“The Return of the Daughters” meets Rachael Denhollander

In 2008, the movement calling itself “Biblical patriarchy” was in its heyday.

In 2008, the beautiful Botkin sisters, paragons of the visionary daughterhood espoused by “Biblical patriarchy,” were 20 and 22 years old. Three years earlier, at 17 and 19, they had published their book So Much More: The Remarkable Influence of Visionary Daughters on the Kingdom of God which went on to influence many impressionable teen girls that their highest calling was to fulfill their father’s every whim.

The Botkin sisters in 2008

One year earlier, with many parents and teenage girls looking to them for guidance, these young women had made a documentary called The Return of the Daughters, about how staying (or returning) home with their fathers had affected several young women’s lives for good. Very, very good, in fact, according to them, being as it was, the Biblical thing to do.

Though I’d been aware of “Biblical patriarchy” and the Botkin sisters, for me it was 2013 before I fully explored “Biblical patriarchy” and the devastation it had wreaked in the lives of countless young women and even some young men. (That was thanks in part to the ongoing exposé written about Doug Phillips on a website that was relatively new at that time, Spiritual Sounding Board.)

I found that in 2009, not long after the Botkin sisters had risen to fame, the website Quivering Daughters had been published (a play on the word “quiverful” that every good patriarchal family was supposed to have, based on the quiver of arrows in Psalm 127:5).

That website had reverberated like an earthquake through the Daughters of Patriarchy.

And I, behind as usual, was finally reading it four years later.

in response to a part of what I was learning, I wrote the blog post “For shame, beautiful Botkins.” It was my first to take on some of the troubling aspects of conservative Christian culture (and I wouldn’t begin doing that regularly for another 3 years).

In 2013, to my shame, I was newly aware of the rampant sexual abuse in our churches. As I read about the often bizarre and truly unhealthful relationships being promoted between fathers and daughters in the Patriarchy movement, I thought, “I think someday I’m going to find out about father-daughter incest in some of these families.” It just seemed so obvious.

And I couldn’t have been more right. I didn’t see then the darker things I would learn about (sex trafficking, sexual abuse by mothers, etc), but I at least could see that much.

But back in 2008 . . . the video documentary The Return of the Daughters didn’t ignore sexual abuse. No, in fact, the story was referenced of Jacob’s daughter Dinah (Genesis ­34), who was sexually assaulted by a city leader.

Then this story was used to prove their point—if she had stayed at home with her father, this wouldn’t have happened to her.

And this is where Rachael Denhollander comes in.

Rachael Denhollander is the Christian who worked relentlessly through 2016 and 2017 to expose the abuse of an Olympic doctor, Larry Nassar, providing the encouragement for over 200 other Nassar victims to speak out. I wrote about her here.

Rachael Denhollander in 2017

In 2008 Rachael had already been sexually assaulted multiple times as a teen, and was now a woman in her 20s, teaching, going to law school . . . and attending a family camp with her soon-to-be fiancé Jacob.

I’m quoting from her book, What is a Girl Worth? (which I highly recommend) about what was taught at that camp.

At some point, one of the presenters decided that showing a video documentary titled The Return of the Daughters would be an excellent complement to that year’s message, the camp’s purpose, and the beliefs of these families. . . . [O]ne of the men teaching in the film turned his attention to the rape of Dinah—a story from the Old Testament about a woman who [was] raped while visiting women in town. Her brothers avenge[d] her, while her father [did] nothing.

As soon as I heard the name Dinah come out of the teacher’s mouth, I went stiff. I knew exactly where this was heading. I’d heard it so many times before. Don’t go there. No no no no no.

But he did. This rape, this abuse, he taught, is what happens when a daughter steps outside her father’s protection.

I wanted to scream. It was a lie from the pit of hell, and I knew the damage it would do. No one else moved or registered any concern. I’d been here before. Abuse is the woman’s fault. It’s a common assumption that if you are abused, it’s because you did something wrong.

No blame on the rapist. No guilt for the father who shrugged it off. It’s the daughter’s fault. This is what happens to girls who . . . . 

Damaged. And it’s your fault.

Notice she’d “heard it so many times before.” From others who followed leaders such as Bill Gothard, who taught this very thing about this very story.

When I read this in Rachael’s book and decided to blog about it, I wrote to Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin to ask them if they would like to make a statement about their documentary The Return of the Daughters (especially in light of the fact that the lives of several of the young subjects of that video have now taken significantly different turns  from  much of what they said there).

I didn’t hear back from them, but I hope they’ll consider saying something publicly about the error of their teaching that indicates that simply staying in her father’s home under the care of her father will keep a girl safe from sexual assault.

It didn’t happen to Rachael Denhollander, even though she has loving parents who have supported her every step of the way in her fight against these crimes.

And for those who don’t have loving supportive parents? For those whose parents have even sexually assaulted them? There have been so many so deeply harmed in outwardly “Christian” homes that perhaps the Botkin women might be aware that this is one of the primary reasons young adults walk away from Christianity.

In fact, sometimes the worst danger of all is in the father’s home.

We ignore it to our peril.

One of my deepest prayers is that those precious souls who have been harmed by the evil ones who take on Christianity as a façade—those precious souls who are now moving in any direction but Jesus—that they will see and know the truth, that no matter what destructive teachings they have been taught, they’ll see that Jesus Christ is indeed their only hope.

He is our only hope.

Our Lord Jesus can save them from their sin, He can rescue them from the shame they carry and are trying desperately to escape, and He can heal and cleanse them thoroughly.

And as satisfying as it was for over 200 women to see Larry Nassar brought down, we as the people of God fighting for these souls in the Name of Jesus . . .

. . . we will one day see all the evil ones brought down at His feet.

