They Resisted Rapists
GENERALLY rapists try to get a woman in some isolated place where people are not around. At times they have a weapon and threaten to use it if the victim does not cooperate. Should a Christian quietly submit?
No, the situation is not the same as when a man simply is asking for money or other material possessions. A woman wisely would give him these. But the rapist is asking a person to break God’s law by committing fornication. Under such circumstances a Christian is obligated to resist.—1 Corinthians 6:18.
‘But could not resistance be dangerous?’ someone may ask. Yes, it could be. Yet it may well be more dangerous not to resist, as a teacher of rape self-defense notes: “He just may kill you when he’s done so you can’t identify him later.”
The comments of a leading spokeswoman on rape are noteworthy. She said: “Despite the popular myths of male violence and the alleged safety in submission, it has never been demonstrated that resistance on the part of a rape victim in an attempt to escape ‘provokes’ an assailant to commit an act of murder.” The following experience illustrates this.
Two young women were in a Laundromat when a man came in and at gunpoint herded them into a room in the rear of the building. He ordered them to undress. They refused, praying aloud to Jehovah God for help. Finally, they told the now-confused gunman that they were Jehovah’s Witnesses and that it was against their religious belief to do what he was demanding; they would not do it even if he shot them. Result? The frustrated gunman fled.
Treat Him Respectfully
The intended victim should remember that the rapist is a human. No doubt there are circumstances in his life that have precipitated his behavior. So although a woman should not cower in fear and permit a rapist to intimidate her, at the same time she should treat him understandingly, as a fellow human. A woman who lived in a housing project in New York City writes:
“I usually am careful when going into elevators. As usual, I checked this one out before entering, and all was OK. However, just before the door closed completely, a big man grabbed the door and opened it to come into the elevator with me. As he entered he threw a six-pack of beer at me, and I caught it. It took me by surprise.
“As the door closed he turned his back to me to do something with his pants. Then he turned around and faced me. I didn’t look down at his pants but looked him in the eyes. I threw his six-pack of beer back to him, and said, ‘Here is your beer.’
“At this moment, before he could do anything, I started to talk. I said I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and was going up to the 13th floor to have a Bible study with a family who was waiting for me. I just kept talking and told him about our Bible educational work. We were half way up to the 13th floor by now, and as I kept right on talking I showed no fear, looking him straight in the eyes. Then a funny thing happened. He began to say that he loved the Bible and that he was from the South and his family loved God too.
“Meanwhile, we had reached the 13th floor, and he opened the door to let me out. He asked me if I would do him the honor of shaking his hand. I did, and he practically shook it off. Then he said he wanted to thank me because I was the first white woman that hadn’t looked at him with scorn in her eyes, and that I was sincere in talking with him. He then said good-bye and wished me good luck on my Bible study.”
Resisting in One’s Home
Rapes that occur in one’s own home can be particularly traumatic, since the surroundings are a constant reminder of the event. How much better, therefore, for one to resist! A mother who was able to avoid being raped in her home in Detroit, Michigan, tells how she did it.
“It was 5:30 a.m. when I was awakened by the sound of footsteps. At first I was unsure from which direction they were coming. I looked at my watch and saw that it was too early for my oldest daughter to be getting ready for school. My husband is a traveling musician and was away. I had been asleep downstairs. Since I knew no one was upstairs, I decided the sounds were coming from the front porch. So I turned on the porch light. Immediately I heard footsteps run down the stairs, and when I turned, there stood a strange man.
“Because the man had his hand inside his coat, as if he had a gun, I said, ‘If you are going to kill me, do it.’ He said he had a gun and would shoot me if I did not do everything he commanded. He told me to turn off all the lights and sit on the couch. I turned off the lights but refused to sit on the couch. He said he would kill me if I did not let him rape me. Then he started pushing me to the couch, so I quoted Matthew 16:26, which says: ‘For what benefit will it be to a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul? or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?’
“The man stopped pushing me and asked what the scripture meant. So I explained that if I resisted him and remained faithful to my God and my husband, and was killed for this faithfulness, I would have a hope of being resurrected to a Paradise earth and everlasting life. But if I gave in and he raped me, I would eventually die and have no hope of a resurrection.
“The intruder knew he was not going to talk me into letting him rape me, so he started pulling at my clothing. I remembered the scripture at Deuteronomy chapter 22 that says if you are attacked in the city and do not scream it is considered the same as consenting. I then said very loudly, ‘Stop! Please! No! Don’t do that! Mister, please leave my house!’
“I knew that this not only would be pleasing to Jehovah but would also alert my children that this was no TV dialogue but a man attacking their mother. I also called him ‘mister’ so that they would know that I did not know him. The man told me to shut up, but I said I had to yell every time he attacked me.
“The man lunged at me again and I started to pray aloud, ‘O Jehovah, please help me!’ He stopped and asked who I was talking to. So I explained that Jehovah is God’s name, that God has a name even as he did.
“To really try to frighten me, the man asked if I had ever read about whole families being killed and later being found. He said that was what he was going to do to me and my children if I wouldn’t let him at least caress parts of my body. But I would not agree to this either. The man continued to threaten me, and each time I would think to myself, ‘O Jehovah, what can I do?’ the appropriate scripture and action would come to mind.
