Although Leslie Scanlon is right in this article about the church being relatively silent on the #MeToo movement, there is not a church coffee hour or holiday party I’ve attended in the past few weeks in which the topic of sexual assault has not been mentioned by at least one woman in conversation. My private and professional emails contain several stories from friends and strangers about their experiences.
The great majority of women have been assaulted, inappropriately propositioned, or objectified in our congregations. We are simply trained not to talk about it, make a fuss, take it personally.
My question is always: “Guys, does that work for you?”
Does it work to proposition a friend or colleague at a church retreat? I remember that time at a preaching conference when a guy showed me a photo of his pregnant wife and then asked me if I’d like to go skiing with him for the weekend – without his wife.
I remember that time at a church retreat a week before my wedding – when a “friend” whose wife was also a friend – propositioned me “for a last fling.” Really, does that work?
I remember sitting in the hotel bar with friends after a long day of workshops watching a male colleague go from woman to woman to woman – all church leaders, most married, most colleagues of that guy – trying to find someone who was up for going to his room.
I remember the worshipper who – on his way out of worship in the greeting line – told me he was having dreams about me wearing an outfit I’m too embarrassed to detail in this post. His wife was standing beside him.
Does this work for you? Again – apparently, it does, at least sometimes.
Note: I honestly believe that there are men who do not try these things. But there are plenty who do. Let’s talk about it openly.
In talking about it, maybe even those guys will realize that it’s not okay.
Image from YouTube.