The Light Shining in the Darkness
The floodgates began to open up in October 2017 with the phrase “Me too” on Twitter. Exhausted and fueled by the injustice of abuse and the devastation of enduring years of cover-up, people began to share their accounts of sexual abuse and assault, which led to countless predators being brought to justice amid a powerful movement that continues today.
Some of the stories that circulated in the media included the conviction of Harvey Weistein, a powerful film producer; the firing of Matt Lauer, the long-time co-host of the “Today Show,” in light of numerous sexual harassment allegations; and the trial and conviction of Larry Nassar, the USA gymnastics doctor, who was a serial child sexual abuser.
Yet, for all the stories that made national headlines, there were countless other victims whose names may never be known but who courageously decided to share what happened to them and bring their abusers to account. Many of them revealed that abuse wasn’t just in the world but that tragically their victimization was tied to the church. As a Christian woman, I am horrified by what people have endured at the hands of those who should have kept them safe in Jesus’ name. This should not be so.
The ERLC, together with the Sexual Abuse Advisory Group of the SBC, has continued working to try to prevent more terrible instances like this from happening in the future and to care well for victims. That’s why we wanted to focus this issue of Light Magazine on educating and equipping Christians to stand against sexual abuse and advocate for the safety and care of those within our churches.
This volume includes various resources that we pray will be used to help make our churches safe for survivors and safe from abuse, including an article by Travis Wussow, the ERLC’s vice president of public policy, that covers updates on the SBC’s ongoing work in this area; a piece by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb on how to protect your children from sexual abuse; and a reflection by Brad Hambrick, editor of the Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused curriculum, on ministering to those who have experienced abuse. Most importantly, this edition contains personal testimonies from brave survivors who have chosen to share their experiences in order to benefit others. We welcome your feedback at [email protected] if you have questions or comments after reading this issue.
Too many have been hidden in plain sight as victims of abuse, and it is our prayer that our powerful and compassionate Father would use efforts like this magazine to bring hope, help, and healing to the ones who should have received the dignity and respect they deserve as those made in God’s image. Though the work is plentiful, the road is long, and the obstacles are many, we must press on, offering support, care, and the love of our Savior, who will not allow his beloved to be overcome by the darkness.
Managing Editor, Light Magazine