I pray that many daughters who have wandered because of horrors done to them in the Name of Jesus will return to the loving Shepherd of their souls.

That is the return of the daughters for which I pray.

*****

Edited on 10-31-19. I’ve heard back from the Botkin sisters, a gracious letter in which they asked me to take the Dinah quotation in context.  So I’m including the entire quotation here, from Vision Forum founder Doug Phillips. It is a brief reference to Dinah, near the end of the section, in bold. (The theology of this section is something to be addressed perhaps at another time.)

One of the most interesting chapters in the Bible is Numbers chapter 30, which is a rich depository [sic] of instruction for fathers and daughters.  Here in Numbers chapter 30 we see an interesting legal question arise. What happens if a daughter goes out and makes a contract, or she makes an oath or a vow, but she wasn’t approved of her father? What happens? Here’s what the Bible says. If the father discovers that either his wife or his daughter who still lives under his roof and under his protection and care have gone out and have covenanted or contracted or vowed without his consent in a manner that is inconsistent with the direction of the household, he has the ability to nullify that. On the other hand, if he doesn’t nullify it in the day in which he hears it, he ratifies it and approves it.

Now what does this mean? Why is this important? Well it’s important because what it tells you is that the family is a unified whole. That the father is the head of the home. And that both the wife and the daughter are not independent individuals, but that they are agents of the father. Now we see this in Proverbs 31, where the woman is going out and the husband has no need of spoil; in fact, he is in the gates of the land, he is a leader, because he trusts his wife, who manages the affairs well, and he is even engaged in amazing acts of entrepreneurship.

But if the father did not authorize that, then those contracts and those vows would not stand. Well, the implications of this include some of the following ideas.

Number 1. Daughters aren’t to be independent. They are not to act outside the scope of their father as long as they’re under the authority of their fathers, fathers have the ability to nullify—or not—the oaths and the vows. Daughter can’t just go out and independently say, “I’m going to marry whoever I want.” No, the father has the ability to say, “No, I’m sorry, that has to be approved by me.” She can’t even go out and represent  him on a business level unless the father says, “Yes, you’re authorized and you’re approved by me.”

Is this some sort of oppressive patriarchalism? Absolutely not. This is order. This is love. This is integrity. Because what it means is Instead of a whole bunch of individuals living under one house, you have a unified structure, you have a unified whole with a God-appointed head. It also means protection for everyone else out there. It means order for society itself, and it’s a great blessing.

And so what we see from Numbers 30 is the presumption, “My daughter’s at home, under the roof of my house, protected by the father.”

What we see from Numbers chapter 30 is that there are even legal oath-based covenant-based implications for this. Daughters need the approval of their dads to marry. Unless of course the fathers say, “Daughter, get out of here I release you from my authority.” The problem is we don’t see any example of that in the entire Bible. We don’t see a principle that leads us to that conclusion, we see no precepts. We see no patterns. And the only examples we see are negative examples where fathers let their daughters out and they find themselves in peril. Dinah would be one example, a daughter that went out unprotected and was raped, and brought devastation on the family line. That’s not to suggest that would always happen, only that the Bible is replete with examples of daughters under the roof of their protecting fathers, and it’s completely absent of any examples or principles that lead us to think that it’s normative for a daughter just to go out on her own. Numbers 30 says, “Daughters, you’re under the authority of your dads.”

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Breathe Again
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Breathe Again

Your writing has brought clarity to my life. Even once you see clearly that abuse is going on in your marriage, it is easy to slip back into the fog during the ‘good’ times.

This article you shared today has reminded me of something. One time while the tv was on in my living room, there was a brief bit on the news about Rachel. She was being interviewed. My husband was in the room and commented, “Her face looks so angry. She needs to forgive.” I have knots in my stomach at this memory. Our church at that time was middle of the road, not super conservative. But the patriarchal, abusive attitude of my h. was quite evidenced by his words. Ugh. :'( I appreciate being reminded of the true state of this ‘marriage’ and have been working towards releasing myself from this situation as soon as possible,

Jennifer Corry
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Jennifer Corry

This is a brilliant post, and I had no idea Rachel saw the documentary. I’ve seen it a couple of times and noted some of the girls seemed happy and told good stories about their experiences, I simply disliked the idea they NEEDED to stay home. But the men in the documentary were usually the ones making the worst statements, and the toxic Geoffrey Botkin and Doug Phillips in wisely deleted outtakes had nothing good to say. Do you remember which guy made the horrible false point about Dinah? Somehow, I forgot that was mentioned.

Jessica
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Jessica

This is beautiful. Thank you very much. This post is especially meaningful to me because this described a portion of my life. I still remember receiving The Return of the Daughters for Christmas when I was around 11 years old. Even seeing a picture of the DVD box makes me feel uneasy and dredges up bad memories. I watched this film with my mother and I felt uncomfortable inside. It made me angry and sick…but I was somewhat brainwashed and although I didn’t align with those sorts of teachings, I pretty much believed I was in rebellion, was worldly, and had a hardened heart against God’s plan for feeling the way I did. I wanted to go to college and I wanted to pursue different dreams that I had, but was riddled with guilt for having those desires because it was taught that it’s selfishness. When parents and other “Godly” leaders present information that’s labelled Biblical, it’s so easy to believe that it is of God, especially when you’re young, impressionable and just learning about life – as soon as the label God is attached to the teaching, it’s something reverent and holy and not accepting it is going against God.

