Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sexual Assault and Breastfeeding


I once shared this piece on Facebook, a gorgeous painting reprint sent to me by my artist-friend, Kate Hansen. It's probably my favorite of the series. I couldn't contain my delight and just had to share her stunning work with others.
In response I was told by a family member, "
I know your stance on breastfeeding, and I respect you & your stance, could you please respect the people in your list that prefer modesty over this outright flaunting of it?"
This really got my brain spinning. I just could not get the immediate comparison out of my mind, between breastfeeding and my experience in the horrific world of sexual abuse survivors.
From this, I wrote a Facebook note. At the time, I was still keeping myself hidden away from blogging, and it made the process that much more intense. The people that do nothing wrong must hide away! Those that brew perversion in their hearts should be shielded, protected, and let loose in their sin issues... it was deeper than the misconstruing family member could ever imagine.
The following is what I wrote, with only minor tweaks here and there.
Big notes in little print: If you want to learn more about how breasts are seen/treated as solely sexual objects in basically only a handful of countries, take the time to watch Busting Out, a very in-depth documentary on America's unique beliefs.

If you want to learn more about how some Believers take a sane route, read this amazing article by a Christ-following Dad, Breastfeeding In Public: A Christian Father Speaks Up.
Need more thoughts? This is an epically in-depth look at the Scriptures that mention breastfeeding; exegesis and all - Breastfeeding and the Bible.


Flaunting the human body for sexuality, according to the Bible, is sinful. Feeding our children in public is not "flaunting" and should not be made an issue of sin on the part of the mother/child - it isn't in Scripture, and it isn't "sin" in any other part of the world aside from 2/3rds of North America. 

To attempt to make a woman and child feel "dirty" for an act that is not called so in Scripture (it is, in fact, called just the opposite), when we should be calling to righteousness those who are aroused by the sight (which IS called sin in Scripture, to allow lust to grow) is... very strange to me.

It's bizarre to me that our culture has made many Christians legalists about the issue of our babies being fed. It's bizarre to me that Believers accept, condone and excuse our cultural up-bringing over God's clearly written Word . Breastfeeding is NEVER called dirty, shameful, sinful, or any other negative thing in the Word. For a Believer to say it is dirty and an inappropriate public act, when there is NO Scripture that says that, is legalism. (Read Sarah Mae's thoughts on what it is and is not, to be a legalist: here.)
Actually, Scripture calls nursing women and children into the very fellowship that so often shuns them for "indecent behavior."

"Gather the people; consecrate the congregation;
assemble the leaders; gather the children,
even infants sucking at the breast;
let the bridegroom leave his room
and the bride the bridal chamber."
~ Joel 2:16
However, staring at a woman lustfully IS clearly called sin in Scripture... Or, an even more disturbing possibility, looking at a {shudder} child lustfully while they are obtaining nourishment is sin - clearly. Why is it not a bigger issue being addressed, if people are truly concerned that a man/woman could be aroused at the sight which God never says is sinful (breastfeeding), to be getting perverts away from mothers/children? Rather, we believe/say the mothers/children should instead hide away, act ashamed, cover with a tent.
We need to be making perverts leave, not the victims.

Our nation and it's people often tries to make molestation and rape victims feel shame... "Perhaps what they were wearing was 'asking for it.'" If the victim's or their families speak out about what happened, we try to shame them with how it's "something private... and how humiliating to share it." We do the exact same thing to mothers/children who are merely having a time for nourishment. Perhaps if they just covered up a little more, the perverted wouldn't have been so tempted. And how dare we talk about breastfeeding in public! We should be ashamed... it is a private thing and it makes others feel "uncomfortable."
There is nothing in Scripture to support the view that breastfeeding should be done in secret, hiding, or as though it's sinful in anyway. There is ample Scripture that says any man/woman who is aroused sexually for someone they're not married to, is in sin. And should be called by other Believers to walk away from that behavior/thought life.

Perhaps I'm so impassioned about this because I DO see the bizarre comparison of making sexual assault victims and/or their families feel guilty/dirty/shamed/silenced (maybe if you just wore/acted/said something different, the perverted wouldn't have been aroused by you) and doing the same to breastfeeding families (maybe if you just put a tent over your baby, that pervert wouldn't be aroused). And since I'm a part of both of those groups, I get to feel that full weight two-fold.

None of this is meant to sound rude.
I'm not going to stop posting about what I post about. So don't bother asking.
I post what I do because I feel led to by the Father, not to make anyone feel comfortable OR uncomfortable. I don't cater to human desire for me to quiet what I feel the Lord impressing me to share. I love Him, and I love people too much to be silent when He calls me to speak.

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