It recently came out that a man who was a teacher at the private christian school I attended has been pursuing sexual relationships with underage boys. This was well known by many of us who attended the school 20 years ago. How the administration is claiming ignorance is really beyond me. I personally know with 100% certainty that various staff members were made aware. Yet... he kept on teaching. He kept on "mentoring" young boys at his private hot tub gatherings at his home. He kept on coaching. He kept on volunteering long after he stopped teaching...
If you're anything like me, you are outraged by this. Mortified. Disgusted. Angry.
If you're not like me, then you feel sorry for the perpetrator. You are confused because you have feelings of pity for both parties. You want to send your "thoughts and prayers" to both people.
Over the course of the past year, several situations have come into my awareness that have divided the feelings and opinions of the people around me in a similar way. There's the "I don't want to take sides" people. They are also known as the "I'm praying for you both" group. Then there's the, "That's not o.k. and I'm going to say so and ACT so" people. They are also known as the "I'm on the side of the victim" group.
Here's the thing about standing in the middle: the victim feels violated again. They are not fully supported. You understand but "with caveats". You think "the world is complex..." It's a post-truth world. I believe with all of my being that some things are inherently wrong and that people who engage in those things are, in that moment, WRONG. I also believe in accountability and I am completely against silence. Silence creates space for evil to run rampant. Silence is the tool of the wicked to continue to behave wickedly.
We must... MUST... hold abusers accountable for their abuse. I understand there are a million reasons why it's difficult to do, but there are a million more why it's so very important that we stand up for what's right and for the people who are right. They need us. They need our voice. They may not have the strength right now to do it themselves. We have to be their voice for them/with them because we are strong enough right now and because there may come a day when we're not and we will need them to be strong enough FOR US.
On a much smaller scale, this stuff happens every day in other ways as well. Someone tells a lie and everyone goes, "Who knows?" The person WHO KNOWS has proof that it's a lie and goes "Hey... that's an actual lie..." and people say, "Well... there are two sides to every story...", and, "None of us are perfect..." and, "That person was probably in a lot of pain which is why they are telling lies now and being unkind...". These people think they're being super altruistic, empathetic, and PC. In my opinion, they are being safe. Safe feels good. Safe is not a rocking boat on stormy seas. Safe is smooth sailing. Safe is not having any skin in the game. Safe is liked still by the one in the wrong. Meanwhile, the "victim" of the wrongdoing is isolated and lacking support.
It's time to take a stand, my loves. Stand up for what is right. Stand up against wrongdoing. Stand up when you see someone hurting. Stand up when the truth is clear. Risk being unliked by everyone. Risk hurting the feelings of someone who is in the wrong. Forgiveness does not mean "no consequences". Forgiveness is allowing room for healing even while you call out the lie.
Let's be the people who stand.