On How NOT To Counsel Rape Victims

I’m really pretty sick of hearing anything from Doug Wilson, Moscow’s paleo-confederate patriarch supreme, because I find that his cluelessness only feeds his pomposity, and his pomposity only fuels his and his followers’ delusions of importance and relevance. But I will say this, in response to a recent article on his execrable Blog and Mablog:

When a woman is raped, she not only has the right but ought to be encouraged to view the evil of patriarchy as the motivating factor in her assault. She cannot afford the luxury of thinking that one bad guy harmed her and that such a thing, while tragic, is simply an instance of bad fortune — “hard providence,” in Wilsonspeak. She ought not be comforted with the false notion that rape is rare enough that she’ll never be assaulted again, and she must never be told that any fear of males that she develops is sinful. In short, she must never be even more inculcated in the idea of “benign masculinity” that, only in hers and a few other womens’ cases, spawned something evil. Above all, her recovery and response to what happened to her should never be, but, as Wilson demonstrates, too often is, overseen and evaluated by anyone other than Jesus Christ, for whom Wilson and other masculinist pastors are a miserable substitute.

Instead, and I write this as a woman well recovered from her rape in 1980, she must be surrounded by people who truly, in their hearts and heads, understand what happened and why. The “what happened” isn’t simply that a male person chose to violate her sexually; it’s that he chose, on his own volition and in response to his masculine socialization, to “colonize, penetrate, and conquer” a woman who didn’t want him. The words quoted above come from a horrid piece Wilson wrote about a year ago, words that illustrate perfectly that even “benign masculinity” and “Biblical patriarchy” are evil — never benign and never Biblical. Masculinity, which Wilson and his ilk defend almost to the point of obsession, is simply that part of the cultural hierarchy of gender that decides who is to rule and who is to be subject — or, who gets to rape and who gets raped. That is the “why” of rape: Males who have been socialized, either by a bombastic ass of a pastor or a knuckledragging secular bad-boy bully, into cultural masculinity feel absolutely entitled to “take” women, to harm them, use them, abuse them, and kill them. The difference between promoting a masculinity that says it abhors rape and the brotherhood of rapists, abusers, molesters, and murderers, is one of degree, not of kind.

My healing from what happened to me came through Jesus Christ. His Godhood, not his maleness, healed me; for a time, even that Incarnational reality — that he was born male — was hard for me. I am now, as you all know, on the cusp of my 30th year of marriage to a man I adore, a man who rejects the cultural socialization of masculinity that he was raised with and who strives, like all other decent males, to live a life of love, peace, and humility. Nevertheless, my husband wouldn’t dare counsel a victimized woman on how to respond to or heal from her rape, because, unlike Wilson, he knows that he is not qualified; his advice is neither invited nor welcomed. Rather, my husband lives a life that is in every way a conscious rejection of patriarchy, and while he’s aware that the world is nevertheless geared toward his success over that of others, he does what he can to mitigate his privilege.

Wilson, of course, believes that his white male privilege is a gift from the gracious hand of God, not the refuse of a toxic, polluted, patriarchal world. It doesn’t occur to the happily penetrating and colonizing moral dwarf that Wilson is that rape, like every evil, happens in context. That context is not, as he would say, a homosexual-accepting culture or a feminized Church. It’s not “father hunger” or “bitterness,” the two things on which he blames everything but — perhaps — the Challenger disaster. And it’s not one rogue reprobate, a bad seed who commits the violent fornication that is rape.

No, the context from which rape springs is exactly the context Wilson thrives in — a world of strict sexual hierarchy that celebrates what must never be celebrated: The conquering of a woman by any man. He is as much a part of the puzzle called “Why Do Men Rape?” as is the zipper fly that unleashed the weapon. A woman raped or otherwise abused by a man MUST recognize and reject the model of patriarchy and masculinity that, for millennia, has cheerfully dictated that she, by virtue of being born female, is the One Who Gets Raped, and the one born male, Covenant or reprobate, is the one who, satiated on the rape culture Wilson embraces, Gets To Rape. And expressing regret that he did so, and expressing anger that he sinned that way, is rather like raising your child in a candy store with no restrictions and then lamenting that he ends up with rotten teeth.

I would turn to Doug Wilson for advice only if I ran out of pejoratives for people I don’t like. That he counsels young women, and has influence over young men, is utterly chilling. That he would dare analyze rape and advise women to not drift into questioning the context that brought it on is horrifying. There is no healing brought by Wilson and his merry masculine men. Only the Human Holy One, Christ Jesus, who came to reverse the effects of the Fall, is able to set unsteady feet back on stable ground and to nurse broken hearts unto health.

And he, the Lord Jesus, won’t use a defense of masculinity to do it.

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