Jesus Christ was a victim of sexual violence, according to an academic. His experience during the crucifixion highlights issues that plague the present day with the emergence of the #MeToo movement.
Dr. Katie Edwards of the University of Sheffield wrote her thoughts in time for Easter in an essay titled #HimToo. She explained that Jesus Christ became a sexual violence victim when soldiers stripped him of his clothes at the cross.
The academic, who specializes in the Bible in contemporary culture, stated that the #MeToo movement in Hollywood opened eyes to the impact of sexual abuse on the victims. She likened the same experience to Jesus Christ who was not only humiliated but was also subjected to a power play.
The Gospel of Matthew mentioned Roman soldiers parting Jesus' garments, though it did not say if he was actually naked. Historians, however, stated that the practice of crucifixion during those times usually left those crucified victims without any clothes, as Romans in authority resort to humiliation and degradation.
Edwards also interpreted the words "penetrative wounds" written in the Bible as a sexual symbolism. Having spoken about these ideas for years, the academic admitted that she appalled, shocked and turned off many Christians with her views. She, however, reiterated that it's important for the church to recognize that sexual violence happened during Jesus' crucifixion.
"If Jesus is named as a victim of sexual abuse it could make a huge difference to how the churches engage with movements like #MeToo, and how they promote change in wider society," she said.
Professor Linda Woodhead of Lancaster University agreed with Edwards' observation that Jesus Christ was sexually humiliated. To highlight, this fact did come at the right time because of #MeToo. But Professor Janet Soskice of the University of Cambridge said there's a danger in relating the #MeToo movement to Jesus' crucifixion.
"[It] diminishes the power of the cross to speak to many forms of violation by aligning it too closely to just one," Soskice said.