The #metoo movement has been powerful in showing us just how many victims of sexual assault there are and revealing a glimpse of what people we know and love have been through. I’m excited about the awareness and understanding this has brought to the world. It is needed. There is change needed.
Everyone would probably state that they are horrified by sexual assault, yet victim shaming still happens. We say we will fight against it, yet when it happens we just don’t want to believe that someone could do something so horrible. This is particularly a problem seen within the Christian culture, where it should not have to be expected. Within churches and Christian schools it should be safe to share. I say this because I believe I believe in these Christian environments, I believe they can take the challenge and make a change.
I am very excited to have a friend, Ali Goodrich, sharing her story. Bravely and vulnerably, she wanted to speak against the issue of victim shaming which she experienced firsthand. I am honored to have her share her story. I hope and pray this will play a part in igniting change in our hearts.
When something is broken, fix it. The Christian Education system is broken. Allow me to explain. Last year at my Christian college, I was assaulted. While I was not raped, I was deeply traumatized by the event. What was more traumatizing was the reaction that I received from the leaders at my school. I did not reveal the name of the student that assaulted me until one of my professors encouraged me to do so to prevent something worse happening to another woman. When I did meet with leadership and revealed the identity of this person, I was told that I needed to work on my boundaries. This person was given minimal consequences and even continually praised as a public figure of the university. The past year I have dealt with shame, guilt, and so much anger. I felt as though I was blacklisted by people that I truly cared about over something that was not my fault. This person invited me over to his apartment, claiming that there were other people there, and continued to make advances despite me expressing my disinterest multiple times. I said no.
I said no.
While I said no, I was still told that I needed better boundaries. While I said no, I was still told that I should never be alone with a man. I said no, but I was still blamed. I was still humiliated. I was still hurt. I told the truth and I faced the consequences. I felt alone, so, so alone. I am still angry, but I will speak out against injustice, I will speak for the truth. The system is broken. I challenge those who read this to endeavor to fix it. Especially Christians. Women are valued and treasured by God. While my relationship with the church and my view on Christianity at large has suffered, I am confident that Christ loves, cherishes, and protects His followers. Jesus speaks for the victims of injustice and those that victimize others will be punished. Awareness needs to be drawn to the injustices that are still taking place within our educational system. The Christian education system tends to fall on the side of victim shaming, which goes against everything that Christ stands for. Sexual assault is against God’s law. How can a Christian institution still participate in victim shaming in light of this truth? How do we fix the problem?
I implore Christians leaders to take a stand against sexual harassment and sexual assault in every aspect. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, it is hard. Let us not fall into the temptation of remaining silent and ignoring the problem. Jesus has a heart for justice, He has a heart for women, He has a heart for his people that are crying out and waiting to be heard. Leaders, stop blaming the victim. This is absolutely against the very nature of justice and shows the non-believing world that maybe Christians don’t care about women. The world already thinks that religion oppresses women, let’s not prove them right. The church should be the champion of women’s rights because that reflects the very heart of Jesus. We need to speak out for the victims of injustice in every shape and form, no matter how uncomfortable, no matter how hard, no matter the cost.