Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The church’s response to sexual assault survivors

From Christian Century- (Gay Jennings)

Since Christine Blasey Ford came forward to tell her story of being sexually assaulted by new Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh when the two were teenagers, many female clergy have been logging long hours listening to stories of sexual abuse and harassment from women they know, and sometimes women they don’t. In Facebook messages, at coffee hour, and in anguished late-night emails, women who belong to the church and women who left long ago are summoning the courage to tell the stories of what happened to them at the hands of fathers, boyfriends, brothers, classmates, colleagues, bosses, and yes, clergy and bishops.

Plenty of clergy are doing heroic work providing support and care for women reliving trauma, and many are doing so while struggling themselves with memories of abuse. But the institution of the church has little to offer abuse survivors in the way of liturgy, public prayer, or formal acknowledgement of the pain that has seared their lives.

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