Me Too. Two simple words are changing our society.

The good is evident: Women (and men) who have long been silent are finding their voices, naming their abuse and their abusers, and drawing strength from each other. Just as importantly, those they’re telling are listening. From a healing standpoint, all this is so significant and so good.

In our experience at Regeneration walking with men and women who have been sexually violated, here’s why this is so valuable:

First, fear, shame, and pain can compel victims to remain silent about the abuse. Many victims hope in vain that not talking about it will make it go away, but instead burying it leaves the abuse inside where it festers, and it leaves the perpetrator unaccountable for his or her offense.

But when brave ones tell their stories, others are more likely to experience hope and find their courage.

Second, many who have been sexually violated wonder if what happened to them was their fault. Did I do something to deserve this? Did I ask for it in some way? Sometimes this is literally what they’re told: If you hadn’t dressed like that… If you hadn’t been drinking so much…

Sexual assault is always the fault of the perpetrator. There is never a justifiable reason to violate another person sexually.

Third, it’s been far too common that when one does speak up, instead of getting the help and support they need, they’ve been dismissed, mistrusted, blamed, or even re-victimized. A dysfunctional community seeks to minimize, justify, or stifle stories of sexual abuse, and so heap wounds upon wounds.

A healing community is one where hurting and vulnerable ones are listened to, believed, and supported. A healing community is one that garners and uses its strength to protect the vulnerable rather than using its strength against the vulnerable. A healing community recognizes that healing from abuse takes time.

And lastly, sexual assault and abuse are widespread and common problems in large part because those who have violated others have not been held accountable. Justice matters to God. A culture cannot care for the wounded and weak if there is no justice.

On an individual level, healing from sexual abuse includes re-establishing healthy boundaries and being able to maintain those boundaries. On a cultural level, it is our collective responsibility to hold those who hurt others responsible for their actions and whenever possible, to help them also to change.

A momentum has been building in our culture, and it’s encouraging.

If you’ve been sexually violated…

Have hope. Let the many who are sharing their stories encourage you. Where you haven’t been believed before, where you’ve been too afraid before, where you’ve felt so much shame before, be encouraged. You’re not alone and you don’t need to carry this alone.

Find help. I’d encourage you to begin not by posting your story online, but by finding a safe community—a trusted counselor, therapist, friend, pastor, or loved one with whom you can share—who will listen, walk with, comfort, pray with, and over time if you so choose, help you decide whether you want to share your story with others.
If we can help in some way, please let us know. We’re here for you.

Question: Do you see other benefits of the cultural movement happening now? If so, what do you see?

Next week, I’ll discuss a few pitfalls to be aware of amidst this cultural movement, if we truly want people to be healed and free.

With you,

Thanks For Reading.

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  • This phenomenon is indeed a step in the right direction. My prayers and heart go out to the many victims known and unknown for healing. But they must not remain victims. True healing leads us out of the victim role into the victor role. God accompanies victims to overcome the evil perpetrated to freedom to forgive and be whole. Revenge keeps victims as victims. “Vengeance is mine saith the Lord.” Seeking justice means seeking God’s plan for retribution. Thanks, Josh for this invaluable ministry.s

  • I agree whole-heartedly with what you’ve written, Josh. I find myself wondering whether 20th and 21st century Americans are committing more sexual abuse than former generations. Is there a link — not for specific individuals, but for our SOCIETY as a whole–between the amount of sexual content we are exposed to? My daughter is a member of an Anabaptist-plain community. While I do not believe that mandating particular styles of clothing is necessarily biblical, their community’s standards have given me a totally new lens for looking at advertisements, shows, movies, clothing, and even what and where intimate apparel is displayed in stores. Can we believe that society has contributed to a climate of sexual harassment and abuse and still hold the individual perpetrators responsible?

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mary. You bring up an important point, and I too wonder if the amount of sexual content (especially pornography, which has become increasingly degrading and violent) we’re exposed to as a society contributes to this problem. We may need to share responsibility as a society while also holding individual’s responsible for their own actions. Regeneration is honored to walk alongside both those who have abused and those who have abused. Jesus loves both immeasurably and neither is beyond His redemption.

      • Yes, we ALL need ministry for our brokenness, no matter what the role. That’s why I love Regeneration. God bless you for taking choosing to love like Jesus, especially those (including ourselves) our society wants to put in a box and label “untouchable.” I know that in my career when I’ve chosen to love those in authority over us, even though they treated employees unfairly and cruelly, I was not in good favor with my peers.

By Josh Glaser

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