Sexual assault is something we’ve all heard a lot about recently, and many of us probably wish that it would all just go away; we’d really rather not hear any more about it. There has been a push back to the #MeToo movement.
We wonder, what if the stories we’re hearing aren’t true? Is it really as bad as they say it is? What are we to make of all the sexual assault allegations we’re hearing? And how are we to respond, as the church, when we hear these stories, and address allegations in our own congregations and communities?
As much as we would like to put our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not there, that is not an option for us. We are called to be one body in Christ; we cannot say to any part that they are not a valuable part of the body (See 1 Corinthians 12). We need all the parts to be whole and functioning well for the sake of the whole body, the Church. The Men’s Resource Center in Grand Rapids has recently published a helpful resource called Ten Considerations About Sexual Assault Allegations.
It’s helpful because it dispels myths that we may have heard, which can cloud our thinking and cause further harm. It gives us a place to start in how to think about sexual assault when allegations arise among us.
Thankfully, we are not in this alone; there are many resources available, and many organizations working to end sexual abuse. It’s good for churches to partner with local organizations that have resources and offer expertise that is not available in the church. And it’s good for the church to walk alongside with the spiritual resources, and the love of Christ that are not available from many community organizations. Working in partnership can lead to a more holistic impact for individuals and communities.
States and Provinces have resources and organizations dedicated to assist those who have survived abuse as well as for those who perpetrate abuse. In addition, there are resources and organizations that work to help prevent abuse. We do well to partner with these valuable resources near where we are.
How has your church partnered with a local organization dedicated to abuse prevention and response?