No More

Whether it is investigations into child abuse by Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania and New Jersey or Bishop Ellis groping Ariana Grande at Aretha Franklin's funeral, the issue of sexual sin in the church is rightfully being folded into the ongoing #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.  Indeed, far from it being shocking that, yes, these things can happen in seemingly safe and moral settings and at the hands of seemingly safe and respectable leaders, overcoming sexual abuse in a church setting requires even more attention, because it is so prevalent and because it is so damaging.  

What has been wonderful to me about the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements is that we are increasingly deciding - although we still have a long way to go - that it is no longer acceptable to allow these abuses to be covered up or explained away, and that any consideration of negative blowback on the perpetrators is ultimately outweighed by the overwhelming importance of validating, vindicating, and restoring the victims.  

The pernicious effect of trauma is not just the wounds from the past but the silencing, confusion, and shaming that occurs into the present.  And if it happens at a young age, and/or in a church setting, it can really mess with one's sense of safety, self-worth, and spirituality.  Basically, the core of who we are becomes damaged, and that to me is deeply saddening and infuriating.  The inspiring and powerful thing about the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement is the clarity it is bringing to survivors and their supporters: this happened, it was bad, it was not my fault, and those whose fault it was will now have to answer for their misdeeds.

There's more I could say, and perhaps I will say more when the time is right.  But for now, let me just say that I believe that better days are ahead.  We are doing better at teaching our kids and our congregants what is right and wrong, and holding them to it.  And so hopefully that yields fewer and fewer terrible traumas.  But for those who have or will experience abuse, what happened to you is not OK, and I sincerely hope and pray that you will be able to experience healing in your life so that you will suffer no more.

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