What if the things that we believe are similar to the way sex traffickers justify their actions?
Today on the podcast we’re going to travel across the world with Meghan Tschanz, author of Women Rising, and see what she discovered in the brothels in east Asia as she tried to help the women there. Then we’ll go closer to home and look at a new study that shows how our beliefs about God can affect our beliefs about abuse.
I had a wonderful conversation with Meghan, so listen in!
Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:
Timeline of the Podcast
0:40 Meghan Tschanz joins us and tells some of her story
3:45 How Christian views were repeated by men buying women
18:00 Does society see women as inherently less than?
20:10 Maybe it’s NOT individual sin
31:00 How the church and predators view women the same way
37:00 What does the research say? + False teaching of the week
42:45 RQ: My wife and I don’t fit typical gender roles
Main Segment: Women Rising–How One Woman Found Her Voice
Meghan Tschanz spent several years on the mission field, specifically with sex trafficking, first as a year-long course and then leading short-term teams.
The more she talked to the women being trafficked, and the more she talked to the men buying these girls for sex, the more she realized that the rationale for so much of it was similar to what she had been taught about gender roles growing up in her evangelical churches.
She talks in her book (which I read last week–it’s amazing!) that one man from the U.S. said that he preferred Filippino women because they knew how to respect their men, unlike American women who did not. He felt that, because he was the man, he was owed respect. Yet he did not feel the need to respect these women at all.
Meghan realized that you can’t stop the sex trafficking crisis by dealing with the supply, because there will always be desperate people. You have to deal with the demand by dealing with the underlying beliefs that think it’s okay to treat other human beings that way. And unfortunately, many of those beliefs are also in our churches. So across the world, Meghan found her voice.
It’s a moving book, and I highly recommend it!
New Research: What beliefs are highly associated with domestic violence myths?
A “new to us” study (it’s actually three years old now) surveyed several hundred students at Bethel Seminary, and found that those who believed some typical Calvinist doctrines are more likely to believe myths that we know are associated with higher levels of domestic violence, or with covering up domestic violence or telling victims to remain in violent marriages. Here’s part of their findings:
The researchers found that Calvinist beliefs were positively associated with domestic violence myth acceptance. In other words, seminary students who agreed with statements like “Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save the elect only” and “God eternally perseveres in His faithfulness with those whom He has chosen” were more likely to also agree with statements like “A lot of domestic violence occurs because women keep on arguing about things with their partners” and “Many women have an unconscious wish to be dominated by their partners.”
Calvinist beliefs were also positively associated with endorsements of social hierarchy, and negatively related to social justice advocacy — such as speaking out for equality for women. In addition, Calvinist beliefs were linked to higher levels of existential defensiveness, or a belief that God would protect them more than other people.
This doesn’t mean that all Calvinists abuse! We’re attending an online small Presbyterian church right now where the beliefs tend Calvinist, so that’s not what we’re saying. But it’s important to see how our beliefs can be used to justify bad things, and be aware of how our beliefs are easily twisted, because abusers tend to flock to communities that justify what they do.
John Piper wrote an article a while ago on how complementarianism protects women while the belief that men and women are equal leaves women vulnerable. Again, he did this with absolutely no research, simply his theological beliefs. When you look at it in the real world, you find that he’s absolutely wrong. Abuse is more likely to flourish in communities with strict gender hierarchies. Again, I’d point everyone to my article on how research is important when we talk about these things.
Reader Question: We don’t fit traditional gender roles, and we feel left out of our church
A man wrote in with this question:
My question is about “traditional marriage roles” (i.e. women stay home, raise children, cook, clean, etc. while the man is the primary breadwinner). It seems like the churches we’ve attended have failed to come to terms with the fact that society has changed and that many families now require both spouses to work which means that the household tasks need to be shared by both spouses. For me personally this has been a huge struggle, not the tasks themselves, but basically having to silence all the “teachings” in my head about what a “Godly home looks like” with the wife “making the home” and “greeting the husband with a clean house and dinner waiting, and the best behaved children on the planet.”
Our household is definitely not traditional. Both my wife and I work, and we both raise our two children together (my wife handles the brunt of the logistics and coordination), and the household work is split about 70/30 with me handling the brunt of that.
It’s lonely! In church we were always the odd ones out cause very few others could relate to us. None of the other husbands talked about doing dishes or cooking dinner 5-6 nights a week. The women didn’t know how to interact with my wife cause she isn’t the stereotypical “Godly wife.” We are currently not attending a church.
Are there any resources of encouragement out there? We just need encouragement—the husbands who cook and clean, and the wives who work out-of-the-home jobs. Or are we “in sin” because we don’t adhere to the “traditional roles of marriage.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on that one!
Then we read the Twitter thread that started off Monday’s post on research and Christian advice, and had some more encouragement from someone for whom the blog and podcast had changed her marriage.
Things Mentioned in This Podcast:
- Meghan Tschanz’s book Woman Rising: Learning to Listen, Reclaiming Our Voice
- The article Meghan mentioned by Lyn Yonack about power and sexual abuse
- The Wipe Every Tear charity
- The study about Calvinist/complementarian beliefs and their correlation with domestic violence myths
- The Twitter thread by Branden Henry talking about books and research
- The Great Sex Rescue
- Support our Patreon for as little as $5 a month! Help fund our peer reviewed research and new social media channels to spread our research.
What do you think? Do you have any thoughts for the man who feels spiritually homeless? And have you seen any of the phenomenon that Meghan points out? Let’s talk in the comments!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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