Update: Codepoke has replied here. And he comes awfully close to issuing a challenge: if complementarians aren't complacent about abuse of women (whatever form it may take), then why isn't it on their agenda? (Kind of implying: if it's not on your agenda, isn't that the working definition of complacent?) So: complementarians out there: What do you say? (For anyone curious, I'm still reading the arguments back and forth between the egalitarian and complementarian camps; I'm asking questions at this point with an aim to keep the conversation going at least until I've heard more of what everyone has to say.)
I was typing up a comment in response to Codepoke on egalitarian views and found that my comment was way too long for the comment box. In the same circumstances I'd have told someone else to use their own blog. So here goes. Please read Codepoke's piece; it's worth the time. I'm responding to Codepoke as "you" throughout this post because it's in response to the linked article; other readers please don't take a reference to "you" personally during the course of this post. And fair warning, if someone doesn't care for the topic of rape at all, maybe you'd rather skip this post.
Reader's digest version of the part of Codepoke's post that I'm responding to: he hits some very good points about how culture is complacent about mistreatment of women in comparison to, say, the recent public scandal in which young boys were abused in certain dioceses in the Roman Catholic church. He has some disturbing examples of church (congregation/leadership) complicity in husbands mistreating their wives. But by placing the topic of sexual abuse within his argument, there's an implied link between sexual abuse and complementarianism (the view that women and men have equal humanity but different roles), and a stated link between wanting less sexual abuse and egalitarianism (the view that women and men have equal humanity and therefore equal roles).
There is also some mention in his post about how abused women react to abuse; this portrayal does not correspond to what I've seen myself and even seems potentially unfair to the women themselves -- which is where I start my response.
I know this is a delicate topic, and I'm going to mention something the men in general may not know. Those of us who have been abused or raped -- you were tactful enough never to mention the "r" word but I'll put it on the table -- I've been in on a good number of those talks that we have when the men aren't around. We're a sisterhood. And in all the talks I've been in on, I've never heard any of us say "boys will be boys". I've heard stunned amazement that someone could be that violent, heartless, ruthless -- but never heard a reaction that was dismissive, never heard someone who was even marginally accepting of that kind of outrageous crime. We give each other our shoulders to cry on, even share an odd laugh at the ridiculous situations we find ourselves in. (How the blazes do you get fingerprint powder off your windowsill? That stuff is stubborn, but it's not like in the Better Housekeeping tip books, y'know, right next to getting out grape juice stains or whatever.) Is it possible that someone somewhere has said "boys will be boys"? Oh, no doubt, all kinds of people say all kinds of things. But in my experience that's not typical at all.
You said, "Where is the outrage for the abused girls?" I'd really love for there to be some outrage from the men's side. It's usually this squirmy guilt-by-association reaction, to which I can only roll my eyes and say: hey, most of us take it for granted that decent men chase thoughts like that back out of their heads when they occur rather than act on them. I bet my life on that every time I go to the grocery store, without thinking twice about it, so about the "guilt by association thing" I think the average man (one without a record of perpetrating sexual abuse) should lighten up already.
So "where is the outrage for the abused girls?" Bullseye. And what outrage there is tends to take the form of wanting to kill the perpetrator in slow and nasty ways, which I think, my own opinion here, approaches zero on the helpfulness scale. ("Great. And the person who cares the most is either wasting his time or will end up in jail, and is turning himself into a revenge-crazed co-victim and posing in his hero cape, meanwhile never having offered me a shoulder or a hand-up.")
But I have to say too: I'm very suspicious of the topic of sexual abuse being used for political ends or to score points in an argument. (Don't even get me started about how the pro-legalized-abortion folks exploit rape victims politically to shame their political opponents into silence for the benefit of abortion candidates who are, as a group, 99% of them pregnant from sexual irresponsibility rather than sexual abuse. I don't want the 1% pregnant by rape to be forgotten, but I don't want other people piggybacking on our trauma for their political ends. It really ticks me off.)
I know all abuse -- including sexual abuse -- has a legitimate place in a conversation on human rights. I also agree that the topic is sometimes swept under the rug (though at other times it's overdone to where people really can get sick of hearing about it), and that whatever else we've achieved as a culture on this topic, a healthy level of discussion isn't one of them.
Does sexual abuse really and legitimately flow from a complementarian viewpoint? Nope. Do the egalitarians manage outrage? Mostly over complementarians. As far as outrage over sexual abuse, I haven't seen it yet, though I've seen lots of pious moping about how the problem is generally someone else's fault. I smell a rat whenever a person (or camp) locates sinfulness outside itself. That goes for both sides. Would the world be better off, from the standpoint of reducing sexual abuse, if all men thought women were of equal value? No doubt. Would the world be better off, from the standpoint of reducing sexual abuse, if all men took up the roles of protectors in light of women's (typically) relative weakness and lesser aggressiveness? Probably so there too.
When we look at our own culture's past, or other cultures around the globe now, it's really easy to cry "oppression" when looking at rules like "women stay home or else be accompanied in public" ... but the parts of the world that are so safe that even a woman with small children can go out safely are few and rare. It takes a remarkably well-ordered society for women to be safe alone outside the home; most of human history has simply not achieved that level of safety. If you lived in a place that dangerous, would you keep your daughter home or tell her to go out only with a male relative? If you picked "with a male relative", would it be oppressive? I think we should grant our forefathers the benefit of the doubt as to whether they were intending to oppress or to protect with some of these rules.
You know I'm still listening in the egalitarian/complementarian debate. I also know you never explicitly connected complementarians and a culture that fails to be outraged over sexual abuse of girls in the same way as sexual abuse of boys, though you did fairly directly connect egalitarianism to trying to do things better. I have no objections to trying to do things better! I have no objections to trying to make people more fully awake towards justice. But I don't think it's justified for the egalitarians to mark the "culture of sexual abuse" tally against the complementarians. I take it for granted that decent people everywhere are against sexual abuse. I also suspect that the original intent of some of the "oppressive" rules of the past was to protect from all kinds of harm including sexual abuse. If law and order ever collapse again in our lifetimes, I think the "oppressive" statutes of the past will make a whole lot of sense. It's still a fair question what makes sense here and now.
Take care & God bless