#NotAgain: Resources for Moving Forward from #MeToo

Until we learn how to work past our discomfort, we are going to see #MeToo-type movements come back again and again and again.

About a month ago I decided I wanted to write one more post about the #MeToo movement, this time simply giving you a list of resources for women, men, and church leaders. Although this isn’t directly about marriage, it IS about something that has had an impact on far too many marriages. I know that many of my readers have experienced sexual misconduct in some fashion. This is an issue that matters to many of us as well as to many we encounter in our lives.

I wanted to wait until things had died down a bit from the constant string of allegations in the fall, thinking that would make it easier for us all to reflect on what was important in addressing sexual misconduct and supporting survivors. That way it would be easier to focus on the issue rather than have you think this was about any one situation.

Unfortunately, things haven’t died down. During the past several days, in fact, I’ve seen two things that reminded me how far we have to go.

One is news about a pastor’s admission that he committed sexual assault twenty years ago as a youth pastor—and the congregation’s response to his admission. This has brought about much-needed conversations about what it means to forgive and about how we should—and should not—respond when a person comes forward with an accusation of sexual misconduct.

The second thing I’ve seen is a video going around Facebook in which a woman says that a lot of women participating in the #MeToo movement are guilty, pointing out that these women should have known better than to accompany their bosses to their hotel rooms. She says, in essence, that unless there is a gun to a woman’s head, she isn’t a real victim. Furthermore, she takes issue with the fact that many men have been losing their jobs due to accusations about incidents long ago that cannot be proven and that she says weren’t really sexual harassment in the first place. She represents a great deal of frustration with the #MeToo movement and with how allegations are handled.

These two things—news about sexual misconduct within the church and a viral anti-#MeToo video—highlight how much work we have ahead of us—as a society, as individuals, and as a church.

I’ll still give you a list of resources, but I want to say a few things first.

Every time I see yet another thing in the news about sexual misconduct or about #MeToo, I sigh a sigh of weariness. Not again, I think. Why is this so hard for us to figure out?

We have so many questions: What does it mean to support a victim? How can we minister to both the victim and the person who has been accused? Can we recognize God’s redemptive work in the heart and life of a person who committed sexual misconduct? Should proof automatically result in a job loss? Should lack of proof result in no consequences at all? What counts as proof, anyway? How can we help a person restore what was broken at some point in the past? How can we acknowledge a person’s sinful nature and bad choices long ago? How can we help people walk in repentance and forgiveness? Can we do so without heaping on shame? How can we show Christ’s love and bring glory to God as we respond to accusations?

Learning the Uncomfortable

As we consider all these questions, one thing we can do is to learn and absorb. We can listen to the stories of those who have come forward with their own experiences as victims or as accused perpetrators of sexual misconduct. Whether or not we understand the choices they made, we can acknowledge that their pain or regret is real and acknowledge the very real impact that their experiences had on their lives.

We can learn from how churches have handled allegations so we can aspire to the good examples and learn to do better than what the negative examples show us.

We can try to understand what is carried in the hearts of those who have sexually harassed or assaulted, those who have been harassed or assaulted, and those who have been in the position of responding to allegations.

No matter what your views are on the #MeToo movement or on the specifics of any particular situation, we need to remember these things:

  • Both a victim of sexual misconduct and a perpetrator of sexual misconduct are sinners.
  • Both are God’s beloved children, created in His image.
  • Both are people with lives and loved ones who will be affected by allegations, whether the incident happened last week or last century.
  • Both will encounter difficulty as a result of the allegations.
  • Both are deserving of our love, compassion, and ministry.

In order to move forward in any meaningful way, we are all going to have to learn to do some things that will be uncomfortable.

We need to learn to listen, confront, rebuke, forgive, ask hard questions, listen to unsettling answers, make decisions, and be like Christ. It isn’t always easy, and it is certainly isn’t always comfortable.

Until we learn how to work past our discomfort, we are going to see #MeToo-type movements come back again and again and again.

Let’s figure out how to work past that discomfort so can can better minister to those in our lives who have been victims,  have committed sexual misconduct, are married to those involved in accusations, and who are in church leadership positions. Let’s support our sisters and our brothers in Christ.

Resources

So here are the resources I collected to share with you. Some were suggested to me over a month ago. A few are more recent.

This list contains a wide variety of resources. Some are for women; others are for men. Both news and opinions are on the list. I’ve included resources from both conservative and liberal sites. Many are from Christian sites, but some are not. I don’t agree with everything I’ve listed here, and I expect you won’t, either.

Read and learn from some of these posts. Let yourself be uncomfortable with what you read. (Is this where they would say to “lean in” to the discomfort?) Seek to feel compassion for all who are mentioned in the story, even if it doesn’t come easily to you.

My Posts
Sex Chat for Christian Wives Podcast Episode

Note: I will continue to add links to this for a while. If you have a suggestion about a link that will help others better understand the suffering of those who have experienced sexual harassment or assault or that will help other understand how to make things better in their own sphere of influence, please send it to me at chris@forgivenwife.com.

Until we learn how to work past our discomfort, we are going to see #MeToo-type movements come back again and again and again.

Image credits | Christianpics.co

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

8 Comments on “#NotAgain: Resources for Moving Forward from #MeToo”

  1. “Allow yourself to be uncomfortable”

    I’ll make you a deal. If you stop linking to Sojourners, which is a Marxist Liberation Theology publication, and Red Letter Christians, a pro gay marriage site, I will gladly peruse the rest of it. The Washington Post is okay only because nobody confuses it with a Christian website.

