It's Time For the Church to Stop Being Silent About Sexual Assault, Abuse and Trauma
I’m a millennial that grew up in church. Sex wasn’t talked about unless it was:
Being portrayed as a cardinal sin to teens growing up in a “hook up, shack up, break up” culture
Being sold as a perfect, magical experience in the context of marriage
This practice created a culture of shame for those of us that had sexual experiences outside of “God’s design”.
Let’s be honest here: Sexual experiences outside of God’s design encompass a wide variety of things. And in a fallen, sin infested world many of those experiences are tied to sexual assault, abuse and trauma.
Church culture says: We want the good things God has for you; Don’t have sex outside of marriage.
Sinful nature says: We want to destroy the good things God has for you. We’re going to prey on the weak, innocent, and vulnerable. We’re going to taint God’s design for sex whether you consent to it or not.
As a result we have a church that’s over equipped to curb sex outside of marriage. While sorely under equipped to help victims of sexual trauma and assault. As a result we have a generation of Christian men and women running to the #metoo movement when they should be running to the Church.
A hashtag won’t bring healing; Only God can do that
Let me be clear: I’m not saying the Church or its leaders have failed us. I’m saying that we as a Church need to do better. I’m saying that it’s time to stop being silent on this topic. It’s time to stop virtue signaling. It’s time to stop the culture of shame. It’s time to take the reins back from popular culture. It’s time to stop pretending this isn’t a widespread issue. It’s time to equip and resource church leaders to facilitate healing for victims of sexual trauma, abuse and assault. It’s time to point victims to God.
It’s time for the Church to be at the forefront of a conversation no one wants to have
I was part of a small group a while back where 4 out of 5 of us had been molested and/or assaulted. The fifth woman’s mother was assaulted, but never received help and the PTSD she experienced as a result depreciated her ability to be an effective mother to her daughter. Our group had 5 out of 5 women deeply affected by sexual assault and trauma.
This isn’t a women’s topic - It’s a church topic
How many pastors and church leaders have a mother, wife or sister who has experienced sexual trauma, abuse or assault? It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the results were similar to the experiences represented in my old small group. How many people in the Church are experiencing PTSD, depression, or anxiety that originated from sexual assault, abuse or trauma? Far too many. And we as a Church are failing at being a place of healing.
Join me in saying “I won’t be silent”
If we want healthy marriages, a healthy church, healthy families, healthy leaders we need to talk about sexual trauma and assault. It’s messy. It’s hard. It’s heartbreaking. It’s wide spread and prevalent. It’s a silent killer. I won’t be silent. I won’t let other men and women suffer in silence like I did for years. I won’t let other parents ignore the signs of trauma in their children. I won’t let other women believe that they’re not worthy of God’s design for sex because someone took something from them without their consent. I won’t let men steal from my sisters because they have a warped view of consent. I won’t let men harbor resentment for other men because of trauma they watched their mothers experience at the hands of another man. I won’t let my brothers and sisters go through life with festering gangrene and rotting flesh because part of them died at the hands of sinful nature.
Festering wounds from sexual assault, abuse and trauma destroy lives
Wounds heal when they’re cared for. When they’re talked about. When the healing balm of God’s truth is slathered on thick, covered in dressings wrapped tenderly by a caring and intentional Church that has the wellbeing of other members of its body in mind.