For thousands of years, sexual abuse, sexual assault, and even forced prostitution, has been a taboo topic. Nobody talked about it. Few people even knew it was occurring. I remember vividly the first few people I told about this emerging issue, or perhaps a better way to say it is, this emerging topic, because the issue has always been. When I shared facts I’d read, people were horrified. They couldn’t believe it was actually happening. Then we began to see more arrests (praise the Lord!), and then we saw the brilliant “Me-too” campaign. But now, we’ve turned to shouting “crucify” anytime someone looks at us wrong.
First, the Good Stuff
Today, in modern America, we are finally talking about this. Women are posting their #metoo tags all over facebook and twitter, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Women and men are opening up about sexual assault and calling attention to a once taboo topic.
Sin should always be brought into the light, so I am thrilled that people are coming out and sharing their assault experiences so that we can 1) be aware of the prevalence of this heinous act, 2) bring healing to the victims, and 3) let perpetrators know it will no longer be tolerated.
It is a good thing that victims are finding healing in knowing they are not alone. It is a good thing that people are discovering the atrocities occurring in Hollywood and on Capitol Hill. It is good to have the evils of child prostitution, child ritual sex, and the sexual assault of minors be in people’s face. It’s a very good thing that people have finally woken up and have had enough!
Truly, only by bringing sexual abuse and assault into the light, will we ever be able to work towards its end.
Now, the Bad Stuff
I understand that everyone’s radar is going full bore. I understand, the excitement we can feel when we see progress, and the desire to see ever more! I understand that so many people who abuse children and actively engage in sexually assaulting others on a regular basis are still at large, and even remain yet un-accused.
We could easily throw a handful of darts at Hollywood or Capitol Hill and probably hit several notable sex offenders. But, and this is huge, friends. We are going to also hit people who are innocent.
We cannot accuse someone because he kisses the top of a child’s head or whispers in the ear of a teen girl when her mother is right there! We can’t say he is being inappropriate. I’ve whispered to kids before. I’ve kissed the top of kids’ heads – not even my own kids! I’ve even had my own kids squirm when I gave them a hug before… And I am not a sexual deviant!
In college, I remember learning about the mob mentality, and I believe this is what we are seeing with this topic now, and it is the very reason I am referring to this as the new Witch Hunt.
When the original Witch Hunt began in Salem, Massachusetts hundreds of years ago, there were a couple of girls engaging in some potentially inappropriate activities out in the woods. Soon, out of fear and mistrust, the good people of that town began accusing more and more women and girls, and eventually men too. They chanted outside doors, “Kill the Witch!” and as passersby came, they joined in the chanting with the mob, assuming there was cause.
Today, we are seeing the same thing occur in social media. Someone accuses their favorite enemy of sexual assault, or child rape, and everyone jumps on board claiming it to be true, or at least calling the person a “slimeball!”
I am not saying there aren’t factual reports coming out! I am just suggesting that not every report or gossipy post is based on anything more than mob mentality and fear. And we, as believers in Jesus, the Way the TRUTH and the Life, will be held accountable for every word uttered, even on social media.
WHY WE NEED TO STOP IT!
So here are my top three reasons, we need to stop jumping to assumption and accusing others without real evidence.
- It’s distracting. There is, in fact, so much sexual deviance in Hollywood, on Capitol Hill, and likely, in your own neighborhood, that we don’t need to go accusing people at random. While all of us are bashing a politician or actor, the real problem individuals aren’t being dealt with, and we are teaching people to be concerned about people who may, really, be no concern at all. Am I suggesting being callous and casual with your children? Certainly not! Watch them like a hawk! Tell them what “tricky people” actually act like. Teach them to watch for certain signs and phrases. Teach them to listen to their own instinct. But don’t tell them that every old man who pats them on the shoulder is going to rape them! Because that won’t help them recognize the real deviants.
- It’s dishonest. The Bible is very clear about truth and honesty and that we should not tell lies. And while you may believe you are speaking truth when you repeat someone’s claim of sexual misconduct, you may also be repeating a lie. Exodus 20:16, says “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.” And again in Exodus 23:1, it says, “You must not pass along false rumors.” I urge you, please, consider what you speak in light of this.
- It’s Slanderous. Comments like “creep!” or “slimeball” are slanderous when you have nothing more than a one-second video clip of a child having her hair brushed off her shoulders during a photo shoot. When you slander someone, you make them a victim and yourself the perpetrator. Proverbs 11:9, says “With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,” so what does that say about us, when a believer is falsely accusing someone. We should not be found guilty of doing so!
Sin always breaks God’s heart, whether it is sexual sin or slanderous gossip. He hates seeing us destroy one another, because He loves us! He loves us so much, that he sent Jesus, Messiah, to be crucified for it all. So, while it’s a hot topic and easy to scathe those who appear questionable, remember, in doing so, you make yourself equally questionable in His sight.