Fear is such a powerful weapon. It’s what keeps the stay-at-home daughter teachings alive. It is used to manipulate the daughter into obedience. My father also said that Dinah was raped because she went away from home, away from the protection of her father. He didn’t seem to remember that Mary went and visited Elizabeth while she was pregnant with Jesus…away from her home and the protection of her father! I was taught that I shouldn’t have a job because the boss might take advantage of me and even going for a walk down the country road was not something I should do alone. It’s dangerous for women to work, to be alone, to go to college. Even though the desire to pursue things outside of the home didn’t go away, the fears kept me “in check”. If I was “selfish” and left home to do something else, perhaps a bad thing would happen as a consequence of my rebellion. Even though fear is used to keep daughters and wives from pursuing anything else, I think these false teachers are also fearful themselves; they’re afraid that the girls will actually think for themselves and that’s a danger to their plan!

Fear may be a powerful weapon, but it’s not more powerful than Christ and His grace. I pray that every girl and woman who were under these harmful teachings with lasting effects will at last become free and know that Jesus is the ultimate protector and would never treat them the way their fathers did.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I think just about the only way to protect women and girls is to start training them when they are young. Train them to be warriors, B-words (as most B-words are simply women and girls who don’t take men’s/boys’ crud and don’t bow down to men/boys and serve their every whim). Educate them about how men view them (as pieces of meat, sex objects, and wombs to exploit to bear their seed) and drill them constantly as to all the various ways, methods, manners of manipulation most men and boys use. Educate them as to the extent of misogyny in this world (it’s like educating fish what water is) and always have them privilege and prioritize themselves over some man or boy’s feelings, wishes, or demands. Tell them, with specifics, that no boy is looking for anything other than sex, and same with most any man. Ensure they are not brainwashed into this toxic liberal feminism (which is not feminism, anything but). Ensure they see the world clearly, in all its horribleness, misogyny, and violence against women and children. Make sure they know what toxic crap sexism and how it still (and probably always will have) a stranglehold over most any woman’s life.

Educate them on what sexual harassment is and how toxic workplaces support the predators. Teach them the criminal code and educate them on the fact that wifebeating is a crime, so is sexual assault. Show them all the ways predators setup their victims/prey into positions where they can blame them (such as sexual assault on college campuses and how rapists will smear the victim by saying she was drinking, wearing a skirt, flirting, etc.). Educate them as to how wifebeaters will blame them for their violence, how isolation is perfect for abusers, how they are not crazy, stupid, ugly, fat, worthless, a burden, etc. (And even if someone doesn’t win some gosh-awful, sexist ‘beauty pageant’ then so be it, throw off the toxic corset of ‘beauty culture’, embrace those rolls of fat, live glorious lives as real human beings instead of ‘living dolls’ and same thing if you fail to be conventionally attractive in your facial features — so be it, live out a glorious life being and looking how God made you and know your worth and mighty value).

Maybe there are a few men and boys on this earth who are not predators in regards to women and girls, but I find most are and women and girls are human beings and worthy of being at least given a half a chance at not becoming prey to some abuser.

Raise girls to be wild. Don’t raise them to be obedient. Throw out any so-called femininity — which is ritualized subordination and subjugation. Role play with them on a weekly, if not daily basis, as to how to fend off some manipulative, abusive, crappy person looking to steal their lives away.

Abuse is slavery. Coercive control is slavery. No more handmaidens of the patriarchy are needed. Keep them away from makeup (slave paint), high heels (rape shoes) uncomfortable, ‘feminine clothing’ and make sure they can fight. Have regular sparring sessions, train them to be hardened boxers, seasoned with regular grappling sessions. Enroll them in assertiveness classes on the regular, enroll them in self-defense classes whenever they are held, and make sure they are loud, proud, and warrior women who aren’t afraid to make waves, and aren’t raised to be ‘polite’ and ‘not make a scene’.

But then again, these are my speculations. And they may or may not work. Because the truth is, every woman and girl is vulnerable to abuse, rape, wifebeating, etc., just because she is a girl, woman. That’s the common denominator and abusers are master manipulators and they groom the victim’s family and friends, just as they groom the targeted prey.

Those are a few thoughts. May not square with many conservative ideas, but I want girls and women to have a better chance at survival.

And that’s not to even mention porn and the effects of having widespread, free, instant, private access to porn, thanks to online porn. The average age a boy accesses porn for the first time is 11 or 12 and that taints and toxifies his sexuality, in my opinion. What is porn but violence against women? And what is porn but sexualized degradation, subjugation, and abuse of women and girls. And boys are acting out porn, just as men are. It changes their brains. There is now a lot of pressure on girls to have anal sex, same thing with what is called ‘breath play’ but is the boy/man strangling the woman/girl and this is all being shown in porn and then gets carried out on more women and girls. And girls probably don’t know what is in porn, but the boys are surely accessing it and with any porn user, men or boys, it is shown to harden them, create predators, callousness goes up, belief in rape myths goes up, indifference and insensitivity to increasing amount of sadism, cruelty, violence, and depravity. All sorts of stuff.

I haven’t seen the DVD, but the problems listed above don’t instantly get solved by living at home until married. But simple, reductionist ‘solutions’ seem to be the answer and probably sell well to desperate audiences as who wants to be victimized? Nobody. So it’s understandable how girls and women lapped it up and thought that the simple ‘solutions’ proposed would work and tried to implement them. Doesn’t stop abusers from coming around. Doesn’t solve any number of other continuing problems in women and girls’ lives.

I understand the inclination to lock the girls and women up in the house, to keep them safe from the many predatory men/boys, but that just continues the dependency. Raise warriors. Amazonian warriors. And perhaps that might be more helpful and successful. But the real problem is boys/men and nothing women can do about that, all that they can do is try and be less ‘easy prey’ than the next woman/girl. That’s the sad truth.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

And actually, it often doesn’t matter what girls and women do or don’t do. What matters is they encountered an abuser and had the horrible bad luck of becoming his prey. And my ideas don’t solve the problem, either.

