Response to CP: Sexual Harassment

Disclaimer:
This post is written with Christian men and women as my intended audience.

Introduction

I got involved in a twitter debate over a tweet that someone made that allegedly mocked women by using #metoo to make a satirical remark about the nature of sexual harassment. Someone wrote a blog post about me in regards to defending that person (and by defending that person I was accused of approving a tweet that made light of abuse victims) so I want to make some articles explaining why I defended him. I understand the tweet may have upset women who have been sexually abused so I have taken that into consideration and understand that some of this may be difficult for you. Please know that I aim to speak the truth in love. That means speaking truth and speaking in a loving way.

CP Response Intoduction

I will now respond to some of the things that were written about me for defending the guys who made the tweets. I will refer to the author of the blog post that was written about me as CP (I don’t want to share their post or reference their blog name without permission). CP, I am truly sincere in my apology for making assumptions about you. I am fairly new to twitter and I got involved to win an argument. I now realize this was a very wrong approach. After I apologized to you I took the time to read your “about me” section (something I should have done right away) and I think I better understand your perspective. I will put her words in red.

“As a child and to adulthood, I was a Christian (in Christianese talk, this means I once “accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior”) – but have been strongly questioning my faith in the last year or so (as in 2012, 2013), so I have been flirting with agnosticism.

(Edit, May 2016: I think I may find Deism more of a fit for me than Agnosticism. I don’t know.)” 

I also was raised in that type of Christianity. The “accept Jesus into your heart and pray the sinner’s prayer” kind of Christianity. I plan to write a blog post soon about why I think this kind of Christianity has actually led to a lot of confusion and doubt in the church. This goes way back to the 1800s with a guy named Charles Finney. I would say I encourage you to think through what Deism would mean for you. I’m not sure what definition you have for Deism but here is a definition I found:

“belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind”

If the creator simply set things in motion but cannot or does not involve himself with humankind then all of the suffering and wickedness that happens has no purpose or eternal value or meaning. This supreme being allowed things like rape, murder, greed, and lust to enter into the world but this being has no desire or reason to be involved with what it created. These things simply happen and are a reality for humans but in the end they serve no purpose. Bad stuff just happens. However the God of the Bible has revealed Himself to humans and is a personal Being:

“1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour out speech;
night after night they communicate knowledge.
There is no speech; there are no words;
their voice is not heard.
Their message has gone out to the whole earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming from his home;
it rejoices like an athlete running a course.
It rises from one end of the heavens
and circles to their other end;
nothing is hidden from its heat.” Psalms 19:1-6

13 He is here:
the one who forms the mountains,
creates the wind,
and reveals his thoughts to man,
the one who makes the dawn out of darkness
and strides on the heights of the earth.
The Lord, the God of Armies, is his name. Amos 4:13

18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them,because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse. 21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.

24 Therefore God delivered them over in the desires of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever.Amen. Romans 1:18-25

14 What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not!15 For he tells Moses, I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.[l]16 So then, it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture tells Pharaoh, I raised you up for this reason so that I may display my power in you and that my name may be proclaimed in the whole earth.[m] 18 So then, he has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

19 You will say to me, therefore, “Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” 21 Or has the potter no right over the clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor? 22 And what if God, wanting to display his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And what if he did this to make known the riches of his glory on objects of mercy that he prepared beforehand for glory— 24 on us, the ones he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? Romans 9:14-24

I recommend reading through the book of Job or at least chapters 38-42. I will share a few things but it is too long to list all of it here:

Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind. He said:

Who is this who obscures my counsel
with ignorant words?
Get ready to answer me like a man;
when I question you, you will inform me.
Where were you when I established the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who fixed its dimensions? Certainly you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
What supports its foundations?
Or who laid its cornerstone
while the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Who enclosed the sea behind doors
when it burst from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and total darkness its blanket,
10 when I determined its boundaries
and put its bars and doors in place,
11 when I declared: “You may come this far, but no farther;
your proud waves stop here”? Job 38:1-11

Do you know when mountain goats give birth?
Have you watched the deer in labor?
Can you count the months they are pregnant
so you can know the time they give birth?
They crouch down to give birth to their young;
they deliver their newborn.
Their offspring are healthy and grow up in the open field.
They leave and do not return.

