Rape and Role of Church

Rape means a forcefull sexual intercourse against a person’s will. Although men can be raped, the victims are generally women and children. The rapist may be strangers, as with Shechema and Dinah. Gen 34, or they may be trusted friends or family members, as in the case of Amon and Tamar, 2 Sam. 13. Some are of the opinion that rape happens because women are inherently morally weak. This argument is false, for both men and women are equally affected by sin. The argument that most times women are raped because of their revealing clothing excites men may be true or not. But if it is true, why is it that infants are raped? Here, the story of Tamar shows that rape has nothing to do with a woman’s wears, for it was specified that she wore a long robe eith sleeves, 2 Sam. 12:18. But when you look at it from the other point, could it be true? Beauty should not be seen a san excuse for rape, rather it should be celebrated. Most medical experts believe the primary cause of rape is an aggressive desire to dominate the victim rather than an attempt to achieve sexual fulfillment. They consider rape an act of violence rather than principally a sexual encounter. In this article, we are looking at what rape is, its implications or effects and the role of the church.

As attitudes about sexuality and gender equality continue to change, lawmakers and legal reformers struggle to redefine what behaviour constitutes rape. Some argue that rape should be defined as any nonconsensual sexual intercourse, with any special requirement to prove use of force. This proposal has been highly controvertial. However, as a result of the changingsocietal perceptions, laws prohibit several different types of rape.

This has to do with intercourse carried out against a person’s will by the use of threat of physical force. This is sometimes referred to as unaware sex. Historically, a person could only be charged with rape if force was used to subdue him or her.

When a person rapes an individual he or she knows, it is called either acquainatance or date rape. The two people may be friends, former lovers, or presently dating or courting.

Studies indicate that a woman is more likely to be raped by an acquaintance than by a stranger or a relative; except she is raped by criminals.

An acquaintance may commit forcible rape. However, the term acquaintance rape is usually applied when the sexual intercourse is nonconsual but does not involve the physical coercion typically associated with forcible rape, such as assault or threats of violence.

The issue of consent in circumstances of date rape has stirred considerable controversy. Determining whether an incident of sexual intercourse was consensual can be very difficult. A man charged with rape and a woman alleging that she has been raped, might have different perspectives about what happened, even if they are both sincerely trying to give a truthful account. Lawmakers and courts have stuggled with the issue of whether to define consent from the victim’s point of view. To do so creates the risk of punishing a person (the accused rapist) who mistakenly thought that another person was consenting to sexual relations.

Rape of a person’s spouse is called marital rape or spouse rape. The first question that comes to is, can a man rape his wife? The answer is not far fetched. The reason is that the wife should be allowed to feel like the woman she is before the husband enters her. This will make them to have a very sweet conjugal relationship as husband and wife. The English common law and traditional U.S. and Canadian law did not recognize rape within a marriage as crime. But in 1960s, the American law institute recommended retaining the historical legal doctrine that a man cannot rape his wife. The organization based this recommendation on the theory that it was inappropriate for the law to invade marital privacy. However, as a result of changing attitudes about domestic violence, many nations of the world abandoned this doctrine and began to allow in the court prosecutions of marital rape, especially if it is committed by force. Please husbands, don’t rape your wives; seek her consent before you enter.

Sexual intercourse with a person who has not reached the age of consent is known as statutory rape. The age of consent for sexual intercourse varies depending on the custom and tradition of a particular people. Generally, the age is not less than 18 years. In most places, the younger the victim is, the greater the punishment. Some years ago, it was reported somewhere around the East of the Niger, how a man raped his daughter, but do you know that this ugly scenario is so rampant in the Northern part of the country than any other area in the nation? Statutory rape laws traditionally treated men or boys as prospective offenders, and young girls as prospective victims. However, some jurisdictions have enacted gender neutral statutory rape laws. States also typically treat sexual intercourse as rape, if the victim is considered incapable of giving consent for a reason other than age. For example, if a person has sexual intercourse with someone who is drugged or asleep, or who is mentally retarded, that person is guilty of rape. This act most times is being carried out by men or boys who are in their heat period. Brothers, when you are in heat, control your passions and emotions.

The first and only question that comes to mind here is, could men also be raped? The answer is a capital YES. Formerly, traditional rape laws were gender specific, providing that only women could be victims of rape and only men could be rapists. In recent years, reasearch has proved that men could also be raped. Little wonder an increasing number of the world Nations have rewritten their rape laws to be gender neutral. Of recent, one of our students told of an ugly story of how two young ladies forcibly raped an OKADA man in the bush, and after giving him milk and maltina mixed together told him that they were HIV/AIDS positive; then encouraged him to go ahead and spread the disease. In some places, it is possible, although unlikely, for a woman to be charged with raping a man.

Homosexual rape is a notorious problem in prisons. However, in society as a whole, rape of men, whether by women or other men, is not heard always.