Raised in conservative circles puts a woman/girl at a disadvantage, in my opinion, because there is a lot of heavy emphasis on being polite, deferring to authority, submitting, staying in the home, having the man make all the decisions. Then along comes charming, manipulative, wolf in sheep’s clothing. Then she’s hooked, she’s entrapped, she has her life destroyed. And why did he target her? Because she wouldn’t be as much trouble in controlling as someone raised outside church and conservative circles.

I don’t know. I just fear for women and girls. My ideas might not be Christian and looked upon favorably by God. And pleasing God is about the greatest calling in life, is it not?

NCJ
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NCJ

Anonymous, You have written so much for us to think about. You are very well educated on all the subjects that you have written about. You seem not only strong but determined to help others to not be taken advantage of. Bravo. I just watched this movie Rebecca mentioned and I have to say that the word of God was so distorted in this documentary and women are put in such a weak and subjected state that I myself want to shout form the roof tops along with you. NOOOOOOOO!!
I believe that the world we live in has been so corrupted that it is very difficult to see the good in it. men and women are born with equal amount of abilities to love and care for each other. With that said I see the very things you are talking about happening everyday around us. There is a VERY large percentage of men who believe the things you have mentioned. It is sad that we have to consider whether to teach our girls and women all the things you mentioned. It is sad that the culture teaches our daughters, mothers, sisters to be hyper vigilant to protect themselves; while not requiring the men to be educated on proper consent. It is sad that we as a society victim blame women as a whole; while at the same time not insisted men to not victimize women. It is an atrocity what the violence against women (porn) industry is doing to our men and boys (and women as a byproduct). It is also sad that the visible church is not addressing any of these issues as they should. I believe your ideas of men not being predators; manipulative, authoritarian are what God wants too. I think your ideas of men not objectifying women, not taking advantage of women, not controlling women, are all things that God wants to. I think you have hit on many things that a lot of people want to say but just do not think that it is what Jesus would do, but I am not so sure about that, he did do it in his day. He did speak up for the voiceless. He did call out wrongs. He did call the Pharisees hypocrites. It is about time that we start calling things what they are WRONG! God’s word has been so distorted by the men in this video, and at the same time by ungodly in the culture as a whole, that we do need to be vigilant. God has much to say about being vigilant against predators AND false teachers. My hope is that we can make a difference, we can be change agents, and we can find the men and women that are willing to do the hard work of turning the tide. We can find our voices and speak up about this tragedy. My hope is that we can be strong enough spiritually that we also keep our eyes and hearts open to the men who against all odds not treat women as Satan teaches. Men that are truly after God own heart. Anonymous, I feel the frustration with you. My prayer is that you find a few safe and caring people to walk with you in this arduous journey to help you, as Moses helpers did, to keep your arms up while still believing God is aGod of miracles.

Rachel Johnson
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Yikes, Anonymous! Sounds like you’ve had some really bad experiences in life to give you this kind of view of men and sexual relationships, as well as biblical roles. Just because there are abuses within the patriarchy movement and the world in general (and believe me, I am aware and have firsthand experience of the disgusting sin that taints each and every one of us) doesn’t mean we need a complete rejection of biblical principles. We can raise our daughters to be strong women who will not allow abuse against themselves, their future children, or others ~ salt and light in a very dark world ~ but still espouse a biblical view of what it means to be a godly woman.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I don’t know, Rachel. Perhaps I have gone off my rocker, but then again, maybe not. Look how common rape is, same with domestic violence, same with all sorts of abuse and harassment and violence against women by men.

But really, nothing matters in comparison to pleasing God, and staying in the fold, and I do want to be a godly woman, I just fear for women and girls, based on my experiences and what is going on in the world today.

I was raised in a very religious, Christian home. I grew up sheltered. And what chance did that give me? Not a good one at all. I was but a sitting duck and ideal prey for abusers. It’s not about strength, it’s about predation. And perhaps if women and girls were raised up to be warriors, well versed in the misogyny of the world, the violence and predation and sadism that men do to women, and prepared to be beaten, raped, nearly murdered, then perhaps they’ll fare better? Maybe?

Above all, pleasing God and being a good Christian is number 1 on the priority list.

Debby
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Debby

And what DOES it “look like to be a Godly woman?” I think that’s the issue here is females in the church are brainwashed into a certain set of standards that were never intended. Jesus didn’t up end every cultural role of women in His day, but He did treat them with dignity and respect and spoke to them as intelligent, capable people.

Kristen
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Kristen

Not every boy / man is ‘out for sex’ though … honorable ones do exist. (And I have some bad experiences in my past that make me skeptical of many situations, and proactive about keeping youth safe … in fact, my primary function in much of my volunteer work is pushing the youth safety rules, alongside the teaching and fun stuff.) I’ll present an example of my son. Admittedly, he’s autistic, though also very bright, and so he sees the world a bit differently. We handled ‘the talk’ (series of talks) very carefully with him to prepare him for whatever puberty would throw his way, but same as with his sister, we discussed about when teens get carried away, and how if something happened, he’d step up and be a man and do the right thing to support the girl and his child. Well, somehow things didn’t get conveyed properly … in spite of gentle and repeated talks over many years … and he waited in terror for the time the ‘puberty switch’ would flip and he’d become some sort of hormonal danger to women. He finally confided this fear to me in one of our late night talks, and I was able to explain that wasn’t quite how it worked … and he was already well into puberty, and not a walking danger, and not a jerk, either. He’s the young man you’d WANT to wander along if you found yourself in a bad spot, because he’d come to your assistance … he’s lousy in a fight, but he’d still step in and help … and he actually spent all those years worrying he’d become that stereotype.

