DALLAS - There is a new movement blowing up online, stemming from the major social media campaign, #MeToo. Men and women are tweeting their stories of sexual abuse or harassment in the religious community, using #ChurchToo.
#churchtoo the man who raped me from ages 2-4 was a leader in his church and his wife let him do it.
— Alyssa Fountain (@AlyssaFountain1) November 23, 2017
Many claim the church didn't believe them, tried to covered it up, or told them to just, forgive. One woman says when she was 9-years-old she reported being raped to church leaders. Instead of those leaders calling the police, she says they asked her to hug the man and tell him that she had forgiven him. According to her Tweet, they told her "...that is what Jesus would do."
I was sexually abused by a pastor. When reported, the social worker chose to protect the minister instead of my 7yo body. Bcs of that, the abuse continued for years. Kids deserve better. #churchtoo
— Robin Anderson (@RobinAnderson15) November 22, 2017
Psychiatrist James Montgomery is heavily involved with Cathedral of Hope, a church in Dallas. He says in a way, the movement can bring healing for some. "Because abuse is always about power, all of what the whole 'too' thing is about, is really not about sex, it's about power."
Montgomery grew up in a different church, a Catholic church that was sued for covering up sexual abuse. "I watch the church deny, while paying for treatment." He's asking the community to simply listen to one another. "People need to be heard, it doesn`t matter if we can prove or disprove that that is their experience."
While some movies, like Spotlight have shed light on the issue, many using the hashtag hope to bring more awareness.
I was molested and physically abused by a high priest in the LDS church. When I told the police, a big officer came into the interview room with his hand on his gun, telling me I must be lying. I was 10 when I reported what had happened. A kid. #churchtoo
— Seth Draven (@seth_draven) November 23, 2017
My first of three experiences with sexual harassment in the church was at 14 years old. My youth pastor pulled me aside to tell me not to wear sandals to church. He told me he had a foot fetish and my feet were turning him on. I was causing him to sin. #churchtoo #emptythepews
— Dana (@iamdanaleigh) November 22, 2017
I was 12 but it was viewed as cheating. I had to pray with my abusers wife for forgiveness. She was so disappointed that I broke her trust. #churchtoo
— Debbie McNulty (@DMcNulty70) November 22, 2017
Christians, scroll through the #churchtoo hashtag. Weep with your brothers and sisters who have been hurt in what *should* be the safest place on earth. Then, do better and demand better.
— Thomas Horrocks (@thomaslhorrocks) November 22, 2017