“The Faith Community is Not Immune to Sexual Violence”

“The Faith Community is Not Immune to Sexual Violence”

April 24, 2018

Written by Bishop Walter Harvey, senior pastor of Parklawn Assembly of God church and 2018 Denim Day co-chair alongside Mayor Tom Barrett

Since The New York Times first released an investigation of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in October, it seems that every day is plagued with new accusations of sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry, politics, and even the faith community.

As a pastor, I know all too well that the church is not immune to sexual violence. Our pulpits and pews are touched by both victims and predators. More than half of women who experience sexual violence are churchgoers. One in five girls and one in twenty boys are victims of sexual abuse. Three in ten women and one in ten men in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner.

Silence is killing the church. The Bible is not silent on this sin, neither can we be silent. We must be a prophetic voice at such a time as this. It is time for the faith community and leadership to recognize that our pews and pulpits are full of sexually-broken people. It is time to use our pulpits and faith institutions to change from shame to support.

Denim Day is an opportunity to convey welcome and belonging not blame; support and service not shame; protection and prayer, not predatory behavior, to all people.

I encourage you to support Denim Day by wearing jeans on Wednesday, April 25. Visit denimdaymke.org  to get resources and participate.

Follow Denim Day Milwaukee on Facebook

Help support survivors by purchasing one or more items to be included in self-care kits, which will be donated to those in treatment.

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