Book Review: #MeToo The Reckoning
In The #MeToo Reckoning: Facing the Church’s Complicity in Sexual Abuse and Misconduct, author Ruth Everhart bravely weaves her story of abuse throughout a larger call for churches to properly respond to the vulnerable in their midst.
Ruth is a survivor of rape and clergy sexual misconduct. Her story and experiences have merged alongside her ministry of compassion to make her voice a staying force in the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movement. She boldly shares her own story as well as those of other survivors of clergy sexual abuse and misconduct.
As a pastor, Ruth has a unique perspective to offer her readers. She is in a unique position—having survived clergy sexual misconduct while in the ministry and coming out on the other end still interested in the things of God–continuing work in the ministry in fact, is a rarity. For the average church-goer (or church leader) the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements can feel so far removed and a faceless disturbance.
This is not just a memoir, however, it is a call to action for churches today. We have reached a point in time where churches can no longer ignore (not that they ever should have!) or stick their heads in the sand with regards to abuse that happens under their roof or on their watch. Inaction will be taken as tolerance. Silence as a seal of approval.
Why I Read This:
From the moment I realized this book was forthcoming (January 2020 is its official release date), I knew I had to get my hands on it! That makes sense, right? I’m working on my doctorate in the area of abuse and women in the church. In the thick of my research journey, anything that mentions abuse and the church catches my eye.
It makes sense for a student doing research on abuse and recovery from abuse to read this book. It is both narrative and studious–weaving together the author’s story with others from today while simultaneously expounding on several narratives from the Bible.
I have a passion to educate the average congregant, lay leadership and survivors themselves about abuse. This book is a book for me. But is it a book for you?
Why You Should Read This:
The #MeToo Reckoning reminds all of us that real people have experienced real abuse by churches and are often re-victimized when they cry out and are not heard or dismissed completely by those in authority.
For abuse to be eradicated, we have to be aware. We can’t fight something we can’t see (or refuse to see). Studies have shown that the most significant factor in preventing abuse in churches is the intentional education and awareness of the congregation—that’s right—you, as the average congregant or church-attender, need to understand and recognize what abuse is in order for successful prevention.
You may not be passionate about this issue. You don’t have to be in order to benefit from reading this book. You may not know anyone who has been abused. (Most likely, you DO know someone that’s been abused, you just don’t know that you know). You may know someone but have never known what to say or how to listen with sensitivity or wisdom. This book can help with that.
As a community, as a family of believers, we all have a responsibility to be present, to listen, to encourage, to guide, to help heal. Let your first (or next) step be picking up a copy of The #MeToo Reckoning by Ruth Everhart.