The statement, released Wednesday (Dec. 20), is accompanied by the hashtag #SilenceIsNotSpiritual and is part of a campaign that will run through Easter on April 1, 2018.
As for the church: “There is no institution with greater capacity to create protected spaces for healing and restoration for survivors, as well as confession, repentance and rehabilitation for perpetrators,” the statement reads.
Signers include pastors, professors, heads of parachurch organizations and popular authors and speakers such as Jen Hatmaker, Rachel Held Evans, Ann Voskamp, Amena Brown and Helen Lee.
Belinda Bauman of One Million Thumbprints, who came up with the idea for #SilenceIsNotSpiritual. Photo courtesy of Belinda Bauman
The idea for the campaign calling evangelical churches to respond to physical, sexual and psychological violence against women came from Belinda Bauman of One Million Thumbprints, according to Lisa Sharon Harper of Freedom Road, who helped launch the #SilenceIsNotSpiritual campaign.
It follows the #ChurchToo movement — which, its creators are careful to note — grew out of #MeToo, a Twitter hashtag women have used to share their stories of sexual harassment and assault. #MeToo was started by social activist Tarana Burke and went viral this fall, as women in great numbers began to use the hashtag. By the thousands, they accused ordinary people — mostly men — but also famous people in politics, entertainment, journalism and other fields.
Burke recently appeared in Time Magazine’s Person of the Year issue as one of 2017’s “silence breakers.”
“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.”
In this moment, the statement proclaims, there is “a window of opportunity to bring healing in the world and in the church.”
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