Each month, we post a series of blogs around a common topic. This month, Sara Dingman is curating a series on the #metoo movement and the church. The series will feature recollections, sermons, and art. We honor the women who have shared their stories, and hope their courage might inspire others to seek the support they need to speak their truth too in ways that are best for them. The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline is always available to support survivors of sexual assault. We invite you to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.
This blog was originally posted on A Church for Starving Artists and has been re-posted with permission.
by Jan Edmiston
Calls reporting sexual assault spiked 147% on Thursday, September 27 according to RAINN – the largest sexual assault hotline in the United States. Counselors, therapists, and clergywomen like me received phone calls, texts, and direct messages from women all over the country. As women were listening to Christine Blasey Ford, they not only relived their own assaults but they were emboldened to report their own.
My assailant was someone I had been in a relationship with which is why I never reported it. Who would have believed me? I wasn’t sure I believed it myself. We had recently broken up and he’d wanted to continue being friends. But one night he was angry and wanted to teach me a lesson. Seriously, that’s what he said.
I’m honestly grateful to be able to type these words openly. I feel okay about it. Strong even. Secrets have enormous power to chip away at our spirits if left sitting there in the dark and I’ve been working on shedding some light for a while now.
I’m inspired by one woman’s attempt to prevent her assailant from becoming a Supreme Court Justice. Maybe he’ll indeed be confirmed but at least she has spoken her truth.
Those of us with such experiences know some things about men who assault women:
- They can be charming and “such good guys.”
- Being smart and drinking too much are not mutually exclusive.
- Just because a long list of women can vouch for them, it doesn’t mean they never assaulted others.
It’s possible that Dr. Ford’s assault happened on July 1, 1982. Mine was September 18, 1983.
Jan Edmiston is General Presbyter of The Presbytery of Charlotte. She serve in two congregations in New York and Virginia as a solo and co-pastor, and was Associate Executive Presbyter in Chicago for seven years. Jan was also Co-Moderator of the 222nd General Assembly with Denise Anderson.