#METOO: Part 1

The progress we've made to dignify women as image bearers is not enough. This was on repeat in my brain last week like a mantra. The progress we've made to dignify women as image bearers is not enough. The progress we've made to dignify women as image bearers is not enough.

So, I went to Facebook and posted:

Maybe it's the one year anniversary of 45’s tapes dropping or the Lecrae concert or #metoo trending or Weinstein or that it's Domestic Violence Awareness Month or that I am reading Genesis 14-19 in message prep mode, but I am beyond fed up with misogyny. I'm done. I'm so done. And I'm undone. 

Behind the scenes I was journaling this:

Maybe it was Weinstein. His little clause protecting him from being fired for abusing women kept me from sleeping a few nights ago. To say I was affected is benign. Maybe it’s because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and until my husband preached a sermon that addressed domestic violence a few weeks ago, I’d never heard it talked about from a pulpit at church. God, I love that man. Maybe it’s because I’m knee deep in study in Genesis and the violent crimes against women in the Bible are too much to bear without a constant reminder of Revelation 21. That back drop of patriarchy and misogyny are painful reminders things are not as they should be. But after lots of thought, no, it wasn’t those things. It’s the #metoo. That’s when I said I’m done. I’m so done. I’m undone. 

And then a few hours later I posted this:

Me too. When I waited tables at Outback Steakhouse in College Station, a firefighter (married with kids) tried to kiss my crotch in front of his firemen buddies as he told a joke about violating women. I threw his food on him, quit the job and walked out without my last pay check.
While reading my Bible in Addison, TX and sporting my shiny wedding ring, two men walked into the Starbucks to order drinks but stopped to talk to me and ask me out. I told them I was married. He told me he didn't care and it might be time to find a new husband. I ended up telling him a firm sassy “NO” five times to get out of that conversation before I finally had to just leave. Reminder, that sounds like, “No. No. No. No. No.”
A few weeks back I was walking hand in hand with my 4-year-old son into the gym and was whistled at and yelled at.
*Most* of my friends have been raped.
*Almost all* of my girlfriends can tell stories about this [sexual harassment] in their workplace.
If you are insulated from this, wake up. If you're not talking about this in your churches, wake up. If you think women are being dramatic about this, you're wrong.
If you think this has to do with women being young or immodest or asking for it, God have mercy on your soul.
If you go to a church or sit under Christian leaders and you tell them you have been violated and they ask one question related to where you were, why you were there, what you were wearing, what you said to him, then you leave. Period. I can give you a list of safe churches to go to.
A safe church/leader says, “I believe you. If you would like to share more I will listen. I am grieved. This grieves God.”
If you follow some biblical hermeneutic that justifies these kinds of offenses toward women or anyone who is vulnerable, check yourself before you wreck yourself.

And then the private messages started coming in from victims and four hours later I posted this:

You know what's pouring into my message box today? The women who must remain silent. It's too hard to post. It's too tender. Too soon. Or their abuser would see the post. Because their intimate partner crosses the line. Because saying something via social media would cause a storm of shame for their family. Think about that. If you are overwhelmed by the #metoo, imagine those remaining silent.

Men were reaching out to grieve and learn. Women were sobbing, asking for counsel, sharing traumatic experiences, confiding, and grieving. My father took his life this year and these 24 hours of listening to victims ranks up among the hardest day of my life. 

Awareness wrecks us. It interrupts our worldview, disrupts long held beliefs. And then it begs the question: what are you going to do with this now? While many are reeling and grieving, I’m trying to figure out how to join God is His work to restore all things. The best I know to do is to ask folks smarter and more educated on these matters to speak into us and teach us how to do better.

So I asked a friend to share her story with us and give us a window into the pain of victims. For her safety, she asked we not share her name. I asked Dr. Glahn to give us some perspective on how Dallas Theological Seminary is helping to train future ministry leaders on this subject of violence against women. I asked my friend Tim if I could repost his blog confession about his complicit participation in devaluing women and his resolve to help us work together to push back darkness. I asked my friend Tiffany, a licensed professional counselor, about tips for lay people. I asked my friend Sharifa to take that keynote spot at the end and to use her words to take us to truth. Lastly, I asked my friend Jessica to put together a list of resources, because this is her jam. 

These voices have been committed to this conversation for a very long time. Long before #metoo. I got on my face to petition God for the readers of this blog series. The progress we've made to dignify women as image bearers is not enough, Lord. Show us Your way.

#metooKat Armstrong