Perspective: #YesAllWomen (Adventists Too)


(Spectrumbot) #1

In May 2014, Elliot Rodger, son of director Peter Rodger, went on a shooting rampage against sorority girls. In his YouTube video preceding the incident, Rodger explained he was “forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection, and unfulfilled desires” because beautiful women refused to date him.

Women across the nation expressed their horror at Rodger’s entitled attitude, hinting at a deeper, societal problem. Not wanting to be lumped with a mass murderer, men took to Twitter to defend their gender: “#NotAllMen are like that!”

Women were quick to respond: “Not ALL men harass women, but ALL women have, at some point, been harassed by men.” Women began to publicly share their stories of sexism, sexual harassment, and abuse in modern society. The #YesAllWomen movement was born.

My university campus buzzed at the news of Rodger’s mass killings. Yet my peers discussed the tragedy in an us-versus-them way. They claimed secular environments produced men with entitled attitudes towards women. Those in the Adventist church were safe from those dangers. I knew better.

When I was seventeen, I attended an Adventist academy. The family-like atmosphere, the weekly chapels, even the cafeteria food helped the school to become my second home. My only complaint? I hated going to U.S. History.

My history teacher, Mr. Hayes (names have been changed), was a morning person. At 7 AM, he greeted each student with a firm handshake and a hearty welcome. High-energy activities such as Ford-like assembly lines and review relay games were prevalent. Most students adored Mr. Hayes for his teaching style, but I was not a morning person. I often closed my eyes or covered my ears to shield myself from the flurry of activity.

But then, Mr. Hayes began doing strange things.

Once, when running late for class, I rushed towards Mr. Hayes, and he sang, “Oh Anne, Anne, Anne.”

I rolled my eyes. Mr. Hayes sang my name every morning. But this time when he shook my hand, and I tried to let go, he gripped it tighter and stared at me. His hazel eyes, usually friendly and welcoming, looked dark and ominous.

“Can I have my hand back?” I asked, trying to pull my hand from this grip.

Mr. Hayes stared. I shrunk back. Without a word, he let go and walked into the classroom.

Another morning, as Mr. Hayes passed by my desk, he handed me a white box.

“These are for you,” he said. He walked to the whiteboard and began to write the class assignments for the day.

My classmate asked, “What is it?”

“I don’t know,” I said. I didn’t want to touch the box.

“Well, open it!” she said.

Lifting the lid, I saw an assortment of chocolate truffles. I looked up at Mr. Hayes who had stopped writing on the board. He smiled at me.

Mr. Hayes’ prayers began to change too:

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this class. Guide us as we learn more about the history of the world you created,” Mr. Hayes paused, “and Lord, thank you for Anne. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

I started to see prayer as a weapon. Whenever Mr. Hayes asked the class to bow their heads for prayer, nausea overwhelmed me.

Mr. Hayes also began pulling me aside each class period. The conversation was the same each time:

“Anne, are you okay? You’ve been looking down.”

I would cross my arms and look away.

“Any boy troubles? How’s your family?” He’d press.

I would set my jaw and glare. “I’m fine.”

He would lean in close, “Well, if you need me, I’m always here.”

I hated this extra attention. After mentioning it to my dad, we set up a meeting with the vice principal. With no physical evidence, there wasn’t much the administration could do. They warned Mr. Hayes to act appropriately with all of his students, and they warned me to keep my distance.

This worked for a month.

One morning, the bell rang and my classmates left before I could pack my books. I was alone in the classroom with Mr. Hayes. Filled with dread, I reached for my backpack, but Mr. Hayes walked beside me and placed his hand across the opening of my desk, trapping me. I leaned back, but he placed his face inches from mine.

“Anne, are you sure you’re okay?”

“I’m fine,” I said, turning away from his face.

“Well, it doesn’t seem like it.”

Mr. Hayes placed his mouth next to my ear. He smelled like stale Cheez-Its, and his breath felt like dirty water.

“You know,” he said, his balmy breath flooding my ear, “if you ever need anything. My office is always open.”

“Leave me alone!” I said, pushing him away. I grabbed my backpack and ran away.

My dad and I filed an official report with the principal. We learned that a few other girls had filed reports against Mr. Hayes too. I didn’t know who they were, but I felt peace knowing that, somewhere in the school, other girls could relate to the fear I had felt for three months.

The next Monday, it was announced that Mr. Hayes had resigned. The students groaned. He was a beloved teacher. I, however, sighed. Mr. Hayes was gone. No more unwanted staring, pushy questions, or fear of being trapped in a classroom with him. I was safe.

I am lucky. My story is more creepy than it is horrific. But my story is the mildest of my family. Every woman in my family has been harassed or sexually abused by a good standing, Adventist man. The Seventh-day Adventist church is my home, but I am not blinded to the fact that Adventists are not immune from creating men who feel superior to women and who feel entitled to their bodies. It is time that we stop pretending that we are.

