I need help, we are currently running a healing group in South Africa for young ladies who have gone through abusive pasts and continue to live in it. To give context in 2017/18, a total of 50,108 sexual offences were recorded by the police, up from 49,660 in 2016/17. The majority of the sexual offences recorded were rapes. (An average of 110 rapes were recorded by the police each day, “A total of 250 out of every 100 000 women were victims of sexual offence, compared to 120 out of every 100 000 men". In the same period 156,243 common assaults were recorded. On average, 428 people were victims of this type of assault every day.
The following question came from the participants: "Why did God give men so much power (physically and socially) than women, who in turn are majority of the perpetrators of abuse". This has led to them questioning the wisdom of God and His love for women. How would you respond to such a lived reality without ignoring their hurt or giving a cheap answer (as some of them have been raped by their own brothers and relatives, who they currently live with).
@dionkandima Thank you for sharing your question and may the Lord Jesus give you wisdom and grace to share His love in the midst of brokenness. May the Lord heal the hearts of these women, deliver them from harm and show them His great power and grace. I think @Rachel_Davis may have some solid advice on this kind of question. She heads a ministry called Wellspring and part of what they do is to help women who have been or are in sexually abusive situations.
Here is a testimony from one women who went to Wellspring for help. What really stands out to me is that she was able to find two things - hope and help. She felt trapped and powerless. Wellspring offered her help and became the hands and feet of Jesus.
With the staff at the ministry, I noticed for the first time in all my attempts to get help that they truly understood me. And they genuinely wanted to help me. My biggest fear did not come true…I was not judged. I went in there with the idea that I could no longer be helped, but walked outside afterwards with tears of relief in my eyes. I thought, ‘maybe things will be all right after all.’ Together with my social worker, I made a list of all my problems and put together a plan. They provided help, support, and motivation every step of the way. Testimony from woman ministered to by Wellspring International
God made men strong to protect and to provide. God did not create the broken social order that exist in our world. He designed men and women to work together to steward His creation.
In terms of ministering to these women, I think @Rachel_Davis would have a much better idea of what to actually do and say, but here are some things for you to consider that have helped me.
God’s purpose in granting men strength was never to do harm, but rather to achieve good. It is a beautiful thing when a man lays down his life for his wife, just as Christ laid down His life for the Church. It is a beautiful thing when a man sacrifices his own good so that his wife and family can flourish, grow and find fulfillment. Let us not mistake what is for what God intends. Cancer, war, abuse, death - none of these things were God’s intention.
Suffering, though terrible at times, is temporary. Jesus reminds us that suffering is inevitable, but that He has conquered the world (John 16:33) and Paul says that the sufferings of this world cannot compare to the glory of the life to come (Romans 8:18).
We are not alone in suffering. Jesus was crucified. Paul was beaten, accused and eventually killed. Most of the apostles were martyred.
Tolkien, who saw the wreak and horror of World War I, wrote a beautiful description of Samwise Gamgee seeing a star peeping through the clouds while walking through the horrors of Mordor:
There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.
2 Peter 1:19 also compares the Gospel to a star shining in a dark place - We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
The only way I know to process suffering in my own life is to draw near to Christ and He will draw near to me - to weep at Christ’s feet and anoint His feet with my tears. To take my anger and frustration and fear to Him and allow the living Christ - the story of the Gospel - to be that star shining in the dark places of my life until the day dawns and every tear is wiped away.
As it says in Revelation 21 - And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
When I come to Christ it does not make the pain go away or make everything okay, but I do find peace and hope that the darkness I am suffering is not the end of the story. I think Psalms 22 is a beautiful example of how King David processed feeling abandoned by God and I think the Message translation captures the emotion well. To me, what is so significant is that David goes from questioning and accusing God to praising God without having an answer.
This is indeed a heartbreaking question given the circumstances these women face, thank you for the deep care you show it cannot be easy, I pray God give you the words, guidance to comfort and show from the Father’s perspective how valuable and loved they are, and come to know it through their own intimate relationship with Jesus.Each human being was created in His image and we will all one day have to answer for our treatment of God’s image. God did not make some better than others just different roles, mankind has corrupted this, we have only known this the world in the fallen state, this kind of abuse was never in God’s plan.
