Not the weaker sex

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I have been moved recently by the real stories that are being told boldly on a local radio station: real accounts of brutal abuse and rape. The cause is the #StopRape campaign.

Even writing that word – rape – is hard for me. It is also largely a taboo to talk of rape in “polite” company. What is it that urges us to keep mum about something we should be resisting actively? I remember, as an 8 year old, asking my mom what rape was. She didn’t quite know how to respond.

I want to know how to respond. My girls must know. They must speak out. I must speak out. They must be protected.

You see, I struggle too with the notion that women are the weaker sex. It’s simply not true. That paradigm is supported only by the physical nature of human beings. The fact that men are considered stronger simply because they have physical prowess fails to recognise the beautiful complexity of women. I was sitting in a chapel service this evening. We prayed for women. I cringed as I heard someone pray, “…be with those who are weaker than us…”

Their strength comes from all that we men are not.

My girls will grow up knowing that they are not the weaker sex. They will know they are vulnerable (aren’t we all?) and at risk from any number of evils in this world but they will not walk around afraid. Their strength will – I pray – be rooted deeply in understanding what they have been created to be: their strength will be found in knowing their calling.

As their father, my words and actions have the power to shape their understanding of their calling. I am so aware of how often I fall short of being the best. God knows, I try. You see, ultimately, it’s about knowing them; really knowing them. Knowing takes listening and noticing; comforting and encouraging; time and intentional effort.

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