On the heels of the recent #MeToo trend, an increasing number of accusations of childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault, and sexual harassment have been brought against Hollywood celebrities, news media personnel, and politicians. All of the accused, up to this point and to my knowledge, have been male.
My wife recently asked, “What made these guys think they were going to get away with it?” Good question. Fondling, pinching, walking half naked in front of women, and indecent exposure should not be overlooked or unreported.
My questions have been:
- What led these men to their indecent behaviors?
- What made these men think that the women or girls desired their advances?
Sexuality and human behavior are too complicated to assume that there is one bulletproof answer to my questions. But I do have two thoughts that are worthy of our consideration. These ideas are not only possible explanations for the men whose indecencies have recently been reported in the news; they serve as a means for self-examination so that we do not come under the influences that lead to indecency.
1. The influence of pornography and our sexualized culture conditions the thinking of men and can lead them to make intrusive sexual advances towards women.
Our highly sexualized culture frequently presents women as available, amoral, and agreeable. Commercials exhibit the seductive model who conveys the deceptive notion that, “If you buy this product, you get me.” The music entertainment industry features women dancing around the male singer as though they were his sexual slaves. And pornography sells on the lie that there are woman who are ready to fulfill any and all sexual fantasies that a man could ever have.
All of these visual messages from our sexualized culture have a conditioning affect. A man, who mentally entertains these messages over time, is conditioned to believe that women are waiting for his sexual expression so that he can become their sexual experience. Though I know there are other factors that contribute to the behavior of a man who makes sexual advances outside his marriage, I have to believe that a contributing factor can be the man’s deceived thinking that his co-worker, political supporter, or the waitress down at the diner exist to fulfill his fantasies. How did he get that idea? Our culture is filled with pornographic pictures that would entice him believe the lie.
2. If we are not mindful of our God-given design, we then substitute humanly driven and unfulfilling distortions.
God created us distinct from all other living creatures. “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). In other words, God instilled in us some of the same capacities of His own: the capacity to feel, the capacity for social interaction and connection, the capacity to make decisions, etc.
As a result of being made in the image of God, “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25). In other words, they had nothing hidden – no secrets. They were unhindered in fully knowing and being fully known (emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and sexually). God came to Adam and Eve in the Garden – when they had gone into hiding – so that He could know and be known. At creation, He instilled the same capacity in us.
Sadly, we sometimes choose to remain hidden, fail to live according to our God-given design for intimacy, and substitute humanly driven and unfulfilling distortions. Instead of intimacy, we chase after intensity.
Intimacy is to know and be known. Intensity, the distorted substitute, desires power, surprise/shock, and boundary crossing. Intimacy leads to satisfaction and fulfillment. Intensity only leads to the need for more intensity. The driving force may be one’s own anger and insecurity.
Obviously, we can connect some dots and note that the men headlined in recent news accounts are all men who were in powerful positions. But we should also examine ourselves to discern if there are ways we’ve remained hidden rather than fully engaging in God’s design for connection and intimacy.
Renewing Our Minds
God invites us to “be transformed by the renewing of our mind” (Romans 12:2). Our minds are renewed when the erroneous and erogenous lies are countered with truth. We can be renewed when our minds are saturated with these truths:
- All women are made in the image of God. As such, God values them and has implanted in them a likeness to Himself.
- Someone very close to you has been sexually abused – maybe your wife or daughter and that’s why you visit this website. Therefore [Truth #3) . . .
- If we allow our own minds to be lured into the deceptive and conditioning messages of pornography and our sexualized culture, we then become associated with the same perversion as the abusive perpetrators of our loved one – that young girls and women exist as mere objects for our own use/abuse.
- Being known involves risk. When I am willingly vulnerable, sharing my thoughts, emotions, motivations, etc., others know me, resulting in connection – intimacy. Is risk involved? Yes. Is satisfaction and fulfillment possible? Absolutely.
My wife and I recently hung a picture in our home with a verse inscribed on it. Our choice was intentional because the verse sets boundaries for our thoughts and actions.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
May our actions towards others be in
keeping with their value to God,
May our affections be flavored with
kindness and respect,
And may we live according to the design of God,
to know and be known by Him and others.