You can listen to or download the February 4 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show below. It will also be included in our podcast feed (https://interpreterfoundation.org/feed/podcast). The host is Martin Tanner with guests Dan Peterson and Kris Frederiksen, discussing Mayan ruin discoveries, Jesus’ treatment of women, Interpreter Foundation projects and various topics introduced by callers.
The Interpreter Radio Show can be heard Sunday evenings from 7 to 8 PM (MST) on K-TALK, AM 1640, or you can listen live on the Internet at ktalkmedia.com. Call in to 801-254-1640 with your questions and comments during the live show.
Original air date: February 4, 2018. This recording has been edited to remove commercial breaks.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 47:10 — 10.8MB)
The Interpreter Radio Show is a weekly discussion of matters of interest to the hosts, guests, and callers of the show. The views expressed on the Interpreter Radio Show are those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Interpreter Foundation, nor should statements made on the show be construed as official doctrinal statements of the Church.
I listened to your show with great interest.
With regard to the recent revelations of historical sexual abuse, I would suggest that over the past decade or so, we’ve created a much safer place for women to disclose the abuses they have suffered, whether as children or in adult life. That has to be a good thing. For millennia, women have not been heard, never mind believed, and have known that justice was not something they could expect in a world where men held all the power and authority. It may, of course, mean that some false accusations are made today, which is to be regretted, but I doubt we could ever reach a point where the number of men who are falsely accused begins to approach the millions of women who have had to suffer appallingly in silence.
As far as making a connection between the abuse of children and women with today’s relaxed attitude to sexual morality is concerned, I think that’s problematic. I don’t think what we know would suggest that either childhood sexual abuse or domestic violence are more prevalent now than they were before the sexual revolution. As a committed LDS, I would welcome a return to the Lord’s standard of morality, but I don’t think the evidence gives us reason to conclude that lax morals among consenting adults leads to increased sexual abuse of children or abuse of any kind towards women.
Dan comments that abused children today are often the victims of their mothers’ live in boyfriends. While I know that to be true, I’m not sure it means there are more abused children now because of today’s standards of morality. Paedophiles have always found ways to reach their targets. In the past, such men may have had to marry their victims’ mothers, but that could have worked to their advantage at a time when women had no way to escape relationships that were abusive either to themselves or to their children. It has never been easier (though it is still far from easy) for women to leave abusive relationships.
I would also point out that the feminist movement has obliged society to look very closely at the way it has historically treated women. We might wish their campaigns had tended to increase chastity among men rather than to allow women the same laxity men have traditionally enjoyed, but there is now a societal shift towards equality and away from the kind of denigration of women that was very much the norm in my own youth. My children recently watched a documentary about TV in the 70s, and were shocked by the blatant racism and sexism that were normal fare for family viewing then. I’m glad that they are much more aware now that absolutely everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
It’s true that while divorce might be commonplace today, dysfunctional families have always been prevalent. I for one would not go back to the double standards of Victorian society (many of which persisted into the twentieth century), where, for example, immorality for men was fine as long as it was discreet, pubescent girls were deemed to have given consent for sex unless the man was of a lower social class, and women in violent or otherwise abusive marriages had no legal right to escape. Many of us have good reason to be very grateful that divorce is now available to women with no need to prove culpability. And when I grew up in the 50s and 60s, when divorce was rare, unheard of among my own contemporaries, many of us did not grow up in happy families. For some of us, the trauma was severe. I fantasised about being sent away to boarding school where I would be in a female environment, and my bed would be a safe place. Even where abuse is not part of a dysfunctional family, it’s hard to argue that children are better off in a difficult, chaotic, albeit intact family, than living with one parent in a peaceful home.
I note Kris’s observation that pornography objectifies women and can be a precursor to abusive behaviour. I have worked with victims of abuse for many years, and would agree that pornography is a problem in most marriages where the husband is guilty of unacceptable behaviour towards his wife. The fact that it is now so widespread and freely available via the Internet is a problem that, in my opinion, can’t be overstated. I wonder whether, at the same time that we are creating a society where women are treated with greater equality and respect, we are also creating a generation of men whose attitude towards sexual relations is coloured, if not formed, by their use of pornography.
Finally, I would like to comment on your caller’s suggestion that prostitutes are not worthy of respect. I profoundly disagree. Many women, as Kris observed, have no other way of providing for their families. (Such women are widespread in the West as well as in Africa.) Others are initiated into the profession, sometimes at an early age, by a boyfriend, family member or other abuser. For some, the trauma of their childhood leads them to self-medicate, a habit they can only finance through prostitution. Whatever the reason for their choices, we have no need to judge them, only to love them. I cannot believe we are justified in taking the moral high ground. One of the most magnificent women I know, whom I’m proud to call my friend, was for a time a prostitute after an abusive childhood. I stand with Josephine Butler in the defence of such survivors. They too deserve a voice.