It is my position that the church needs to be having a louder and more productive and useful conversation about sexual assault and what we can do to serve our neighbors who have faced such experiences. This is part I in a series I'm doing where I interview experts and helpers who can assist us in maneuvering this topic for the good of our friends and communities.
We will start with a basic conversation of what sexual assault is, how prevalent it is, and the perspective of someone who is on the front lines of this subject matter. Kami Garrison is a local expert I asked to chat with me. She is Prevention and Education Coordinator at KC-CASA and ISAS. These offices are part of a broader coalition in Illinois called ICASA, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault. These offices work to improve the quality of services for survivors of sexual assault, assist in their recovery, and work towards the elimination of sexual violence.
Among other things we talked about teaching our kids about consent, what rape culture is and the damage it does, shame and why women don't report the majority of incidents, and how people can help.
Future episodes on this topic will include how the church is successfully and unsuccessfully serving members who are survivors, why church leaders need to be held to a higher standard than other people in positions of authority, and more about rape culture and why we need to take it seriously.
I'm pretty passionate about this topic, but I'm also very motivated to have civil and patient conversations about the various aspects which can sometimes be charged and complicated. Please don't hesitate to contact me or engage in a conversation about sexual assault because this abuse is rampant and needs to be brought out into the open so we can better serve one another.
Here are the links to resources Kami talked about as well as some tips that may be of use to you.