As I write, FaceBook feeds are filled with the stories of women and men, using the hashtag #MeToo– sharing their stories of sexual abuse and harassment. Heartbreaking. Painful. Disgusting. Revolting. Roiling. Why are there so many? Why have they suffered in silence for so long?
These individuals are known and unknown to me, some are good friends. For some I’m hearing their stories for the first time. For others I’ve been privileged to be part of their healing journey.
The persons are young and old, celebrities and “unknowns.” But sharing a common pain and wanting the world to know and do something about it.
As well-known media moguls have fallen, many powerful and corrupt men are asking #MeToo? Embarrassed to be outed and called to account. Issuing denials and muted (forced) apologies through their lawyers.
Seeing all the stories almost made me want to conjure up one of my own. Oh, there was the time a boyfriend held my hand a little too long. I wanted to break free and finish off the date since I didn’t much care for him anyway! Another time a man came on too friendly as I waited on him at the library. But no, I’ve never been sexually abused.
Sometimes this reminds me of the cartoon I saw of a lone man sitting in the front of a large auditorium filled with empty seats. When asked why he’d come he replied, “I’m attending a conference on “Functional Families.”
Yes, we’ve all been “victimized”, treated unjustly, been part of dysfunctional families, organizations, or churches. But there’s been so much good too – and that’s what I want to celebrate. Sometimes we’ve gotten it right. We’ve experienced protection, salvation, grace!
I knew my father and mother loved me deeply — their third of eight children. I was provided for, comforted, encouraged. I didn’t always agree with the punishments administered at home and boarding school (what child does?!), but I never doubted that most adults in my world unselfishly had my best interests in mind. I was not abused, demeaned.
I was a virgin when I married at age 20 – to a man who was also a virgin. Together we explored the heights and depths of love – and parented three children on three continents.
I trusted my husband – completely. He was open and transparent with me – confessing his sexual temptations – the way he enjoyed (a little too much) the attentions of an attractive fellow teacher, the books and magazines he was tempted to browse when alone in an airport. Together we purposed to “walk in the light” with one another.
I’ve worked for nine different male bosses at Rosedale Mennonite Missions, Rosedale Bible College, and Eastern Mennonite Missions over the course of 30 years. Never once did I hear a lewd comment or feel belittled. Never once was I propositioned or flirted with. I have also supervised men, and likewise had a good, warm working relationship.
That’s what I want to highlight. To celebrate. We have much for which to give thanks in our close-knit, Christ-following communities of faith. Together we are submitted to Christ – striving to live holy lives of faith and obedience to the high call of Christ. To seek first the Kingdom of God.
And it makes a difference. A huge difference. It’s not Hollywood. NBC. Fox News. CNN. It’s Rosedale. It’s Lancaster, Istanbul, Addis Ababa….
I’ve been privileged to grow up in a sheltered community. One that purposes to “dwell in the shelter of the Most High.” One that bows to the Lord of heaven and earth. Not to the gods of money, fame, sex, power.
And that’s why I can say “Thank God and my faith communities that it’s #NotMeToo!” And when there have been failures – as I know there are—there is forgiveness. There is a Redeemer.