Thank you for this very thought provoking questions. Many times, God gives man something made for good and man turns it into something evil. Man’s fallen nature is evident in the question you ask. Such is the case with the disparity in differences of strength between men and women. Part of man’s strength is to be used to protect the family from those who would want to do harm to our families. We are to be the protectors of the family, as a service to the family. As in Ephesians 5:25, we are to love our wives as Christ loves the church, dying to self and give ourselves to our wives. What has gone wrong? Man has allowed inner desires to act out on those who are weaker, because we as a society have determined that each individual can develop their own “truth”. No longer is man made in the image of a God who loves us and wants the best for us, rather, we are just modified monkeys. No right or wrong, no human value. “You have your truth and I have my truth”. In this case, Might makes right. OK. Identified the problem as grave as it is. So what can we do about it? The disease has been diagnosed, but what about the treatment or cure? I’m not being flippant, but the only answer is in the Christian worldview. This is not a cheap answer, rather a very expensive one. It requires a belief in God, and God’s answer to sin. To follow not our ways but His ways. It means dying to self and following Christ, who died for us. Can anyone else come up with a different answer?
" Why did God give men so much power (physically and socially) than women, who in turn are majority of the perpetrators of abuse" . This has led to them questioning the wisdom of God and His love for women
Hi Dion my friend, good to meet up with you again especially on an intricate topic.
First - we understand this query is directed at God by the victim. (Taking pages out of Job)
We need to respond by allowing them to express their frustration and anger. Acknowledge their opinions whatever they are. If they vent, it is good, validate each of THEM individually as well as each of their feelings. Leave your own opinions outside the door, I mean not even in your facial expressions or sighs.
Use gentle phrases to elicit and elucidate, elusive thoughts and their own feelings of the abuse. Best to avoid all terms that stigmatize anyone or anything.
Second - Emptying. When the poison has been squeezed out, point the person to:
if rational -then to statistics indicating that evil is perpetrated by other humans. Not God.
if emotional - that anger and desire for power are inbuilt tools in humans given by God with a good purpose. How people use them selfishly is where the trouble is.
Thirdly - discuss on what in their understanding- is abuse?
This should highlight that abuse is enforcement that takes away someone’s right and identity.
That everyone starts with good intentions to use the tools for a good purpose.
Fourthly - Did God give men that power? Discussion on character of God.
When God created men and women equal, there was supposed to be perfect understanding and harmony between them using the God given tools for virtuous and righteous actions.
Something disturbed this tranquility. Knowledge of Evil. (Right and wrong). Once mankind became a judge - within himself and of others and even of God, (things had changed forever after man usurped power wrongly to sit in judgment of others).
When our good intentions are misread and misunderstood to be ‘bad’, there is hurt. Hurt leads to counting losses and grief that embittered and angers. Now comes a choice to either break the cycle or perpetrate the cycle.
Many people choose to continue the hurting cycle and so abuse is rampant everywhere.
I know that prevalent thinking ‘says’ that God cursed mankind after their mis-deed of eating the forbidden fruit. However I think of it as a prophecy. God indicates that because of their disobedience this is what shall transpire in their lives and in their relationship.
Fifthly - Realization of universal damage by evil.
So hopefully there is realization that “judging” in everyone has caused depravity and abuse of power. Everyone judges everyone else and misunderstanding and hurts arise.
Since we understand this, in order to effect change we need to break the cycle.
Not just men. These men were once innocent baby boys with their own mothers. Mothers were to be exemplary along with the baby’s fathers. This power of authority and care of children breeds the next generation. Breaking the cycle of sin is very difficult as the history of God’s chosen people records.
Only Yeshua breaks that cycle and our trust in His finished work empowers and enables us to break that cycle.
Any victim of any gender intending change must be willing to choose to break the cycle of power over others to judge - continuously. (For believers Christ’s example makes it a bit easier)
Finally - Forgiveness of our selves and others. Once we receive forgiveness of the judging nature in us, we are able to offer forgiveness to those who judge us.
Men in their audacity sometimes use the Bible to power over others. This is not God ordained distinction of roles but sin-ordained power and authority because it was only after the fall. Men or women have no right to judge others. In fact Yeshua didn’t come to judge, he came to save.
Dion, I believe we need to respond to these women by directing their identity to be among all humans - loved by God. All have sinned. All have been forgiven through Yeshua’s sacrifice. All of us now need to focus on the character, attitudes and virtues of a good God, to emulate and become His image. The Bible is an actual true recorded history and includes sins done by men falsely attributed to God. (Not all the Bible is for us to obey implicitly, we need God’s Holy Spirit! Yes please - do ask for wisdom and discernment!!)
God bless you my friend, with love, patience, understanding and wisdom in dealing with tough questions from real people.
(Please forgive my mistakes as I’m typing on my phone.)
Thats a good question! I don’t believe that God “gave” men power to abuse others, that’s an excuse many make to make sense of the results they see but disregard the root of the actual problem—man’s heart.
It’s because of the fallen state of mankind that he (mankind) misuses what God gave him to create but uses to tear down or even enslave or maybe worse. We must remember what He (Yahweh) actually gave us and over what:
Genesis 1:26 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
So the actual power (authority) that God gave man is spelled out here but because of the depraved heart of man, he inherently wants to rule over what God is supposed to be Sovereign over—his creation. There are two issues here: (1) Man attempts to rule outside of his metron and (2) man competes with God for rulership (sovereignty) over another human being (his creation). This fundamentally causes friction between man and God and man and God’s creation.