Who set the wild donkey free?
Who released the swift donkey from its harness?
I made the desert its home,
and the salty wasteland its dwelling.
It scoffs at the noise of the village
and never hears the shouts of a driver.
It roams the mountains for its pastureland,
searching for anything green.
Would the wild ox be willing to serve you?
Would it spend the night by your feeding trough?
10 Can you hold the wild ox to a furrow by its harness?
Will it plow the valleys behind you?
11 Can you depend on it because its strength is great?
Would you leave it to do your hard work?
12 Can you trust the wild ox to harvest your grain
and bring it to your threshing floor? Job 39:1-12 

The Lord answered Job:

Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let him who argues with God give an answer.

Then Job answered the Lord:

I am so insignificant. How can I answer you?
I place my hand over my mouth.
I have spoken once, and I will not reply;
twice, but now I can add nothing.

Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:

Get ready to answer me like a man;
When I question you, you will inform me.
Would you really challenge my justice?
Would you declare me guilty to justify yourself?
Do you have an arm like God’s?
Can you thunder with a voice like his?

10 Adorn yourself with majesty and splendor,
and clothe yourself with honor and glory.
11 Pour out your raging anger;
look on every proud person and humiliate him.
12 Look on every proud person and humble him;
trample the wicked where they stand.
13 Hide them together in the dust;
imprison them in the grave.
14 Then I will confess to you
that your own right hand can deliver you. Job 40:1-14

Then Job replied to the Lord:

I know that you can do anything
and no plan of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, “Who is this who conceals my counsel with ignorance?”
Surely I spoke about things I did not understand,
things too wondrous for me to know.
You said, “Listen now, and I will speak.
When I question you, you will inform me.”
I had heard reports about you,
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore, I reject my words and am sorry for them;
I am dust and ashes. Job 42:1-6

“(summary: I have been stalked online before by three different people, which is one reason I no longer post under my real name; two of them had my real name and one used it to track me down in real life)”

I am so sorry that this happened to you. Being stalked is never okay, it is sinful.

“I at first thought this would be a blog to share with, or offer encouragement to, other older single Christian ladies.

As time has progressed though, I’ve become more cynical.

I’ve discovered that many things I was taught by Christian parents and leaders and Christian material is wrong about marriage and relationships, so I’ve become a little more cynical, and the blog reflects that a little – I also lost someone very close to me a few years ago (she died), and that has shaken my Christian faith a little.”

I think I understand your cynicism. Mainstream Christian culture for a while has been focused on morality and “doing what is right” more than focusing on Jesus and on actually knowing what you believe. What Would Jesus Do and Veggietales were popular when I was growing up. Both of these focus so much on what we have to do and they don’t talk about what Jesus has already done for us. The saying should have been “What Did Jesus Do?”. When we trust in Christ, His perfect obedience to God is imputed to us…so when God sees us He sees the perfect righteousness of Jesus. I know what it is like to lose someone close. I was very close to my grandmother and she passed in 2012. It was hard. However God is faithful, He doesn’t leave us or forsake us. I encourage you to turn to Him for healing and restoration.

“I am not left wing, liberal, progressive, or Democrat.”

You may not be politically liberal but talking about male privilege seems to be borrowing from the liberal view of humans. That there are groups of haves and have-nots. That men are more privileged than women. Shifting from focusing on the individual to focusing on the groups that individuals identify with. Holding the belief that men (generally speaking) have no idea what it is like to experience sexual harassment. I would encourage you to be careful with that kind of thinking. I have not experienced sexual harassment, but I been through some painful experiences. My pains are not better or worse than pains you have felt. Everyone has very real and painful experiences, regardless of what group they belong to or what group people assign them to.

