Wearing Black on Valentine's Day

This is picking up the WCC campaign about the use of sexual violence. It asks people to wear black on Thursday and this year valentine's day is on a Thursday so there is a bit of a campaign.

However, the actual information links it strongly with political violence rather than that specifically within a relationship. Yes, rape can be an act of war or of political domination but it can also be an act of power within a relationship. I would contend that with this concentration in the campaign 'others'* rape and allows us not to see the acts of rape within the mundane everyday lives of many victims. We are often blind to the domestic violence within our own congregations.

My own particular problem is that in doing this it basically ignores rape by deception. As someone who has been through that or at least attempted rape by deception, I know how devastating it can be even when no violence** is involved.

I take it as read that rape can be male on female, male on male, female on male and female on female although the vast majority reported is male on female.

What I would like here is to discuss the darker sides of relationships
So questions:
  • Is the WCC campaign a good idea in the age of #metoo?
  • What parameters should we address in such a campaign?
  • Are we able to have a conversation about non-consensual sexual violence within the church?



*'others' - in quote marks because I am using it as a technical term for the idea that it makes it something that happens in exotic settings e.g. countries at war. 'Others' can also have the Lacanian sense but does not here.

**This, of course, depends on how you define violence. I am using it to mean physical violence or the threat of physical violence.

Comments

  • Something I tripped over yesterday - looking for a song about roses - was this poem about domestic abuse He gave me roses - and how being given flowers can be a sign of violence.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    Something I tripped over yesterday - looking for a song about roses - was this poem about domestic abuse He gave me roses - and how being given flowers can be a sign of violence.

    That is powerful. Maybe the cycle of abuse is something in particular that needs to be talked about in churches, because churches do so often focus on the importance of forgiveness, and the idea that if someone says sorry, it's all okay, and you give them another chance (the seventy times seven thing). And there is perhaps not so much awareness that the cycle of abuse depends on this very idea, and is maintained through it - that if the person says sorry and is nice to you (gives you flowers in this example), then all is well, when it really isn't. I would say it's also important to extent the awareness not just to sexual violence, but domestic abuse in general, including child abuse.

  • I have gone looking to see if there are any resources to support churches in dealing with domestic abuse and found that there were a number of packs:
    2017 CofE guidance as part of the Safer Churches
    UMC pages - that look to have been produced in response to a 2016 resolution.

    So it looks as if there were attempts to tackle this a couple of years ago.
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