MeToo. From our social media feeds to the Oscars, these movements have recently taken center stage. The message is loud and clear: women and the men who support them will no longer keep silent in the face of sexual harassment and discrimination. And it will eventually come to an end!
As a feminist, I was excited to be living at a time this was happening. Finally, I thought, women were going to gain freedom and equality. But after that initial feeling of empowerment, it didn’t take long for my hope to fade.
After many brave victims chose to share their stories with the world, it was difficult to hear the amount of skepticism about the timing of their accounts. Many assumed these women were simply vying for attention, trying to use their stories of abuse and harassment to get ahead.
Furthering my disappointment, this isn’t the first time sexual harassment has been fought on a large scale. The very fact that people feel the need to move towards “fourth-wave feminism” shows that sexist attitudes still exist despite generations of effort. Many who grew up in the protest era of the 1960s have remarked, “I thought love would be enough, but I guess it wasn’t.”
When I started feeling overwhelmed by the hopelessness of it all, I would play the last part ofon repeat:
“I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, [are] fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘me too’ again.”
Her words continued to uplift me — until one day when they no longer had any effect. It was the day a dear friend of mine told me she had just been sexually assaulted.
Oprah’s emotive speech and the world speaking up was not enough to stop what was happening behind closed doors. And even though I didn’t want to believe it, I had to resign myself to the terrible fact that there would never be a day (on this present earth) when nobody would have to say “me too.”
So for all of those who fought for women’s rights, who fought for peace, who fought for love: why wasn’t love enough? What happened?
The first book of the Bible gives us the answer. The depravity of the human heart could not be healed by our own tainted notion of love.
In Genesis 1, God repeatedly says his creation is “good.” The sanctuary that we all dream of and long for now is the world as God originally created it.
Yet it only takes to chapter three before humans reject God. Thus, our relationship with him and with each other is broken. Adam’s own son later goes on to commit the world’s first murder.
Genesis 6:5 says, “The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” So he sent a massive flood to the earth, causing all humanity — except for one family — to die. But no amount of water could wash away the sin within the heart of humanity.
Yet God didn’t give up on us. The first glimmerings of the gospel are in Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” This “seed” is the Messiah, who would ultimately conquer all evil. The flood couldn’t wash away humanity’s sin, but Jesus’ blood could.
The terrible acts of sexual violence, murder, and every form of hate will never be stopped solely by our speaking out and saying it will be no more. Instead of shouting, “Time’s Up,” we need to cry out, “Let your Kingdom come!”
Instead of Oprah’s dream of a new day dawning, we should put our hope in the words of Revelation 21:3-4:
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’”
While I pray for God’s kingdom to come, I will do what I can to live it out now on earth. I will still be a feminist — I will continue to fight for equality, speak up, grieve with those who suffer injustices, stand up for those who are voiceless, and yes, even take part in future movements.
But my hope should never be primarily in this world and in our own human solutions. Rather, my hope is in Jesus. So I encourage you to remember where your hope lies and to pray for others and let them know where they can find real hope.
If you have experienced sexual abuse or harassment, you're not alone. One of our free and confidential mentors would love to pray with you and support you on your journey.