When the Internet Explodes With Abuse, How Do We Respond?




I wish this were a discussion we didn’t need to have.

Last week, the Internet blew up with news about the Duggar family. There was also news about a church harboring a pedophile, and well, any number of ongoing cases involving faith, family, church leaders, abuse, and especially, sexual assault.

I grieve that violence against women and children is so normalized in our culture. I grieve that the church, as a whole, does not often do a good job of pursuing justice for victims—whether conservative, progressive, Catholic, or Protestant. This problem affects all of us.

I see one pinprick of light, though: the awful reality of this violence is slowly, slowly coming into the open. That openness is painful, because we’re reminded of of the pervasive cancer that is abuse, but it is better than it staying hidden, silenced, and unacknowledged. It’s an invitation to all of us to move away from naiveté and towards intentional engagement.

In light of current abuse cases, we’re going to open up a discussion about how we pursue justice as a faith community. I’ve included a few discussion questions to get us started. I pray this would be a space of processing and grieving, as well as all of us learning to stand up straight and speak up for victims.

Keep in mind the SheLoves comment policy, as this is a sensitive topic. Kindness is a must. Strong opinions are okay, but personal attacks are not. Comments not adhering to those guidelines will be deleted. I will do my best to be impartial and fair, but remember: I’m human.

Let’s get started:

  • How do you wish cases like these were discussed in the media? What would be most helpful to victims? How can we make that happen in this discussion?
  • How can we pursue justice in our own families? In our churches?
  • What does our anger, dismay and cynicism tell us about where God might be leading us to forgive, repent, speak, or pray?
  • What does repentance and shalom look like in cases like these?
  • Let’s imagine a world where victims were given the justice they deserve. What fruit comes out of that?