It is impossible to avoid the news that Harvey Weinstein has been manipulating and intimidating people around him for decades in order to assault, rape and then cover up his evils.
What I’m sharing here, is what I teach my daughters and my hope is that it might prevent them being victims of similar styles of attack.
First of all, as this is such a sensitive subject, some disclaimers:
- No one ever deserves to get sexually assaulted. People may sometimes put themselves in vulnerable situations, but a victim is never to blame.
- Some attacks cannot be avoided. I’m not foolish enough to think that every scenario can be prevented. Some of Weinstein’s victims could do little or nothing to prevent his attack. Some were asleep in their private rooms when he forced his way in. Some attacks cannot be prevented.
- No one ever deserves to get sexually assaulted. Yeah, I know I’m repeating myself. I just want to make abundantly sure that no one thinks I am blaming any sexual assault victim for being attacked. My aim is simply to teach my daughters to prevent, as much as possible, any situation that might lead to an assault.
- This post is not covering every kind of sexual attack, but the sexual predation practised by the likes of Harvey Weinstein.
- I will also teach my son to be the kind of man who never commits an attack or tolerates others committing violence of any kind. But that’s another post.
Here are some lessons I am teaching, and I will continue to teach my daughters.
Their Worth | I want my daughters to know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, how much I love them, how much their family loves them, how much God loves them. I want them to know their worth in our eyes. I want them to know that no matter how much or how little they accomplish, no matter how many or how few awards their earn or prizes they win, no matter how much they earn or how often their unemployed, I want them to know I love them because they are my daughters. They do not have to DO anything, they are already loved.
One person who worked closely with Weinstein said this,
“You see stories of domestic abuse on the news and think, how can people keep subjecting themselves to that? And then I would walk into the office the next day… For me at least it was the drip, day after day, of never knowing if you are good enough or if you are going to be at the top of the world or the bottom of the **** list.” (Jesse Burdinka, former US Marine)
What happened? Many predatory attackers cause their victims to doubt their worth. The person becomes vulnerable and then when an attack occurs they somehow believe they need to tolerate the attack in order to advance in their chosen vocation. Do they want to lose their job? Lose an award? Not get considered for a movie role? Their worth becomes wrapped up in WHAT they do, and not in WHO they are. Their worth becomes subjective, determined by their attacker and not objective, determined by those who love and value them unconditionally.
I want my daughters to know that they never need to tolerate anyone who makes them doubt their worth.
God loved them enough to send His only begotten Son to be their Saviour.
Romans 5:8 – But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 4:9 – In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
Luke 12:6-7 – Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God (7) But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
I love them more than I could ever express.
They have worth.
Their Values | I want my daughters to have eternal values. I want them to value holiness, honesty, integrity. When abusive individuals come their way and offer anything less than things that have eternal value, I want them to walk away.
If you have a diamond would you exchange it for a pebble? Of course not. Why? Because one has beauty, value and worth far beyond the other.
From the accounts being given, some actresses, and some actors did not report the abuses taking place in Hollywood because they were afraid they would not get acting roles or awards. Again, no one is to blame here apart from the attacker. However, if people had spoken out sooner, regardless of the cost, could some attacks have been prevented? Could the valuing of integrity, doing the right thing regardless of consequences, have stopped Weinstein earlier?
I want my daughters to value eternal things above all else so that an offer of anything less will not tempt them.
Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Their Courage | This is a simple one. I want my daughters to be courageous. I want them to know they are capable of courage. I want them to know that even in the presence of fear they can fight back.
I want them to know how to fight. If they find themselves in a vulnerable situation, facing unwelcome advances, I want them to have the courage to punch, kick, scratch and do whatever is necessary to defend themselves.
My eldest daughter laughed uncontrollably at the end of Frozen when one of the princesses punched the bad guy square on the nose and knocked him off the ship. That was a proud moment for me.
Proverbs 28:1 – The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
Hebrews 13:6 – So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Their Word | I want my daughters to know they can speak to me, always. If something does happen, I want them to know that I will believe them. They will know that I am on their side. I want my daughters to be trustworthy and known to be women of their word. If they speak out, there will be no reason to doubt them. Their word will be their bond.
Their Wisdom | I want to teach my daughters wisdom. I want them to think through situations and regardless of what anyone else thinks or says, I want them to take that courage I already mentioned and act wisely.
Recently Vice President Pence was attacked by the media and many in society when it was reported he would not meet with a woman alone. They accused him of being old fashioned, of being sexist and more.
Just imagine if Weinstein practised the same principle. How many women would have been protected from this predator if he was never alone with them?
Is every man evil? Theological positions aside, let me put it this way, I believe every man (and woman) is capable of evil. So, for example, if anyone ever tells them that a job interview will be held in a hotel room, then they will immediately walk away. Sadly, I think we often need to presume evil in the context of protecting ourselves from harm.
The wisdom I want my daughters to have, in the context of this article, is to never knowingly put themselves in a vulnerable situation.
Proverbs 1:5-7 – A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: (6) To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. (7) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Their Dad | Over 50 women have now spoken publicly of being attacked by Weinstein. In my mind, there could be potentially 50 fathers lining up to speak with Weinstein. I believe in the rule of law and due process. I also believe a Christian should forgive, and a pastor should not be a brawler. However, if someone within my reach ever harms one of my daughters then, well, then we can discuss theology later. I want my daughters to never hesitate to use me as a threat.
Proverbs 30:33 – Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife. 🙂 [smiley face is not in the original manuscripts]
No sexual assault victim is ever to blame for being attacked. But I do believe that some bad situations can be avoided. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And that is the intent behind these truths, prevention.
I want to teach my daughters whatever I can in order to try and prevent them leaving themselves in a vulnerable position where they could suffer an attack.