This blog posted is dedicated to the courageous Pat Baranowski.
I tweeted yesterday that I expect to see more women coming forward in Evangelical churches with stories of sexual abuse and harassment. Much like the #metoo movement there will be a tipping point. A time when women speak up in droves. We have been collectively triggered. The Bill Hybels story is just one of many. The time is here when women are no longer afraid of speaking their truth and are no longer invested in protecting predators who hide behind spiritual positions of authority.
I sat down to write a blog post for women who have been in those positions. I thought I would talk about the courage it takes to confront men who have been inappropriate in their behaviour. I started thinking about my own story and the pastor who asked me to kiss him. He told me he had fantasized about kissing me and he wanted just one kiss. Yes, he was married. I remember how awkward I felt and how I must have been responsible. Cleary, men couldn't hold themselves back around me.
Flash forward three decades and I shared that story with my sister. Only to discover she had the same experience with the same man. When we talked about it we realized we had both taken responsibility for his behaviour. And blown it off - “It was just a kiss.”
And then I questioned myself. Why I had let that man off the hook? Why didn’t I ever confront him and tell him how inappropriate his behaviour was? Why was it my job to protect him and his family from his behaviour? So instead of writing that blog post, I wrote an email to the man who wanted a kiss. I told him that I knew about my sister and so I suspect that there are other women as well. And I asked for an apology. Silence is not spiritual.