    1. I intentionally included a variety of sites, including ones I knew some of my readers would dislike. In order to learn and be able to discuss issues in meaningful ways, it helps to understand other perspectives. If you don’t like those sites, don’t read those articles.

      1. As a conservative, I am offended at the gross apostasy of some of your linked sites. So which ones might a liberal object to? Hmmm. Smash the patriarchy? Nope. Roy Moore is evil? Nope. The church needs to give women more leadership roles? Nope. Sexist churches? Nope. Attacks on purity culture? Nope. Pushing Christian feminism? Nope. Attacks on men? Nope.

        I guess you decided that liberals should not have to read anything they might dislike.

        1. The purpose of these links was specifically to help people think about how to support those who have suffered as a result of sexual misconduct. Some of those links are to sites that some liberals will struggle with, just as others are from those that conservatives will struggle with. I do not view this as a political issue. I have experienced and witnessed so much suffering as a result of sexual misconduct, and it is an issue that should rise above political perspectives. This is about helping people who are suffering. The articles are intended to help you understand the suffering and think about what you can do in your own sphere of influence to address it. I’m disappointed to know that someone is unwilling to learn how others think.

        2. As a fellow conservative and a Christian, allow me to pass along some advice that was given to me years ago. Complaining without offering solutions is whining. RickyB, you claim that the websites have too strong of a liberal bent but offer no solution. I challenge you to do the following. instead of giving Chris an ultimatum that you will only “peruse the rest of” Chris’s list if she removes the sites you find offensive, provide her links to resources that meet the criteria of her post that also meet your standards of conservative theological perspectives. Doing so will show that you are serious regarding your concerns and not, as Paul’s letter to the Corinthians puts it, just a sounding brass or noise-making cymbal.

        3. @BigGuy says I gave an ultimatum. I gave NO ultimatum. In fact, the only reason I know about the liberal bent of many of these sites is because I read them on occasion. My point was always that liberals deserve to be offended every bit as much as I do. But they never are. Conservatives a supposed to be tough and take being challenged. I agree. But why do we Christians have to coddle the snowflakes on the left. I challenge Chris to point to one of those articles that a liberal would be offended by.

          Okay @BigGuy, here goes:

          [links removed with explanation in my reply]

          Do I vouch for all of these sites? Of course not. But in the spirit of open and honest debate and transparent communication, let’s all have our voices heard. Even the politically incorrect have feelings, too.

        4. Your first comment essentially said this: “I’ll make you a deal. If you stop x, I will gladly do y.” That is an ultimatum.

          I will not point you to which sites might offend a liberal for two reasons: 1) I am not going to treat this as a political issue here, and 2) I am not going to engage in a debate about it.

          My blog exists to support women who are trying to address things that interfere with the sexual intimacy in their marriages. (Just an FYI: I have a lot of posts that focus on men’s perspectives of sex and their need for sex, and I’ve had quite a few feminists tell me I am way too tough on women and that I am disregarding the importance of consent. I’m absolutely not doing this, but the effect is that I’ve offended people in ways that you might applaud.)

          I want to support women who are hurting and are trying to heal so they can heal their marriages and embrace sexual intimacy. I added some of your recommended links into my list because they fit with the purpose of this post. However, I deleted several others you provided–not because of their political bent but for other reasons. Some were critical of women who have made accusations. For a woman who has suffered as a result of someone else’s sexual misconduct, that kind of post can be deeply hurtful to read. While it is true that there are false accusations made, I am mostly concerned here with providing healing for those who need it. The purpose of this post is to support and to encourage others to support and provide healing. I deleted another link because it was about men protecting themselves against accusations of sexual harassment. Is this important to discuss? Absolutely! We must have those difficult and uncomfortable conversations as a society and in our churches.

          You refer to the spirit of open and honest debate, and you speak to the value of having all voices heard. I agree with you there. But this place–on my site that gives women a soft place to gather their courage and know that they are not alone in their hurt–is not the place for that.

        5. Chris has compiled an extensive list from which readers can choose what to read. Look, while we should not allow false teachers in our congregations and beware of false teachings, we Christians should be able to sift through resources and glean information that contributes to our understanding of truth. As St. Augustine said, “A person who is a good and true Christian should realize that truth belongs to his Lord, wherever it is found, gathering and acknowledging it even in pagan literature, but rejecting superstitious vanities and deploring and avoiding those who ‘though they knew God did not glorify him as God’ . . .” Later, theologian John Calvin put it this way: “All truth is from God; and consequently, if wicked men have said anything that is true and just, we ought not to reject it; for it has come from God.”

          As a marriage blogger myself, when I provide a link to good information, it does not mean I endorse everything on that site. For instance, The Gottman Institute has done fabulous research that sheds light on having a good marriage, with conclusions that go right along with the biblical description of love; however, they also include relationships that don’t involve a biblically consistent marriage covenant. Should I exclude all the good they have to offer because of my disagreement with that portion? I don’t.

          We all make such choices in our lives every day, whether we’re aware of it or not. Perhaps we shop at a store that sells products or books we object to (e.g., Walmart sells Fifty Shades of Grey), or go to a movie theater that shows R-rated films we find offensive. Likewise, sometimes being in the world but not of the world means we filter through what’s out there, rather than rejecting it all.

          My two cents. And just an FYI — I’m speaking for myself here, not Chris. So if you want to argue these points, do so with me, please.

Leave a Reply!