There is Not Enough Being Done to Help Sexual Assault Survivors

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Fairly recently, Safe Church Ministry collaborated with the Office of Social Justice to draft an action alert for the Survivors’ Access to Supportive Care Act (SASCA). Sexual assault survivors are being overlooked because the extensive exam they receive after being sexually assaulted is never processed. A lot of this issue comes from lack of resources to process these exams. The silence is both hurting the survivors and allowing the perpetrators to run free. For more information on this issue view this action alert: https://p2a.co/AjEZ8cD.

This issue came as a surprise to me. I had no idea that when someone went through an extensive exam after being sexually assaulted their exam would probably not be processed. I assumed that every rape-test kit would be immediately processed, and the perpetrator would be arrested if they were identified. Researching this topic hit a nerve because of the injustices so many survivors of sexual assault were and are experiencing due to a lack of resources. Luckily, this bills aims to remedy this issue. Read more about this bill here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s3203/text.

Collaborating with OSJ was interesting because it allows both OSJ and Safe Church Ministry to pool our perspectives and resources in order to try to help remedy a social injustice that coincides with both of our ministries. I find that combining our resources allows us to work on providing justice to survivors on a more wide scale basis than what OSJ or Safe Church Ministry can do on their own. Collaborating with OSJ also allowed me to learn more about some of what they do to remedy injustices.

You may be asking what can I do to help solve this injustice. We urge you to help protect the vulnerable and do your part in solving this issue by contacting your members of congress. This link (https://p2a.co/AjEZ8cD) will allow you to send an email to your congress members. Sometimes I find that solving such a large injustice seems like a daunting task, but this is one small way you can contribute to achieving justice for sexual assault survivors. How many survivors will go unheard before we see real change? What will it take to see comprehensive reform?

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Community Builder

We are hoping that many future collaborations are in the future for OSJ and Safe Church. 

Participant

Thankful to see these 2 ministries making an intentional effort to collaborate together... this is one practical way we can help pursue justice on behalf of those harmed by sexual assault...  but there is much more to be done in pursuing justice on their behalfs...

one of my grievances has been that in my experience of what I have witnessed with friends who have been harmed in the Church, is that they when they reported it, they did not find justice in the church and were further harmed, suffering further injustice due to the poor response of the church leadership (I hope that is changing, time will tell, but sadly, I am not the only one who suggests that the church's response is often harmful, Rachel Denhollander also shares that same view and it is common among survivors of abuse in the Church), and so we/CRC have promoted pursuing justice in the culture (via OSJ) but not in our own denomination much. It seems, we/CRC have made pursuing justice in the secular culture/gov't a priority while we are neglecting to give at least equal attention to recognize/address numerous systemic injustices and pursue justice within our own denominational community where injustices/abuses have happened and people who have been harmed in the CRC report it to the leadership and the response is more injustice - which is so wrong, the exact opposite of scripture. (seeking justice in the culture/govt is a good thing, as long as we don't neglect taking care of those suffering injustice w/in our community as well)

Sadly, it seems it is almost the universal experience of victims (CRC and beyond), that the response of leadership is actually considerably more damaging than the original incident... also...  I don't know how many times I have heard justice conflated with vengeance from CRC leaders...  and that survivors/victims are considered vindictive and vengeful if they are seeking justice... justice is not the same as vengeance, and we are Divinely mandated to pursue justice...  starting in our own community... it would sure make things a lot easier if we had the support of all the leaders instead of the resistance and silence from far too many (sadly yes, there are leaders that have tried to squelch the conversation regarding abuse of power in the Church, hoping the focus on abuse of power would soon pass and something else would divert people's attention... one often used strategy to make something go away has been silence/no response...  sadly, that has been allowed for far too long and it is time to talk)

This is not going away!  and silence is not an option... that's the enemy's MO (John 3:19-21)...  God's way is in the light!

"There comes a time when silence is betrayal." MLK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." MLK

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." MLK

https://world.wng.org/2018/08/crouching_at_every_door

 

Community Builder

Good point Bev, that justice begins in our own house. And we must work for just on many levels from individual to institutional. It takes all of us working together.

Participant

It really does take a village ....

Participant

 .... and God working in each of our hearts and minds.

Community Builder

Thank you for continuing to keep this as an issue that needs constant attention and reform!

I intended on eventually writing an individual post at some point in the near future, but hopefully others could benefit from this as related material. While this focuses more on ministering to those who have been victims of abuse and injustice rather than calls for action, its obviously a complex problem that needs both. I know there are and have been multiple resources mentioned in the past for helping those who have been abused (domestically, or within a church context) so I'm just adding this to the list.

This year ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) is hosting a conference in Texas called "Light In The Darkness: Biblical Counseling and Abuse."  I wish I could attend but I think there are several people from my church who might be attending. You can check out all the info here: https://biblicalcounseling.com/conference/abuse/  There is a great testimony of the transforming power of the Gospel of grace by the Executive Director of ACBC, Heath Lambert. In addition to ACBC, there is also the CCEF and GrowthPress who may have many good solid resources for helping people with all problems in life, including victims of abuse.

The past two years our church has started the process of becoming a Biblical Counseling Training Center. It began when we hired a Director of Biblical Counseling who in addition to counseling many people in the area, has also began training lay counselors within our church (and soon to be trainees from other local congregations) to become Certified Biblical Counselors. 
This ministry has been so transformative and I pray that it only continues to spread more and more. It still amazes me that so many people are not exposed to it.

Anyways, perhaps the conference would be a good resource to many of you who counsel and minister to those who have been in very dark places in life. Blessings to you all.

Thank-you Eric for posting this! Another resource that has helped me personally is The Allender Centre in Seattle

Participant

these stats indicates the HUGE disconnect in the Church between victims and leaders...

96 percent of abuse victims who sought help from their churches would NOT recommend that to other victims (Source: coalition against domestic violence).

87 percent of pastors surveyed said their churches would be a safe haven for someone experiencing domestic violence. (Source: Lifeway)

Participant

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