Writing about Rape

“Judgement, especially of a rape victim, seems so far outside of the scope of Christianity that it should never find a home in the church.”

For those who are following the progress of my novel, Tragedy in Sunset, it’s no surprise that this topic is on my mind. It is the catalyst for the entire novel. In fact, the opening scene in the novel finds the main character, Tom Reynolds, entering the first stages of grief over the rape of his daughter earlier in the day.

One of my Navy students, about seven years ago, was raped and beaten so badly that she didn’t return to duty for months, though to my knowledge she did finally do so. Another friend of mine still holds the emotional scars of being taken advantage of even though it’s been years since the assault.

We know that rape is bad. Can anyone possibly defend it any longer? Not that it was ever really defensible, but really…especially now?

I get that some cases are difficult to figure out the real answers. Could there be some genuine cases of mistaken consent? I really doubt it, but maybe. And some statutory rape is probably consenting young people who make mistakes. Maybe. Even then it’s not defensible, but maybe it’s “different.”

Yet what still happens all too often is that stories like one from the Washington Post come out wherein a young 15 year old girl is held for 29 days and raped by the father of one of her school friends. The dad in me asks, “Why is this guy still alive?” Skip due process. Or maybe give it to him just to make sure, and then kill him slowly. I realize that this stance is unChristian.

These monsters are a plague on our society. Yes, I realize that I’m writing impusively. I’m thinking like a dad…a dad of daughters (not that boys aren’t raped, but…not as often). I’m not writing or thinking like a rational member of a free, laws-and-due-process-based society.

And when I wrote about Tom Reynolds on the night of his daughter Marcy’s rape in my novel, I didn’t write as a rational person. I wrote as if I were Tom. I wrote as if it were one of my daughters I had carried into the emergency room. I wrote as if the nurse was ushering me out of the ER so they could run the rape kit on one of my girls.

We have to confront this issue. And by we, I mean Christians. We have entire programs to help people recover from pornography, divorce, alcoholism, and a host of other problems, but I rarely hear about helping people recover from rape. And I don’t think I’ve ever heard a preacher condemn rape from the pulpit. Why not?

I don’t think there’s a conspiracy theory to flesh out here. I doubt the average Baptist preacher is purposely avoiding the subject. However, shame on you if you are purposely doing so. What are you hiding? Or hiding from?

One thought might be, “well, if people weren’t having sex outside the boundaries God set in the Bible, there wouldn’t be rape.”

Excellent point, and a true one. However, we wouldn’t need to condemn pornography, theft, murder, or anything else covered in the Bible. So that excuse isn’t good enough. Another issue is that it’s easier to verbally attack women for dressing immodestly than it is to condemn the men who rape them.

No, they didn’t ask for it.

You know how I know that they didn’t ask for it? Because when I see a woman dressed immodestly, I don’t think, “ooh…a perfect target!” Why not? Because I’m a sane man who doesn’t rape women. It doesn’t matter if a woman doesn’t dress right. A woman’s clothing does not lead to rape. A rapist’s mind leads to rape.

Start talking…and writing…about rape. It’s a sad, sick reality in our culture and we are in a perfect position to respond to it with the love and hope of Christ.

We should be bothered that the only people writing about rape are newspaper reporters (like the one referenced above) and books like Rape, by Joanna Bourke. These are non-believers most likely, and certainly aren’t writing from any spiritual view point.

So here we start. It’s not a good starting place, but it’s something. We know, for example, that God cares for the orphans, the poor, the widows, etc. Surely he cares also for those who’ve had innocence taken from them. It would be prudent for us as Christ-followers to lead the world in this effort to make victims of sexual violence feel welcome…to feel safe. Judgement, especially of a rape victim, seems so far outside of the scope of Christianity that it should never find a home in the church.

We know that God says that vengeance is his. I am grateful for this because I have a lot of sins in my life.

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