I BELIEVE YOU

…A message from Rev. Nancy Nourse

#MeToo is a headline again…maybe still…I can’t decide.

Les Moonves has resigned from the head of CBS because of repeated allegations.

Bill Cosby has been sentenced and imprisoned.

And yesterday Christine Ford courageously faced Kavanaugh over her sexual assault allegations against him which he vehemently denies.

The world is divided. Republicans and Democrats. Women and men. Social justice advocates and conservative-minded doubters. Some believe Ford must be lying if she took so long to come forward. Others say it takes great courage to face an accuser and most never do because people question allegations.  In the Calgary Herald this week, a woman writer (unfortunately) stated that “What happens in high school should stay in high school.”

Would you say that or agree with that if it was your daughter or sister that had been raped?

Jesus’ disciples ask him in Matthew 5 a moral question about lust. And Jesus replies, “You have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.” Even 2000 years ago, Jesus sent a clear message that no matter the cause or reason for your desires, do whatever it takes to prevent yourself from causing harm to another person. In the case of Christine Ford and all the others who have spoken up, that harm…the weapon…is caused by the most intimate parts of one’s body! And the effects last a life time…especially for the victim. The scars are hidden inside but they are there. And even for Kavanaugh, as he seeks the most powerful role in the United States, is learning that what happens in high school is coming back to haunt him all these years later.

In the Bible there are accounts of women being raped – Tamar, Dinah, the concubine of a powerful Levite. We don’t hear a lot about their story, and sadly they are silenced by men in their lives. In fact we hear more about the behaviours and lives of those men leading up to the rapes than we hear about the effects on these women after. As we know, silencing victims is part of our world still today. And while we have come a long way with regards to women’s rights since the time of these women in the Bible, we still need to gather our common voices together to say these actions are not ok, and to stand with victims.  We can change the conversation.  We can turn up the volume.

It doesn’t matter how a woman is dressed.

It doesn’t matter if the victim or perpetrator were drinking or not.

It doesn’t matter if the perpetrator is now in a high paying and respected career with a lot to lose.

It doesn’t matter if it’s high school and “boys will be boys”.

It doesn’t matter.

Rape is wrong.

Period.

I give thanks today that women are finding the courage to say #MeToo.

Let me end with just these three words in case you need to hear them today… I BELIEVE YOU.

I hope, if necessary, they instil a bit of hope or courage or healing.

Dear survivor: please know you can be courageous. And know that you are never alone.