Is there a victim here?

I guess a lot of people take issue with viewing Lourdes Torres as a victim (check out this piece by Doug Wilson to see what I’m talking about), and I guess I see the confusion.

She was an adult when all of this happened, after all.

Well, legally, yeah. Duh. But to assume that abuse can only happen to legal minors is ridiculous. There is no magical difference between 17 and 18. It’s a convenient definition that makes a useful distinction. But people can be taken advantage of no matter what their age is. Master manipulators (and, let’s be honest, Doug Phillips looks like he’s one of these) can even take your intelligence, your willpower, and your good intentions and use them all against you until you are a pathetic shell of the person you once were.

So just because someone is an adult and should be able to take care of themselves is not a reason to take them to task when they fail to protect themselves. (and of note here is that both men and women can be taken advantage of in this way; this is not a women are weak issue; it’s more of a some people are evil and way, way too powerful issue)

Doug Wilson’s comment here tragically misses the point: “We can’t have it both ways. We cannot accuse Vision Forum of treating all women like little girls, and then turn around and treat all women as little girls who can’t be expected to say no to a cad at Vision Forum. Everyone who automatically assumes that Torres-Manteufel was the victim is ironically buying into a view of the world that assumes that grown women are not responsible for what they say or do.”

I think the reason we assume Ms. Torres was a victim is because we think we have an insight into how she probably ended up where she did.

She was most likely taught her whole life to submit to men. You might say, “No, what a girl is taught is to submit to one man, either her father or her husband,” but the thing is, you’re taught to do that because they are male. It causes some confusion.

“Eve was deceived,” girls are told. And so they learn not to trust themselves. When a man Lourdes had been especially taught to trust and revere wanted her to do something against her better judgment, she likely didn’t feel confident enough in herself to stand up to him. She’d been told her whole life that women need men to protect them because their own judgment isn’t trustworthy.

She was set up. She didn’t stand a chance.

And, more directly in response to Pastor Wilson’s comment, a woman who has been trained not to act like an adult, to let others make her decisions, to look for direction from males, may not be equipped to act like an adult. That isn’t proof that women are incapable of taking care of themselves. That’s evidence that Vision Forum is bad for you.

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3 comments on “Is there a victim here?

  1. Great piece, Sarah. Another problem I see in the discussions surrounding this is confusion about the idea of guilt. The word and idea seem to be used with no distinctions or definition. There are at least two different ideas of guilt operative here: legal guilt and moral guilt. They need to be separated. Also, by saying she is a victim does not necessarily mean she bears no responsibility, or has no sin (which of is without sin?), but that she was truly more sinned against than sinning and should be treated with love and grace, not vitriol and accusation.

  2. Randall Swetnam says:

    Quote:

    “When a man Lourdes had been especially taught to trust and revere wanted her to do something against her better judgment, she likely didn’t feel confident enough in herself to stand up to him. She’d been told her whole life that women need men to protect them because their own judgment isn’t trustworthy.”

    IF this was the case; it is a huge part of the problem.

    – Daughters should be taught to use discernment and wisdom. Trust Christ, alone!
    Everyone is susceptible to, and does, sin: all men & women.
    As the children’s song goes… “Be careful little heart who you trust.”

    – “Men” do not protect women. God protects women. God protects men.
    He authorizes and provides instruction through the church, the father, and the husband.
    All three fall short. Yet, God’s grace and mercy is sufficient. Trust Christ, alone!

    In this life…. stuff happens! God’s Sovereignty is over ALL of it and THAT is Good enough.

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