On the second anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington, we witnessed a brilliant display of record numbers showing up around the world to show solidarity. These are trying times, but they are also exciting times as more and more people are raising their voices to be heard in new and daring ways. No longer do many of us feel constrained by our relative comfort zones or lack of obvious support for speaking our truths.
One aspect of this growing solidarity is with those who are breaking silence around their personal experiences of being violated by another person’s abuse of power in the form of sexual harassment or assault. While the majority of instances occur among women, they are not the only ones who have suffered this kind of trauma. Unfortunately, far too many of the vulnerable ones hurt have been children. Sexual abuse has been hidden from our awareness far too long, often protected by our unwillingness to address it, especially in cases where the perpetrator is seen as a respected person in their families and communities.
There are a growing number of accusations, charges, and painful stories finally told to listening ears. While these situations need to be seen and investigated as individual cases, the pattern they reveal is of longstanding abuses largely going unnoticed and unchecked. With the painful realities now coming to light in ever-increasing numbers, we can hope that finally our collective commitment will be to vigilantly protect the vulnerable among us, and hold those who abuse their power accountable.
This is just one reason why I am so proud of our congregation’s moving forward to offer OWL, Our Whole Lives sexuality education, for young people in our congregation and in the larger community. Equipping the next generations with awareness and skills for ensuring healthy relationships, and becoming prepared for learning to defend themselves in harmful situations, is long overdue. Thank you to the teachers and participants of this important, life-changing work!
See You at Church,