It’s not an incident. It’s abuse.
If you are getting weary of more sexual assault allegations coming out every day, you are not alone. The #MeToo campaign is shining a spotlight on widespread misogynistic behavior, ranging from unprofessional to full-scale assault.
As overwhelming as this feels, it pales in comparison to the lives of victims.
Indeed, this movement is upending many of our institutions. TIME magazine announced “The Silence Breakers” as their 2017 Person of the Year. Oprah Winfrey drew widespread praise for her speech at the Golden Globes earlier this week, proclaiming, “The time is up” for sexual harassers.
All of this is good news. These stories are finally coming out of the dark.
As I have written before—and will continue to speak out on—we cannot ignore the stories of these victims, even if we find ourselves numbed by the sheer quantity. The church must lead, not merely follow along, in support of all who have endured abuse, neglect, and injustice.
This is at no time truer than when it hits home. This week it did.
This week, allegations were made against Andy Savage, the megachurch teaching pastor at Highpoint Church in Memphis, regarding an event that took place 20 years ago when Savage was serving as a youth pastor in Texas.
According to his accuser’s testimony, 22-year-old Savage coerced the then 17-year-old Jules Woodson to participate in sexual activity. Woodson reports that he apologized immediately after the incident, asking her to remain silent. When Woodson refused, according to her testimony, the church instructed her to keep quiet.
It’s About The Victims
When Woodson tried to reach out to Savage a month ago by email, she indicated she never heard back. Instead, Savage confessed the “sexual …