One Brave Voice At A Time
Every day in churches and communities around the world children are sexually abused, and far too often those children are blamed in some capacity for the abuse they suffered. Anyone viewing this sad state of society with clarity can see that change is desperately needed, and that change often depends at least partially on those in positions of leadership to help turn tiny ripples into waves. But what happens when people with influence and power perpetuate the devastating epidemic of victim shaming and blame shifting?
For instance, if a pastor of a large Christian congregation who also has a substantial worldwide audience tells his followers that a young girl who is abused and raped for several of her teen-aged years holds responsibility for what happened to her, what message are we sending to other victims of sexual abuse?
And if the girl who was abused didn't find solace or safety in her church community but was instead shunned while her abuser was welcomed, and then years later, when she finally finds the bravery to speak out about it, is called a liar and accused of being desperate for attention, how can we expect any victim who has not yet told their story to feel safe opening up and seeking help?
When victims of abuse are not offered safety, empathy, support, and acceptance free of judgment, the effects of their abuse are compounded. The consequences of not choosing love even when it's most needed are severe. Society has a collective responsibility and too often we are choosing the convenient path and failing the weakest among us.
The good news is that corrupt leaders tend to become irrelevant over time, and we need not rely on institutions to bring about change. Each of us can make a difference, one brave voice at a time, by choosing to love when others blame, by choosing to stand up for the weak even if you are the only one by their side, and by acknowledging the importance of being able to say, "I am willing to change and learn."