Sexual violence is everywhere.
It is insidious.
If we're paying attention, we can’t turn around without bumping into it.
Every 2 minutes in America someone is sexually violated. EVERY. TWO. MINUTES.
And, I, for one, am tired of it...
I am tired of being told that coercion is the same thing as consent.
I am tired of coming out as a survivor over and over again, only to wonder each time if my story will be met with belief or skepticism.
I am tired of being told that my belovedness, my beauty - created by the most creative creator - is somehow tainted or tarnished or forever broken.
I am tired of hearing words thrown at me and other women like paint splattered on a canvas: “slut,” “tease,” "temptress."
I am tired of being told that if only we didn’t wear certain clothes, or walk alone at night, it would all be okay.
I'm so tired, in fact, that I cannot be silent anymore. Church, it is time to get loud. It is time to tear the veil from these experiences, and preach some bold, prophetic witness into this broken world. It is time to take our battle wounds turned victory scars into our pulpits and outside of our walls. It is time to look deeply into the eyes of each of God’s beloved children to tell them they are an original, God’s beloved, in whom God is well pleased. They are not tainted or tarnished or broken or forever defined by those who did them harm.
It is time to wail, to gnash our teeth, to cry out with those beautiful psalms of anger and lament to our governing bodies and broken systems that continue to perpetuate sexual violence.
We have a theological responsibility to put an end to rape culture and to victim blaming. We have a Christian responsibility to create space for dialogue that will break the silence, end the shame, and give voice to the voiceless.
There are so many among us who need to know that they are butterflies: beautiful, unique, and ready to fly.
For the teenage girl who is trapped in a cycle of sexual violence with a boyfriend who would “never do something like that,” and she’s too afraid to ask for help…
For the child who knows no reality outside of sexual abuse, and needs safe community, free from shame, and a word of hope to come back to life…
For every woman who is told in big ways and in small ones she is somehow responsible for the sexual violence committed against her…
It’s time to break the silence and be transformed!
Dear God, thank you for the powerful prophet that is Rae Karim, and her prayer spoken above. May her words and her testimony embolden us to create a world where no one need be silent, afraid, or paralyzed by shame anymore. It is in Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Thanks to Heidi Carrington Heath; pastor extraordinaire, voice for the voiceless, and writer of this important post! And, a big SALT thank you to Rae Karim for her poetry and courage. Keep your eye on this strong woman of faith - she has plans to get young people around the country talking, healing, and transforming.