Editor's Note: I have changed some of this post because I realized that I was being unfairly critical and not keeping in mind that there are indeed fundamentalists and extremists in every religion (at least the 3 "major" ones). Since this post I have written about my distaste for Christian fundamentalism and extremism, but I have yet to work up anything about Judaism. Don't worry, though, I've been gathering some great material, and I'll be scribbling something down pretty soon here.
Wow. Words cannot even begin to describe how appalled I am by this article (click on the title of the post)!!! Now before someone jumps down my throat accusing me of being a Muslim-hater, just hold on to your socks there, folks, and let me explain. I don't approve of fundamentalism, in any form. I strongly dislike Christian fundamentalists (see November archives). I am also very much against Jewish fundamentalism. I don't think that any time where people go beyond logic and reason and try to impose their idiotic beliefs on others can be considered righteous or moral, regardless of the faith I choose to follow or which faith issues the decree. I value all religions and all faiths, even if I do not hold the same views that they do. I also respect people first and foremost for what they are, humans. Shocker, huh? Yeah, I know...
So before anyone sends me hate mail, please note that I will be posting more of my opinions on all kinds of fundamentalism whenever I come across it. All in good time, folks, all in good time.
(I am keeping the following here because I feel that it is appropriate material for those who are unaware of what the main views of women are within Orthodox Judaism. Of course, this is not the fundamentalist viewpoint, which as I said above, I'll get to sometime soon.)
In Judaism, women are beloved. They are mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters who are cherished and protected. Some might think that they are not viewed as such because they do not understand the halacha regarding issues of tznius (modesty--in dress, conduct, and thought) and about why men and women are separated in shul (synagogue), why women don't participate in leading services/read Torah, etc. Of course, to someone on the outside, this all would seem anti-feminist in a way, but it is far from anti-women at all.
Judaism tells us that there are separate roles for men and women, and respects both of these roles deeply and equally. It recognizes that the Jewish mother is the pinnacle of the family, she is the center around which her family's world turns. She is not a piece of meat to be abused, mistreated, and degraded. She is not to blame for someone else's actions. Tznius requires modesty in both men and women, and it is ultimately the fault of the person who commits a crime (such as rape) and not the victim "just because she wasn't dressed modestly."
As someone who is very involved in the anti-rape and domestic violence awareness movement, this kind of article appalls me because it suggests that the reason men rape is because of sexual attraction to women that they cannot control. This is so far from untrue that it is almost laughable! Rape (sexual assault, if you prefer) is a crime of power and control. It has nothing to do with sex, except that sexual parts of the body are used as a medium to commit a crime. Women who are dressed provocatively are not at fault if they are raped. Nothing anyone does is a rape-able offense. We can't "make" people hit us, nor can we "make" someone rape.
I know it seems easier for us as a society to blame victims for something terrible happening to them, but to blame a person who has been raped really puts us at risk because we choose to believe that we can prevent rape. The sad truth is that we cannot prevent rape unless rapists stop raping. We need to stop trying to educate women about how to protect ourselves against predators who choose to take advantage of them, and start teaching our sons to be accountable, respectable men who respect women and do not objectify them (hmmm maybe we should just make them all live in Jewish homes??? hahaha)
Look at it this way: we wouldn't DARE blame the victims of terrorist attacks for going about their daily lives and "being in the wrong place at the wrong time," so WHY do we blame victims of rape for what someone else chose to do to them?!?!?!?
Just something to think about...