Break The Silence Sunday is an effort to open up a conversation within the church about rape and sexual assault. Within the context of our faith communities we hope to
(1) acknowledge the reality of rape and sexual violence in our world;
(2) support survivors by creating a place where they can tell their stories, feel loved and supported,
and find encouragement on their healing journey;
(3) commit ourselves to the work of changing the world, creating a future where rape is a memory.
Why does this matter?
The most conservative estimates from the U.S. Department of Justice tell us that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 33 men will be victims of rape in their lifetimes. Let that sink in – twenty five percent of the women and three percent of the men you know! What those statistics don’t tell us though is how many rapes go unreported because of a victim’s fear, sense of shame, and overwhelming societal pressures. How many people aren’t able to talk about what has happened to them, don’t have a safe place to tell their story, don’t have someone they can trust to tell their story to?
Who are we?
We are a group of people of faith. Some of us are pastors, others are lay members. Some of us are musicians, poets, visual artists, dancers, writers. Some of us are members of the United Church of Christ, but others are Lutheran, Episcopalian, or Methodist, and all of us have a deep appreciation and experience of the wisdom in the breadth of the Christian tradition.
What are we doing?
We are creating a dedicated Sunday in the church calendar, the Fourth Sunday of April each year, when, within the context of worship, the voice of survivors is heard, and honored, their pain acknowledged, and the community commits itself to the work of ongoing reflection, support, and social change. We will provide churches and pastors with prayers, litanies, reflections, scripture ideas, sermon starters, music suggestions, and more so that they can use these resources within their particular faith communities and contexts.
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