Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her. Genesis 34:1-2
Have you ever found yourself in a situation, like Dinah, that got out of control quickly? Dinah went out into the village where the people were not followers of God to visit with the ladies. She was used against her will by someone who claimed to love her. Can you really use love as an excuse?
Throughout history, there have always been groups of people who were treated as less than human, as property. At the time of the story of Dinah – Leah and Jacob’s daughter – that was certainly true. Female slaves were given to their masters to bear children when the wife couldn’t. Dinah had four brothers born not from her mother but from the slaves of her mother and aunt.
Even wives were treated as expendable, to be used in whatever way the husband saw fit. You may recall the stories of both Abraham and Isaac lying and sacrificing their wives to save themselves. “Tell them you are my sister so they won’t kill me.”
When I was young, my mother would make me change clothes if I was revealing too much of myself in my chosen outfit. The message was that my attire would determine my treatment in the world. So I needed to be taught to conform. I appreciate the lesson and still dress with modesty. I don whatever uniform fits the role of the day.
But should the message to me and all girls have been that I am a daughter of The King and at all times I should carry myself as such? That my dress, my conversation, my every thought should reflect who and whose I am?
And shouldn’t the message to our sons and brothers and fathers be that they are to honor and protect their queens and princesses? Never to use or abuse them for their personal pleasure or gain?
When we hear of a woman being raped, how often is our first thought, “Well, what was she doing there, at that time, wearing that?” Sure we think of how awful it is, but how many times have we blamed the victim almost as much as the perpetrator. That old saying comes to mind, “If you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas.” Surely that can’t be what God wants of us, can it?
So many times the church is silent on difficult topics. Thankfully, mine will “go there” on the touchy subject of Gods view of sex. Our pastor beautifully shows us how God intended us to share what He created. There is a reason Song of Solomon 8:4 admonishes, “Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem: Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up, until the time is ripe – and you’re ready.”
Too often you can’t stop that train once it’s moving down the track.
And 1 Peter 3:7 says, “The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground.” If the woman is not your wife, I’ve got to believe men should follow Matthew 7:12, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” We should instruct our sons in manner, right?
When we know better we do better.
Maybe now that you know – because you have read this far – you will do better, too. Maybe we can choose not to blame the victim nor feel the personal shame and responsibility when we are violated.
That’s the way it should be, right?
Bloggers note: The use of the words I, my, me, myself are purely for the purpose of literary license. I’m just #askingforafriend.
THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK WE WILL CONTINUE OUR “LEARNING FROM THEIR EXAMPLES” SERIES.