We have to teach the boys as much as we have to teach the girls. I’ve taught my son as well as I’ve taught my daughter (though clearly I need to be more careful with my wording, given his comprehension!) … boys like this exist. I’ve got a Sunday School class and a Scout troop with a lot of fellows like him. (Wouldn’t swear to all of them, but so far, most of them, yes.) They can be taught.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I hear you, Kristen. Did I say every boy/man? Did I say there is not one who is honorable?

Mothers of sons and wives so often become lobbyists for the males in their lives and say things like, ‘not my son!’ ‘not my husband!’

Yes, teen pregnancy happens. It should be a given that he’d be an active father and partner to his pregnant girlfriend/ mother of his child. That should be seen as standard, a given. See how twisted it is that ‘manning up’ and not running off after impregnating a girl is seen as notable? How low is the bar set for boys/men? Pretty low, yes?

The problem is the boys and men. Teaching them not to rape. Teaching them not to coerce ‘sex’. Teaching them not to be misogynists. Teaching them not to beat their girlfriends/wives. Teaching them to not be predatory towards females. Teaching them to not be perverts. Those are all things that need to be rigorously taught. Boys should not grow up being privileged over girls, nor should they grow up feeling entitled to girls’ (eventually women’s) services, sexuality, kindness, attention, energy, etc. And even if you moms of sons out there are doing your best at such, it must be acknowledged that you might be harboring a predator in your home because so many moms say, ‘not my son!’ and it is their sons.

They do have to be taught. Problem is, so much of the world is so full of misogyny that it’s like swimming in poisoned water – it gets on you, it seeps into your skin, it gets on your bathing suit, etc. So parents of boys do have to be doing extra work in order to ensure they aren’t raising a little misogynist, or an entitled, sexist, ‘traditionalist’ who will be enraged if ever denied whatever he demands from women/girls, as though females exist solely to serve men, which is what so very men believe, even so called ‘good men’.

I am happy your son isn’t a predator and actually was afraid of becoming a predator. That’s an excellent fear/concern to have! I take that as a good sign. He should be worried. Every male should be extra wary and worried about whether they are being predatory, abusive, sexist/misogynistic, or coercive towards the girlfriend/wife/female they are interested in. I wish more boys and men had that healthy fear. I feel it is a very healthy thing that your son experienced fear. It shows he cares to be a good person and doesn’t want to be like so very, very many other men/boys who aren’t.

But you also must acknowledge he is a rare exception. As for your Sunday School class and Scout troop, who really knows if they are as decent as you believe them to be. It’s your interactions with them – a mom/authority figure – that you are basing your assessments on as to whether they are good eggs or not. Plenty of moms delude themselves into believing their boys are good, because their sons don’t leer, jeer, or beat on, or abuse them…. but that’s a given. It’s what your sons do around their peers and their girlfriends (and eventual wives) that counts. That’s how you find out, not basing your interactions on them and deeming them to be universal. And I’m hopeful he’d act in that manner even if peer pressure sets in. A lot of people act differently in groups versus alone. Peer pressure can be tremendous,

Most abusers act out only with their victims/prey. Nobody else sees such because abusers are manipulative, chameleons, liars, actors, duplicitous, and that shouldn’t surprise God’s people. Evil is deceptive. The devil is crafty and cunning. So are evil people.

So, even if many moms are resting assured in their belief that their boys are good, they should really check themselves and look at the statistics and reconcile such and also see what a misogynistic, violent, perverted world we live in and know it’s swimming against the tide in having sons who aren’t predatory, sexist, coercive, manipulative, abusive men/boys.

Most men/boys truly believe they are superior and that women/girls are inferior. Same with believing their wives/girlfriends are there to serve them. Same with sexual access – on demand, cater/serve men. Even in the churches.

I’m sure you’ve had experiences that made you skeptical, but think about it – every woman alive has had experiences. Some more than others. And men are the problem. So are moms who believe their sons would never do such a thing.

And so your daughter has grown up with a decent brother who isn’t a pervert, or predatory, or sexist and misogynistic. I hope she knows how rare her experience has been/is and how many men and boys in this world cannot be counted on to be anything other than predatory misogynists.

From what I’ve seen in life, nice parents tend to raise nice kids. Sure, there are exceptions, but I’m saying in general, for the most part. It’s those nice parents who also need to heavily stress to their nice daughters how rare of an experience they’ve had growing up. And ultimately they’ll have to live in our world, so I think it’s best for parents to raise girls to be warriors. Tough as nails, warriors. Because for the vast majority of the male population, they are predators and the nice daughters, the polite girls/women, the ones who defer/obey/submit are the choicest morsels for predatory men and if I had daughters, I’d be raising them as warriors and drilling them on the regular as to how to fight, training out the freeze/fawn instinct/trauma response in them, role playing about harassment, abuse, threats, intimidation, perverts, rapists, etc. Showing them the mentality of abusers, misogynists, elaborating on the worldviews and mannerisms of such predators. Doing whatever I could to arm them and safeguard them and educate them.

It’s not enough to raise ‘good eggs’ because the other boys/men of the world are the problem and they are needing to know how to counter such, how to detect such, how con artists work, how abusers operate, how wifebeaters entrap their prey, and so forth.

But thank you, Kristin, for not raising a predator and I think it’s great that your son was afraid of becoming a predator, as it shows his heart. That’s a wonderful fear for him to have. It’ll keep him from harming a girl/woman, or coercing her.

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

I just found this documentary on YouTube. What a terrible thing to tell young girls that they have no mission in life outside of that bequeathed by their father.
https://youtu.be/xZ7Wnx_TE0Y

Jennifer Corry
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Jennifer Corry

Phillips goes a step further and blames Dinah for what happened to the family. Always the woman’s fault, as his ministry tried to demonstrate when the accusations from one of the women in this film came out.