Responding to the CP post:

“Ricky Mauser accused me of having a “victim mentality,” though he doesn’t know the first thing about me.”

I’m sorry for the way that came across. I will clarify what I meant when I used the phrase “victim mentality”. I have not been sexually abused or harassed but I’ve been through some pretty awful experiences (I don’t want to nor do I have to share them). Now, I could be bitter and resentful towards those who have hurt me. I could hold anger in my heart. I could stay a victim. I chose to be a survivor. A survivor seeks healing. A survivor doesn’t let what happened to them keep them in a state of bitterness and anger. I’m not saying this happens overnight…it took a while for me to overcome my hurts…but I am at the place where I have forgiven those who have hurt me. However I am a Christian and Christ is what has brought healing to me and helped me overcome my painful experiences. I did not mean to insult you when I said you have a victim mentality…I meant to say it seemed to me like instead of seeking healing and restoration that is found in Christ you have become bitter and angry. I understand why you responded the way you did. The church has failed a lot of people. Jesus did not fail you though. 

“The women tweeting about their experiences with sexual harassment (whether it was unwanted sexual flirting, or on the job sexual harassment, or having been raped), were actual, honest to God, Victims.

They were not “playing victim” or holding a “victim mentality.”

Unless you are so warped to think that being raped or sexually harassed on a job is no big deal – but then, you are a man who likely never experienced such treatment yourself, so of course you have no empathy, because you’ve not endured it first hand.

Rape, male entitlement, sexism, sexual harassment, unwanted sexual male attention, men treating women like sex objects, sex trafficking of girls and women, cat-calling, groping, and the like, are all VERY REAL phenomenon.”

 

I would agree that most, if not all of the people who use “#metoo” are honestly victims. However the reality that there are women who initiate but later regret it and make accusations of sexual assault makes me wonder if there is anyone that is using “#metoo” when they were consenting to sex. Again, I think being raped or sexually harassed is a VERY big deal. However, I believe Jesus is the hope that victims need. I have very much empathy for anyone who endures sinful acts against them but ESPECIALLY sexual assault and harassment. All of those things you listed are real phenomenon and are sinful and should be condemned. 

“I was never- the- less subjected to occasional sexual harassment by men from the time I was a teen to my adult years, as have most women.

To offer but a few examples to what I refer:

I was approached by men I did not know when I was 18, 19 years old when I worked as a sales clerk at a store in the mall, where the men would walk up to me, make it a point to let me know they were leaning over to peer down my blouse (to view my breasts), then they’d comment on my bosom…

The men at the store would make crude, sexually suggestive comments to me, the male customers would do sexually inappropriate things to our store mannequins, knowing full well I could see them fondle and do other sexual things to the female mannequins (they were trying to scare me, sexually intimidate me), and so on.

Again, I was about 18, 19 at the time, a very devout, chaste Christian woman, and these were grown men ranging in age from 30 to 50 behaving inappropriately to me or in front of me.

Grown men were sexually harassing me, a teen girl. It made my working there uncomfortable at times.”

What happened to you was sinful and wrong. Men should not be acting that way. But we live in a fallen world. Men who do not have a genuine faith in God act according to their sinful, fallen natures. My wife worked as a waitress and has shared some of the stupid and sinful things men would say or do that are very similar to what you’ve described here. It’s wrong no question about it. But what do you do now? Hold on to that and grow bitter or turn to Christ and receive healing and peace? I encourage you to turn to Christ.

“Did you, Ricky Mauser, experience that sort of sexual harassment on a regular basis, as I did, when you were a teen and worked at a minimum wage job at a store? Probably not.

And why not? Because you are a man, you live a life of male privilege in your male bubble, where men are rarely the recipients of such disgusting and frightening sexual behavior from males, or from females.”

