Live Like You Mean It Sexual Harassment? We Are All Complicit

By Derek Maul

I’ve been thinking about the current social climate, where so many women are coming forward to share stories of being harassed, belittled, objectified, assaulted, and worse by men in positions of power.

What’s been going on – and continues – is a systemic injustice normalized by decades of nods, winks, and blind eyes in every conceivable institution from schools to businesses to politics to church.

Why do people behave so badly? Why such disrespect for human beings, created equally in the image of God?

God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them. – Genesis 1:27

Three elements that help us understand the cause – the part of the iceberg still below the water – are revealed in the following.

The wholesale rejection of faith as a guiding principle in American life, most especially following the teachings of Jesus.

The framing of absolutely everything as a commodity, as if what we value be bought and sold. When everything we want is reduced to something we can ‘own’ – even access to influence, and health, and happiness, and education – it’s not a huge step to rationalize treating people as commodities too.

Then – and deeply troubling – The Church’s penchant for judgment, and its practice of institutionalized male chauvinism, promoting a lightly Christianized misogyny that denies the full image of God in women.

Where women are not regarded as equal, where they are patronized, where they are denied access to leadership, where they are routinely trapped in subservient roles, where their function is always that of supporting, cleaning up for, catering to, and elevating men…. then there is a general numbing of what is right and wrong, a culture that sets women up and is unable to recognize injustice.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We need to get below the waterline and cut inequality off where it breeds. In that respect, we all have a lot of work to do.

Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at www.derekmaul.wordpress.com