By Danni Moss
Copyright protected, all rights reserved
This tremendously powerful essay was brought to my attention today. I will offer the same warning as the author – it could be a trigger for those who have experienced sexual assault. However, this is one of the best pieces on the subject of unrecognized sexual assault that I have ever read. Every adult should be required to read this essay to gain a better understanding of the nature of sexual assault.
It occurred to me, that many people may miss the relevance of this essay since it written in a culturally specific setting. Perhaps it may have been particularly obvious to me because of being a girl/woman who traversed that same dangerous “not rape” path within a Christian sub-culture.
So I am writing to clarify and ask that readers remember the same phenomena occurs within Christian circles. This is not specific to only the “type of people” talked about in this essay, and therefore, we don’t have to worry about it. Some particularly foolish and judgmental individuals might even suggest they “get what they deserve.”
Girls and women in Christian circles have brothers, cousins, uncles, fathers, and grandfathers, too. They have family friends, deacons, elders, Sunday School teachers, youth pastors, and pastors. They have other teens in the youth group. And they are subject to exactly the same types of scenarios described in this essay.
I grew up in a virtually enclosed Christian sub-culture. Yet I, too, faced an almost constant barrage. From being molested by a Christian teenaged babysitter when I was five – who was a girl – right on through being repeatedly groped by other teenage girls! — yes, it can happen in the Christian world, too. I never understood it then, but for some reason teenaged guys seemed to like me, and there was the constant pressure there, too – including the dishonorable, being caught in back halls and corners, being grabbed and groped – in the church, with no chance or choice to say no.
That doesn’t even touch on the pressure put on a woman or girl by an authority figure in the church or in her family who is far more sophistocated about it, both manipulating and forcing her into an impossible situation of demanded compliance with his sexual advances. All the while, she knows she cannot tell — because no one will believe her. And she is very frequently right. Even if she is believed, her reputation will be dragged through the dirt and she will lose friends, or even more, in the process — because there will be many who refuse to believe she didn’t bring it on herself. Because it is “not rape.”