical exam (rape kit) performed. These are logical steps one can and hopefully would take; however, brain scans of individuals recalling trauma have shown the portions of the brain most involved with logic and decision-making tend to be completely bypassed. The left frontal cortex, which I promise you want involved in any wise decisions, appears inactive, and during trauma, we (humans) tend to make decisions for immediate self-preservation (i.e., not long-term). I could bore you with more, but that’s the gist of it.
Rape serves the purpose of disempowering the rape victim. It’s long been established that rape is a crime about power, not sex. Any crime that specifically disempowers the victim makes it less likely that the victim will feel empowered to report said crime. So, rape is a little (a lot) different than say, having your car broken into. I’d hope we can agree that rape is a much more intimate crime than theft, as well, which again makes it less likely that the victim would publicly share the intimate nature of their violation.
When someone’s car is broken into, society’s general response is, “Oh no!” When a woman is raped, society’s general response is, “Oh boy!” (as in “Here we go…”). This response is intensified if the alleged rapist is a popular or highly regarded member of society; thus, the response to the alleged victim is much less supportive and much more blaming. Unfortunately, fear of not being believed is one of the top reasons rape victims don’t disclose. Even within that fear, there are complex variables that make it even less likely that a rape victim would come forward. For example, sexual arousal during the assault, which carries even more stigma, is the reason many victims fear they’d not be believed and the reason many in society don’t believe men can be raped by women (despite men being raped more than women in the U.S., but that’s for another discussion).
I want to also address how surprised people often are when there’s an “avalanche” of victims/survivors coming forward and/or going public after someone else tells his/her story of being raped and/or it becomes a more mainstream story. From a psychological and common sense standpoint, there is strength in numbers. As we see others share their truths, we’re strengthened in our conviction and courage to share, even if it comes with the public ridicule and scorn these women (accusing Bill Cosby) are now facing.
Finally, I want to leave you with the questions I originally asked: Why do we cast a negative light on alleged rape victims possibly having “an agenda” for why they came forward? So what if they DO? Have you considered how many thousands of dollars sexual assault costs victims in medical and mental health bills alone? Never mind decreased productivity due to depression, anxiety, and other trauma-related symptoms. Of similar impact is the relational distress and dysfunction resulting from sexual assault. I’d say an agenda is quite fitting, whether seeking financial compensation, public/private apology or admittance, or legal recourse. CLICK HERE for the Facebook link that included other great responses and reasons some would wait.
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Reblogging post on confrontation with a 3-minute video on setting boundaries. Rabbits don’t like when you put up a fence to keep them out of your garden, but producing fruit requires setting boundaries. “I’m a fan of mercy, and I’m a fan of grace, but that does not nullify the boundaries of God.” Love shows restraint; it doesn’t just do whatever it wants whenever it wants. Love both sets and keeps boundaries.
I’ve been hit left and right these last few days with the reality that I need to engage in some loving confrontation to move forward in a healthy way. I was relatively clear on this notion on Monday, but by Wednesday (yesterday), I’d talked myself down from fully walking out in faith. I’d told myself, “Well, maybe I just need to be strong enough to address this issue should it come up again.” But, the reality is, God doesn’t want us to take a passive stance on confrontation. I thank Pastor Roger Hernandez for his obedience to blog about this. His Spirit-led tweets talked me out of the corner of fearing confrontations that need to be had.
In Matthew 18:15-20, the Word tells us to go to those who’ve harmed us, not to wait, but to be proactive and go to them. The whole purpose is to “gain…
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Beauty is only skin deep,” and I have to say I both agree and disagree. On Friday night one week ago, I attended a women’s worship service where a picture framed the question, “What makes you beautiful?” Those four words leapt from the picture frame in the candlelit room. Among the 10 questions posed that night, I only managed to completely answer this one. I’ll share my response as I originally penned it, below (with all the weird capitalizations, boldings, and underlines):
“What makes you beautiful? This question put such a smile on my face. God, you’ve restored me and loved me back to life. Like, WOW! Your love, your grace, I see beauty where I didn’t use to – that makes me beautiful. To join with You in acknowledging the beauty in every single thing You’ve created, to recognize beauty where others, and even I…