In the wake of the the Harvey Weinstein scandal, women across North America are opening up about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault. I sat at my computer and scrolled through my phone seeing many women whom I’m related to, work with, friends with, and look up to, claim their own #metoo stories.
A friend of mine commented “who hasn’t?” That struck a chord with me. Who hasn’t experienced some sort of sexual harassment or abuse at some level? It’s a terrifying thought.
I was tempted to post about my own #metoo experiences but I couldn’t. Perhaps I’ve spent too much time trying to pretend they didn’t happen. Or perhaps I felt as if my experiences weren’t ‘bad enough’ to join in with the league of women speaking out.
Yet, when I think deeply about it, there have been many moments where a person has treated me in such a way solely because they felt they had the power or position to. They felt like they had the right to mistreat me, cross certain boundaries that should never have been crossed, or take advantage.
And regardless of your gender, age, or position in society, I’m certain you’ve experienced some of that too.
A boy in my class once told me that I was stupid, and fat, and ugly – all because he was jealous that my grades were higher.
My dad once yelled at me in a restaurant and pushed me down in my chair, refusing to let me leave. A year later he threatened to kill me.
One day on campus, a drunk student tried to hump me. I’ve had men touch me, slap my arm, and pull on me when I travelled overseas.
In those moments of injustice and downright evil, it’s easy to feel completely alone. Exposed. Ashamed. My mouth felt sealed shut even though I was screaming inside. Why didn’t God stop it?
An honest answer is, I don’t know. Yet, when I look at the Bible and who God is and how he interacts with those who are marginalized, abused, and mistreated I see a God who deeply cares and is moved to action.
Not only was God moved to action to care for widows and orphans (Psalm 68:5), be a defender and protector (Psalm 7:10-11), he was moved to defeat evil once and for all through his Son, Jesus.
Jesus can share in my brokenness and pain because he experienced ultimate injustice, shame, and abuse when he died on the cross for crimes he didn’t commit. He was innocent. That doesn’t downplay my pain, but it helps me draw close to someone who experienced all I did and more. His death on the cross was the gateway for me to find complete healing in God. Evil was defeated when Jesus rose from the grave and returned to God.
When I place my faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus, my sin, brokenness, pain, and injustice is traded with Jesus’ perfection and holiness. I am made new and clean. How others treated me doesn’t define me, nor does it need to haunt me.
Jesus was there in each of those #metoo moments. I was never alone. He’s with me now and he offers healing, and restoration through himself.
What gives me hope amidst what I’ve experienced, is that I have a role to play in this #metoo world. I can comfort others with the comfort that I have received by God. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Paul writes:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
God comforts us not only to lead us into healing and restoration, but so that we can comfort others who are also hurting. What an honour. It’s a way to redeem something evil and turn it into something good.
The #metoo campaign reminded me that I’m not alone. I was never alone. I will never be alone. Because when we suffer injustice, hate, persecution, and harassment, Jesus is right there with us. By dying on the cross, Jesus also said “me too.”
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