That's the statement roaring across the internet right now.
With good reason.
I don't know a single woman that hasn't experienced some form of sexual harassment or sexual assault in her lifetime. Not one. For the lucky ones, like me, our experiences were minor in comparison to those who experienced rape or other abuses.
Studies say 1 in 4 women are raped, but that the number may be closer to 1 in every 2 women due to a lack of reporting. I remember being a young child walking down the streets in a t-shirt and shorts being subjected to wolf whistles and jeering. I was maybe 10. TEN. For 30 days, Noa Jansma posted photos on Instagram of her with the men that cat called her on the street (IG: dearcatcallers). There are 22 pictures. That's 22 picturess too many.
The issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault isn't something Christians should ignore, it's something that should outrage us. The BIble is incredibly clear that this behavior is unacceptable. As Christian women, we should be leading the charge in this movement. Lending our voice to the cause. Sexual harassment and worse is not only morally wrong, but it's biblically wrong:
"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving."
Ephesians 5:3-4 (NIV)
"And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her."
Genesis 32: (ESV)
I could rant on for ages about how it took something as extreme as a Hollywood producer's despicable behavior finally being outed (after decades of it being swept under the rug) to open people's eyes. That it took being in a period of political turmoil to add fuel to a fire for women to finally find their voice. But that's not productive. Yes, we've been ignored for years. Our voices were ignored, but we don't need to let it stay that way.
What I love about this moment, about this #metoo status, is that it's opening up the eyes to a lot of men about how pervasive the problem really is. Will all men listen? No. I'm positive women will still be subjected to all kinds of harassment and abuse. However, maybe it won't just be "women whining" anymore. Maybe more people will listen. Maybe more people will confront the bad behaviors. Maybe we'll see more perpetrators go to jail or be ostracized from the communities that once ignored the damage they were doing.
I have seen the status of several men who have said they didn't realize just how big an issue this was. One friend said, "I only know it is true, that you felt it, you suffered, and you were harmed. It happens all too often. And I’m sorry. The names that came through on my timeline, made me say, ‘you?’ and ‘you?’, over and over and over again. Keep it up, you don’t know what might make it change."
And we don't know what will make it change, but I feel God is using this moment, and we shouldn't ignore it. God is telling us to speak up and speak out. He does not ask us to remain silent. He shines his light on injustice and hurt, and for once, people are watching and listening. So let's all stand and share our voices. Post your #metoo story. Speak up for your friends who you can say #themtoo, because when was the last time you saw a post that said #notme?
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