Did you know in Canada of every 100 incidences of sexual assault, six are reported to the police. Six.

Did you hear? Six of 100 sexual assaults.

One in four women across North America alone will be sexually abused in their lifetime. Now go ahead and count the number of women in your family, since 80 per cent of these assaults are happening to them.

Include your extended family members.

Now consider your female friends.

Can we talk yet?

Just a couple months ago it was Ghomeshi. Than it was a gang rape by 30 men in Brazil. Now it’s Turner. One’s punishment was having to apologize, which he did a poor job doing (admitting to his abuses, and not being held accountable). The next story is riddled with questions about the victim ‘liking it,’ and ‘it’s normal to rape here’. And Turner gets six months in jail… if that, should Turner prove himself of ‘good character’ while doing his soft-time behind bars.

These are three highly publicized cases. Remember, six in every 100, and we’ve counted three.

I don’t want to talk about these issues, I don’t want to scorn the perpetrators and I don’t care to re-victimize the victims. I don’t need to talk about a broken system with loopholes that favour those in need of accountability. But we aren’t measuring up to our calling when we scroll passed the stories and don’t rise up. And, we need to.

I don’t mean to insinuate that we need to ask everyone if they’ve heard about the latest publicized assault. We don’t need to gossip. We don’t need to shake our fists either. We don’t need to get rude or shame people. We certainly don’t need to excuse bad behaviour. We don’t need to cause more pain.

We need to stand up. Can you hear me? Can you hear the call? Can you hear God himself? We need to stand up.

This isn’t some religious guilt-trip, it’s a reminder of all we can accomplish through Christ.

We need to stand up because we were called to stand up for the least of these. You and I were told that we needed to love each other. That includes people we don’t know, people we haven’t even had the honour of meeting.

Above all, love each other deeply,

because love covers over a multitude of sins.

And we’re not loving each other when we shake our fists, gossip and move on, shame or or keep quiet about assault. Perhaps we need a reminder that love calls us to challenge each other as much as it calls us to cradle one another.

Preparing & Responding to Sexual Assault

Friends: Call out bad behaviour when you see it. Say something. Every past and potential victim needs you to say assault in any form is not okay. Stand up now so we don’t have to keep standing up when it’s too late.

Caregivers: Teach your children. I’d imagine it’s easy to let this one slip. “It won’t ever happen, not with my kid.” But it happens to ‘our’ kids. It is happening to our kids.  Don’t be like Mr. Turner, whose statement was filled to the brim of his appetite for food and ability to swim well. If it doesn’t contain substance, the statement is incomplete. So stand up. Get informed. Educate them.

Family: Open up the floor for a shame-free home. Being honest about having been assaulted or having assaulted someone has proven to be nearly impossible on its own. Do not allow your home to be a place where sharing makes it even more difficult.

Whatever we do, let’s not save people from the repercussions of bad behaviour. All that does is perpetuate violent abuse. Consequences came first fromGod, a natural and restorative measure to bring redemption back to the broken.

The road to recovery for both the victim and the perpetrator is a long one, and, it should be. Don’t minimize the process for either party by trying to make it go away. Work through it, don’t skirt around it. The dark spots only have potential if we allow room to face the darkness with God’s light.

God didn’t promise that life would be simple, perfect, easy or always good. But, he does promise, if we’re willing to take him up on it, that he can turn anything meant for evil into something for good.

None of us are perfect. We all fall short. That isn’t an excuse, that’s a recognition of our fallibility. There are consequences for the things we think, the things we say, and the things we do. There are consequences for the things we don’t do, too.

I hope people who assault and those who are assaulted won’t forever be known as ‘rapist’ or ‘victim’. I hope to hear the descriptive words like ‘whole’, ‘happy’, ‘purposed’, ‘funny’, ‘brilliant’, ‘accomplished’, and mostly ‘loved.

My heart goes out to them all; those victimized, those who abused, the families and friends walking through it all. And I guess what I’m saying is, yours should too.

To those of you who may have suffered sexual abuse, I am one in four who has been assaulted, and there is help. You can make it through to healing. For more information on who to talk to, click here. Don’t forget, there are people fighting for you’re healing. There is a God fighting for your healing. Do not lose hope. Love you.