A few weeks ago, a kerfuffle erupted in the now defunct HA/RA Discussion Group on facebook. A former intern asserted that the Honor Academy teaches the dangerous and victim blaming idea that women are responsible for men’s inability to control their lustful thoughts. In response, Dave Hasz stated unequivocally that the Honor Academy does NOT teach that women are responsible for a man’s inability to control his lustful thoughts.
And yet, we have so much evidence to disprove that.
As we proceed, please keep in mind that this is a sensitive topic, especially among those who have been sexually assaulted and harassed. In both Christian and non-Christian circles, victims are often blamed by saying that they “were asking for it” with the way they dressed, etc. The only person that is responsible for unwanted sexual thoughts, sexual advances, sexual harassment or sexual abuse is the perpetrator of those acts. If you can’t understand that, your comments will be moderated. Many of my readers have been victims of sexual abuse and its important that this remains a safe place for them.
So, on to some of the evidence.
1) In the document, “Ways a Teen Mania Woman Acts on Campus,” one of the most shockingly sexist pieces of TM literature I’ve ever read, we read the following:
She carefully and tastefully selects what she wears, as a result, she respects herself and honors her brothers.
— She checks herself before she leaves her room (cleavage, outfit length and tightness, splits etc)
— She realizes that men are visual and she doesn’t want to be the stumbling block to any of the men on campus.
— She allows other women to speak into her wardrobe
— If she has any doubts or concerns about her outfit, she asks and takes advice or she changes
2) Last year, during one of her Risen Women’s classes, Katie Luce said,
“We have a responsibility to our brothers in the Lord. Girls, they are so visually oriented and that’s the way God made them. And so we’ve got to be careful and we’ve got to guard their purity and guard their hearts and love them by dressing appropriately.” You know I’ve heard girls say, “Well if he lusts after me, it’s his problem.” And I say, “No, girlfriend, it is YOUR problem because the Bible says to us that we have got to dress modestly and we’ve got to be obedient to that. Now, if you are dressing modestly and then he is lusting after you – yes, it’s his problem.”
There are so many problems with this teaching, especially as its carried out at TM. There is already a strict dress code – its not like women are going around in mini-skirts and halter tops. Who gets to define modesty? Who defines appropriate dress?
At Teen Mania, simply wearing your purse across your chest is considered inappropriate because it emphasizes your breasts.
Women are often made to feel guilty that they are tempting guys just by virtue of their existence. This is unhealthy and breeds unnecessary shame for the women and endows them with a sense of suspicion of the guys – who are portrayed as largely sex-crazed and unable to see anything else in a woman. Can you see the dysfunction?
3) Women of the Honor Academy have been subjected to a teaching on purity entitled, “Do Not Arouse anything in your brother you cannot righteously fulfill.” Notice who they are teaching is responsible for a man’s arousal – the woman. (Side note: arousal is not a sin! Its an involuntary biological response.)
“Do not arouse anything in your brother or sister that you cannot righteously fulfill. What does that mean? It means that you should not defraud your brother or sister. Stirring up desires in yourself or in your brother and sister that you could not fulfill and still remain Christlike.”
During that same teaching, the women are also taught the absolutely insane and absurd idea that, “The only reason for marriage is that 2 can serve God more effectively together than apart.” (But that’s a whole ‘nother post!)
So, we have an official Teen Mania document circulated amongst the women, an official record of a “purity” teaching that makes women responsible for a man’s arousal AND an official teaching from Katie Luce herself dated just over a year ago. That is more than enough evidence to disprove Dave’s statement.
And yet, I know there is so much more out there. Women – were you made to feel that you were responsible for men’s inability to control their sexual lust? Men – did you feel you had the right to confront a women for wearing something that caused you to lust?