This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Abuse is a faith issue

Donald Trump and others may view his boasting about lewd and vile actions against women as just locker-room banter. However, he is talking about sexual assault. Trump’s statements, and those who dismiss his comments, cause retraumatization to victims and survivors. To dismiss this as just the way men talk fuels sexual assault and abuse. One in three females experiences sexual assault before the age of 18. Dismissive remarks like Trump’s are one reason this statistic is so high. He is a sexual predator, and his comments promote a rape culture.

Churches need to speak about this from the pulpit. If churches truly seek to be safe sanctuaries, to protect children and women from sexual abuse and care for victims and survivors, then faith institutions cannot remain silent. When churches remain silent about sexual perpetrators, it only serves to silence and shame victims and embolden and encourage perpetrators.

This is not a political issue. This is a faith issue. Speaking up about lewd and abusive comments, or abusive actions by any politician, celebrity or person with power and position, is one way to put action to our words and policies. Speaking up strengthens our commitment to keep everyone safe from sexual abuse.

Katherine Burkey Wiens
Newton, Kan.

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