Emily Hughes said it best on Twitter: “Every single woman I know has a story about a man feeling entitled to access to her body. Every. Single. One.”

#YesAllWomen

Anne Pantke (not her actual name) is a senior writing student at an Adventist university.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6741

(Kevin Paulson) #2

Whoever this teacher is, I pray he has been de-credentialed and that he will never be employed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church again. Thank God for Anne’s courage and that of the other young women who confronted this man and the academy authorities regarding his despicable conduct.

I have little doubt that such misdeeds have abounded, and still abound, in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. A true zero-tolerance policy for such behavior will in every sense be needful as God seeks to purify to Himself a people ready to share His glory and to inhabit the pure environment of heaven.


(jeremy) #3

this is such a disturbing story…i wonder if all headship advocates are aware of how their position smacks to others, and whether a consideration of the subject of women’s ordination can really be separated from the type of experience this story captures…


(Elaine Nelson) #4

This is a sad affect of “headship” belief and practice. Any institution that claims that men should be in charge, the authority and decision maker while women must accede to their authority results in such incidences. If this is doubted, look at the Catholic male hierarchy and the results. It is entirely opposed to the NT which made all humans equal and should be Adventist’s guide, instead of the male priesthood of the OT.


(Allen Shepherd) #5

What to make of this. ALL women are victims? Feel guilty that I am male? Get a bilateral orchiectomy? Or an emasculation?

Yes, some men do bad things. Testosterone does make the organism more aggressive then estrogen does. And there will be those who overdo it.

If I am not mistaken, God made testosterone. I don’t think I have to apologize for the acts of others, that is why there is a justice system here. And I am not sure the #YesAllWomen attitude is appropriate. Some women can be just as cutting and cruel in their own way. Categorizing a whole group just does not accomplish much, but put the group on the defensive. If that is the purpose of this, well, I think it is an ignoble goal. Better to deal with others on an even field.

(You are both overreacting and mis-reacting. Then producing an inappropriate “defense” by declaring “Some women can be just as cutting …”. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The sum total of your comment is egregious. - website editor)


(Thomas J Zwemer) #6

I was Associate Dean of a dental school and acting chair of Orthodontics. my primary office was on the first floor, The ortho clinic on the second floor. one morning I took the elevator to the second floor… there were several people in the lobby. After I got on a dental assistant also got on. as the door closed she said in a loud voice, "Dr. Zwemer! you cut that out? the door closed and the elevator started to go up. I pushed the stop button and turned to the girl and said, I not going to be accused of something I never did. She apologized and I pushed the start button. Tom Z


(Andrew) #7

I don’t know if the whole headship idea is responsible for this. Men are predators by their nature. If they are not grounded in the right principles, then their basic instincts will rule.

Those basic instincts should be about honor and respect. Just because a man is brought up to believe that biblically, women shouldn’t hold an ordained role, doesnt (I believe, necessarily lead to this kind of abuse.

By the way, I don’t believe in the idea of men holding headship above women. I just hesitate to lay this kind of behaviour in those attitudes.


(Kim Green) #8

Allen, I think that you should volunteer at a Woman’s Shelter for approx. 1 month and then let’s see if you have the same attitudes that you currently hold. Your words minimize what many/most women go through in their lifetimes and is quite disrespectful to the author of this story.


(Kim Green) #9

Not necessarily- but it does set up the victim because of the attitudes. Pastoral abuse is a wider and more pervasive problem than most want to know/accept as organizations such as Survivor’s Network could attest to.


(Kevin Paulson) #10

Andrew, Biblical male headship is in the mold of our Lord—self-sacrificing servant-leadership: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it” (Eph. 5:25).

There is no room for abuse or the kind of perverse behavior described in this article, when the headship principle as described in the Bible is practiced by consecrated men. Any man engaging in the grotesque behavior depicted in this account has nothing whatsoever to do with the Biblical principle of spiritual male headship. The kind of authority this teacher demonstrated is satanic, not Christlike.


(Allen Shepherd) #11

Web Ed.

I don’t usual make a comment to the WebEd, but feel I must here. If two wrongs don’t make a right, why was this egregious article put in to Spectrum in the first place? The article is a declaration that men are bad. They put up a defense, #NotAllMen, and were promptly shot down by #YesAllWomen. I think that what is good for the goose is good for the gander.


(Elmer Cupino) #12

If you really mean what you say Kevin, you will have to help us rid the church of every policy that promotes this deplorable behavior, from the shameful “Male Headship” to the demeaning no WO. No exceptions.

I dare you!

Check this out too.

@ajshep


(Allen Shepherd) #13

Kim,

My daughter worked at a woman’s shelter for a couple of years and she told me of the horror stories. I know of them. She came back with a bit of a bad attitude toward men as well. It hasn’t helped her.

