This is a challenging and sometimes heartbreaking time in our nation.
The hearing to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was contentious and divisive. It unveiled – once again – the deep differences in our country. Additionally, the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault when both were teenagers, and Kavanaugh’s subsequent testimony were distressing on many levels.
For some, witnessing Blasey Ford’s testimony has brought to the surface their own memories of sexual abuse or assault, in ways that are painful, raw and distracting.
Whether the assault was reported and tried, stated and dismissed, or kept hidden away, this may be a time of additional stress. The first three days after the hearing, witnessed a 338 percent increase in calls reporting sexual assault.
Others are now reflecting on their own behavior in the distant or recent past and wish to reconsider their actions and, perhaps, to make amends.
Still others are deeply troubled by the possibility of being accused of misdeeds they have not committed. Many – especially in public professions – have lived through an implicit or explicit trial of a false accusation.
I affirm that our Lord Jesus Christ goes with us in these troubling times – nationally and personally.
Jesus and the prophets before him were, in God’s name, always concerned for victims of injustice. Jesus weeps with those who are weary, angry and afraid and walks forth into the halls of power with the courage to bring about justice.
Speaking one’s truth and being heard is a significant component of healing and – then – empowerment.
No one should compel another to tell their story, yet, we are – as Alcoholics Anonymous teaches – only as sick as our secrets. If you are burdened by memories and have not processed them, consider finding a safe place, a trusted person, with whom to speak. One place to turn is RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673, which can direct you to local resources. They also have an online chat option available 24/7.
Please know that you can speak to me, in confidence, about your past experiences, your current fears, your sense of powerlessness, or your anger.
We may want to consider is to have a gathering time, within our congregation, for survivors of sexual assault or a safe, civil conversation on the issues raised. Let me know if you would be interested in pursuing either option.
Let’s remain open, supportive and in prayer for one another and our neighbors.
The Church of Jesus Christ is called to be a place of refuge, where all people can take shelter– regardless of gender, orientation, age, sin, or suffering. Let us be that place of shelter for one another and those who suffer. Together we can cultivate a culture where injuries can be revealed, the victim cared for, and wrongdoing addressed. Through the wisdom and grace of God’s Spirit, we can help create a pathway to truth and justice. That is where the peace of reconciliation is found.