So, when a man tries to rule over what is Sovereign to God, he reaps rebellion. Man was never created to rule or Lord over another man. Mankind can lead (with leadership) his kind but not rule over as if he is God. So, when he does, the struggle is great and the abuse is obvious.
Women are made to complete men. Men are rebellious against God and so they often take what they think is pleasure from from other things.
Men must ‘take’ this from things or people. God gives, sinful men take.
When a man is submissive to God he gives a woman, from the over abundance he is given by God, love and protection. He ‘follows’ the example he is given by God and so can then lead a woman rightly.
It is without God that men abuse, and only through Christ that they love.
Hello, @Gandalphar! I’d like to push back a little on this, as, to me, it sounds like this view you are communicating denigrates both women as well as men.
…denigrating to women in that it sounds like women have no identity outside of men. That is, they exist for men.
…denigrating to men in that it sounds like, in this view, all men are animals, who, if not constrained, will take and abuse.
I do believe that humans are meant to live in relationship. Men and women are interdependent upon one another. We cannot flourish without the other. I also believe that women have equal potential to destroy and plunder. It may not be done by brute, physical force, but, by golly, we have our ways.
I’m saddened to hear this plea and regret that we’re engaging on this topic. Yet, I am hopeful in that only God is able to get anything good out of this. I’ll humbly offer these few thoughts for your consideration:
Don’t underestimate that God may be working through you to exemplify an honorable man in the midst of such hostility. Prayerfully and carefully seek His direction in every action and non-action you exhibit before these precious souls in hope that their strength and faith in Him may be restored day-by-day. The answer may already be given, in that His light may now shine through you. Remain consistent. Light is needed in dark places. Let your light so shine as you continue to show the Love and tender mercies of God. Your behavior will speak much louder than your words.
Continue to arm yourself with additional knowledge on how to best assist these precious souls. Where possible, and when it is appropriate, seek to help arm them with knowledge. Here’s one resource that may be used to help bring about change, especially in your location. https://www.equalitynow.org/.
Take action - leaving vengeance to He who alone, can exact justice through His superior wisdom. There is a book titled “Half the Sky - Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide”. It’s also available via audio. Chapter 4 deals with this specific issue. It is titled “Rule by Misogyny”. Chapter 14 offers 4 steps that can be taken by both the protectors or caretakers (you), and the abused. It only takes one to make a difference and seek that this abuse does not happen to another soul. But this must be done in Christ’s love. Are the ladies trained on any laws they can use or any means to protect themselves?
Lastly, when the time is right, help them separate the harmful deeds of mankind from the kind God who made man. God created mankind. Mankind created the abuses. I feel these words are feeble in the context of what you’re trying to answer. I peradventure your answer may be in deed first, then in words. Good always overcomes evil, and love always overcomes hate. This principle cannot be broken. May the God who is smarter than everyone, bring about His divine purpose through you and these women, that they may grow and be filled with His strength for the benefit of others, that His name may be glorified above all.
Thank you for asking. Allow me to expand my thoughts and hopefully give some ground that we can stand on together.
For me, as a man, I do not feel denigrated to be considered unacceptable if I am not completed by God; I know I am worthless without Him. There is nothing intrinsic in me as a created being that gives me worth or purpose, without God. I was created to be in relationship with God and others. It is not possible for there to be only 1 half of a whole, and so without God I will function incorrectly, I have no purpose, I have no meaning and I am worthless. (John 15:5-6 as only one of many Biblical examples)
History is replete with the behavior of males who attempted to assign meaning to themselves and others without God, and the carnage that has resulted is written indelibly upon the lives and cultures of everyone who has come after them. (1 John 2:15-17, 3:10)
So, without God one must try to fill that void of meaning in themselves with anything they can. And since they have no authority, or even any true ability to do so, everything they do is rebellion against God and others. They must steal what they think is love because they refused to take and use what was given them by God. That does not make a male an ‘animal’, it recognizes the sinful and rebellious creature that he is without God.
‘Man’ is created in two expressions of a single image, male and female. (Genesis 1:27)
A single man or a single woman is not a complete image of ‘man’ or humanness. It is not denigrating to a woman to acknowledge that God made her as a helper for man (Genesis 2:18). She is the remaining expression of the image of God and He wanted ‘man’ to know that he needed her as much as she would need him. To say that it demeans or diminishes either sex when one recognizes our inherent need for each other and how we are not complete, would be a false ideology.
I hope this helps clarify my meaning. I hope you can see the beauty in the design of interdependence and how when it is not followed it is the reason for the evil in our world.