Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Victim Blaming, or Missing the Point Entirely

Image Taken from Restoration Community Church 
Warning: This post discusses sexual violence.

Today, a friend drew my attention to this post over at The Gospel Coalition, then Rachel Held Evans' response, and finally TGC rebuttal.

In the original post, TGC writer Jared C. Wilson writes about the perverted sexuality of 50 Shades of Grey, and quotes from Douglas Wilson’s book Fidelity: What it Means to be a One-Woman Man. The quote, which I won't bother to reproduce here since you can read it both in the original post and in Evans' response, has caused a great deal of outrage.

The reason for this outrage is that Wilson and Wilson appear to be claiming that egalitarianism is ultimately responsible for the existence of rape, sexual violence and forms of sexual perversion that glorify them. In other words: victim blaming. Again.

Wilson and Wilson, of course, responded to the outrage, but their response completely misses the point. They seem to think that they're being accused of advocating rape and other forms of sexual violence. I actually wouldn't be surprised if some people have accused them of it, since they use language of "conquest" and "colonization" in their description of "proper" sexual authority and submission,1 which would quite rightly upset some people.2 By-and-large, though, that isn't what people are complaining about.

People get that Wilson and Wilson are saying that rape and sexual violence is bad. That's hard to miss. Unfortunately, it's also hard to miss when Douglas Wilson says "Because we have forgotten the biblical concepts of true authority and submission, or more accurately, have rebelled against them, we have created a climate in which caricatures of authority and submission intrude upon our lives with violence." Wilson is, undeniably, claiming that egalitarianism creates the environment for sexual violence. He is saying that because woman desire something apart from the life of the curse, and desire to live in equality with men, rape happens. That is a highly disturbing thing to say, and I hope and pray Wilson and Wilson can come to see how horrifying what they're saying is.

I know complimentarians I respect. I don't think that point of view is inherently evil, though I do think it's wrong, but this is not merely complimentarianism, it's sheer unbridled patriarchy, and it's wrong.


1. Douglas Wilson thinks that using these terms is okay because not all conquest and colonization is violent and destructive... apparently.

2. Just because you intend to be saying one thing, your text can still be saying quite another. In a world in which sexual violence is so prevalent, the use of terms like "conquest" and "colonization" for healthy sexuality is not okay, even if you think you mean something different by it. Language is public.