Silence is Not Spiritual. Action is not Optional.
December 8, 2019
by Lisa Sharon Harper & Michelle Higgins
When we launched Silence is Not Spiritual two years ago, we knew that words would not be enough. We knew faith requires action. Over the last two years, we have been building the infrastructure that makes it possible to take mass action now.
Faith communities must take action and commit to amplifying the stories of survivors.
Thank you for your commitment to end gender-based violence and abuse and to stand with and for survivors. With your support, two years ago we welcomed survivors to share stories. We called on churches to create protected spaces where survivors could share their stories. It is time for faith communities to take action. The best first step is to amplify the stories of survivors. It is time to hold physical space for both healing and accountability.
That is why we are launching Solidarity Sunday, January 12, 2020.
We are asking you to gather with your community during dedicated time in a dedicated place to commit – out loud and in person – to believe the stories of survivors, and to change the culture of silence that offers cover for gender-based abuse and violence in faith spaces.
Women who experience violence in faith communities are often told to be silent. Survivors are often counseled to reflect on their own actions that could have caused the abuse.
The #metoo and #churchtoo movements have demanded accountability and repair. The truth is, so does God. Gender-based violence is violence against the image of God in our communities. God takes violence seriously, so must we. We must acknowledge that cultures of abuse are real and they exist inside the church as much as they exist outside of our walls. It is time for the church to interrogate its systems and build spaces that protect and cultivate the image of God in all.
In January 2018, thousands of people supported the #SilenceisNotSpiritual campaign by signing a statement condemning abuse against women and calling for active support for survivors.
In January 2020, we are inviting congregations and organizations to hold space for survivor stories during a national #SilenceIsNotSpiritual Solidarity Sunday.
Join us Sunday, January 12, 2020
We believe that spiritual practices are a critical part of building a culture of commitment to centering the stories of survivors, especially for women and girls.
By centering the stories of survivors, especially women and girls, we will hold space for healing in our worshipping communities and supporting organizations and we will amplify voices that have been silenced for far too long.
Solidarity Sunday can include:
Liturgical elements or readings focused on demanding justice and seeking healing.
Testimony and prayers led by survivors who are willing to share their stories.
Special events centering survivor stories following or leading into worship.
Story sharing and distributing resources for ending the culture of abuse and deceit that controls so many sacred spaces.
How you can get involved:
Sign up to have an event on Solidarity Sunday. Collaborate with friends or partner congregations to host an event for your community.
Request our Solidarity Sunday Toolkit for ideas, activities and scripted elements built with a lens of inclusion, gender justice and anti-racism.
Encourage your faith leaders to sign on to the Silence is Not Spiritual Statement and commit to spiritual practices that build protected space for survivors to speak without fear.
Action is not optional for the church. Faith requires steps forward toward healing and wholeness. Solidarity Sunday is one way that faith communities can move forward on the journey to end gender-based violence and abuse.