It’s because my daughter told me a story yesterday about an older boy who insisted on touching her back to “help her” up some stairs at school. And he continued to do it after she told him she didn’t need help.
It’s because there are men at the church I serve who insist on hugging me, even when I strongly place my hand in front of my body, offering the universal please-shake-my-hand signal.
It’s because I can’t get the foggy yet completely clear memory of that terrible night all those years ago out of my head these days, well now, each day as another abuser is publicly named. I see them on TV. I hear them in my newsfeed. I’m so wildly proud of these women coming forward. And yet, it also means all my stuff is coming up. My silent stuff. The stuff I won’t ever name or share because I tell myself my stuff is different than their stuff. But really because I’m just not ready. Even after years and years.
It’s because sexual assault and sexual harassment have been an acceptable part of our culture, our politics, our churches, and our schools for so long, that this wave of revealing, of sharing, of naming, feels overwhelming. Necessary and important, powerful and about damn time, but also overwhelming.
And as the news channels and political parties decide which bodies and rights and reputations matter, and as hearings and elections are held and policies and legislation are proposed, so many of us are sitting here in these pews, and standing in these pulpits, with our experiences and histories and emotions and skin crawling out and off and onto the floor. And we are a mess and it’s not gonna stop or go away or be quiet. Not this time.
And the church isn’t great at talking about this. We’re pretty terrible at it, really. So, I sit here with my wounds completely exposed but also still hidden, and my heart racing and my voice wanting to scream, and I want to know if the church will show up. If she’s got anything to say now. Now that everyone else is talking about it.
Will she? Will we?
This Pastoral is Political was written by a RevGal who chooses to write today anonymously.
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6 thoughts on “The Pastoral is Political: What will the church say to #MeToo?”
“our experiences and histories and emotions and skin crawling out and off and onto the floor” This really resonated with me. I reported it at the time, but I had absolutely no idea who he was. He was never caught; I never got to face him without the balaclava; and I wondered every day, as I looked around the college cafeteria, who had been watching from the shower stall next to me? I can’t watch the news right now – it makes me cry; it hurts still. Thirty seven years on. Thank you for articulating what I can’t.
Thank you for sharing such a raw and beautiful reflection. I have to maintain hope. If Hollywood can take steps toward change…surely our churches will follow suit. Surely.
Or like friends who disclosed that after their vitriolic divorces from violent and perverse husbands, were surrounded by well meaning men (married), leaders in the church, who would take them to dinner and who would come around and ‘comfort’ them, and of course, hug and kiss and grope them after church, gasp!!!
I’m so wildly proud of these women coming forward. And yet, it also means all my stuff is coming up. My silent stuff. The stuff I won’t ever name or share because I tell myself my stuff is different than their stuff. But really because I’m just not ready. Even after years and years.
I finally – after 30+ years reported childhood sexual assault to the police department. It took that long to realize, what do I have to lose? Nothing! In the meantime, he could possible be harming others because I was too afraid to speak up. Even though the case is too old to pursue they did interview him and it’s on file if others come forward.
Each time I hear of another man accused of sexual misconduct, I believe it’s true even though there has been years since it happened. We need to stand up for the women coming forward and support victims.