Having pastored for 30+ years, I’m not surprised by the viral #metoo from weeks ago. I know the rape culture is real. Sexual harassment is a nearly everyday occurrence for some and sexual assault is far too common. You would probably be shocked to know the numbers of people sitting in our church, week after week, who have been molested as children, assaulted as adolescents, or raped as adults. I, and our counselors at The Bridge, deal with it weekly.
I didn’t title this post #metoo because it happened to me. It didn’t. But it could have. When I was 13, My dad and I went to a baseball game in Milwaukee and our car broke down so we had to take a bus home. There were no seats together so my dad went to the back and I sat near the front next to a sleeping business man (so I thought). But the man woke up half-way into the trip and for over an hour he talked to me about his business. He was the owner/operator of “Pure Pleasure” bookstore in LaCrosse. I guess he viewed me as prey, because he described to me in detail all the sex acts that went on there and told me if I came in, he’d set me up with more booze, pot, and naked girls than I could handle (his words). I didn’t take him up on it. But now, I can imagine what would have happened to me if my pubescent curiosity had gotten the best of me. It was, no doubt, an attempt to bring in another victim. For years, I never told anyone about it.
This rape culture is real and it is a pervasive problem. We, as believers, ought to be proactive. Christians have huge opportunity to reflect Jesus in our opposition to the immorality and oppression in our culture that leads to this overwhelming problem. Here’s a couple of thoughts:
- If you are into pornography, you are a contributor, not a solution. You give energy to and subsidize it.
- Christian men, in particular, have a responsibility to call out the objectification of women that is common in many circles.
- Take the problem seriously and do not dismiss it. It is happening all around us.
- Take notice of the sexualization of our youth in media. Do not be a consumer of sexualized movies and TV.
- If you have been molested or raped and have not had counseling, The Bridge is here to help, confidentially.
- If you know an unreported incident, REPORT IT! If the perp is a loved one, still, REPORT IT!
I’ve heard people claim that more is being made of this problem than what is really happening. I believe the opposite is true. I’ve spoken to too many victims who opened up to me for the first time, many years after they had been assaulted, most as children, teenagers, or college students. We live in a fallen world and a depraved age that continues to drift further and further from God. We, of all people, need to take sin and its effects seriously, and point everyone to its only solution, the God-man who gave his life to eradicate it.