Jennifer Corry
Guest
Jennifer Corry

The context of the quote is awful too, because it’s a litany of oppression for women.

Bethany
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Bethany

They asked you to include a discourse from a *known sexual predator*?! Because that clarifies their point?

Anonymous
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Anonymous

After reading the added on part: I wonder if the principle doesn’t apply yet today, that there is good sense in staying at home, under the father’s roof, until married. That doesn’t mean one cannot go off to college in another town or state, but rather if a woman is going to still live in the same town as her parents, it’s probably best to remain at home.

There’s an abundance of jokes made about men chasing off their daughters’ potential suitors, about getting the shotgun out and having a talk with the daughter’s date prior to letting the daughter go on the date with the potential suitor. But I think there is something to it. Most men are predatory. Like it or not, it’s the world we live in. And why not up the chances of not becoming prey, by lowering unnecessary risk?

I don’t believe fathers of daughters over the age of 18 should be actively parenting her and running her life, but still, if she is under his roof, she must be living in some accordance to the household rules — no wild parties, no getting high, no ‘sleepovers’ with one night stands being brought home from the bars. Things like that. Sensible stuff.

Ever heard of men talk about the fear of the girl’s father? Or the fear of her brothers? Or not wanting to bother dealing with all that? There is something to it. And who knows more about the likely mindset of some guy, more than her brothers and father?

Still wouldn’t hurt to also raise up warriors and have very detailed out discussions — on the regular — about most men’s mindsets, how abusers operate, things wifebeaters say to their enslave wife to get her to stay silent, believe it’s her fault, etc. Same with feminist literature. Maybe conservatives don’t want their daughters enrolling in women’s studies classes, but radical feminist literature has some excellent analysis and commentary about the rampant sexism and misogyny in our culture (and the world over) and how such plays out in women’s lives. Worth reading it. Same goes for educating the daughters about abusers. Make them read books about dating violence, domestic violence, be educated about the tactics of predators, how charm is deceptive, what red flags are, and so forth. Take them to the local domestic violence shelter and volunteer there, if possible. Get them acquainted as to the help that is available to them in case they find themselves entrapped with a predator on their hands.

Have such an open and involved (in a good way, not an overbearing way) relationship so that all through their lives, the girls/women know they can go and get support from their parents/families. Talk about what happens if they are being blackmailed or harassed or stalked or intimidated. Talk out such things. Do in-depth conversations with lots of examples involved.

Abusers steal women’s and girl’s lives. Abuse is slavery. Predation happens all around us and it’s hidden and yet also right there in front of us. People don’t know what they are seeing or experiencing unless they are educated on such. Most abused women don’t know they are being abused. It takes a long time before they see such.

So, I don’t ever want to take a position against God and He trumps all, He knows best, but I think augmenting things is a good thing. While remaining at home until marriage, why not be sure to educate oneself on domestic abuse, domestic violence, sexual harassment in the workplace, spycams, the rampant misogyny of men, the content of internet porn — and how what is now considered the ‘norm’/standard in porn is way more depraved, violent, and sadistic than what was considered standard decades ago — the laws about sexual assault and all sorts of things. And why I mention porn especially is because something like 90 percent or so of men are regular users of porn and that is a HUGE deal with very grave implications for women and girls.

Make sure to really get a solid grasp on how prevalent psychological and emotional abuse is, same with coercive control, because many women are abused and living very controlled, enslaved lives and they haven’t been physically beaten. And they are enslaved and their lives are being stolen and ruined. The health effects are there, and if the abuser can retain complete control without resorting to actual physical beatings, he will. Management by intimidation is very common and very effective.

And in reading the added portion at the end, it reminds me of those verses in the Bible about the father’s and husband’s ability to nullify things. I wonder if it isn’t still a good thing. I read once a pastor talking about how it applied back then because women and girls were largely uneducated and illiterate and now with compulsory schooling things are a bit different.

But still, the principle holds. Why? Because God’s Word is inerrant. But also, I suspect it has to do with most predators being largely opportunists and they go for the easiest prey. May not feel very ’empowering’ to recognize such, but it’s reality. Same with the elderly being targeted by predators. Vulnerability is the draw. And women are so heavily targeted as it is, it’s not disempowering to women to recognize their increased vulnerability in our male-dominated, male-run, misogynistic world. Every woman alive has a target on her back — whether she wants to acknowledge it or not. Things like privilege, status, wealth, power, above-average intelligence, above-average strength, etc. may make the target smaller, even to the point of being almost gone, but it’s still there. Recognizing the reality of every woman having a target on her back does not disempower any girl/woman. They should know how it is. Anything else is pure fantasy.

It may not seem like any of these things apply to you, or your daughters, but such is fantasy. The reality is very, very bad. And even the 1 in 3 (or 1 in 4 depending on which stat you use) statistic about women becoming victims of domestic violence is misleading. Why do I say such? Because that is based on what is reported and domestic violence victims don’t always report, thus the stat is largely too low. The common figure about sexual assault is 1 in 6 women, and yet that is too low because rape is almost never reported.

God’s Holy Word says that the world will continue to get worse and worse. I’m not sure where, but it’s in there. So, I actually would say it sounds like a wonderful thing to stay at home until married. But also, during that time, please make sure to educate yourself on how domestic violence occurs, what domestic abuse looks like and feels like, how predators operate and common tricks, manipulations, etc. employed against their targets. And more protection is always better than less protection and so I actually think these things are great — like staying at home under the protection of the father, same with the father or husband having veto power, but such assumes a woman has a decent husband. It’s God’s Holy Word, so it’s a great thing and to be honored, because it’s God’s Word and He knows best.

