The #MeToo movement has given women the impetus to speak up about all manner of sexual violence, sexual abuse and sexual harassment. What so many have gone through, and continue to go through, is just awful. But they are speaking up. Good for them speaking up. I believe them. What they are saying takes courage (Guts!). How could I not be proud of them.
In fact, trending in Twitter just today (9/23) is hashtag #WhyIDidntReport. Because of Christine Blasey Ford speaking up about being assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of women now weighing in with their stories of sexual abuse, many for the first time. The vast majority of these are not simple, innocent sexual harassment allegations. Most are accounts of serious sexual assault and violence. They are accounts of being raped, sometimes repeatedly over several years. This is just awful beyond awful. It is sexual violence of the worst kind.
And just think for a minute about all the women who were abused within the confines of the Church, in whatever fashion. And no, it is not just the young women, but also so many young men, especially within the Catholic Church. Just stop and think of the multitudes who were abused and have kept silent for decades.
If you say, “That just makes me sick.” Well, that ought to make you sick. That would be a proper reaction. You are getting it.
I never have seen anything like this. The floodgate has flung open. Finally, they feel compelled to tell their story. Are they believable? Of course.
Search #WhyIDidntReport on Twitter and read the accounts for yourself. Get ready for some very sobering, revealing admissions made, in some cases, for perhaps the very first time. Now that takes courage.
With Christine Blasey Ford accusing Judge Brett Ford of sexual abuse way back when they were both teenagers, we are seeing hundreds of women now speaking up, telling their story, telling the truth, saying, in effect, “Now it’s my turn to talk.” Most of their stories are credible and compelling. I am glad they are being told. They are sad. They will make you mad. They will trouble your spirit. They will make you sigh and shake your head.
And they should. The women are doing the right thing by courageously speaking up.
The #MeToo movement, barely a year old, has unleashed in the women of the this country the courage to speak up, at long last. They will have their say! Frankly, this #MeToo movement has no signs of abating. Just today Christine Blasey Ford has agree to testify on Thursday (9/27) before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
This is going to be quite the week in the news. I can only imagine, as I write this on Sunday evening. You think there might be a lot of huge decisions weighing in the balance? Don’t you just know it. It’s incredible, isn’t it? While Dr. Ford speaks up with her accusations against Judge Kavanaugh, he is vehemently denying her accusations. So, stay alert and hold your breath. Again, I can only imagine will happen by week’s end.
The patriarchy (largely White men) that has run this county and most of the churches, well, forever it seems — Protestant and Catholic — is being challenged by thousands of women and men in a ways that we have not heretofore seen. I certainly never have seen anything like this in my life.
Both the Catholic and Protestant Churches are reeling. In July we saw Cardinal Theodore McCarrick resign. A Cardinal almost never resigns in the Catholic Church. So many of the faithful, once happy with Pope Francis, are not pleased with how he is handling some much of the abuse in the Church.
Following Cardinal McCarrick’s resignation, the awful news broke in August of countless priests sexually abusing more than 1,000 children covering 70 years in the 8 Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania, making Catholic and Protestants alike just sick to their stomachs.
The Protestant Evangelical church has not escaped. Earlier this year Bill Hybels, founder and long-time leader at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, resigned because of allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior by several former Willow Creek woman, some of them former staff members who accuse Hybels of sexual abuse and harassment, some of it going back 25 or more years. While Hybels denies it, I believe the women, as do increasing numbers of people.
(No, never would I have imagined Hybels “reign” coming to such an unceremonious end. I think you do understand that these thoughts are coming to you from a guy who has read almost all of Bill Hybels’ books, attended many of his conferences and been inspired by many of his motivational talks and outstanding sermons. I believed in Hybels. I pulled for him. I prayed for him. I was glad for him to carry the evangelical torch, as were thousands of other evangelical leaders across the world. And when the accusations against Hybels just kept surfacing, I was really upset. I was very disappointed in Hybels and in the Willow Creek elders.)
In fact, there was so much misinformation, confusion and trust emanating over this whole debacle, Hybels’ co-heir apparents — Heather Larson and Steve Carter — along with all the elders at Willow Creek, resigned. How incredible, how crazy, is that? This is one of the largest mega-churches in the United States.
A few thoughts about what to consider doing?
- Pray for the Church. Christ is the Head of the Church, and the Church will Triumph.
- Pray that God will protect the women and men coming forward with their stories.
- Remember that Jesus said his Kingdom is not of this world.
- And remember that our unshakable trust is in Christ’s final return, not in any world system. Remembering that frees us from the anxiety of having the wrong person in the White House, the wrong person in the congress or senate, or even the wrong person in the Supreme Court. Don’t forget to sing the Psalmist’s warning: “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.” (Psalm 146:3)