“Women need to dress modestly so they do not tempt or distract the men.” Who has heard this, or something similar, before? This lie has led many women to believe they are responsible for how men act. However, the reality is that men and women are each responsible for themselves and no one else.
I was taught at a young age that a woman should be able to walk down the street naked and not only not be sexually assaulted, but also that a true gentleman would turn his head or close his eyes and give the scene no further thought. The point of this lesson was that I am responsible for my own thoughts and actions. No woman is responsible for what images take stage in my mind or what acts in which I choose to engage.
Women and modesty is an important issue. Scripture tells us of the sanctity of the body and God delighting in the chastity of women. However, no woman should continue to believe that she is responsible for both her thoughts and actions as well as the thoughts and acts of every male on the planet. Nor does a woman need to hear about modesty from clueless men (let us leave that to other women).
Men, it is time for us to stop blaming women for our thoughts, desires and actions. Joseph, when tempted by Potifer’s wife, chose to flee. He did not use her temptation as an excuse to engage in inappropriate behavior. No matter what women may intentionally or unintentionally do or say we must take responsibility and act as men. We should keep our thoughts clean, live virtuously, and treat women with the respect they deserve–like all mankind deserves. And if you fail in this endeavor, know that you failed and no one else. No one made you do anything. You chose to let thoughts run wild. You chose to act in a certain way. You chose to say things–either to yourself or to others. Take responsibility; man up.