No, I didn’t experience that sort of sexual harassment. I’ve already discussed the idea of male privilege a couple of times, so I will just again say that while I have not experienced sexual abuse or harassment I have been through terrible experiences. You don’t know me either and I strongly condemn that kind of behavior. 

“In one of my college classes when I was in my early 20s,, one male student would NOT leave me alone. I did not want, ask for, or enjoy his amorous attention.

My male class mate was keen on dating me. He was always approaching me, flirting. His attention made me uncomfortable.

I was in that class to learn and make good grades, not to flirt or pick up a boyfriend.”

I can only speak from my experience but it is pretty common for men who go to college to seek a wife there. I will get into pressures that are put on men in this response section.

My Christian mother, though, taught me, and my mother assumed that the Bible tells women, to never to hurt someone’s feelings, don’t be direct, so I could never come right out and point blank tell the guy in my class, “I am not interested. I don’t want to date you, please leave me alone.”

My wife has severe anxiety and depression and is very similar. She does not like hurting people’s feelings and that has led to people taking advantage of her (in a general sense). Saying “no” to people that micromanage her or engaging in any kind of conflict is extremely hard for her. The fact is you can tell men that you aren’t interested and for them to leave you alone.

However, his male buddy in the class could read my facial expressions and body language – which conveyed I was annoyed by the guy’s romantic attention, and wanted him to buzz off – and the friend of the guy told the guy, “She’s not interested. Leave her alone.”

But did the guy leave me alone?

No. He continued with more of the same behavior, every time class met.

The male classmate would not get the hint I was not interested in flirting back, or with dating him. I was Greta Garbo, and my body language made it plain: I wanted to be left alone.

Going to class every day became stressful for me, because I had to endure unwanted male attention.

The male student’s unwanted flirtation was not amusing or cute.

I had a difficult time concentrating on my school work in that class because of him.

 

“Men are pretty stupid sometimes. Men (generally) also have the pressure that if they don’t find a wife they will die alone. Finding a wife is probably the number one goal for a Christian man who has not chosen lifelong singleness. So I can only make an assumption about this guy but if you never actually told him that you weren’t interested, he probably thought you were playing hard to get. Guys also will not always listen to what a guy friend says when it comes to finding a potential girlfriend. Guys are competitive, they like games. If a lady doesn’t come out and reject them they will most likely take it as playing hard to get. Now if you had told him you weren’t interested and he continued with the behavior then I would say he was harassing you. I’m not blaming you or belittling your experience. I  just am explaining how I see it as a man. I am sorry this was a distraction for your schooling and that you genuinely felt threatened by the behavior of this guy.

“Persistent, unwanted amorous attention is NOT something most men endure from women. Receiving unwanted romantic overtures from men is scary, it is exhausting, and it’s annoying.

You men do not experience this most of the time, not nearly as often as girls and women do.

If you, a man, experience it from a woman, you feel comfortable telling the woman to stop it –

Most women, however, have been conditioned by culture and church to believe that it’s wrong, mean, or too “man-like” for a female to be blunt, bold, and so assertive with a man – we are taught to suffer this sexist garbage in silence, and pray and hope that the sexist man tires and leaves us alone.”

Women should be assertive with men. I hate that this concept has been pushed and that women have been told that they can’t be blunt and bold. Women should be able to tell a man that they do not want the attention and the men should be respectful and stop. However there are a lot of sinful men out there and even men who claim to be Christians that think they can take advantage of women. THIS IS WRONG. Men are to be respectful of women and to treat them with dignity.

 “As a teen and 20-something, I’ve had men I do not know, as I was walking along city or neighborhood streets, slow down in their cars, to follow me –

Some of these men didn’t say anything to me, while others would cat-call from their cars – both types of “attention” frightened me, because I did not know if these sexist sleaze balls were planning on tossing me in the back of their car, kidnapping me, and raping me, or if they would just drive off.