“After about 20 to 30 minutes, the man saw he was not going to be able to rape me. So he said: ‘What are your children’s ages?’ I replied, ‘14, 12, 8, 5 and 4.’
“‘I am going to rape your 14-year-old daughter if you don’t let me rape you,’ he said.
“I wondered how he knew that the 14-year-old was a girl. ‘She is a Christian, too,’ I responded, ‘and she is not going to let you rape her.’ He then said he would kill all of us, and headed toward my children’s bedrooms. Again I wondered how he knew just which way the bedrooms were. Before I could get myself together enough to follow him, he returned to the living room with a strange look on his face. He went past me and commanded, ‘Unlock the front door.’
“‘It will unlock if you turn the knob,’ I said. He stepped out, and when he did I pushed the door shut and put the chain on it.
“Immediately I went to my children’s bedrooms and understood why the man had gone to the front door. They were gone. The week before, I had seen a special on TV telling how you should teach your children emergency escape routes from the house. I talked with my children and told them the safest and best way to leave the house was through the north bedroom windows so that they could go next door and call for help. Because my children obeyed, they were safe next door.
“Soon two police cars arrived, one in answer to my phone call, the other in answer to my neighbor’s. The police said that they were not surprised to be getting a call this morning about rape. For several months, they explained, there had been many rapes at about this same time in the neighborhood. They even referred to the rapist as ‘our boy.’
“The police were amazed when I told them I had neither been raped nor robbed. They said someone would get in touch with me. Later that day I was asked to come to the station for a lineup. It was very disappointing because they did not have the right man.
“The next day I received a call at work asking me to come down once again for a lineup. This time, the minute I walked into the room I saw him and almost fell to the floor . . . I learned that since his release from jail eight months before, he had raped at least 13 women in my neighborhood, including an armed policewoman. The police said that whatever my faith was, it was what had helped me not to be number 14.”
Resisting When Outside
Surely, it is a terrible ordeal to face a man intent on rape. When the man has a weapon and no one else is around, the situation is especially frightening. Yet, even then, rather than being intimidated by threats and submitting, the Scripturally proper course is to resist. And, time and again, doing so has proved to be the better course. One of Jehovah’s Witnesses living in a semirural area relates:
“On my way back from picking up my mail, a man wearing a ski mask came running after me with a knife. He grabbed me and tried to take me into the woods. He pulled me to the ground. Before he got me down, I screamed. He covered my mouth, but I still called out to Jehovah, praying to him for strength. The man showed me the knife and said that if I didn’t keep quiet he’d hurt me. I grabbed the knife and pushed it away. He put the knife away and began to pull me up. I bit his finger, and he punched me in the head.
“He told me he wouldn’t hurt me if I went peacefully. I cried, ‘No!’ I was determined either to escape or die there on the driveway, not in the woods. So I threw back a punch in his face. This startled him. He punched me again on the cheek. I was knocked to the ground but kicked my legs at him fiercely to get him away from me.
“I was able to get to my feet, and I ran toward the road leading to other houses. I looked back and saw him taking off through the woods in the direction of my house. I ran to the nearest house. The police were called. They came in force, surrounded the area and caught the rapist. He confessed to the whole thing, so I didn’t have to identify him.”
Being Prepared to Resist
For a woman, perhaps there is not a more frightening or shattering thing than rape. She may not even want to think about it. Yet rape is a reality of life. Even the Bible tells about rapes and attempted rapes that occurred thousands of years ago.—Genesis 19:4-11; 34:1-7; Judges 19:22-27; 2 Samuel 13:1-14.
In these critical times, however, rapes have become everyday occurrences in many cities and towns. In fact, the American Medical News of February 4, 1983, observed: “Perhaps one of six women in this country will become a victim of rape, which has been called the nation’s most rapidly increasing violent crime.”
So rather than ignore the possibility of a rape attempt, it only makes sense for a woman to think ahead as to what she will do if she is ever threatened by a rapist. There should be a realistic readiness on her part to resist. “The view that a woman who resists is more likely to be injured or killed is an old wives’ tale,” said Detroit Police Executive Deputy Chief James Bannon. “There has never been any evidence to back it up.”
In ancient Israel, God’s law required a woman confronted by a rapist to scream, thus putting up active resistance. (Deuteronomy 22:23-27) This is a wise course. According to Chief Inspector Keith Kilbride of the West Yorkshire Crime Prevention Bureau in England, “if a woman is attacked, her best weapon is still her lungs.”
For further help in coping with the growing threat of rape, you may want to read information such as appeared in Awake! of July 8, 1980, and The Watchtower of October 15, 1980. Those articles were designed to help prevent rape. Also, a woman may talk to her husband, her father or a trusted friend to get advice on defensive measures. And a boy can talk to his parents. In addition, the experiences presented here may help you to resist a rapist successfully if you are ever faced with such a threat.
[Blurb on page 27]
“If a woman is attacked, her best weapon is still her lungs”