Does the church have a problem with sexual abuse?

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What do I think of Mary DeMuthís book published by Harvest House? Letís plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A few years ago, the #MeToo movement started. It really gained a lot of momentum when the Kavanaugh hearings were going on and sadly, thatís when I think it also lost a lot of it. Many people started viewing the claims with suspicion. There are also concerns now that a guy and a girl can hook up somewhere and later on she can cry rape.

Despite this, no one would deny that sexual abuse is a problem today and it is sadly a problem in the church as well. This isnít just the Catholic Church Iím talking about. Itís in other churches as well, including the Protestant ones, and our atheist friends are more than happy to point out when a pastor falls into sexual sin. Not only pastors, but many men in the pews are involved in this kind of thing. Even if a man is not actively using a woman in front of him, many men struggle with porn and women become objects.

Mary DeMuth writes from the position of a sexual abuse overcomer. I say overcomer instead of survivor because I prefer that term. Survivor refers to someone who lived through it. Thatís great, but itís even better when you pick up the pieces of your life and work on healing and overcome it so you can function still. The experience will always be with you, but God is a powerful healer.

DeMuthís message is a simple one. I could sum it up this way. Listen. Really. Just listen. Too many times victims are not heard because the accused perpetrator is such a good man supposedly. When court hearings take place, the victim often stands alone while the church comes and sits on the side of the accused.

I was also pleased to see her reference the activity going on around Paige Patterson recently. Thatís a topic I did some coverage on and what happened to him is a testament to how much more seriously weíre taking this now. The sad reality though is that women still often donít think they can safely talk about what happened at church services.

By the way, thatís one criticism I do have of the book. DeMuth does state how much this happens to women. Something that is left out is that while it is rarer, men are abused too. I would have liked to have seen it pointed out that all abuse is wrong including that which happens to the male of the species. Men might be even less likely to report sexual abuse to them since that male pride kicks in.

I also do think itís important that we teach women still some tips on safety. I know the victim isnít to blame, but in this day and age, women need to be careful. If youíre a woman and your male boss invites you up for a meeting in his hotel room one night, I wouldnít take it. We all know of stories about the casting couch at various places.

We men need to be protectors as well. A woman can feel much safer I suspect if she has a father, a husband, a brother, an uncle, a cousin, or some man who is willing to be there for her and let her know sheís not to be abused this way. We could all do our part to help fight the pornography institution and its constant objectifying of men and women both.

Sexual abuse is a shame when it happens anywhere, but especially so when it happens in whatís supposed to be the body of Christ. We who represent the one who honored women the most ought to be a place where any woman can come and feel safe. We also need to provide counseling and support to these women who have been through such abuse. Hopefully, a book like this will help us all be more aware.

In Christ,
Nick Peters