Commentary from Dr. Whitesel: “Dr. Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality penned the following notes while attending the Carter Center’s conference on women and violence. Juxtaposition her important insights amid the deplorable media hype which promotes violence towards women.”
By Dr. Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. She holds a PhD in historical theology from the University of Durham, England. She and her husband, Dale, live in the Twin Cities. Follow her on Twitter @Mimi_CBE.
As the film industry promotes “Fifty Shades of Grey,” launching on Valentine’s Day, I sit beside sixty scholars, activists, and faith leaders from more than twenty countries at a forum convened by the Carter Center: “Beyond Violence: Women Leading for Peaceful Societies.” Working to end the domination of women worldwide, these leaders recognize that “prejudice, discrimination, war, violence, distorted interpretations of religious texts, physical and mental abuse, poverty, and disease fall disproportionately on women and girls, as Jimmy Carter notes in Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power. Together, these human rights defenders are refining bold and creative strategies to overturn systems, structures, and worldviews that abuse, marginalize, dominate, and annihilate girls and women worldwide.
While these activists labor to combat abuse, filmmakers are working to normalize the sexual domination of women as entertainment. With scenes holding women in bondage, men inflict pain re-framed as “discipline” in the form of sadism and masochism, offered as the ultimate aphrodisiac.
Meanwhile, in hidden corners of nearly every city of the world, girls and women are held in secret prisons and brothels where they endure gang-rape. Firearms and other weapons are used as instruments of rape, and rape itself is unleashed as an instrument of war. Targeted by the military, girls and women are murdered by the masses–a horror undocumented by the world’s journalists. Women, whose daughters have been abducted by extremists, wake up every morning wondering, “Is she alive?”