Posted by: riverchilde | April 21, 2012

Chinese enlightenment on Hebrew women’s texts?

As I ponder the stories of women in Judges, women like Jephthah’s daughter and the Levite’s wife/concubine, I’ll be thinking a long time about how this Chinese domestic abuse case may shed light on the situation of women in the Hebrew scriptures.

Is it appropriate to consider whether some of these statements about cultural standards in China  might reflect similar cultural standards in ancient Israel? This is not meant to excuse or dismiss, but to provide a possible perspective that allows us to look through a lens that is different from our contemporary American one:

 

“Domestic violence everywhere lives in the shadows, and in _____ it thrives in a secrecy instilled by tradition that holds family conflicts to be private. It is also hard to go public in a country where many still consider women subservient to their husbands, and there is no specific national law against domestic violence.

“A lot of people said, ‘Oh, is it because [she] is .., too strong-willed, or her personality is too strong?’… Some others have asked whether she is making a big fuss over a small issue”…

[She] did not tell her family or friends about the beating. She thought it was her fault for provoking him, and he seemed sorry. She mentioned it to her sister-in-law, who dismissed her concerns, saying: “It’s nothing. All men are like that.”

The expectation that all men are violent – or at least have the right to be violent – is common in parts of ________. As with many countries, men historically ruled the family, with authority over women and girls. Women were supposed to obey their fathers when young, their husbands when married and their sons when widowed, according to advice attributed to  ____________. Those who broke family laws could be beaten, with no questions asked.

Smaller-scale studies report a rate in _______ rural areas of up to 65 percent… “The neighbors around us were doing the same, everyone took it to be a very normal thing. You beat a woman because the woman is at fault,” says the 23-year-old. “Some women even think that it is their fault, that’s why they are beaten.”

“At that time, I felt like I had lost face,” the [father]… said. “So I gave [my son] a beating when I returned home.” …[The son] acknowledged in an interview…that his relationship with his parents was bereft of emotional or physical intimacy. He said he still suffers from mild depression. “Just holding my father’s hand or giving him a hug, I would get goose bumps,” [he] said. “Something was broken in the middle. … I grew up in an environment that was lacking. You will find that my ability to love is poor. It is a problem.”

The police told [the abused wife] they could do nothing unless her husband came also. ..That night, [her husband] sent her a message that he had hit her only 10 times, and that a carpet under her had softened the blows. “I was not that cruel,” he [said], claiming…that he is not guilty of domestic violence because he did not beat her frequently over many years.

Culture has become part of a heated dialogue about the incident. Men have said that while violence is wrong, it comes from the immense pressure ___________ husbands face to excel…and provide for their families.

 

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