And yes, those incidents made me a victim of sexual harassment. I was a victim in reality in those situations, I was not living in a “victim hood mentality.”

I am sorry that you had to go through experiences like that. I understand your fear. Men that slow down their cars next to women who are walking are very creepy and this kind of behavior should be called out and condemned. Again, I did not mean to insult you by saying you have a victim mentality. I meant to say that it seems like your experiences have made you a victim and not a survivor. Survivor meaning someone who has been growing and healing and has overcome the difficult experiences they have gone through.

I did nothing to “ask for” or “deserve” the sexual harassment from any of those men.

I dressed modestly (though how a girl or woman dresses should not be a factor in these situations).

I did not enjoy the harassment, and at times, the harassment scared me, because I did not know if the man in all these cases would stop with lewd comments, or try to rape me or kill me.”

I agree with you here. Modesty should not be a factor in situations like this. Men should not make any unwanted advances on a women. Now flirting is a little different. If you tell a guy to stop flirting and he keeps doing it then he is acting wrongly and needs to stop. However, flirting in and of itself is not necessarily wrong. I’m sorry you have had to live in this kind of fear. Christ brings hope and love. Christ takes away fears and gives us hope in Him. 

 “It is a FACT that some men harass and sexually abuse women. This is not something I am making up.

Noting the reality of the world in which we live, that some men do sexually exploit or harass girls and women, is not “acting like a victim,” nor is it a sign of a “victim mentality” nor is it “being paranoid of all men.”

I agree with that fact. It is also a fact that there are women that fake allegations. Not the majority, but it does happen. I am all for pointing on examples of sexual harassment and calling them out. We should, especially as Christians, call out sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior. However as Christians we are to share the gospel with everyone. We call out sexual sins like these but we also are to point those who have been victims to Jesus and the hope he brings.

“Married women are told by complementarians that they must engage in a “one way” submission to their husbands, by way of Ephesians 5: 22.”

Husbands are to submit to Christ. Husbands are to LOVE their wives. Married women are to submit to their husbands. I do not support the view that women MUST submit to abusive husbands, that women MUST be silent in the home, or that men can do anything they want. 

“If you try flirting with a woman, and she turns you down, or is otherwise giving signs she is not into you, then BACK OFF and LEAVE HER ALONE.

Men need to learn that women do not play “hard to get.”

Some of you men think you’re being “persistent” (or charming or endearing) by “pursuing” a woman, but all you are really doing is STALKING her, possibly annoying the hell out of her, and guaranteeing a restraining order.”

I agree with telling a man to back off if she turns you down. However, giving signs can truly be confusing for men. There are some women that do play hard to get. They want to be pursued. This doesn’t mean I am insensitive to those who gave signs expecting men to stop. However men cannot read minds. Men are also pretty stupid. We also think in a one track mind. We focus on one thing until we accomplish it or until we get a clear and direct answer. So to expect men to understand the signs you are giving is expecting a lot. I agree there may be some cases where a man can clearly tell the woman is afraid and keeps trying. However the nature of sexual harassment is not black and white. There are some black and white aspects of sexual harassment such as stalking you and slowing down a car. However there are gray areas too.

“Men are not sexualized near as often as girls and women are, or to the same degree.”

Women are sexualized more than men. However, men are told they they must be strong, muscular, and handsome. We are not told that being sensitive and showing our emotions is okay behavior for men. We are told that we need to take charge and boss people around. We aren’t generally taught to empathize with others. We have our own struggles and problems. So yes we don’t have to worry about sexual harassment as much as women do…but men have their own standards of what men should be like and we have our own disadvantages. And then taking it back to the individual level, we all experience painful things as individuals. Every painful experience is just as serious to each person as the experiences that other people go through are serious for them. I may not have been raped but I was bullied in high school. Rape is a lot more serious of course, but for me being bullied was painful and hurt. God doesn’t compare who had worse things happen to those who didn’t experience a lot of pain. ALL sin is wrong in God’s eyes. Telling a lie is breaking God’s law just as much as rape is breaking God’s law. Yet Jesus came to the earth and lived a sinless life. He died on the cross and took the punishment for ALL of our sins. Jesus bore the wrath of God in our place. Jesus forgives us for our sins so we should be on a path towards forgiving those who have sinned against us.

