Last week, the White House launched a new campaign called “It’s On Us” to address the problem of sexual assault on college campuses. I don’t know the stats on whether this is a growing problem, but if there is sexual assault at all, men should step up and prevent it. I applaud the White House for raising the issue of protecting women.
The thrust of their effort seems to be encouraging both men and women to speak up in situations where a sexual assault may occur. They give the following tips.
It’s an excellent idea to pay attention when somebody might be in trouble and step in. But I think the root of this problem starts much earlier than 2am as a fraternity party is winding down. Where do men get the idea that it’s acceptable to take a woman home after she’s had too much to drink and pressure her (or force her) to have sex? Why do so many men treat women as objects to be used and then disposed? Our culture clearly glorifies sexual narcissism. Almost every magazine presents women as objects. Advertisements objectify women’s body parts to help sell their products. The “womanizer” is now a hilarious and loveable character on many sitcoms.
Where do we go for answers? We can’t expect a culture that treats women as objects to suddenly re-humanize them at the exact moment when they’re in danger. We need to change the culture so men see women not as objects but as people made in the image of God. This is why it’s so important to promote a Biblical view of humanity and a Biblical view of sex. We can’t wait until a man is 21 and drunk at a fraternity party to explain to him the humanity of women. We need to encourage that belief from a young age. We need to return to a Biblical view of the role of sex in our lives if we expect men to treat women as more than objects to be plundered. While many in the culture will find that suggestion offensive, I would encourage them to re-examine the Biblical philosophy of humanity and sex. They may find the wisdom in there will surprise them.