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the conversation among male christian leaders on the Blasey-Ford/Kavanaugh case.

October 6, 2018
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I am watching the online conversation among some male christian leaders in response to the Blasey-Ford/Kavanaugh hearings. I hear men defending men. I hear men defending a man they don’t know to preserve an ideal male powerful life. I hear them lean away from the idea that Ford is truthful, that Ford is genuine. The political consequences of the situation seem to negate the importance of her story for any of us to pay attention to carefully.
So I turn to speak to the Male Christian leaders amongst us:
Do you want to know how sexual abuse happens, and isn’t prevented, and isn’t addressed and is left to go another generation? Do you want to know?
Do you want to know.
 
I have heard evangelical leaders speak about being committed to take zero-tolerance measures for domestic violence and sexual abuse in the church, and in our communities.
 
If you want to know about this, you will need to hear the testimonies and just believe them. Not put on your ‘objective distance of evaluation.’ – setting yourself outside the situation as if you were not already tied to one side. You are tied by experience to one side.
I know I am tied to the side of the abused. I was given no choice about that. Be honest about your bias.
 
You ask to hear our testimonies but this – so far – is what seems to happen.
 
Another woman brings her testimony and you say ‘no not that one, that principal of the college has left now and things have changed, so tht one doesn’t count’.
Another woman brings her testimony and you say ‘no not that one, he’s a high profile church leader and this is part of a smear campaign, so that one doesn’t count.’
Another woman brings her testimony and you say ‘no not that one, there were always issues with her mental health so its messy, so that one doesn’t count’.
Another woman brings her testimony and you say ‘no not that one, its a fine line, who is to say what is consensual and not in a marriage, so that one doesn’t count.’
A woman brings her testimony and you say ‘no not that one, that happened too long ago, and its all messed up with american politics so that one doesn’t count’.
A man (because, yes #notallmen) dares to endorse her testimony and you say ‘typical lefty’ – so that one doesn’t count.
 
I tell you this.
Every single instance of abuse is messy, lines were blurred – that’s how it happens.
Every single instance of abuse reporting will threaten the career/marriage/position of someone in power and have some kind of political undertone – that’s how it is.
Every single instance of abuse will lack evidence, and boil down to he says/she says; word against word, because it is in those situations that abuse of power can occur, because males know that females can’t tell without losing their own credibility, that the odds of immunity are absolutely stacked in favour of the male. And look – you ably demonstrate this phenomenon – in public, right now.
 
So uphold the system if you like, but spare us the humiliation of asking for our testimony only to further strip us of our dignity. Spare us the offence of making pronouncements of being champions of women’s safety. 

Do I sound angry and gutted by your conversation?

Do I lack grace and poise.
Yes?
Ok -good.  This is what it is like for women who have been abused to hear your public conversation. We get angry, we are sick of drawing down on our stores of grace for repeat abuse. That’s not what grace is for.  
You. Christian leaders. If you are standing there with a stone for Ford, talking about her guilt, or motives or the politicisation of the hearings –
Thankyou at least for showing us your colours.
But I ask you – what do you think you are doing?

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