Katie Edwards, a director, and researcher of “rape culture and religion” at the University of Sheffield, authored a report for The Conversation in which she says that Jesus should be a member of the #MeToo movement.
The article, co-written by David Tombs entitled, “#HimToo – why Jesus should be recognized as a victim of sexual violence” begins by speaking about Lent saying,
“The season of Lent is an invitation to the churches, and to anyone else who wishes to do so, to reflect on the disturbing story of the torture and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament.”
Christians do think about the sacrifice that Jesus made by giving His life, but it would be wrong to say that we should dwell on that and not mention “the purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Resurrection Sunday through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, and self-denial.” Lent isn’t a time to morbidly focus on the way Jesus’ life was taken before He rose again as if our savior is dead, but it’s a time to connect with the sacrifice He made for us and in turn learn to deny ourselves of fleshly desires.
The authors call the reader to focus on “the stripping of Jesus.” She then goes on to say that Jesus was stripped and left uncovered on the cross and that the loincloth often depicted would not have been there. Edwards says that through this process of exposure, Jesus was a victim of sexual abuse and violence because “the purpose was to humiliate the captive and expose him to mockery by others, the stripping was done against his will and as a way to shame him in public.”
Why would placing a label on the horrible actions done against Jesus matter? Well, Edwards says, “If Jesus is named as a victim of sexual abuse it could make a huge difference to how the churches engage with movements like #MeToo, and how they promote change in wider society.”
The Me Too movement focuses on victimhood and blurs the line between sexual abuse and sexual harassment. How can we blanket everything from violent rape to a man whistling at a woman under one phrase, “#metoo?” Doesn’t that normalize sexual assault? People then believe that the worst has happened to all of these women, and that must make it normal. It makes the most violent acts of sexual assault seem minimal because they are being compared to minor experiences that some would call flirtation.
The authors claim that “If Christ was a female figure we wouldn’t hesitate to recognize her ordeal as sexual abuse.”
“The sexual abuse of Jesus is a missing part of Passion and Easter story retellings.” In a BBC interview Tombs says that most people admit that they have never thought of what Jesus went through as sexual abuse.
To call Jesus a victim draws away from the fact that whatever violence He faced, He overcame when He rose again as our savior. The authors point out that there are many churches that try to keep victims of sexual abuse quiet, but you wonder if that’s really the case or if those that have faced these challenges don’t see themselves as victims, but instead born-again believers, and therefore don’t focus as much on sharing the stories of their lives as they do sharing the Gospel.
This isn’t to say that Christians shouldn’t share their testimony and participate in counseling to work through the horrible emotions that come along with such abuse.
The American Psychological Association says “Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent.” For most then, the debate would come down to the definition of the term sexual activity.
Dr. Stuart Waiton, a criminology expert and senior lecturer in the sociology department of the University of Abertay, said: “Using Jesus Christ in this way is farcical.”
“There is a tendency in society to discuss almost everything as a form of abuse, to try and attach the label of victim and victimhood to more and more things and people. `But this is ahistorical and odd.”
“Our understanding of Jesus suggests he would see hardship as something to rise above and move on from, rather than as something that you come to define yourself through” he concludes.
Jesus Christ never recognized himself as a victim. In John 16 Jesus tells us that He has conquered the world. That is not a victim in the least and to put the label of #HimToo on our savior, of all weeks during Holy week, is just plain wrong!!
“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
Edwards, Tombs. “ #HimToo – why Jesus should be recognised as a victim of sexual violence.” The Conversation. . (2018): . . http://bit.ly/2J1Zn4X
Allen. “ '#HimToo': Jesus Christ was a victim of sexual abuse when he was stripped to be crucified, says university academic.” Daily Mail. . (2018): . . https://dailym.ai/2IdDQoD