I’ll admit it — the first time I heard the term “rape culture,” I rolled my eyes and thought, “that’s not really a thing — after all, we’ve made tremendous strides towards decreasing rape in our society, and nobody’s in favor of rape.” But, as I read more about it, I realized that it is, in fact, a thing. It has a clear and straight-forward definition — if you’re not familiar about it, this post will give you a great introduction. So we need to lose the scare quotes. Oh, and having made good progress on a problem doesn’t mean it’s done. We can build on the progress we’ve already made in order to do better.
Generally speaking, systems that insist on gendered space and position men as ‘protectors’ are steeped in a paradigm where men are viewed as predatory and women are sequestered away for their own safety. In defending male-only priesthood, one Mormon woman said that she was glad not to attend male-only meetings because it protected her. Whenever the topic of ward clerks comes up, someone will usually mention that women and men working together will lead to affairs. The implication is that sexuality is impossible to control.
Ironically, gender segregation may actually exacerbate sexual violence. A recent Harvard study found that all-male organizations, like fraternities, are more likely to commit violence against women. While the Mormon church is not a college fraternity, most decisions are made in male-only councils, environments where women’s needs, feelings and experiences can be easily overlooked. The results of this system have been on full display as complaints about BYU’s handling of sexual assault have surfaced.
In life journeys, Richard of Zelph posted his exit story on the anniversary of his deconversion, the Mormon Child Bride shared a poem about post-partum depression, Josh Duggar simply cannot let go of reality TV, and Ex-Mo Tales is going through a divorce:
But my divorce is not a bad thing for me. It is just another change in this life that I will deal with and move on from. In my case this divorce is a better for me. As we have been living a marriage that was not full of love. But more full of “I have to put up with you because we said ‘I do.’ ” Or in our case, Yes. Since it was a temple marriage.
And Dad’s Primal Scream had just demonstrated why family history is such a fascinating hobby — here’s just a little taste of the story of his Mormon ancestors:
She had already been living with distant relatives for 3 years. But receiving word of her beloved father’s death her hopeful soul was replaced with emptiness and fear. It echoed all around her. Her father had been a butler, a middle class designation in Victorian England. Still, middle class meant long working hours. Middle class working men had no resources to survive as single fathers, so Nessie had been left with her paternal grandparents to raise since she was born. It’s not hard to imagine why her father took responsibility for the infant at that time, since men suffered none of the social stigma of parenting out of wedlock like a woman did. It was said that Nessie’s mother was also “in service” as a cook, but had she kept the baby she would have lost social standing and her job.
It should be interesting to see how some of these issues evolve. Happy reading!