Female evangelical leaders urge churches to end culture of silence on violence against women

A number of female evangelical Christian leaders have urged churches to end the culture of silence on violence against women as part of the #SilenceIsNotSpiritual campaign which will run until Easter.

(REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson)A vendor sells #MeToo badges. November 14, 2017

In a statement released on Dec. 20, at least 140 evangelical women said the church had the "greater capacity" to protect survivors of sexual abuse and create a place of confession and repentance for the abusers. The #SilenceIsNotSpiritual campaign came after the #ChurchToo and #MeToo movements were launched to urge women to come out with their own stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the National Catholic Reporter detailed.

The #SilenceIsNotSpiritual campaign urges local churches to "stand with" women who have become victims of violence by creating an avenue where they can share their stories and be empathized with. It also encourages churches to "stand up" for female victims of violence by putting an end to the cover-ups and carefully examining cases of abuse.

The signatories of the #SilenceIsNotSpiritual statement include Jen Hatmaker, Ann Voskamp, Helen Lee, Amena Brown, and other pastors, religious leaders, popular authors, and professors. The movement will run until April 1, 2018.

Meanwhile, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley has apologized to victims of clergy abuse in the wake of the death of Cardinal Bernard Law, a central figure in the Catholic Church's abuse scandal. He acknowledged the hurt that victims were feeling and said they were still in need of healing, CBS Local relayed.

O'Malley recognized the impact of sexual abuse on a lot of people including their families. He also admitted that news of Cardinal Law's death must have opened a new range of emotions for so many of those victims.

In addition, Cardinal O'Malley spoke about forgiveness as the main theme of the Christian faith. Although forgiving perpetrators is not easy, it is a big step towards healing and coming to terms with one's difficult experiences.