By Victor Ochieng
Big names have fallen after s*xual harassment accusations started flying around following similar accusations against former Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein. From Hollywood to Washington, D.C., the media to the corporate world, people holding lofty positions have been toppled.
The truth of the matter is that churches cannot be left out, considering they also have their cases of s*xual harassment.
Some survivors of s*xual harassment in places of worship have come forward to tell their tales and name their abusers.
It all began with the stories of Hannah Paasch and Emily Joy, the two who took to Twitter to share their stories of abuse at the hands of church leaders. They used the hashtag #ChurchToo to tell their stories. Following their bold move, more people started using the hashtag to share their stories as well, both men and women. Some talked of being pursued for s*xual relationships by youth pastors to others saying they were blamed for having been s*xually abused.
It would be foolish for the church to sit aloof, believing that the scourge hasn’t wormed its way to its ranks. This isn’t the first time s*xual abuse in the church is playing out in the public. We’ve been hearing about such cases for some time now, but it’s just disappointing that many churches choose to either completely do nothing about it or do too little.
“I was 11. I went to the restroom. I was followed by the youth pastor. He grabbed my arm. I was lucky enough to fight him off and escape. I just wonder how many girls weren’t so lucky,” shared one Twitter user called Carrie.
Many people are tired of raising s*xual harassment issues with nothing being done about them. One would be tempted to ask what the Catholic Church has done to curb cases of priests getting s*xually involved with minors. It’s not wrong to ask what many of our churches, where workers and the spiritual leaders have been accused of s*xually molesting minors, are doing to stop such things from happening in the future.
“If I can ask anything of Christian Twitter today, it’s that the #ChurchToo tweets be received rather than reacted to. Do not concern yourselves with the intent of those sharing their stories, but with the steps *you* can take to ensure the horrors done to them are not repeated,” said Abby Perry on Twitter.
The church too must stand up and do something. If the secular world is waking up to the reality and dropping their key leaders, why not the church?