Lately I've been thinking about women and how Jesus changed their status in life...it got started by my pastor when he was preaching on Romans 16 and how so many women were mentioned by Paul.
Remember the woman at the well? Jesus stopped and talked to her. In that culture Jews wouldn't have talked to a Samaritan woman. That happens to be one of my favorite stories.
Remember the woman caught in adultery? Jesus didn't condemn her. Another favorite of mine.
Here is the link to the message on Romans 16: https://youtu.be/bGKDLyO5GbY
Later on my pastor also did a message on what would have happened if Jesus had never been born... here is a link to that message as well: https://youtu.be/28kcy6HM43o
These messages are full of very interesting facts and stories. It will also help you understand a little more of what I am about to write next...
As I was pondering these things I began to see that not only is the secular culture against women and objectifying them but so also is the cultures who are ultra religious.
Take submission for example. Women are taught to obey without questions. They are taught to submit to the man in all things. If a man is caught in adultery or sexual abuse the woman is often blamed for not being available to her husband enough or that she was dressed provocatively. The church may send the man to one of their own "counseling" centers which don't deal with the root. Women who have been abused and dare to give voice to some part of their story to one of their own "counselors" may be told that they need to apologize to their parents for their wrongs, which happened to me. So often the blame is put on the victim rather than the abuser where it should be. So often they try to deal with abuse in their own circles when in reality they should be put in jail. Ultimately they end up causing more trauma and pain to the victims and letting the abusers run free with access to more people to victimize with minor penalties. There are so many stories coming to light yet people get enraged/deny the reality because so many people view the Mennonites and Amish highly because they seem to them as gentle and holy people which is really sad. There's so many hurting people and abusers in those cultures covered by plain clothes and old fashioned ways.
Another thing I've thought about as well is that in so many ultra religious groups women are also burdened with many more rules and guidelines to abide by than the men. If there are coverings, they have to be a certain size down to even how many pleats,etc. The same with the dress. Some may not wear certain colors or closures like zippers or button but use straight pins instead. Some are not even allowed the luxury of elastic( https://youtu.be/43M9VIazF-A ).
Women are allowed only certain jobs and some not even outside of their own circles. They are hindered from education. Gifts and talents are squashed by the twisting of Scripture and oppressive rules. So much is wasted.
I'm sure there's more ways but these are the main things that came to mind. Before I close I want to share some personal stories with you but be warned these stories are not for everyone. Some people cannot handle details as are in some of these stories but rather let these personal stories stir you up to stand up for victims and the abused who may unknowingly walk through your life:
A former Mennonite lady's experience:
A Holdeman documentary...
The Amish Potato's story:
Reuben Stutzman's story in 2 parts:
Elizabeth Byler's story:
A news report and interview on a certain case among the Amish:
One exAmish interviewing another exAmish:
This is a 6 video documentary called Breaking The Silence:
Interview of Emma Gingerich:
Another ex Mennonite testimony:
Hannah Prosser's story:
Lizzie Hershberger's story:
This is reality folks. Maybe not in every home and of course every story is different as well. I still remember one dark Sunday evening driving home from the youth gathering with 2 other girls when the one girl opened up about her brother sexually abusing her. I could not even fathom it. I was in such denial about the abuse in my own life that I had nothing to say but rather it just made my own fears worse. Since then I have met other Mennonite girls who also hinted at sexual abuse at the hands of family members and relatives. More and more people are coming forward with their stories and Eli Yoder does a good job at giving voice to the victims whether in person or being a voice for them. I appreciate all the people who are sensitive to the intense struggles that abuse victims go through and who care and love them without being preachy or giving recommendations or quotes etc.
I choose healing for myself and I desire to give others a voice as well. In having a voice and sharing our stories we give others hope in that they can see that they are not alone in their struggles. We can leave it inside and our "bones will rot" or we can let it out and find healing. Each person's story is unique and important and talking about it brings healing.
I hope this shows you how not just in the secular culture but also in religious cultures who don't teach the real gospel women are also oppressed and don't have a voice for the most part. I'm still grappling with how similar the 2 cultures are. I am blessed to be part of a church family currently where I don't sense for the most part any religiosity or legalism but I will admit there's a few people that I hold at arm's length because I sense manipulative, codependent, and aggressive tendencies.
Despite the heaviness of this information and these stories I hope you found it interesting to some extent and that it also will help you to see that religious groups are oppressive to women as well.
A favorite verse of mine because it shows me God's heart towards those who are abuse victims:
What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord GOD of hosts. Isa. 3:15