Two academics believe that Jesus was a victim of sexual abuse and sexual violence, according to The Conversation. In a 2016 lecture by Professor David Tombs titled “Acknowledging Jesus as Victim of Sexual Abuse,” Tombs shared his belief that historical and scriptural evidence on Roman crucifixions suggests that sexual humiliation and sexual violence was a prominent feature of the event. David Tombs is Howard Paterson Professor of Theology and Public Issues and Director for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Otago, New Zealand. In a report by Independent, Dr. Katie Edwards, Director of the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield, also shares Tombs belief that Jesus was a victim of sexual abuse. Edwards and Tombs believe that people are unwilling to accept that Jesus was sexually abused because of gender. The authors claim that society views male and female nudity differently.
They make reference to the work of Margaret R. Miles where she argued that “the naked male body represents glorious athleticism representing spiritual as well as physical suffering.” However, naked women are identified as sexual objects. Stripping a woman would more easily be recognized as sexual abuse than a man. People would immediately accept Jesus’ ordeal as sexual abuse if he was a woman, according to the scholars. The narrative is different because Jesus is a man and not a woman. The report by The Conversation claims that Christians are reluctant to accept that Jesus was a victim of sexual abuse because they consider sexual abuse as an “exclusively female” experience. The scholars believe that the sexual abuse of Jesus should be a part of the Passion and Easter story.
“It’s appropriate to recognize Jesus as a victim of sexual violence to address the continuing stigma for those who’ve experienced sexual abuse, especially men,” the academics also believe.
According to The Conversation, “the crucifixion was more than just physical; it was also a devastating emotional and psychological punishment.” Edwards and Tombs base their argument on gender equality. Hence, what is considered as sexual abuse for women is also applicable to men. The idea of Jesus being a victim of sexual abuse has huge implications for academics because of its implication. The focus of sexual abuse is mostly on women and children, both the scholars want to use Jesus to blur the lines of gender in sexual abuse. According to The Conversation, seeing Jesus as a victim of sexual abuse is not just to correct the historical records. It could also make a difference in how churches engage with movements like Me Too and effect positive change in societies that identify as Christian.