Okay, Rebecca, I’m stopping with the long comments. And I appreciate NCJ’s comments because I had thought perhaps I was off my rocker but I just see what is today and how bad things are and I worry so much about women and girls. And on final thought, I’d just read somewhere that something like 80 percent of men have admitted to either sharing intimate images of their partners (girlfriends/wives or exes) or looking at other men’s sharing and that is like a gut punch because I’d bet almost all of them have no idea such photos (or video) exists, let alone is being passed around/shared. And technology is making it so easy for men and boys to do this to girls and women and victims can end up suiciding over this kind of stuff. I didn’t see the citation for the statistic (80 percent) but it really makes me wonder and all. Sickening as it is, I worry that it sounds about right.

I’m backing away from the keyboard now, Rebecca. I love your blog. The tone of it all and content is great. 🙂

Alison Anderson
Guest
Alison Anderson

Anonymous, sadly your points are largely spot on about predatory men. When I was in the service 40 years ago, I worked almost exclusively with men. Some of guys I worked with were great buddies, but the vast majority exhibited the predatory qualities you describe, especially if booze was added and inhibitions relaxed.
These were men of the general population with higher than average IQs. I wouldn’t say all were a serious threat to women, but entitlement, arrogance, and crude sexuality were certainly common in their jokes, sarcasm, and even direct comments made to me. I had to work twice as hard to earn respect and acceptance, and I was still dismissed or mocked for my gender on occasion.
While the church is a subset of that, it’s unrealistic to believe imposters don’t invade to get at the easy prey our daughters are taught to be, or that twisted theology doesn’t teach men they have cart blanc’ over their wives and daughters lives, endorsed by God no less. Most abuse survivors agree, church is the worst place to go for help. That should be a wake up call to believers everywhere, but there’s a lot of confusion, and even lying, that make change and progress painfully slow.
I agree we need to raise strong, clear-minded daughters who know their worth and how best to protect it. To always think of themselves equal to men in all things, but unfortunately, physical strength. They should be taught self-defense, abuser tactics, and effective ways to stop threats and escape when needed. They should be taught to love and respect themselves and to have strong boundaries. I think it’s unrealistic to expect daughters to remain at home until married. There are a lot of single moms with daughters, where does that leave them? I think they should know how to protect themselves and be independent in all areas of life. Mom and dad should be a safety net to fall back on if it gets too hard or they need advice.
I’ve lived a very hard life. I’ve seen the real ugly of this world first-hand, literally all over the world. I know you speak the truth. I’ve been taken advantage of and abused by so many men in my life, I’ve truly lost count–and I’ve always been a strong, confident and independent woman. I’ve lost hope and lived in despair for decades. I know a lot about pain, suffering and abuse. At 58, I should be extremely jaded, and maybe I am in some ways.
It is a very evil world and it is getting worse in many, many ways. We were told this would come to pass. History proves humanity always became complacent or ignored the prophetic warnings from God. Our time is no different.
But, here’s the thing, along with the horror evil perpetrates, God told us he will bring an incredible awakening in the last days, that spiritual gifts will abound in the body of Christ, and many other promises to help us fight and conquer our individual and collective battles. I face the awful and pervasive evil of this world with the terrific and wonderful knowledge that in the end, we win.
We all must stand against the tides of misogyny, twisted theology and abuse that have washed over the ‘tender gender’ since the beginning, drowning us, and shortchanging the body of Christ the many unique talents and gifts women possess.
I honestly believe our time is the beginning birth pangs of the end. To be at full capability, God’s army needs its daughters fully empowered, fit and ready to fight alongside Christian men against our common foe. His true sons need to believe us and help us get there because they have the ear of other men, and currently, more power than we do..
Anonymous, I pray you can find hope in this: WE DO all make a difference. WE ARE forcing attention and dialogue on the issues. WE WILL make progress the more we do it. This is not the end, it is the beginning…

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Thanks for your comment, Allison.

40 years ago. The new generation is even worse. Every parent of a boy needs to have detailed talks about what porn is, how it is not reality, how it is filmed sexual assault, how their sexuality will forever be tainted from using porn, how it’ll change the way they see women and girls and will turn them into predators. Perhaps if every parent of a boy did that, in addition to ensuring internet access is monitored/controlled, then maybe there’d be a chance. I don’t care if you homeschool. I don’t care if you don’t allow your child to have a smartphone. The kids’ friends do have internet access and smartphones. That’s why even if no porn is accessed at one’s own home, they do the extensive talks, because the kids aren’t always home/controlled.

Media literacy is big thing. Girls/women feel a need to emulate what they see in mags, tv, social media, and even porn. Boys/men are into porn. They see porn as sex, instead of violence against women. They emulate what they see. It claims not only lies about women (that they want to be beaten, degraded, raped, abused) but also that ‘real men’ do this and that. That’s how real men treat women. That’s how men have sex. It’s not sex! It’s filmed rape. I don’t care if there were coerced contracts signed, doesn’t matter. Given how evil a pornographer has to be to be producing porn, how fair do you really believe the contracts to be?

And nowhere else, but for porn, is the oppressed, subjugated, victimized class (women/.girls) made to smile, say they like it, and ‘beg for more’. Nowhere else. Other tortured, subjugated, controlled, oppressed classes of people aren’t forced to smile and ‘like it’.

Explain to children how many of those women they see in porn came from sexual abuse and trauma and abuse/neglect in their childhoods. Explain how many of them are homeless, traumatized, being coerced, pimped, etc. Explain what high percentage of them will be dead within 5 years of being raped and abused on film/print, be it suicide or ‘overdosing’. Explain how many of them attempt suicide. Talk to them about the reality of things — things like rectal prolapse or irreversible brain damage due to ‘breath play’ (strangulation). Talk about reality with them. Make them see that it isn’t real. Much like a kid can see the ‘behind the scenes’ of a movie, seeing how they use green screens, choreography, CGI, etc. Finally, make the boys ‘do the pose’ if they argue it is sexy, that women are choosing it and liking it.

