#ChurchToo: Online movement highlighting sexual abuse in religious community
DALLAS – There is a new movement blowing up online, stemming from the major social media campaign, #MeToo. Men and women are tweeting their stories of sexual abuse or harassment in the religious community, using #ChurchToo.
Many claim the church didn’t believe them, tried to covered it up, or told them to just, forgive. One woman says when she was 9-years-old she reported being raped to church leaders. Instead of those leaders calling the police, she says they asked her to hug the man and tell him that she had forgiven him. According to her Tweet, they told her “…that is what Jesus would do.”
Psychiatrist James Montgomery is heavily involved with Cathedral of Hope, a church in Dallas. He says in a way, the movement can bring healing for some. “Because abuse is always about power, all of what the whole ‘too’ thing is about, is really not about sex, it’s about power.”
Montgomery grew up in a different church, a Catholic church that was sued for covering up sexual abuse. “I watch the church deny, while paying for treatment.” He’s asking the community to simply listen to one another. “People need to be heard, it doesn`t matter if we can prove or disprove that that is their experience.”
While some movies, like Spotlight have shed light on the issue, many using the hashtag hope to bring more awareness.