Pastor Joanne Chow of Pasir Panjang Hill Brethren Church apologized after asking women not to dress revealing or provocatively so as not to incite men into lustful thoughts.
The Publish, titled “In the fight against sexual temptation, defense is not enough” was posted on the Instagram page of the Christian website Thir.st on February 21, 2021.
Chow’s essay comes after news that prominent Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias had committed sexual abuse, with further allegations of rape.
The charges did not come to light until after Zacharias’ death in May 2020.
Shortly after the publication of Chow’s post, young Singaporeans expressed their concerns about this in particular:
“Can I also make a special appeal to the girls?”
Help our brothers and sisters by not dressing in a revealing or provocative way *.
Of course, you have no control over their lustful thoughts, and it might not be a sin to wear that tight dress or post that bikini pic, but if we can help our brothers, why not?
Avoid this not because we have to, but because we love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. “
Here are all the slides:
Problems highlighted by young Singaporeans included blaming the victims on Chow’s part, as well as reducing men’s responsibility for sex crimes and removing the burden from them of not being sexually tempted.
The most popular comments on the post described the problematic nature of Chow’s mindset adopted in the essay, while others poked fun at the script by reversing the gender.
Position defended in the initial response
In response to the backlash, Thir.st updated their caption to include the warning that the same school of thought applies to men.
The post added that their position did not blame victims of harassment or sexual assault in any way.
“We have always denounced such acts of violence and declared that the perpetrators must take responsibility for their crimes.”
The comments section of the article was updated with a similar clarification from Thir.st on February 22.
He confirmed that the article was a continuation of articles dealing with Zacharias’ sexual misconduct and presented the essay as “practical advice” to avoid sexual temptation.
The clarification pointed out,
She acknowledged that everyone is ultimately responsible for their own thought life. However, she also suggested that girls could help guys by dressing modestly. Both statements can be true at the same time and are not necessarily in conflict.
It would be simplistic to say that the problem of lust can be solved by dressing modestly. This is not what the article claims. And yet it’s also true that a revealing outfit worn by a girl makes it harder for a man not to be sexually tempted. “
Thanks for your comments on this post. We have heard your concerns and would also like to clarify the intent behind this article.
When news of Ravi Zacharias’ sexual misconduct first broke, we published several articles that addressed the need to repent of sin, be accountable and serve the victims who have been abused.
As a follow-up to these articles, we felt the need to offer practical advice on how Christians can avoid falling into sexual temptation.
The underlying premise of this How Not to Fall series is that both men and women face temptation, and we all have a personal responsibility to guard against sin.
Sharing his perspective as a young pastor, Pastor Joanne spoke about taking action to protect ourselves, associate with others, and pursue God. It was in the second point that she mentioned how we can help each other in our Christian community.
She recognized that everyone is ultimately responsible for their own thinking. However, she also suggested that girls could help boys by dressing modestly. Both statements can be true at the same time and are not necessarily in conflict.
It would be simplistic to say that the problem of lust can be solved by dressing modestly. This is not what the article claims. And yet it’s also true that a revealing outfit worn by a girl makes it harder for a man not to be sexually tempted.
Although the article does not go into the details of how a man could trip a girl with her bandage on (this could be explored in another article, as a modest dressing room was not the main focus of this article. ), we recognize that there are certainly instances where this could happen as well.
It would be incorrect to say that this article seeks to blame women for men’s sexual sin, or worse than victims of sexual assault deserve it. This is not what we stand for or what the author wanted.
Taking such a position would also be inconsistent with other articles we’ve published that call on men to treat women with respect, not objectify women, and exercise self-control. In fact, we have a few more articles that would address some of these points.
We encourage you to research them.
The pastor apologizes
On the night of February 23, however, Chow apologized to those she may have hurt, speaking specifically to victims of sexual abuse.
The apology was also posted as a comment on the same Instagram post, but was buried by a slew of comments from other users on the feed.
She said she was not advocating blaming the victim anyway and that the victim’s dress was not relevant in any sex crime.
“I insisted on dressing modestly as a simple plea for consideration, with the best of intentions.
While Ravi Z’s revelations made me start thinking about this problem again, my article was not actually about sexual predation or how to avoid it. Rather, I hoped to encourage the Christian community to help each other to avoid sexual temptation. “
Chow added that both men and women play a role in this, and acknowledged that the message could have been better worded or framed.
Nonetheless, Chow still encourages women to dress modestly, “only as a call for consideration, with the best of intentions.”
You can read his full apology here:
Hi everyone, I realize that my comment about dressing modestly has elicited many responses and comments, and even angered many people. I’m so sorry if this hurt anyone, especially victims of sexual abuse. I understand how it ended up sounding insensitive and that it offended some in light of recent revelations around Ravi Zacharias.
I hope you will allow me to clarify my position. To be clear, I am not advocating blaming the victim in any way. In any sexual crime, the dress of the victim does not matter. Women are not responsible for the actions of men. I insisted on dressing modestly as a simple plea for consideration, with the best of intentions.
While Ravi Z’s revelations made me start thinking about this problem again, my article was not actually about sexual predation or how to avoid it. Rather, I hoped to encourage the Christian community to help each other to avoid sexual temptation.
In this area, both men and women play a role. As a woman, I wrote the article to talk to other women who want to take sexual temptation and their role in the church seriously.
In retrospect, it is clearer how a message or thought could have been better formulated or formulated; I recognize that. I had no intention of insinuating victim blame or excusing predatory behavior at all and I apologize if it happened that way.
Top image via Thir.st Instagram page
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