Rev Jan. A. Scholtz
Today, I am tackling a matter geared towards primarily Christians, especially as 90% of the population profess Christianity.
Many of us look at the bible only for the lovely stories, for blessings, prosperity and selfish acquisitions. The bible is often overlooked for its broad and encompassing lessons, whether through the happy tales or those that are tough on the tummy.
2 Samuel 13, verses 1-14 tell the tale of the rape of Tamar, by her half brother Amnon. The tale is anecdotal of our society. Every day, women and children are abused in their homes by people they would consider family or loved ones. As the story depicts, such evil is not limited to any class or subtype of normal human distinction. Even people who are intimately connected by family bonds can misuse their power and sexuality to hurt others. The story is a powerful reminder that abuse can happen in a church-going family, a wealthy family, an influential family.
Tamar suffered greatly from this abuse. As was the Jewish custom in those days, her loss of virginity outside marriage made her an outcast and unworthy of marriage. This is still the case in current times. Women are scorned and mocked for having undergone such traumatic experience. None or rather insignificant actions are carried out on the perpetrators. Her father, the great king David, who had slain Goliath and killed bears with his bare hands, sat idle and did nothing while such travesty was carried out in his house. All around us, we sit and watch idly knowing that abuse is taking place. We simply say “that is within their house, we can’t be involved”.
Amnon’s acts were further urged on by his friend, who even drew up the plot with which Amnon would get his sister in seclusion. Our sons are driven to commit or partake in such heinous acts either as a rite of passage so as to be considered a man or as it is deemed “the way things are done”. These rites are passed down from the older generations to the younger ones, perpetuating the abuse of women and children due to toxic masculinity.
So the call comes upon us as Namibians, as “Christians” to understand and introspect on this. Telling victims to forgive and forget is not a suitable response. Depression, substance abuse and suicide are realities for victims of sexual abuse. Our systems, our churches, our neighbourhoods cannot remain silent and stand watching the decay of our society with arms folded. Perpetrators should be named and shamed; they should be taken to account for their actions. We need such stories from the bible to remind us that the world isn’t perfect, but the onus is upon us to ensure the world is far better than it was.
“What should I do?” This is the question each and every one should ask after such a glorious period of thirty years. What should we do in Namibia with the challenges that require everyone’s contribution?
If not now when then?
*Reverend Jan. A. Scholtz is a holder of a Diploma in Theology, B-Theo (SA), a Diploma in Youth Work and Development from the University of Zambia (UNZA), Diploma in Education III (KOK) BA (HED) from UNISA.
(This article is written in his personal capacity)
2020-02-07 09:12:48 | 6 months ago