In the midst of the #MeToo movement, in which those in positions of power are being called to account for sexual abuse, a conference hosted by four Manitoba Mennonite organizations acknowledged that it happens in the church, too.
Emily Cohen, left, a workshop leader, chats with Matthew Bailey-Dick, coordinator of the Anabaptist Learning Workshop, at a ‘Caregiving in a #ChurchToo world’ seminar on Jan. 19, 2018, at Steinmann Mennonite Church in Baden, Ont. Behind them on the wall, coloured heads represent people's stories and experiences of sexual abuse that are known to workshop participants. (Photo by Janet Bauman)
How do churches prevent sexual harassment and abuse in their midst? How do they respond when abuse happens? How do they shift the culture in their ranks so that victims feel safer to share their stories?
Mennonite children learn patriarchy from a young age. Gender roles are strictly defined: men work the fields and women take care of the home. (Photo by Noah Friedman-Rudovsky noahfr.com)
Eight men went to prison, the media gaze moved on, and colony life resumed. But the saga of mass rape in the Bolivian corner of our family of faith is far from over.
The allegation of sexual abuse at a church camp (on page 13) reminds us of the sad reality that sexual abuse touches the church community in profound ways. The example of Christ and our peace theology compel us to recognize and to address the violence that happens in our midst.
Ruth-Ann Klassen Shantz has a long history with Silver Lake Mennonite Camp in Sauble Beach, Ont., and a story she has kept long hidden. But earlier this year she shared with the camp’s board of directors her allegations of long-term sexual abuse by a former camp director.
In recent months there has been unprecedented exposure of sexually predatory men in high places, as well as unprecedented violence perpetrated by solitary men with little or no regard for human life.
A basket of cloth strips was used to symbolize the pain victims of John Howard Yoder’s sexual abuse at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. The note reads: ‘Beloved of God, may you go into the complicated places with courage, for darkness will be conquered by light. May you go with resolve, for God has gone before you. May you go with hope, claiming the promise that evil never has the last word. Amen.’ (Photo by Rich Preheim)
For 40 years, women who had been sexually violated by John Howard Yoder were left suffering in silence while the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) professor became one of the most influential theological voices of the 20th century. On March 22, 2015, AMBS publicly apologized for long ignoring their cries for justice.
Every 17 minutes, a woman in Canada experiences sexual assault. Many times these women are assaulted by someone they know, sometimes even by someone they’re in a romantic relationship with.
The latter was true for Jessica (a pseudonym), who grew up attending a Mennonite Church Canada congregation and agreed to speak to Canadian Mennonite anonymously to protect her identity.
In Canada 1,397 sexual assaults occur every day, according to the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women. In the United States nearly one in five women reported experiencing rape or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.