“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it; you can do anything. Grab them by the p…..y; you can do anything.” Donald J. Trump.
Nobody was surprised to hear that there is a corporate culture that sees no problem with sexual harassment in the workplace. Government departments such as the National Park Service, as well as corporations such as Fox News, and Uber are just a small sample of a much larger problem. Others will tell you that this is just harmless fun, and yet the fact that 98% of American corporations have a sexual harassment policy tells us this is not fun. Like most things, the culture that accepts sexual harassment is the same culture that allows greater favors to male employees, discrimination in wages, unfair promotion practices, and overlooking women for consideration for management positions.
The discrimination starts at a very early age with boys getting more classroom attention than girls in elementary school, and girls are discouraged from taking math or science classes in high school. Surely, they should focus on domestic science, or if they must have a career, then it should be typing, secretarial or retail? We should however, be encouraging young girls to dream big dreams and achieve their full potential.
The reality is that more women are starting businesses than men, more women are in the workforce than men, and the majority of degree-holders are now women. Yet, according to the Department of Labor 2007 statistics, women are still only dominating fields and industries that are often seen as “female.” According to CNN Money, in 2006, there were only 10 women running Fortune 500 companies, and only 20 in the top 1,000. Now in 2017, the number has risen to 32.
Perhaps the reasons for discrimination of women goes deeper than might think and into darker places that we wished existed?
Sexual Trafficking and Pornography
In 2012 the Porn industry in America was a $13.33 billion business. The commodity—women. 13,000 porn films made in America every year. The revenues from porn topped most of the Fortune 500 companies. Porn is very lucrative to some of the nation’s largest corporations. General Motors owns DIRECTV, which distributes more than 40 million streams of porn into American homes every month. AT& T Broadband and Comcast Cable are currently the biggest American companies accommodating porn users with the Hot Network, Adult Pay Per View, and similarly themed services. AT& T and GM rake in approximately 80 percent of all porn dollars spent by consumers. (Hedges) Now with the advent of virtual reality headsets, you can have a sexual encounter that is almost real.
Pornography is not about sex or intimacy. It’s about violence, degradation, and domination of women. Many of the female ‘Porn Stars’ end up physically, emotionally, and psychologically traumatized. The man that feeds his mind with this kind of trash changes his moral compass, his new set of values play out in the workplace and destroy marriages in the home.
The addict seeks a greater experience, more violence, and yes, even child pornography. Violence in sex becomes the same as violence in war. It is no wonder then that we see the sexual humiliation of prisoners in combat zones as being okay.
The Department of Homeland Security defines human trafficking as a “modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain.” In 2012, the International Labor Organization estimated that there are 20.9 million human trafficking victims worldwide. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, sexual exploitation is the most commonly identified form ahead of forced labor[i]. Human trafficking is a lucrative industry that around the globe rakes in $150 billion every year.
Numbers released by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center suggest that also holds true in the U.S., where more than 4,000 cases of sex trafficking were reported. The FBI estimates that well over 100,000 children and young women are trafficked in America today. They range in age from 9 to 19, with the average age being 11.
And many victims are no longer just runaways or kids who’ve been abandoned. Many of them are from what would be considered “good” families, who are lured or coerced by clever predators, say, experts.
Three women are killed every day as a result of domestic violence in America. Domestic violence or intimate partner violence are more prevalent than most people realize. There are many factors contributing to this reality, some of which are related to the embarrassment victims feel, fear of retribution or further abuser violence resulting from disclosure, lack of resources and societal beliefs.
More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the U.S.[ii] have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
Did you hear that? There’s nothing to hear, at least not from many of the Pentecostal church denominations, apart from a few people that end up being the ‘voice of one crying in the wilderness’ only to be drowned out by the chorus of patriarchal texts from the Bible and misogynistic practices from the dark ages of tradition. Why have we allowed the values of the secular world to impact the church, what is it that we are hiding?
Women deserve equality in every aspect of life, and the church should be at the forefront, leading the way, not bringing up the rear, dragging its feet.
Dr. Terrence Threadwell
Dr. Terrence Threadwell is an Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies with APUS, Director of the Institute of Progressive Pentecostal Studies and a board member of Pax Pneuma, Pentecostal Peace Fellowship.
[i] “Sex Trafficking in the United States – The Atlantic.” N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jun. 2017 <https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/how-sex-trafficking-goes-un>.
[ii] “Domestic Abuse Topline Facts and Statistics.” Insert Name of Site in Italics. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jun. 2017 <https://www.domesticshelters.org/domestic-violence-articles-information/domestic>.
Hedges, Chris. Empire of illusion: the end of literacy and the triumph of spectacle. New York: Nation , 2009. Print.