Have you heard about the #metoo movement sweeping the country? In this primarily but not exclusively social media movement, those who have experienced a form of sexual harassment or assault use the hashtag #metoo as a way of telling other victims that they understand, and they are not alone.
This movement didn’t just begin when Alyssa Milano, an actress, tweeted a statement encouraging victims to stand up and speak out. It didn’t begin because of the allegations toward Harvey Weinstein, a popular Hollywood producer sexually assaulting dozens of actress for decades. It began when Tarana Burke, an activist, decided to be the voice for children, primarily children of color, who had been sexually abused.
This is something in which Christians, if you haven’t already tuned in, should be paying close attention.
Having seen reactions that range from in favor to completely in opposition of the “#metoo” movement, one thing that I noticed is that people seem to be confused about what it means. If someone posts #metoo, it doesn’t automatically mean they have been raped.
As clearly as I can explain, #Metoo can mean a variety of things that all fall under the umbrella of any form of sexual injustice. For example, I could say #metoo because I have been cat called on the streets. I could say it because I have been touched when I didn’t want to be. Thankfully, I have not experienced some of the horrors other women have, but I think most women in some way, shape or form would be able to say, “#metoo.”
In fact, in the following days of the “#metoo” movement, Facebook reported that the hashtag had been used more than 12 million times.
Incidents of sexual harassment and abuse don’t shy away from the church. Because of the fall of mankind and sin, rampant in this world, sexual harassment is everywhere. I read a statistic that said one out of every six women has been sexually abused in her lifetime. That is just women…
This means people in my church/your church, friends and family have most likely fallen victim to this atrocious sin. How can we help bring about the tides of change and offer safety, peace and healing?
First, pay attention and listen. If someone comes to you in a church setting or not, be someone in whom they can confide. It will be an uncomfortable situation. A topic you would rather not discuss. However, if someone comes to you in confidence, they need help. They need you or someone to point them to the Lord and help them heal.
Next, put safeguards in place to protect the people who step into the doors of your church. The church should be a place where people are safe. Know boundaries and draw a hard and clear line on what is acceptable behavior and what will not be tolerated.
Don’t just say you’re sorry. Do something. Actions speak louder than words. Actions in this case can even include not adding to sexual stereotypes.
When God created man, He said that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18), so he decided to make woman.
In the verses that follow, the Lord put Adam into a deeps sleep, and formed woman out of the rib of Adam, thus, we have Eve. Once Adam awoke he said, “This one, at last, is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; This one will be called woman, for she is taken from man” (Gen. 2:23).
God made us similar; He made us alike; He didn’t make us so we would see all the differences we have with each other; He made us “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.”
Nowhere in the Bible does God say women are inferior. On the contrary, God fills His word with powerful women like Esther, Ruth, Sara, Rahab and Jochebed. God never says women are weak or lesser than men, why should we be treated as such? You can help by modeling respect and equality in all forms of relationships with women, today.
Next, don’t take part in any type of victim shaming, ever. Don’t suggest that because a woman was dressed a certain way, or acted one way or the other, that she deserved to be taken advantage of. It’s not right, nor will it ever be. Just don’t do it.
This is perhaps the biggest way anyone can help, pray for forgiveness and revival. Repent from the evil ways of the over-sexualization of our culture today. Repent from all forms of hate or injustice towards women, men, children and all of God’s children. Then, pray for revival.