“As a man, do you feel that any and every woman is entitled to your body, having sex with you, getting a smile from you (even when you’re having a bad day)?”

No. I’m committed to my wife. Men need to stop asking women to smile. It’s stupid. Men are not entitled to have sex with anyone besides the person they marry. That doesn’t mean sex on demand, but husbands and wives have a Christian duty to come together sexually on a regular basis ( regular can look different for different couples). Demanding sex and selfishly withholding sex is wrong and sinful behavior for both husbands and wives.

Do most women ever make you feel that way, that you “owe” them merely for being a man and possessing a penis, then they get angry when you don’t give them what they want and expect?

Again this kind of behavior is sinful. I don’t “owe them” anything. I married my wife, knowing that it would require a lot of sacrifice on my part. Men need to step up and be better husbands and fathers. It is quite common for a man to come home from work and expect his wife to have supper ready, then he goes and does his own thing. That might be watching TV, playing video games or playing on his phone. Whatever it is, instead of spending time with his family  this kind of man spends time on himself. Men need to step up and make time for their wives and children. A man’s real job starts when he gets home from work. No more distant dads and no more halfhearted husbands. I plan to address this more in a future post.

Do you ever have women you don’t know grabbing your ass, making lewd comments at you?

No i don’t but those things are very sinful and every Christian should condemn this kind of behavior.

Have you, a man, ever had it implied to you by a male or female boss, that if you don’t “put out” sexually, that your job is therefore in jeopardy?

No and this is sinful and wrong. 

If you do turn a woman down if she asks you out on a date, do you ever worry she will respond by screaming at you in fury, hitting you, shooting you, or stabbing you to death?

No but I have worried if the woman would humiliate me in the way they rejected me. All of those responses to being turned down are sinful.

“Men don’t have to think about, or fear, being raped on your way to your car at night while out shopping, and so carry your car keys like a weapon, just in case you are attacked.

I will agree that most of the time women are afraid to walk at night almost anywhere. However, even I would be afraid of walking at night in certain places. I wouldn’t be afraid of being raped but I would be afraid of being mugged or shot.

You, if you are a man, don’t have to worry about not being called in for a job interview based on your gender,  as due to unconscious bias, employers prefer male names on applications over female names, or do things such as take male employee input more seriously than they do female employee input.

All employers discriminate their prospective employees. Illegal discrimination is unethical and wrong. Actually, as a white man I probably would have a harder time getting a job because of affirmative action. Companies today are pushing for diversity in the workplace. Minorities and women are favored more than white men in some areas. 

Here is an article by Marty Nemko on white male discrimnation:

http://www.martynemko.com/articles/are-white-males-getting-shortchanged_id1229

“I had one office job where one male co-worker subtly kept pursuing me because he had a crush on me. I didn’t like his romantic attention, but I kept my mouth shut.”

I wish you would have said something to him. Men sometimes don’t understand when they should stop pursuing.

Another male co-worker I had thought it was acceptable (when the two main bosses were out of office, and he was put in charge of the office) to make sexually suggestive or crude jokes, sometime at women’s expense, and he did so in front of women, which made me feel uncomfortable.

This is wrong and sinful. No Christian should make crude jokes or sexually suggestive comments like that. Men should not be joking like that. What kind of behavior would you expect from people who do not follow Christ? People following the sinful inclinations of their hearts.

Then you have men who fire their female employees because they find the female worker “too pretty.”

This is dumb. No man should do this.