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PETALING JAYA, Feb 24 — A Singaporean female pastor has been criticised after she appealed to girls to refrain from dressing provocatively so men can control their lust.
Joanne Chow, a youth pastor at the Pasir Panjang Hill Brethren Church was slammed by the public for reinforcing misogynist views that women had the responsibility of dressing modestly to avoid men from committing sin.
Chow wrote in a blogpost on the Christian website Thir.st asking girls to think twice before wearing a skin-tight dress or posting a bikini shot.
“Can I also make a special appeal to the girls?
“Let’s help our brothers by not dressing in a revealing or provocative way.
“Of course you don’t have control over their lustful thoughts, and it may not be a sin to wear that skin-tight dress or post that bikini photo, but if we can help our brothers, why not?”
According to Coconuts Singapore, the 38-year-old mother of three girls did not respond to their publication’s request for comment when contacted.
Chow also did not respond to the barrage of criticism she received online for the blog post.
The female pastor’s blog post was written in response to the sexual abuse allegations against the world-famous Canadian evangelist Ravi Zacharias who died last May.
Following a four-month investigation, a law firm hired by the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries confirmed the evidence of sexual abuse as well as soliciting hundreds of photos from young women earlier this month.
Chow said the news of the Christian leader’s sexual misconduct was a “reminder to pursue purity and holiness”.
She also said she often advised people to avoid dating when they are young to overcome lust during their courtship.
To curb sexual desires, Chow suggested that people unfollow explicit Instagram and TikTok accounts as well as “delete certain apps” and “stop watching certain shows”.
Her recommendations sparked outrage online, including Christians, who said the pastor was victim-blaming.
“Excuse you, it’s not the women’s fault for wearing what they want. It’s these boys who [can’t] seem to understand what self-control is and thinks it is okay to assault someone like that. Stop victim-blaming and start calling people out for their mistakes instead,” @Celestia_cq wrote on Instagram.
“I was inappropriately touched on multiple occasions while I wasn’t dressed provocatively or in a revealing manner. It is not what the girl is dressed in!! Please stop pushing the responsibility on girls and giving non-believers wrong ideas on what Christianity truly is,” @the_rachelle said.
“Tell the boys to gouge out their eyes instead! The bible is clear on this!” said @hotsaucehorror.
The blog later included a disclaimer below the post saying, “the same principle of not stumbling one another applies to the guys as well.”
“We would also like to clarify that this point should not be taken to mean that it is the women’s dressing that is at fault in cases of sexual harassment or assault.
“We have always denounced such acts of violence and have said that perpetrators must bear responsibility for their offences.”