Sunday, April 23, 2006

Rape judgments: no tit for tat please

http://lashawnbarber.com/archives/2006/04/21/duke-rape-case/


Being a fall-down drunk is vulgar behavior, something that I, unfortunately, have experienced.

and

The Enemy and his minions will try anything to tear down God's own. I'm here on this blog every day because God makes it so. And only he has the power to stop me, not my enemies. My Savior has assured me: He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

and

I'm angry, and on this blog, I will express that anger as often as I need to. [emphasis mine]


After reading LaShawn Barber's post which I've excerpted above, I have great sympathy for her even though I disagree with her at a fundamental level. I'm sure she wouldn't agree, but I am not her enemy.

She'd probably say I'm a liar, but my thought processes once mirrored hers. I don't know what caused her to be as she called herself, "a fall-down drunk" but if her transformation from vulgarity to Christianity was anything like mine, the driving forces behind her vulgar behavior were attributed to sinfulness and ungodliness.

Repentance was the cure all.

Compassion for the old self was not allowed. That old self was evil and had to be repudiated. This is what I call white-knuckle Christianity. If you failed or slid back to old behaviors then somehow you lacked faith. The problem couldn't be with the way the leaders advising you interpreted and implemented Christianity.

This approach puts a tight lid on splattering pots without doing anything about the underlying heat. Just like a pressure cooker, a release is needed to keep the pot from exploding. For LaShawn, I believe anger is her new alcohol, only now many people see her choices as good and righteous where they used to see her choices as bad and sinful.

But the cause has not changed.

If stoning were still allowed in America, I can easily imagine her as one of the first in line to grab a stone. And her reason would have nothing to do with delivering just punishment, it would be all about the euphoria that comes from having a sanctioned release for her inner rage.

It's no wonder that Christians who take this approach constantly say they are at war. They are, but it is a largely self-inflicted war.

For many of her dedicated readers, she's their rager by proxy and helps them release anger they either can't or won't vent themselves.

But raging anger can be as harmful as raging alcoholism. Raging anger lashes out first, apologizes later. And when it's done in the name of God, all those who refuse to support your rage are minions of the devil. Sounds awfully similar to the feeling raging alcoholics have about non-drinkers who try to intervene.

Neither of these outlets require you to deal with the real causes of the behavior that you rage against. I can say from experience that LaShawn's is a harsh worldview that offers very little grace.

As a teenager, I repented my rape and the aftershocks of that rape. And I backslid time and time again, increasing my self-disgust each time. I was in such a swirl of emotions that I didn't see the danger when an abusive Christian man decided I was the wife God wanted him to have. His sharp view of the world seemed like wisdom when it was nothing of the sort.

It took me years and the agony of going back to the darkest moments of my life before I found a way to deal with the source of my darkest behavior and my darkest thoughts. Only then did I start having true mercy for myself and for others.

Just as I don't think it's right for LaShawn to glory in her anger (like the request for help in locating an annoying commenter), I don't think it's right to return or escalate that anger.

Despite her anger, she comes across as someone quite brittle.

I think her position on the Duke rape case has more to do with her issues and her needs than with the objective facts in this case. Why else would she go for the alleged victim's jugular with no regard for what impact her attack has on rape victims? Despite her official position, her attack can't be erased if the words she's written against this alleged victim prove to be based on terribly incorrect assumptions.

I'm sure she believes that I am far more out of touch with the reality of this situation and the larger social issues around sexual assault. It doesn't matter that I've experienced rape and have had extensive training on this issue and have been at the hospital with rape victims during rape exams and during interviews with law enforcement. I've seen real rape victims do everything right and still not get justice. Then I've seen people like LaShawn call them liars who brought the rape on themselves.

I have sympathy for LaShawn, but I can't be silent to the harm she does.

But I'm not a conservative Christian so I must be one of LaShawn's Enemy's minions. Not long ago I read a description a man wrote about me (after I deleted his comments) that was so bizarre it made me laugh. And that's the main difference now between myself and people like LaShawn.

I've made peace with the good and the bad in myself and no slurs or obsenities sent my way can rob me of that peace.

So don't go tit for tat with LaShawn.

You don't want to be like her, do you?

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:31 AM   1 comments links to this post

1 Comments:

At April 23, 2006 4:43 PM, Blogger TT said...

I have a decidedly more positive opinion of Lashawn Barber and her blog. Her politics and mine don't gel either, but she always seems to put her faith ABOVE the political ranting. I think she brings up the past sin in her life as a testimony to God's grace in her own life, and for that she is to be commended. I also commend her for providing a voice for black Reformers too. Ms Barber gets so much venom and negativity spewn at her that she probably is a bit defensive (as I would be if I were in her position),and her tone might appear harsh at times, but she never crosses the line into condemning people. I personally welcome diversity within the body of Christ. We don't have to agree on Bush, the war, but we do need to proclaim the truth of God in an way that is loving yet firm.

 

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