Written by Jesse Criss and Edited by Michelle Murray-Schlitt
Every day on my drive in to work I listen to a series of podcasts one of which is “The Daily” by the New York Times. This morning was the October 10th episode titled “Who is Believed and Who is Blamed?” dealing with the after effects of the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. This post is not about whether or not I believe either side of this conversation and it’s definitely not about politics. Rather this particular episode pulled on my pastoral heart in a way I was not expecting this morning and I wanted to talk about it. If you want to check out the whole podcast (24:16) check out The Daily.
Like I said this isn’t about politics or picking sides, for me it’s about this group of teenage girls at the start of the episode sitting around with Michael Barbaro (the host) talking about their own experiences and how the words adults have used around them have affected how the talk about their experiences.
I was struck when time and time again these girls talked about how they approached adults about their sexual assaults and were pushed aside with dismissive words. One mom says to her daughter “well you shouldn’t have been out late” like that somehow justifies the assault and invalidated her feelings. What especially pulled on my heart was that they had nowhere to go to that was safe. That lack of a safe place has created lifelong trauma that they don’t know how to deal with.
Our role a Youth Pastor and Leaders is to create a safe place where all are welcome. Where kids who are struggling can find comfort. We need to create places where students can met and encounter a God who heals and restore. I don’t know these girls and I don’t know your youth ministry situation. But I walked away from this podcast challenged to consider the following questions…
- Do my girls know we are a safe place to talk about sexual assault?
- Do my boys understand how God wants them to treat girls?
- Do my leaders know how to listen and respond to students properly?
- Do my students know God is the great physician ready to heal and restore?