This topic will be addressed in season 2 of the Shipwreck over Safety podcast, but in an act of preparation and reflection, I’ve decided to set the stage.
Women aren’t the only people to be believed, but consistently women aren’t believed in our society today.
The stats speak for themselves.
You may also have an opinion on “well, they should report it if they want justice.”
I’m sure at one point I would’ve held that belief. For that, I’m sorry.
Society, but men in particular, are used to not believing women especially when an accusation is levied against a man.
“He’s a good family man. You want to ruin his marriage and relationship with his kids?”
“He made one little mistake, and you want to cost him his career and reputation for the rest of his life?!”
“Was it really that bad?”
“Do you have any proof?”
These are only some of the statements I’ve heard thrown around.
It shouldn’t matter that I have daughters, but that’s where my heart goes immediately. Since statistically, over 1/3 of women experience sexual assault in their lifetimes, my daughters, or my nieces, are almost guaranteed to experience this. What if no one believes them?
We need to change this.
A common rebuttal I hear is “what about false accusations?”
I faced one of them, and still, I encouraged the people she reported to to do a thorough investigation. It was terrifying, yes, but those situations are NOT the norm.
False accusations are extremely rare, while sexual assault is extremely common.
I could go into all the reasons why I think men participate in not only the abuse, but the coverups and denials of said activities. Perhaps that can be saved for another day.
My point; believe women.
Jesus believed in women to the point that he made them the first witnesses, and some of his closest companions, in a society and culture where women were considered to hold very little outward value.
It shouldn’t matter what Jesus thinks or does, BUT when looking at the #churchtoo movement, I see that churches can be some of the worst culprits of abuse AND the subsequent coverups.
I also know numerous women who have experienced abuse and sexual grooming at the hands of Christian leaders, both in the church and outside of it. So even though Christians aren’t perfect, the very least we can do when one of us messes up is to believe the victim and fight for justice.
If we choose to side with the abuser, or protect them over the victim, then we’ve completely missed the point of Jesus and the Christian faith, and we might as well stop pretending.
It’s not easy to change, but we have to.
It’s also impossible for us to suggest that it isn’t a “church problem”. If we open our eyes and our ears, we will see and hear countless women who have not only experienced the pain of betrayal by a leader, but also the pursuit of truth and justice denied, underplayed, and ignored. It’s like a second round of abuse.
Believe women and make it our problem to address and fix. Until we do this, we might as well remove Jesus from the walls of our churches, the choruses of our songs, and the closing of our prayers, because he is outside the walls weeping at the injustice countless women are encountering within those walls.
If you have experienced hurt and abuse by a man (or anyone for that matter) and have been ignored or silenced…I believe you.