I’ve made a decision not to participate in the #MeToo hashtag craze. In no way do I condemn those who have participated, and I’ve attempted to weep with those who are weeping as best one can on an online forum. I’m all for women being heard and being able to express trauma and hurt and the truth. But when it comes down to it, a hashtag … is just a hashtag. It can’t heal deep wounds. It may get some necessary conversations rolling. But in the grand scheme of things, #MeToo hashtaggers are not going to look back on their life and say “Whew. If I hadn’t hashtagged about sexual abuse, I never would’ve healed.”
Healing from sexual abuse takes years of time. Patience. Hope. An excellent counselor. Biblical study. Friends who will stick closer than a brother. Sometimes the authorities. The freedom to grieve for however long it takes. And more.
No, a simple hashtag will not do. Victims are in it for the long haul, and throwing out a hashtag on social media, in my book, has the potential to mislead perpetrators to think a few keystrokes can erase the immense damage they’ve caused to our bodies, minds, and souls.
Their offense is much more serious than a hashtag can communicate. Serious enough for Jesus to condemn, because He knew the damage it caused to the emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual health of the victim.
I was sexually assaulted at age fifteen, by a man who attended the church I grew up in. He was almost ten years my senior. I was partially blamed and “disciplined” by church authorities for what went on, which added insult to injury and further perpetuated the false guilt that the perpetrator placed on me for the assault. How does one deal with the weight of all that? By simply tossing out a hashtag?
I’d rather toss out the weighty words of Jesus:
But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.
Why would it be better for the perpetrator to be shackled by the neck and cast into the sea? It’s just a word picture that communicates the seriousness of Jesus’ coming judgement. If you think being anchored by the neck and thrown into the sea sounds bad, you’re right! But Jesus is saying not even a horrifying event like drowning in the depths of the sea can compare to the justice He’s planning for those who have offended His little ones.
I don’t need a hashtag because it’s good enough for me that vengeance is His. It took me years to get there, and sometimes I slip back into dreaming of all the ways I could hire someone to take my abuser out to sea and make him walk the plank. But that’s no good. It offers no peace. No rest or resolution.
I’ll close with some more weighty words in Isaiah 53 that, coupled with Luke 9:42, were most pivotal in my personal healing from a sexual assault that left me too wounded to even talk about it for decades:
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows
Once I confessed the truth that God was weeping with me and asked Him to help my unbelief, my wounds began to scab over. No longer did I have to buy into the idea that God didn’t care, that He flippantly allowed someone to sin against me, or that He was condemnatory of me. I was free to believe He was waiting patiently for me to accept the healing that was mine because of His work on the cross, carrying my sorrows, weeping with me, collecting my tears in a bottle (Ps. 56:8), promising justice, and guaranteeing healing.
He is my all in all. My strength when I am weak. The treasure that I seek. My confidante and Great Physician. And infinitely more than a hashtag could ever provide.
Having said that, if I had to choose a hashtag, I’d choose #YouMeantEvilAgainstMeButGodMeantItForGood
Not as punctual. But much more of a balm to my soul. A perpetrator may have meant evil against me, just as Joseph’s brothers meant evil against him when they threw him into a pit to die. But God took that evil and used it for my good, in that, had I never experienced the pain of sexual assault, what perceived need would there have been to insatiably seek the Lord?
None, I’m convinced.
So I echo the Psalmist:
It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
That’s not some sort of sick and twisted outlook on sexual assault. It’s just a testimony to the the reality of a sin-cursed world, the hardness of my heart, and God’s mercy and grace.