The Common Good

It's Time for Outrage: Sexual Violence and the Church

Date: May 16, 2013

Violence against women is the most prevalent and the most hidden injustice in our world today. From rape as a weapon of war, to human trafficking, to the attack of a young girl seeking an education, the treatment of women and girls across the globe is in a state of crisis.

And we don't even need to leave our own shores to encounter staggering statistics. Here in the U.S., 1 in 5 women have been raped in their lifetime -- a number that only jumps when you realize that 54 percent of sexual assaults are never reported. More than 1 in 3 women have experienced some kind of intimate partner violence. Sexual assaults in the U.S. military continue to rise -- with an estimated 26,000 in 2012 alone -- even as its leaders claim to be addressing the epidemic.

As I lay out in my book On God's Side, what has been missing from this narrative is the condemnation of these behaviors from other men, especially men in positions of power, authority, and influence -- like those in our pulpits. In a section of that book, I say we need to establish a firm principle: the abuse of women by men will no longer be tolerated by other men. The voices of more men need to join the chorus to make that perfectly clear.