I have gone back and forth about this post for days, maybe longer. I am still not sure if I should post it. But my heart is hurting, and this will help me sort out my feelings . . . maybe.
There is a phenomenon sweeping our nation right now of women finding the nerve to speak out about actions that happened to them in their past. I feel like one of the reasons there is a flood of women coming forward is because a few came forward and they were listened to, it gave others the courage to come forward. One of the biggest lies victims buy into is that “no one will believe you, it is my word against yours” and seeing other women tell their story and be believed gives them courage to speak up.
Are there attention seekers that lie? Most probably, yes, however, this should not stop us from believing that this is and has been a problem even among believers. This is the thing that hurts my heart the most, the way I am seeing how some believers view sexual assault. How some believers are deal with sexual assault in the church.
I read an article about pastor of a super church, who 10 years ago, while a youth pastor, gave a 14-year-old girl a ride home. On the way he took a detour and sexually abused her, afterwards he took her home with the instruction to be silent. Recently this now 24-year-old woman wrote about her experience. This man stood in front of his church and told them that he had a sexual indiscretion 10 years ago. He said he thought it had been dealt with “back then”. Then looking into the TV camera, he invited this victim to contact him, so he could help her with forgiveness and healing. He had the nerve to put this on her. Let me, your attacker, help you to healing, really? How arrogant. What troubles me most is that he was given a standing ovation by the congregation. This was not an indiscretion, this was a crime. Child molestation. A crime. My heart hurts.
This story brought back a memory long forgotten. I remember my parents sitting me down and telling me to never be alone with one of the men in the church we attended. I remember hearing whispers about a sexual assault he perpetrated or tried to, on a young girl close to my age. I was not supposed to ever know about this. This young lady was also told not to be alone with him ever again. I think back on the horror this girl must have felt to have to see this man seemingly never miss a step with his place in this church. The memory is foggy and vague, there may have been some sort of church discipline, I don’t remember any. I do remember thinking that, because of the way this was “handled”, this girl must have done something wrong and it was her partly her fault. It was not in any way her fault, she was a victim many times over. Every time she had to face this man. Over and over, every church function, every Sunday. My heart hurts.
How many times did/does this happen in our churches? I am embarrassed by this. I am embarrassed that any victim is made to feel at fault, or not believed, or thrown to the side to save a reputation that should not have been saved. My heart hurts.
There is a troubling sentiment I have seen on social media from some Christian women. They are usually referring to unchurched, women who live a life style they do not approve of, women they think are below them. I have seen this phrase, or one very close to it, over and over “if they are going to dress like a whore they deserve what they what they get”. Nope, nope, nope. How can any Christian think this, let alone put it in writing? Us, who have been forgiven of so much, thinking because of anything, anything, that any person deserves to be assaulted. My heart hurts.
I don’t get it. I don’t. I don’t want to get it. I don’t want to understand it. I want this to continue to break my heart. I want to continue to hurt for the victims. I don’t want to get it. My heart hurts.