Have you ever heard a speaker who explains something that has perplexed you for years? Perhaps it may be something as simple as how to cook eggplant or how to understand new tax laws. Or perhaps it may be something as crucial as why violent crimes are perpetrated against women. This weekend, I was privileged to hear some of the most impressive lectures of my life—at the Gender and Justice conference sponsored by the Women’s Study Center at Vanguard University. I highly recommend to you, for example, the work of Jackson Katz, author of The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help. Co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, and a leader in preventing gender violence initiatives among professionals and in college athletics, Katz took us through an exercise that you may find startling. I did!
Asking us to read various reports, documenting violence encountered by women, we noticed a glaring trend. Newspapers published headlines like “Woman Raped by Stockbroker” and “Woman Attacked by Football Player.” The passive voice was nearly always used when referring to the victim. While women were raped by stockbrokers, truck drivers, and football players, these men were never labeled as rapists. The active voice was rarely used when speaking of the perpetrator. What is more, the term “male” “men” and “boy” was omitted. While victims were gendered, perpetrators were genderless. What does this suggest? It tells us that power maintains dominance by remaining invisible. Power is covert. It covers its tracks. When women speak out and break the silence, they pay a heavy price because they come up against a system that demands their passivity, and offers perpetrators the protection of invisibility.
Can you remember a time when you spoke out against an injustice? Have you ever been the lone voice in your church, community, or family bringing a problem into the light of day? If you have, then you know how difficult that task is. Friends, this is the work of CBE. As a community of believers, we labor side by side to free those oppressed by biblical error which renders women invisible in Scripture and without a voice in their churches, denominations, professional societies, and mission organizations. Though the work is arduous and takes years, it is also life-changing to observe God set captives free through the ministry of CBE.
As we concluded the Gender and Justice conference, the conveners surprised all of us by announcing that Vanguard University’s Women’s Study Center joined CBE as an institution. They too recognize the liberating work of CBE’s biblical research. Together we can set many captives free! Speak out today and help your friends find their voices, too!