A Thought for November
From the Rev. Bobby Liddle.
This month I have resisted temptation! The temptation to comment on the US Presidential election and the temptation to comment on Christians giving validity to the world of the demonic through buying into the halloween sales pitch.
Instead I want to make the comment that sexism, anti-feminism, domestic abuse against women, sexual assault and rape are men’s problems. All too often when we hear voices speaking out about the rights and protection of women those voices belong to women. Men switch off or mark it down as yet another outspoken feminist. And we are wrong to do so. The reason it is so frequently women who are speaking out on these issues is because men are not. Yet it is a male problem!
Recently I quoted PSNI statistics that in N Ireland, in the12 months up to June 2016 there were 28,405 reports of domestic abuse and 14,220 domestic abuse crimes, most commonly against women. 1 in 4 women at some time will face some form of domestic abuse. And that is only in the home.
I am reliably informed that the anonymity of social media is being used by men to verbally and visually abuse, threaten and stalk women, let alone going the steps further to grooming and actually abusing. As an example, when the footballer Ched Evans recently had his conviction for rape overturned posts appeared on social media referring to the girl involved as a ‘slag’ and hoping that she will really be raped. None of this is ok. And it is a male problem.
Fathers need to be teaching their sons and modelling for them right and appropriate ways to speak to and treat women! Youth leaders need to be telling teenage boys what are acceptable and unacceptable ways to approach, speak to, speak about and think about girls. Parents need to monitor closely what their teenage sons are looking at online and neither be ignorant or naïve that their little darling wouldn’t be looking at ‘anything like that.’
Let us not be ignorant! Boys are growing into men thinking about and seeing women as sex objects and believing that what they see on porn sites is the way women want to be treated. The growth in sexual harassment and abuse no doubt has many complex explanations and I do not want to be simplistic. However, it is men who are doing this. The problems lie in men’s minds, words and actions and it is men who need to be heard saying loudly and clearly, privately and publically, ‘this is NOT ok!’
Yours in His name