sexual misconduct

#ChurchToo conference addresses sexual misconduct

David Martin, executive minister of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, speaks about confronting ministerial sexual misconduct. (Photo courtesy of Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

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.

‘This is about us’

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?

Modern ghosts of a horse-drawn scandal, Part 3

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)

Wilmar Harder of Mennonite Central Committee speaks with Johan N. Peter of the California Colony in Bolivia. (Photo by Kennert Giesbrecht)

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.

JoinMen for a better world

Representatives of the organization Mennonite Men call for truth-telling about sexual abuse and invite men to embrace a healthy masculinity. From left to right: Don Neufeld, Steve Thomas and Hans Peters.

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 hedge of protection

Forty Mennonite Church Manitoba clergy attended the area church’s biennial “Healthy boundaries” seminar, held this year at Carman Mennonite Church. Led this spring by clinical psychologist Lois Edmund, the conference is mandatory once every four years for all credentialled MC Manitoba pastors.

Lament for those ‘suffering in silence’

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.

Intimacy is not an invitation to abuse

Every 17 minutes, a woman in Canada experiences sexual assault. (Photo courtesy of istock.com)

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.

Telling stories of sexual violence

Rachel Halder started Our Stories Untold to explore the topic of sexual violence in the Mennonite church (Photo courtesy of Rachel Halder)

Hannah Heinzekehr, 27, dedicated a week of posts on her blog to discussing sexual violence in the church. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Heinzekehr)

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.

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