10 Pieces You Need to Read About Sexual Assault and the Church | Sojourners

10 Pieces You Need to Read About Sexual Assault and the Church

As Sexual Assault Awareness Month comes to a close, we’re sharing 10 of our most important articles on faith and sexual violence. From 1984 to 2018, this topic has never failed to be relevant or newsworthy. But just as one month of awareness every April isn’t enough, neither is one 10-article roundup.

Our prayer is this: May our reading and writing lead to preaching and legislating, may our preaching and legislating heal trauma and end sexual violence. Amen.

1. “I am a Survivor and Pastor. #MeToo Is An Opportunity for the Church”

"For years I was furious about the trajectory of my story, the path set in motion by my gender. The rapists had overpowered me, humiliated me, and violated me. But hadn’t the church also disempowered me, silenced me, and shamed me? Weren’t the dynamics similar?" 

2. Shelter in the Storm

If there is ever a place for survivors of violence to know they are not on their journey alone, it should be within communities of faith, embraced by the love of a God who has walked it before.

3. Can an Institution Built on the Backs of Women Be the One to Save it? 

"The church has assumed passive postures in the face of sexualized violence. It has known that women were violated on their watch, and simply chosen to ignore their voices and narratives...the institutions that were built on the very backs of women will not be the ones to liberate and heal our backs. This is our workAnd, so to the church, please recognize that the #MeToo window is closing quickly, and you must decide how you will “deal with” this subsequent warning: Time’s up."

4. 'A Terrorist War Against Women'

“My own pain, however, does not outweigh my hope. I hope that each time such stories are told and positive action is taken, we chip away another small piece from the mammoth rock of male entitlement to women’s bodies.”

5. 'It Couldn't Happen Among Christians!'

“‘It couldn’t happen among Christians’ is, sadly, a very common refrain among faith institutions. Reported instances of sexual abuse this year at Christian colleges, from Patrick Henry to Pensacola, indicate the deep costs of this refusal to ask whether sexual violence could happen ‘within the flock.’”

6. 4 Ways Churches Can Respond to the #MeToo Movement

"If anything is going to significantly change, we men need to stop viewing sexual violence as a 'women’s issue.' No, men, it is our issue. We are the main cause. We need to own it, take responsibility for it, and change the way we teach and model masculinity for boys and men so that this evil stops."

7. An Epidemic Of Violence

From 1984: "Women are coming together to say no to this violence, and many men are joining them. Hope is emerging as growing bonds are transforming tragedy into a foundation for unity. We are moving forward toward that day when each person is respected; when each of us is valued as a son or daughter of God, in whose image we have been created with love."

8. 7 Ways to End Violence Against Women 

Women of color, indigenous women, lesbians and transwomen, and other marginalized voices are often silenced or forgotten in conversations about gender-based violence. Deepen your understanding of intersectionality and how various forms of oppression impact women and girls on the margins.

9. As a Father to Sons: Confronting the Culture of Toxic Masculinity 

The toxic masculinity that infuses our culture encourages and excuses the abuse of power. We parents and caregivers who want to raise boys into good men must be committed to challenging toxic masculinity with one centered on a commitment to nurture and defend people of all gender identities.

10. Will Christian Colleges Speak Up for Victims of Sexual Assault?

“If the Trump administration dismantles Title IX, colleges and universities will be faced with a choice: protect vulnerable students or promote a system of higher education in which boys become men and men become Harvey Weinstein.”