• 70°

Stand up against sexual abuse

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

Recently, Americans have become more aware of a slimy rat that was lurking beneath the surface of our culture — the sexual abuse of girls and women by predatory men.

The allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore came right on the heels of multiple allegations against some prominent men in Hollywood.

It is high time that we stood up and said “Enough!” to this wretched behavior. Many girls and women are doing just that.

Yet there is one incredibly discouraging thing about this, and that is the willingness of people to leap to the defense of men they agree with politically. This is happening on both the left and the right.

When President Clinton was accused of sexual abuse, those on the left were quick to jump to his defense. Conservatives were quick to point out that public officials need to display moral integrity and set an example. I believe they were right in doing so.

Yet when President Trump was running for President and was accused of sexual abuse, many of these same people leaped to candidate Trump’s defense!

We have seen the same hypocrisy on display in the past couple of weeks. When liberal Hollywood men were accused, some conservatives were quick to say, “Look at the debauched and liberal Hollywood values on display.”

But when conservative candidate Roy Moore was accused, some of these same people were quick to leap to his defense.

You see, neither conservatives nor liberals can claim the moral high ground here. Many on both sides have put politics before morality, and that is just shameful.

Obviously, people are innocent until proven guilty. But when abuse allegations surface, if your first inclination is to defend powerful men, rather than the girls or women who are victims of abuse, you need to do some serious heart-searching.

Sexual abuse of women and girls is not new. It has been happening on an epidemic scale for years. Victims are often reluctant to come forward. They don’t want to deal with the attention. Sometimes, they feel a sense of shame, even though they were the victims.

Therefore, they often internalize the abuse and keep it quiet. This is devastating.

The Bible commands us to defend the vulnerable. The heart of God is near to the hurting. Surely, the abuse of his daughters fills Him with a sense of holy wrath.

Speaking of daughters, being a husband and a daddy of two daughters has definitely made me more sensitive to these issues.

Thankfully, they have been spared from abuse, but the mere thought of these sweet and gentle creatures being abused fills me with a sense of absolute outrage. If it makes me as a father feel this way, how much more does the heavenly Father feel this way.

What can we do?

  • If you are a parent or a grandparent, talk to your children about this.
  • If you are a husband, talk to your wife about it.
  • Refuse to participate in the objectification of women and girls, whether through listening to filthy talk, or watching pornography.
  • See girls and women as human beings created in the image of God, as His daughters. Think of them this way.
  • Refuse to remain silent when abuse occurs. Stand up and fight it with all your might, regardless of your politics.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.