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Sexual assault: It's not about patriarchy

By Scott Tibbs, January 3, 2011

Last month, there was a sad and scary article in the IDS dealing with the college party scene and sexual assault. Reporter Jessica Haney recounted the story of a freshman woman being sexually assaulted while she was "too wasted to say yes or no." Haney tracked down the woman, her friend, and the man involved.

The story was scary. The scene Haney describes is obviously wrong, but no one bothered to intervene on behalf of the obviously unconscious freshman. Statistically, 1 in 4 college women will be sexually assaulted during her academic career, and situations like this are far more common than we would like to believe. In some cases, there are sexual predators who look to take advantage of these situations, while in others a drunken haze impairs judgment.

I wasn't surprised to see the typical academic response from a doctoral student who blames the "patriarchal power dynamic" in American society for these types of incidents. That is just silly. This has nothing to do with father-rule. We have seen 50 years of "sexual liberation" and the feminist movement, and college students today live in a more egalitarian world than ever before in American history.

Instead, it is precisely the "sexual liberation" brought on by the feminist movement that has created situations like this. As sex has become separated from what God intended it to be - an act between a man and woman, sanctified by marriage - it becomes more and more debased. When sex is a means of "expressing yourself" rather than an act of love in marriage the moral boundaries of society begin to break down.

No, the problem here is a lack of real men. Too many men live in somewhere called "guyland." Here, the responsibility and respectability that comes with adulthood is postponed by adults who would rather be adolescents as long as possible. We've been studying "guyland" and how to break out of it at David's Mighty Men, our men's ministry at Church of the Good Shepherd. The goal is to train men to leave "guyland" and become men.

A real man doesn't try to force himself on a girl at a party, nor does he allow himself to get so wasted that he doesn't realize or remember what he is doing. A real man defends the fairer sex, especially in an environment like this. And there clearly weren't any other real men at that party, or they would have stepped in and defended this girl.

Real manhood isn't easy. It's hard, and involves not only courage, but humility, self-control and a willingness to repent of one's own sin. On our college campuses, we need a lot more men and a lot fewer guys.