To The Men

I wrote this piece earlier today after reading this article. The article states that 1 in 3 women in the EU will be abused by a man they thought loved them; their partner. Yet the article managed to mention women a lot of times, yet did not mention the men who abused them. The invisibility of the men in this piece is not an isolated incident, regularly articles about abuse of women refuses to mention the men who abused them. It’s almost as if violence against women is a perpetrator-less. And yet it is not.

 

After reading this article I then went to the gym where I watched Robin Thicke singing about the Blurred Lines between sex and rape and how he wants to give a woman “something big enough to tear her ass in two”. Except the song was silenced, so all that you could see was a music video where fully clothed men gesture at almost naked women who appear to be wrapped in cling-film. Nobody batted an eyelid. Nobody switched it off. I nearly wept right there on the cross-trainer.

 

Then the next two music videos were of male performers “featuring” female performers. How apt! This is the lie the world tells women. That we are features of men’s lives. Not people, not human beings in our own right.

 

And through my headphones I heard music that praised Jesus and declared that we are free because of His sacrifice and I looked at the screen and considered how many women, the world over, are not yet free. And I almost wept on the cross trainer, instead taking my rising anger out on the machine, getting faster and faster, to the point I almost fell off.

 

I arrived home dripping with sweat and wept hysterically on Mr GLW. This is such a terrible world. And I wrote the words below. Mr GLW advised me not to publish them. He said I would appear as a man-hating, angry, feminist if I did. But I needed to. Because this is how it felt to be a woman for me this morning.

 

And if you read my words and you feel more offended by what I have written than by the fact that 1 in 3 women is abused by a man, or that a man rapes a woman every 9 minutes somewhere in the UK, or that 140 million girls and women are living with having had their genitals mutilated, or that a man rapes a woman in South Africa every 36 seconds, then you need to consider your priorities.

 

If you read my words and feel I am alienating men, or being harsh, we are in the midst of a genocide, a war against women, and yet the media want us to believe this is about isolated incidents. It is not. Men abuse women because they believe they own them, and are entitled to do whatever they want to them. This is across the entire globe. No woman, in any community across the world is safe from male violence.

 

I am married to a man and I have a son and so I know there are good men out there. But until we begin to see this as a war against women, and about global gender relations, we will never see systemic change.

 

The hearts of my sisters and I break. And the world-at-large remains silent.

 

To the men

Your kind are raping my sisters

Your kind are killing our mothers

Your kind are reducing my value

Every single day.

 

And yet, as you hear my words,

You do not feel enraged at your brothers,

At your fathers, at your friends.

 

You feel enraged with me,

For giving men a bad name.

 

I do not hate you

I do not know you

But I cannot trust you

Because your brothers are raping my sisters

And the rapists, murderers, torturers

Cannot be identified in anyway

Don’t take up this with me, take it up with your kind

 

My rights are not women’s rights

My cause is not niche

My sisters are they who brought you into the world

While them who birthed all the people of the earth

Are not human.

Then none are human

 

The screens show mutilated women

Parts, not making up a whole

And your kind have convinced some of my sisters

That to sign up to this mutilation

Is the route to power

 

In the church

My sisters are sacrificed daily on the altar of unity

In the media

My sisters are altered daily in the hope of being found worthy

In the home

My sisters are more unsafe than in a dark alley

In the state

My sisters’ voices are silenced

 

When my sisters are laying in the gutter

Broken, chained, discarded

Who lifts them from the gutter?

Who breaks their chains?

Who walks them to freedom?

Not your kind, but the mothers, the sisters, the women.

Yet my words make you angry with me

And not with your kind.

 

I want to call you brothers

To bridge the enormous chasm

That stands between our peoples

The sisters and the brothers

 

So listen to my words

Said by a broken hearted woman

Hold your brothers to account

And help us end this war on women

Advertisements

New Masculinity

I am getting more and more infuriated with the “new masculinity” movement in the Church which seems to have been developed due to a lack of men in the Church.  This movement suggests the reason there is a lack of men in Church is due to the Church being too “feminised”, there is not enough “manliness” in the Church and this femininity is stopping men from becoming part of it.  This article from the Guardian is a good example of it.
On the surface of it, that would seem like a perfectly valid explanation.  However the problem with this new masculinity is the fact it assumes masculinity is a fixed, absolute thing, that there is only one masculinity and this masculinity is prevented from engaging with Church because of the other fixed absolute thing that is femininity.    But if this is true, how come the majority of the fruits of the Spirit are considered “feminine” characteristics; love, joy,peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians5:22-23)?  Surely the new masculinity will have to do away with these in favour of more “manly” characteristics, such as strength, logic, leadership and competitiveness (taken from this website)?
I would also like to say I am rather offended that theadvocates of the new masculinity stuff are saying the problem with the Church is me, my “womanliness” is putting off all those men.  These advocates of course would say I am missing the point, it is not me that is the problem, but the “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs and the fluffy, cuddly stuff.  But you see I can’t stand that part of Church either, not because I am a man (I am not a man) but because I am distraught that parts of the Body of Christ have been reduced to something so…small!  The radical, sold out, discipleship to the Son of Man has been turned into soppy, self indulgent songs and being “nice” to people.
But still, the advocates would say the reality is, there are less men in Church than women and that has to prove something.  So here are my thoughts on why there are less men in Church:
Due to the reality that the majority of stay at home parents are women (a whole other discussion in itself), they are more in need of the social interaction found in Church than men.  Men are more likely to work in a socially interactive environment and will see the weekends as time off from those interactions.  Men are usually happy for their kids to go to Church, which would suggest the problem isn’t with Church, more with their participation in it.  Rather than a biological issue, this is a social issue.  Men are socialised into certain acceptable behaviours, these do not often include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness.  Therefore Church is uncomfortable for them as it requires growth in all those areas
So, rather than condemn the Church as too feminine, maybe we could rather challenge the accepted understanding of masculinity, and provide a safe place to explore other ways of being as men, women and more importantly people, people who need God’s grace, mercy and love to become all He made us to be.