Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shooting the Messenger

The Times has a blaring headline: US female bishop Catherine Roskam: male prelates 'beat up wives'. As reported in Lambeth Witness #7, Bishop Roskam said:
We have 700 men here. Do you think any of them beat their wives? Chances are they do. The most devout Christians beat their wives..., many of our bishops come from places where it is culturally accepted to beat your wife. In that regard, it makes the conversation quite difficult.

What she is saying is that statistically if you have a large group of men, some may beat their wives. As one reads the story in The Times it is clear that Roskam did not say what was written in the headline.

Bishops were quick to deny that they beat their wives, although no one accused them. In the United States, it is known that 1 in 4 women suffer abuse, so it is statistically likely that some of those who in inflict violence are bishops. In fact I know of two myself.

This is the classic "shoot the messenger" strategy. Figure it out, 650+ men, wives requesting separate seating during a session on gender violence, almost universal acceptance of wife beating around the world (check any women's shelter in the US), could it be possible?

For a report on domestic violence from Human Rights Watch, click here.

In a bit of synchronicity, here, today's news from All Africa:
Antananarivo-Brazzaville-Bujumbura-Geneva-Khartoum-Kinshasa-London-Lusaka-Nairobi-N’jamena, 31 July 2008. African Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to remember that gender-based violence is one of the most serious and widespread violations of the basic rights of women, particularly on the African continent. Gender discrimination is both one of the causes and an aggravating factor of the consequences of violence against women, thus contributing to the perpetuation of impunity of such cases.

The signatory organisations call on African States to ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on women’s rights (the “Maputo Protocol”), harmonise national laws with international standards and take all necessary measures to fight against violence against women by tackling the general context of discrimination which encourages such violations and which perpetuates the marginalisation of women, particularly as regards their access to justice.

Recent reports by OMCT and its African counterparts on the status of women and violence against women in Africa:



Executive Summary



Democratic Republic of Congo



UPDATE: Bishop Nick Baines of Croydon commented in his blog:
I felt a bit sorry for the media people. They have built today up into the day the explosion would happen and the Anglican Communion would collapse in on itself under a weight of sexual tension. But it didn't and we didn't. Mind you, this might have been an appropriate and just reward to the Daily Telegraph for its scandalous, misrepresentative and deliberately sensationalist article about wife-beating by bishops. The American bishop who had been interviewed was horrified to see what the press had done and explained herself to the assembled bishops in the afternoon session. Welcome to the British media! She should sue the journalist concerned. And the journalist should ask whether this sort of story really satisfies any sense of professional integrity.


Grandmère Mimi said...

Oooh! Not bishops! If the shoe fits.... This was taken entirely out of context by certain cry-baby bishops. How dare she speak like that? She's an uppity woman. They are holy MEN. "Shoot the messenger", indeed!

And, of course, the press loves controversy, so they tell the story like a tabloid.

kitty said...

Nothin' sells like sex and violence.

When the press can't find a real story they'll make one up and make it real.

Of course, there are no homosexuality in Africa and no women priests anywhere but the US and its buddies. Yup. Right. Sound familiar? The current of denial flows beneath the surface and causes an undertow.

FranIAm said...

Maddening that the media will always choose the way that gets the bang and leaves the truth in the dust.

The truth and the real issue. Oh but to embrace the leper within, it is awfully hard work and who has time for that?

Deep sigh.

FranIAm said...
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Kirkepiscatoid said...

Well, now if the press had wanted to combine all their Lambeth topics they could have had a story about bishops who beat their wives b/c the wives sympathize with Bishop Gene! Then the Archbishop of the Sudan could be quoted that "those women had it coming to them b/c they need to be "normal Christians". Add a UFO or a crop circle, and it would be fit to publish in London's Sun!!!!!

sue said...
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