Sorry this post is so late – but teething continues unabated and even though I have been through teething many times before poor Hood #7 is at it for the very first time.
Off the top of your head you may not even know who Tamar, Bathsheba and then Tamar again are but when you read about them you will realize that they are familiar Bible stories. But not stories we rarely dwell on and if they are preached on the focus is on the telling of the tale and not necessarily the emotional upheaval in these women’s lives. I think we could say that they were all involved in dark and shadowy affairs.
This book is great it doesn’t go into details of the issues of abuse or prostitution or adultery but each chapter provides a good stepping stone to raising these topics in a Bible Study. I for one have never been in a Bible study where the topic of rape or abuse has been covered in a very constructive way, except with everyone averting their eyes and saying “I wonder if the tea is ready yet?” Which to me is saying: Let’s avoid the topic it isn’t really happening.
But think about it, in our culture where at least one in three women (and one in four men) have been sexually abused – not necessarily mugged by a stranger after dark, more likely by someone they know or even a family friend, it is very naive to think that in a ladies Bible Study with three or more women in it, that no-one has been affected by it. These statistics are not just for consenting adult women they include all women. So if you are teaching a group of teenage girls or you have a sunday school class of girls you are pretty sure that you have got some really troubled kids in there.
Which leads to the next reaction: A hurt and angry reaction where it is soundly stated that “All abusers should be locked up in jail…” Well that may be the case but it isn’t a realistic response to the women at the heart of the problem. And lets face it that puts an enormous portion of the population in jail… potentially one in three. Not to mention, nobody turfed the powerful King David into jail! This reaction leaves the perpetrators getting all the attention while the victims still have to carry on with “life-as-normal.”
The media portrays this as a life-altering crime, with peoples lives shattered by it and it is. But most women are so burdened by the shame, be they a school girl, a student or a housewife, that they hide themselves behind the “veil of normality.” The crime is mostly not reported and life goes on as “usual” on the outside and who knows what is happening on the inside.
I think as women we could be a real help to others by firstly acknowledging that the crime occurs and to talk about it in an informed way. If you lead a Bible Study group or a mom’s group then you need to be aware about how to cope with it. Reading on the topic can be a bit of a dead end. Almost every book I’ve ever read on abuse survivors, and I have read a few, begin by describing the most heinous crimes of violence and power. Followed by chapters and chapters regarding the ensuing court case and “recovery” of the victim. But I have never encountered a book that talks about the lecherous uncle, the salacious neighbor, the very enthusiastic and lingering youth leader, that can leave a young girl, feeling tormented and dirty for years.
And this leads me to our GiveAway book: It describes the lives of these three women and all the details – clearly women had this trouble in Biblical Times as well. The chapters are short and precise with discussion questions at the end of each one. You can delve into the topic or just touch it on the “Bible Story” level but either way you will at least be talking about it as the “abnormal everyday event” that it unfortunately is.
I would grab this book with open arms, it really is long over-due. It deals with such a taboo topic in a way that you might not even notice that the topic was being addressed. It would be a great way to get a bible study group to at least think about the topic even if they don’t dive into it and certainly there will be many women so grateful to learn that there is hope and healing even for the Tamar’s and Bathsheba’s of this world.
As usual I have to thank Christian Book Discounters who kindly supplied the books for this GiveAway…
The GiveAway works in the usual way, comment before the end of this coming Friday and I will draw and publish the winner next week on Sunday! – I won’t respond to your comments as I usually do because I don’t want to be included in our own giveaway!!! Good luck and get commenting!