And for men/husbands/boyfriends who refuse to see the inherent evil and concentrated misogyny and violence of porn: Make them ‘do the pose’ if they argue it is sexy, that women are choosing it and liking it. Make them pose exactly like the woman has been forced to be, make them go through whatever gagging, vomiting, beatings, etc. she has endured. See what they say then, see how they feel then.

And it may not be popular to be saying this but military men, by and large, are predators. It’s no wonder they have rampant sexual assault stats, rampant wifebeating problems, and all sorts of misconduct, abuse, sexual harassment problems. It’s covered up and hushed up and those who speak about this reality are hated, vilified, and marked for heaps of abuse, but it’s there. I’d never allow my daughter to date or marry some man who was in the military. No. Same thing with law enforcement. The stats on how many cops are wifebeaters range from estimates of 45 percent to estimates of 75 percent and the rare, honest, police chief will admit just how many cops are wifebeaters/abusers themselves. Don’t allow your daughters to marry a cop. The likelihood of the cop being an abuser is so high, and the degree of damage a cop-abuser can do to the victim is so incredibly high. That is entrapment on a whole ‘nother level. No military. No cops. No, no, no. Firefighters are largely abuser, egoist, perverts too. No, no, no. Stay away from them. The risk is too high. Same with lawyers and judges. “Better Man” by Pearl Jam was about his mom’s lawyer abuser-husband. These are highly unpopular views to have, but it’s based on my experiences and my research. Please, take heed.

I may be seen as harping on the porn thing, but it’s fairly new in terms of the widespread access that internet has provided and its free, readily available, and but a click away.

If I had a daughter, I’d recommend she have nothing to do with boys/men until she was at least 25 or more. 30 sounds better. She should be focused on making her way in the world, establishing a career, developing an identity, creating as much independence as possible, dealing with predatory men at school and work will be enough of a drain on her life and energy. Creating a safety net for herself. And if it meant living at home, then she could save the rent money for a mortgage instead and 30 sounds like a great time to be looking at buying one’s first house. Move out, be independent, have a career, safeguard herself.

I don’t have much of any hope for girls/women. These days, almost all men are predators. Maybe secretive/stealthily, but predators, nonetheless. And free, internet accessed porn doesn’t help things. There are young guys with ED because they’ve been into porn and now their relationship with their significant other is crud, due to the ED and the tainted and polluted sexuality of a porn user. Porn is misogyny. Porn has nothing to do with sex. It’s violence and degradation and perversion and ritualized misogyny.

I’ll stop with my comments, now, but perhaps it can help safeguard someone out there. We need to be wise as serpents, not just innocent as doves. And daughters have to be raised with extremely detailed, thorough awareness and education on all of this. If their newlywed husband has ED, then make sure they know it’s not the daughter’s supposed unattractiveness (don’t believe the lie, ladies!), but rather they were duped into marrying a porn-infected predator. I don’t care what is said about this all, but if a guy is regularly using porn, he is a predator. It’s revolting, the stuff in porn, and the only way a man is finding such exciting and pleasurable, is if he is a predator and has a predatory mindset. It should otherwise horrify and sicken and nauseate, since the standard porn of today is way, way worse than anything 20 years ago, let alone 40 years ago.

I’m just super worried for girls and women and there is no greater decision that will negatively impact one’s life than who to partner with, let alone whose children to bear, because then you are doubly entrapped. And I just see just how predatory, misogynistic, and horrific men are. Mothers of sons are the least likely people to admit such, but men and boys are terrible. It’s at a point, that every man and boy should be looked at with extreme suspicion and great caution should be taken. I wish it wasn’t this way. I was lucky in that I grew up without knowing how predatory men are, but such sheltering doesn’t help in the end, because eventually a person is out in the world and doesn’t realize how rare one’s clean/sheltered/religious upbringing actually was.

i’ve cut myself off. No more commenting from me. Not wanting to hijack your blog post. Sorry about the long posts. Just my worried, alarmed, self fearing for the next generation of girls.

susan barackman
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susan barackman

very well written and much needed in the church today….too bad there are sites like Biblical Gender Roles and Transformed Wife that are spouting patriarchy, male ownership of women, god’s only role for women is wife/motherhood, etc….what is worse they think anyone with a different view is going against God and they are not open to differing opinions such as what the scripture really says about those issues. How can one reach them to let them know they are in error? Will they stand responsible for those who take their advice and it leads to sexual abuse…btw, are they liable in any way for misactions caused by following their advice or leading?

Anonymous Grandma
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Anonymous Grandma

How do we know that Dinah was stepping outside her father’s authority, when the Bible never actually says so?

We’re never told what Dinah’s frame of mind was. It’s certainly possible that she neglected to ask her father’s permission to go to the city, or that she acted in defiance of his wishes. But it’s also possible that she went with his permission and blessing.

Since we have no way of knowing whether Dinah was really “stepping outside her father’s protection,” it’s wrong to use this story as proof that women are only safe as long as they surrender their agency to their fathers.

Besides, the Bible shows us that fathers can make mistakes, including very serious mistakes. King David unwittingly set his own daughter Tamar up to be raped when he ordered her to go and cook for her predatory half-brother Amnon. The fathers in the early church had to be reminded to treat their wives with kindness and not to exasperate their children.

I do believe we need to honor good and godly fathers, but to me, the stay-at-home-daughters movement seems perilously close to idolatry at times.