Why Evangelical Christian Women Support Brett Kavanaugh
In a recent poll, 48 percent of white evangelical Christians said they support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court even if he sexually assaulted women, a felony that would land him behind bars.
In an ope-ed for HuffPost, author Carly Gelsinger explains how she was raised as an evangelical Christian and how these women support Kavanaugh because they were raised in “a subculture within an already-bizarre evangelical subculture” known as the “purity culture”:
There exists a generation of women who were never taught consent ― and I’m not talking about Boomers. I’m talking about the hundreds of thousands of us who were raised in church and came of age at the turn of the millennium.
In our world, we were taught that our bodies didn’t belong to ourselves. God owned them, they said, but really, that meant that men owned them. Our fathers. Our pastors. Our husbands. Our politicians. Never ourselves…
Our formative years were spent in shame over our bodies, in suspicion of our sexuality, and in earnest ownership over the behavior of men.
When I was 13, I went to my female youth pastor, shaken by the first aggressive catcall directed my way. She said, “Welcome to the wonderful world of womanhood,” with an edge of tired sarcasm to her voice. That was it. I shrugged it off and tried to shrug off the hundreds of catcalls in my future.
When I was 14, I was lying on my belly reading the Bible on the church floor before youth group. A youth leader told me to sit up. If a girl is horizontal around boys, it forces them to picture you naked, she said. It causes them to stumble.
When I was 15, I was violently assaulted on a mission trip. In response, my team leader literally asked me, “What were you wearing?”
This famous phrase is not just an internet meme. People actually say it to women, and even more destructively, to young girls. They said it to me. I shut up about that assault for a good decade after that.