We’ve been seeing a lot of news stories regarding men being taken into account for the way they’ve treated women. I don’t know any woman who hasn’t been touched inappropriately and/or been spoken to in an undignified manner. Women have allowed men to get away with this behavior because we were afraid of looking like a fool, losing our jobs, or just in shock.
Hollywood has a major epidemic of sexual harassment and always has. The casting couch is surefire proof of that. It’s nice to see some of that coming out into the open, though I’m sure there is a lot that remains hidden as long as these men can make money for the studios.
It’s not easy being a woman in a male-dominated society. And no society was more male-dominated than in Biblical times. Yet, there were women who still stood tall in harsh situations.
DEBORAH: In Judges 4-5, Deborah was guided by her ability as a prophetess, that is, someone who contemplates God. She went into battle to help the Israelites throw off an oppressive Canaanite ruler. Don’t for a second think she wasn’t second-guessed by the men around her. There was probably name-calling, physical harassment, and unwelcome sexual advances by the soldiers, but she stood tall and won a war.
ESTHER garners an entire book of the Bible. She was an intelligent, resourceful, courageous woman. The king was looking for a new queen and had all the beautiful women brought before him. He chose Esther to take the throne. She had no choice in whether she wanted to go. Basically, it was a group of women brought to the king to be raped. Instead of allowing the fear and discomfort of her circumstances to control her, Esther stood up and kept the king from putting to death God’s people.
Every woman knows what I’m talking about. It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence. – Rebecca Solnit, author
RAHAB: Another woman mentioned in several verses was Rahab, a prostitute. No woman gets less respect today, as it was in Biblical times than a prostitute. Imagine having to pretend you like the attention of all those men touching you. Yet, Rahab risked her life to hide spies sent into Jericho by Joshua. You can read about her at Joshua 2:1; Joshua 2:3; Joshua 6:17-25; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; and James 2:25.
It’s too bad women like Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow didn’t have the courage of a Rahab to stand up to these men who harassed them. They chose to keep quiet even when they made a name for themselves and there’d be no chance of retribution.
If Rahab, Esther, and Deborah could risk their lives and stand up to do what was right, women today can do the same. We no longer need to act like the weaker sex. It’s time we speak out when a man is doing something wrong. And that goes the other way around. Men should speak up when women sexually harass them also. Yes, it does occur, and it’s just as uncomfortable for a man as a woman.
Have you ever been harassed sexually? If so, just say “me, too” below. Also if you need prayer whether it’s for being harassed or something else, please let us know. We will be glad to lift you and your situation up to God.