Sisters, can I just be honest with you? One of the most damaging things we can do to another woman is to imply that it’s somehow her fault when someone takes advantage (or tries to take advantage) of her.
In today’s episode of More Than Small Talk podcast, Holley, Jennifer, and I talked with Tiffany Bluhm, author of Prey Tell. There were a lot of tears and moments of sheer courage as Tiffany helped bring this issue into the light. As Holley says often, “we talk about the issue because we care about the person impacted by that issue.”
For Tiffany, one of the most hurtful parts of being abused by someone in power within the church is the response of some of our sisters. Women that you love as friends. Women that have thrown you a baby shower. Women that know your heart.
Tiffany says “to be believed is to exhale.”
Tiffany wasn’t heard. In fact, she paid the price instead of the one who crossed all the lines.
So, what can you and I do?
If you see someone in a vulnerable position and in an imbalance of power, let her know that you see her. Ask her how she’s doing. If you see something taking place that is clearly making her uncomfortable, interrupt and draw her away. Be that friend. Be that ally.
If she tells and it becomes public, pray for her, but also don’t leave her standing alone.
When there’s been abuse of power or abuse of any kind, don’t fall for the “blame the victim” game that often plays out in our culture (even in our faith culture).
And sister, if this you, if someone is making suggestions that are inappropriate, asking for personal favors in order to keep your job, or crossing a line that makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s not your fault. If they are tangling it with Jesus, that’s wrong, wrong, wrong.
I hope you’ll tune in to today’s episode of More Than Small Talk — It’s Not Your Fault – Episode #117. You can find out all the ways to listen here. I don’t think you can listen to this and walk away unchanged and unchallenged.
One of the most beautiful things that I love about Jesus is that he lifted women up. He brought them into the inner circle. He saw the beauty in who they were as God’s daughters. Let’s be that safe place for our sisters too.
Prey Tell: Why We Silence Women Who Tell the Truth and How Everyone Can Speak Up by Tiffany Bluhm
Tiffany Bluhm wishes this wasn’t her story to tell. Yet like many women today who are taking action against sexual harassment and sexual assault, it is. Bluhm explores the complex dynamics of power and abuse in systems we all find ourselves in. With honesty and strength, she tells stories of how women have overcome silence to expose the truth about their ministry and professional leaders–and the backlash they so often face. In so doing, she empowers others to speak up against abuses of power.
Addressing men and women in all work settings–within the church and beyond–popular author and podcast host Tiffany Bluhm sets out to understand the cultural and spiritual narratives that silence women and to illuminate the devastating emotional, financial, and social impact of silence in the face of injustice. As readers journey with Bluhm, they will be moved to find their own way, their own voice, and their own conviction for standing with women. They’ll emerge more ready than ever to advocate for justice, healing, and resurrection.