The conversation this fall around sexual harassment and abuse has led millions of women to speak out about their experiences and begin demanding change in their industries. Now the movement has reached a new community: evangelical Christians.
More than 140 evangelical Christian women published a statement this week calling on churches to support women who come forward with stories of abuse, and to address what they see as silence by many church leaders and congregations.
Within about 24 hours of the statement’s release on Wednesday, it garnered more than 3,000 signatures, including prominent Christian women like authors Jen Hatmaker and Ann Voskamp, poet Amena Brown and Lynne Hybels, co-founder of one of the country’s largest churches. The statement features the hashtag #SilenceIsNotSpiritual and kicks off a campaign that will run through Easter.
“Women of all faiths, races, cultures and backgrounds are bravely breaking their silence,” the statement said, “yet many in communities of faith do not match their bravery with action. Instead, feeling the problem is too pervasive, they have acquiesced, leaving whole churches and communities paralyzed.”
The women behind the campaign — Belinda Bauman of One Million Thumbprints and Lisa Harper of Freedom Road, according to Religion News Service — said that Christian women, like women of all backgrounds, have been discussing this violence and abuse for years.
“This ‘now’ is not a new ‘now.’ There have been generations of women in the church that have been saying exactly what we’re saying for years,” Bauman told RNS. “It just happens to be a moment of decision where the structures that be can listen or not.”
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