The author was harassed by a teacher who was called out and had to resign. I think that was a good result. I am not in favor of harassment. But I am not in favor of the blanket condemnation of males that this story seems to advocate.

Look at some of the anti-male views in the short 12 comment so far:

  1. This is such a disturbing story…i wonder if all headship advocates are aware of how their position smacks to others, and whether a consideration of the subject of women’s ordination can really be separated from the type of experience this story captures…
  2. This is a sad affect of “headship” belief and practice.
  3. "Just because a man is brought up to believe that biblically, women shouldn’t hold an ordained role, doesnt (I believe, necessarily lead to this kind of abuse."
    No necessarily- but it does set up the victim because of the attitudes.
  4. If you really mean what you say Kevin, you will have to help us rid the church of every policy that promotes this deplorable behavior, from the shameful “Male Headship” to the demeaning no WO. No exceptions.

It is as if male authority is the cause of all kinds of evil. Males take the lead. It is their nature. Those children who do not have fathers really suffer. Even elephants who do not have a male figure become undisciplined bullies.

So, I think the male contributions to society are great, and though some go wrong and do great evil, to make a blanket assessment about male aggression is misguided.


(Elmer Cupino) #14

For a physician, your conclusion sounds pretty shallow and lacking in substance. Reminds me of those lame excuses I hear from enablers in my psychiatric clinic. Maybe a psychological orchiectomy or emasculation would do.

You might want to reread my post. I have not blamed anyone except those policies in our church that promote this shameful behavior.


(Allen Shepherd) #15

Elmer,

Others might not agree that those church policies promote the shameful behavior described here. I don’t deny its shameful. But I don’t agree that the policies encourage it. No substance? The comments seem to have stirred up some thinking.

And I think in a certain sense, the article is an attempt at psychological orchiectomy.


(Kevin Paulson) #16

Elmer, it is God who designed the principle of spiritual male headship. Tragically, you seem totally oblivious to the Biblical model of this principle, which is Jesus Christ Himself, whom men are to emulate in their relationship with women (I Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:25). Women’s ordination contradicts this ideal, which is why it must be repudiated with the same decisiveness that the abuse of women by men must be repudiated. Wrong is wrong. Sin is sin. God’s order is the measure of all things.

Regarding gay “conversion” therapy, let me say yet again that I reject this as unnecessary and at times barbaric. As I have stated ad infinitum, orientation is not the issue when it comes to homosexuality. Sinful urges are not sin. Only sinful choices are. All Christians need to teach members of the LGBT community is the need for heart-conversion and the resulting power to deny any proclivity toward same-gender sexual intimacy, which the Word of God forbids.

Just like Elder Wilson said here at Andrews when a student asked him about this subject, no sin is any worse in God’s sight than another. But God has promised power for total victory over all sin.


(jeremy) #17

i agree…in considering nature vs. nurture, it’s unlikely that nurture, of whatever kind, can fully account for the abuse women have suffered from men…however a man is brought up to believe, abuse and an entitlement mentality probably reflect intrinsic qualities that aren’t sufficiently disciplined…directly after the fall of adam and eve, god himself issued the following prophecy to eve:

“…thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Genesis 3:16…

comprehensively understood, this prophecy portrays a changed nature in men that has influenced them to take advantage of women’s lesser physical strength, an influence which would have been more pronounced in previous ages before technology made physical strength largely irrelevant…if nurture can be harnessed to improve the lives of women, it won’t be because no-one teaches their boys male headship…it will be because more people have taught their boys the value, honor and nobility of self-restraint…


(Kim Green) #18

Again, Allen…it was your DAUGHTER who had the experience and then you concluded that her bad attitude stemmed from it! You are trying at every step to diminish the story and therefore the author of the story and every other person who has had the sad experience of being abused by a predator.

Unless you, yourself, have been victimized you have absolutely no clue as to how this must feel. It is particularly sad that a man in your position is saying these things as it furthers the impression that somehow things aren’t that bad and it is the poor males that are being discriminated against! Talk about twisting things around…


(Elmer Cupino) #19

No substance based on the fact that instead of confronting the behavior, you leave the door cracked open for the perpetrators to escape. The only thinking that this would stir is to give more excuses for the perpetrators to justify their behavior. Unless you can come up with a better term, you and I will have to label this excuse as enabling.

When a patient comes to you complaining of chest pain, do you just give them Pepcid and send them home? When discussing treatment interventions for diabetes, do you just tell the patient to get their Insulin only? When we know what ails the church, do we give her excuses?


(Elmer Cupino) #20

This “ideal” you talk of is the pillar where sick individuals hide behind. This “ideal” you espouse of is no better than the “ideal” that led a number of priests to the RCC and subsequently abused children. The church offered them the perfect ideal to show their love for God, among the other loves they have.