Slutwalk Johannesburg is an event that is being organised by a group of people who want to, as they put it,” Blame the perpetrator not the victim” referring to victims of sexual assault. As a Christian I dislike the name of the walk, totally agree with the message of the walk (as stated in my above quote) but totally disagree with the attitude and ‘feminism’ of the walk. To explain a bit more, the walk calls for all people who support victims of sexual assault, and want them to know the assault was not their fault to come to a march, in this march women can dress scantily to show that they don’t take nonsense, and that their flaunting of sexuality is a ‘good thing’. To me this sounds like a death metal song about the loveliness of the family unit and bringing children into the world; yes it can be done, but does it make sense (for those of you who don’t know death metal, just imagine a steel drum being dragged downstairs with a Wookie stubbing his toe in the background, if you don’t know what a Wookie is I can’t help you)?
In the first instance, this entire walk seems like an over-reaction and miss-interpretation (by choice) of a police officer in Toronto[i]. The officer was asked to give a talk on how girls can make themselves less of a soft-target of such assault, as one of his points he said that girls should not dress like sluts[ii]. Now somehow people heard him saying that everyone who is sexually assaulted dresses provocatively and thus it is their own fault. Well the person who tells car owners not to leave the keys in their car to make it a tougher targets for car theft is going to rue the day they give that advice. But critiquing the illogic of the walk is not the point of this post; I wish to bring the issue to the grid of God’s Word.
In 2nd Samuel 11 we read about King David standing on the roof of his house in the evening, and he noticed a woman bathing, the text goes on to say that she was beautiful in appearance (v2). Why was she bathing in a place that was visible? The text doesn’t care to go into that detail, it does however go on to describe how David was responsible for the entire event of sexually assaulting her, then attempting to cover it up. God held him and him only accountable for the sin, and the consequences were dire. One thing that is clear from Scripture, is that people themselves are responsible for their sins, and unlike contemporary culture which is so quick to try and pin the blame for sins on others (like parents or society) the Bible puts the responsibility for sin straight onto the shoulders of the sinner (James 1:14).
However on a different note, Scripture also says that Christian women are to dress modestly, discreetly and properly (1 Timothy 2:9). Sexuality is a great blessing from God, one designed by God for pleasure, as a husband enjoys his wife and a wife enjoys her husband, but that sexuality is not to be enjoyed by everyone who walks down the hall. Song of Solomon is replete with the sexual joys of marriage, it is something great. The culture we are surrounded with seems to think that a woman’s body is cheap enough to be on display for everyone, and though they don’t like to be thought of as sex objects, the flaunting of their sexuality is somehow congruous with that. Christian men are responsible for keeping their thoughts pure, and treating younger women as sisters and older women as mothers, yet godly ladies are commanded not to be a stumbling block to their brothers. There is a difference between dressing sensual and dressing beautiful- sensuality is meant for the marriage bed, not for the street. The reason for this dress is not to avoid sexual assault (that is something men are responsible to stop, and God will hold them accountable), but rather it is to nurture women of substance, dignity and godliness.
Another thing for Christians to consider about this ‘walk’ is the actual agenda behind it, on the front it appears to be a uniting with victims of assault, and a support of their innocence in the assault, however if you dig deeper one finds that there is a strong liberal and feminist agenda behind it all. When it comes to liberating women I find it difficult to find anything after the first wave of feminism that actually made a meaningful contribution to women’s rights and betterment, in fact the collective effect of feminism appears to be rather pithy compared with the impact Christianity has had, in its Biblical expression, in bettering the life of women.
After one of these walks in Boston a group was spawned called RAGE: Radical Alliance for Gender Equality[iii], here one sees something more of the hidden agenda, while the Bible teaches equality between men and women in value, it does not teach the same in role; and so the Christian position has be termed complimentarian, speaking of how the two genders compliment each other. Furthermore, this RAGE group appears not only to be feminist but socialist as well; how this all is merely about supporting victims of sexual assault is beyond me.
The ‘Walks’ answer seems to be, “Women behave like men and you will be liberated and the hurt will be healed (and at the risk of beating a drum: give up ownership of your property to the state). The answer of Jesus Christ is, “Come to me all of you who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)”. God hates sexual assault more than any of the people at this walk, that is why Jesus Christ came to die; to deal with man’s sin, which is why God will return to judge the living and the dead; no sexual assaulter will get away with it in the end, for God is the final equaliser. In Him there is hope, there is forgiveness and there is healing for those hurt by living in a sin cursed world. Rather have a prayer meeting for the victims and perpetrators, than a ‘prostitute-that-doesn’t-get-paid walk’
[ii] http://www.excal.on.ca/news/dont-dress-like-a-slut-toronto-cop/. Accessed 2011-08-14
[iii] http://www.facebook.com/rageboston#!/rageboston?sk=info. Accessed 2011-08-15