There are so many causes to the problem of rape according to scholars, but for this discussion, we have this. According to Isabel A. phiri,

“Women are sometimes raped to punish them for not respecting men’s authority. Many men believe that they can demand sex because women are there to serve them sexaully. They refuse to listen when women and girls say no to their sexual advances. The same type of thinking leads some to see women as just toys to provide them with fun, as it happened in the gang rape of the concubines in Judges 19.” She continued, “Such men have no concern for the woman’s feelings or whether she is injured.” Women are created in the image of God; they are not toys to be used for amusement of others.

When we talk of implications, we refer to possible effects of rape on the victim. As a person, I don’t think there is any positive implication(s) to those concerned but all are negative. Let us look at possible implications at our reach.

  1. Physiological: According to research, some of the physical implications or effects on the victim includes injuries. Some complains of bruises and abrasions suffered either from the attack or from their attempt to escape. Others complain of pains and aches in some parts of their body such the neck, throat, chest, ribs, arms and legs, pelvis or genital areas. Some others complain of sleeplessness, some times they wake up screaming, tormented by re-occurring nightmares of the incident. This also leads to self hatred, decrease in appetite which leads to compulsive disorders, perfectionism, obsessive chores, drug abuse and other things.
  2. Psychological: While the physical outcome of rape are traumatic in nature, the emotional or psychological wounds and scares such as an act of violence and other horribles are more difficult to overcome. The psychological implications of rape include the following – the feeling of grief and deep loss in a number of areas. One of the most pervasive emotional responses to rape is guilt, feeling partially responsible for what had happened to them. Other effects includes: self-denial and fears of being raped, or fears for the opposite sex. Loss of self-worth or low-self esteem. Seeing themselves as damaged goods, second-hand or second class citizens. Following a research in 2010, in the United Nations, about 30% of rape victims, after the incident thought of suicide; 30% sought for psychotherapy; and then 82% said that the experience has permanently damaged the entire body system; that is has refused to fissile away.
  3. Social: This implies that the victim undergoes some social responses to the experience, finding it difficult to socialize with others; being avoided by colleagues, loneliness which may lead to high blood pressure. The social involvement of the victim is governed by fear that every one is aware of the incident. He feels staying behind while others are of the opinion that thier work places are the best option. The victim is afraid of the opposite sex, refusing to accept any invitation wtih regard to socialization.
  4. Spiritual implication: The victim of rape will immediately be faced with spiritual ramifications of his or her ordeal. He/she begins to ask questions like where was God when I was being assaulted? Was he aware of my predicament? Is he caring and loving God? These questions not only present problems in themselves to the victim, but also produce moral guilt, inferiority complex, and bad feelings about God. The victim restrains him/herself from church and other religious activities.
  5. Education/Economic implications: Rape renders the victim restless. It does not allow the person involved to concentrate in his/her academics. This is also applicable to the person’s economic life. There is an inability to face his business. Rape does not yield money to the victim, rather he or she spend money in the hospitals and in treatments.

The role of the church in curbing the menace of rape cannot be over emphasized. They should not keep silent over the issue. David’s lack of response to his son’s rape of Tamar, should remind us that, while only few men rape, many men are silent ove rthe matter. Let us re-iterate here that silence encourages rape and other bad behaviors. Therefore, the church needs to break her silence by preaching constantly against the abuse of especially women and children. The church needs to create an atmospherid environment of trust so that survivors or rape can have the courage to talk about it with their pastors. Our church leaders need to declare the church as well as our homes zero tolerance zones for any form of sexual abuse. The church should create an avenue for professional counseling, so as to direct the survivors of rape. If such counseling is made available, it is the role of the church to make it available.

In this 21st century, all pastors and gospel preachers should have some training in counseling rape victims, and survivors. These survivors include the families of victims, with regards to Tamar, Amon, David, and Absalom; which shows a very big wound to the entire family.

It is the role of the church to preach love for one another (agape love). Jesus Christ came to redeem humanity from evil acts. He restores the broken hearted, and he came also to restore the perpetrators of rape to God.

The church should also report rapes and rapists to police or other government agencies responsible for that, but should also seek to confront perpetrators of abuse and lead them to confession, deliverance, and counseling.

Finally, the church need to preach massages that help men and women to develop relationships of respect and trust for mankind. The church should encourage men to take responsibility for thier sexuality and make it clear that anyone who abuses another has lost the sense of dignity and integrity. The church should clearly and constantly proclaim the good news of true love that protects others from all that are hurtful and harmful. The church should teach her members to show lve to one another. By this we fulfill the word of God.

Conclusion: In addition to going against God’s guidelines for sexual purity, rape violates God’s supreme law. The law of love, the primary word for love in the New Testament is agape, which signifies the highest form of love. It is an unselfish love, a giving love; it is the opposite of the lust for power and sex that motivates rape. Lust grabs what it wants, while love gives what others needs.

Rape is against the will of the victim as well as the will God. Rape, coupled with its effects or implications, both christians and non-christians are advised to shun rape, have a self-control, fear God and respect humanity.

Author: Paul U. Nwaeboh, The Theologian Magazine 2012(17) pg.28-30


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