Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-12-12
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Religion and violence against women
Open To Thinking, A recurring column
by Nick Patricca
2016-12-07

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


In the early 1960s, when I was in pastoral training in Oil City and in Elwood City, Pennsylvania, I met a woman who changed my world.

My task was to conduct in-depth interviews with families in the area to determine their religious affiliations and their spiritual needs. After some preliminary chit-chat, she asked me if it was true that Catholic doctrine taught that a wife had to submit to the sexual demands of her husband under any and all circumstances whether she wanted to have sex or not. I was stunned. I had never in all my years of theological training encountered this question. Almost without thinking, I reactively said: "That is not sex; it is RAPE." She replied: "My confessor says that I must have sex with my husband whenever he wants it."

I took this question to my supervisor, an old Irish priest, who affirmed my judgment on the matter. But, he added: "Unfortunately, too many priests believe and teach this justification of sexual abuse."

His affirmation of my opinion was small consolation because I realized I could not really help this woman. There was no way I could offer her any real support through the Catholic Church or any other agency available to me at that time.

In the following weeks, I came to understand that this woman's story was not exceptional: many women suffered sexual abuse because of this perverse understanding of marriage in Christian traditions, in some cases based on an interpretation of the thinking of Paul as stated in Corinthians 7:3-6. These understandings had been codified into our legal system under the rubrics of 'spousal exemptions' and 'marital rights,' and other legal formulations of the issue of sexual violence in marriage which seemed to preclude the possibility of rape in marriage.

My encounter with this woman set me off on my own journey into the meaning of human sexuality and sexual freedom.

Religion has three essential functions in society: 1 ) to conserve and protect the traditional morals and customs; 2 ) to critique and reform the traditional morals and customs; and 3 ) to break open traditional forms for creating new morals and customs. In practice, the first function of religion—to conserve and protect the traditional mores—usually dominates.

Honor Killings ( the right of male members of a family to kill female members who are perceived to bring shame on the family ), Sati ( the duty of the widow to throw herself on the funeral pyre of her husband ), Patriarchy ( unconstrained male domination of women and children ), for examples, are cultural values made sacred by religious authority.

Violence against women, often sanctioned by religion, is a worldwide pandemic, systematic rather than episodic, structural rather than incidental. The statistics are overwhelming and hard to absorb: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence_against_women .

Two hundred million women have undergone female genital mutilation; 700 million women were married as children and/or forced into marriages; women and girls constitute 70% of human traffic victims; at least 35% of women have endured sexual and physical abuse. ( SEE: United Nations: Ending Violence Against Women and Girls. )

In Pakistan, honor killings are epidemic ( BBC 01 April 2016 goo.gl/GYZakm ), official data indicates 1,100 such murders in 2015. In Mexico, sexual violence is used by civil and military authorities to socially control women ( Amnesty International 28 June 2016 goo.gl/BKI7vW )

Violence against women is a political tool to silence women writers and activists.

Nov. 25, 2016, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women began a 16-day focus on initiatives to stop violence against women ( through Dec. 10 ). Violence—especially sexual violence—against women is used as a political tool to keep women writers and activists silent. Every year outstanding women are murdered to silence their voices. This year the Honduran indigenous environmental activist Berta Caceres was assassinated in her home after years of threats on her life. Many people and organizations knew that the life of Berta Caceres was in jeopardy but could not find a way to save her. The same was true for Anna Politkovskaya, the great Russian journalist. These women knew that their murders were only a matter of time. It seems that the only way to save such heroic women is for them to silence themselves.

Particular cases can be overwhelming and statistics can be mind-numbing. We must keep in mind that each single number is one human person. We must not fail to act. In our own country, we must work to make our religious traditions resources for the education, liberation, and empowerment of women.

Each woman or girl has her story to tell. We must learn to listen.

© nicholas.patricca@gmail.com

Nick Patricca is professor emeritus at Loyola University Chicago, president of Chicago Network and playwright emeritus at Victory Gardens Theater.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Coming out to your kids in midlife 2018-12-12 - When the parents of Natalie Perry and her sister sat their girls down for a family meeting, Perry learned that their father, a ...


Gay News

With Kavanaugh on the court, what now for LGBTQ rights? 2018-12-12 - As the reality of a new and intensely conservative Supreme Court majority sinks in, some people are asking, "What's the use of fighting ...


Gay News

Windy City Times previews winter movies 2018-12-11 - Escape the cold weather by hitting the warm movie theater, where sunny comedies, strong superheroes and unbelievably true stories can all be seen ...


Gay News

Chicago sees fewest new HIV infections in decades 2018-12-05 - According to Chicago Department of Public Health ( CDPH ), the City of Chicago saw 752 new HIV infections in 2017. "The Illinois ...


Gay News

World AIDS Day 2018 ramblings 2018-12-05 - I arrived at Naval Station Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, ready and eager to be honorably discharged, on March 18, 1980. I ...


Gay News

LETTER A matter of urgency 2018-12-05 - In recognition of World AIDS Day ( which took place Dec. 1 ) and to call public attention to the disproportionate impact of ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT A short film for World AIDS Day has arrived. Watch it now. 2018-11-27 - Stop what you're doing. An exhilarating new short film produced especially for people living with HIV ( PLHIV ) is about to grab ...


Gay News

Does the GOP have a racist cutoff point? 2018-11-21 - President Donald Trump traffics in racial epithets. Since his first year in office, Trump's displays of xenophobic, misogynistic, LGBTQ-phobic and racist remarks ...


Gay News

THE AMAZON TRAIL Going to the doctor 2018-11-14 - "Visiting the doctor doesn't have to be all gloom and doom," said my sweetheart. "We can make it fun." Remember the all-powerful, usually ...


Gay News

My boss fired me from my funeral-home job for being transgender 2018-11-07 - I was in funeral services for nearly three decades before I was fired in 2013 for being transgender. In March, a federal appeals ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.