After victims’ advocate Tarana Burke launched the #MeToo in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, numerous entertainment figures and politicians have been felled by accusations of sexual abuse and misconduct. According to TIME, the hashtag trended in 85 countries and was tweeted out 1.7 million times.
Now, a movement is growing to push for the same accountability in the church. Launched by Twitter users Hannah Paasch and Emily Joy, #ChurchToo is being used to expose sexual abuse and harassment that takes place in religious communities.
The tweets are a sobering and powerful read. Below are a few examples:
The son of the pastor ran the youth group, abused pain pills, and tried to pull my shirt back so he could look down it. #ChurchToo
— this is fine (@helenaj0y) November 22, 2017
If I can ask anything of Christian Twitter today, it's that the #ChurchToo tweets be received rather than reacted to. Do not concern yourselves with the intent of those sharing their stories, but with the steps *you* can take to ensure the horrors done to them are not repeated.
— Abby Perry (@abbyjperry) November 21, 2017
A then-volunteer tried his hardest to isolate and manipulate me. He told me he would rape me when given the chance. I complained to the church, and he's now a priest. #churchtoo
— Cydney Proctor (@cydneybproctor) November 22, 2017
At a friend’s youth group, in response to a talk on purity and modesty, l went with tears in my eyes to a female volunteer. l shared that l had been raped and felt shame about not being pure. She responded by asking if l had repented of my role in what happened. #churchtoo
— Shannon Dingle (@ShannonDingle) November 21, 2017
I was 11. I went to the restroom. I was followed by the youth pastor. He grabbed my arm. I was lucky enough to fight him off and escape. I just wonder how many girls weren't so lucky. #ChurchToo https://t.co/bp450l3Uw4
— Filthy McNasty (@carrie_helen13) November 22, 2017
I CANNOT COUNT the number of times I’ve heard guys in church PUBLICLY admit to molestation, harassment, assault, etc, only to be praised for their bravery & honesty. No consequences. The church’s legacy of protecting abusers is sickening. #churchtoo
— Rosemary Johnson (@yellowinmysoul) November 21, 2017
The church/purity culture is the reason why I didn't know a guy at my Christian college had harassed and assaulted me until years after it happened. None of my college friends know because I'm afraid of retaliation and judgement. #churchtoo
— Ms. Charlotte (@charlotteirene8) November 21, 2017
#Churchtoo. Because when my moms fiancé groomed me for two years, they were busy shaming me for my (quite conservative) clothes.
Because I hid from them that he finally assaulted/raped me (at 18).
Because I knew they’d say I was immodest and impure. 1/2
— Kat Stephanis (@ififorget) November 21, 2017
A teenage woman in my church became pregnant and everyone thought the father was her boyfriend. Turns out, it was a deacon who she went to seeking guidance. #churchtoo
— RxFiller (@wbnc) November 22, 2017
When I was in college, a male Sunday school teacher taught my class that "rape wouldn't exist if women just learned to say yes more often."
This sentence plays in my head every single day. #churchtoo
— jessie george (@jessieigeorge14) 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
Can't ever forget being told "You should date him anyway because Christian women should date any Christian man who likes them". After I said he verbally abused me and physically assaulted me. #churchtoo
— Ishy (@ishylynn3) November 21, 2017
Here is me. As public as I've ever been. #churchtoo
My rapist was a prominent evangelical pastor's son.
Afterward I had to go to @PPact because I needed free and confidential medical care.
The church shuns the second more than the first. It's a wonder I ever returned.
— Elizabeth (@EB_FindingMercy) November 22, 2017
This is my #churchtoo story. This happened BECAUSE of the theology of my faith community, not in spite of it. https://t.co/gF6CqKCvFp
— Emily Joy (@emilyjoypoetry) November 22, 2017
You can view more tweets here.
[This article has been updated from a former version that incorrectly said Alyssa Milano was the originator of the #MeToo movement. The actual originator is Tarana Burke.]