by Randy Daw
Lust has had its way for too long. In entertainment, at school, and even in church we hear story after story of women who have been assaulted by powerful or even “trusted” men.
Among the teenaged and adult women you know, probably one in every three has been violently assaulted. More than half have been sexually coerced or harassed.
Note: Violence includes manipulation or threats which result in sexual compliance. Any touch is violence when consent is coerced, or when consent cannot be legally given.
Many courageous women have told their stories in recent weeks. Others by the (literally) millions have responded on social media and other fora by answering “Me too.”
Other men have often seen and done nothing. Worse, they have conspired to keep an assault secret, rationalizing that the woman must have done something to bring it about. If a man knows something and does nothing, he shares the blame.
The consequences of even the “smallest” assault can reverberate in the soul of a woman for a lifetime, telling her that her own shameful conduct must have caused what was done to her. The man who defiled her will tell her the same, to deflect guilt from his own shameful deed.
If you have been assaulted or harassed, you did not cause it. It is not your shame, but his. A man who does it once will probably do it again. Your courageous voice may be all that stands between him and his next destructive act. I know that it is hard to tell. But silence is the incubator of shame. Speaking begins the healing.
In this congregation if you speak out, you will be heard. If the first person does not hear you, tell me. There is no limit to the effort I will make to protect you.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. – Ephesians 5:3