the backlash when speaking up about abuse


In nearly every class I have taught for the last 15 years two major topics have arisen. One is a conversation around ministry with and to those with disabilities. The second, and all too often not unrelated, is around issues of abuse and violence.

I have no shortage of stories of horrific things that have been done to children and youth. I also have no shortage of youth workers who have been wounded in the process of trying to do right. I have spoken before about the very seminary where I taught being told that there was no place in chapel to have this conversation. As frustrated and angry as that made me, I was simply ignored not told I was a trouble maker for bringing up this very subject.

It is beyond time for leaders, vocational ministers and lay leaders to take a stand. To demand better. To seek justice so that peace may come. To be willing to face consequences and speak truth even when it costs.

Amy Smith has been valiantly speaking up for those who have been abused for years. She has also been a volunteer youth worker for years. It seems that a narrow understanding of what is “good” for our children has distorted the perspective of leadership where she has been. While I do not know her personally, I know her work. I know that what she is experiencing is deeply personal. I also know that being uninvited to the table is not necessarily a sign of being wrong. In fact, it may be that she was a little too right.

Read her story, hear her words. I am telling you now, if you are not angry at the end you need to check yourself. We MUST have this conversation and we MUST encourage those who are being wounded in the process.

Being silent does not mean there is not a problem. It means the problem is sure to continue.

Amy Smith- watchkeep

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About Amy Jacober

Amy Jacober (PhD, Fuller Seminary) is a youth ministry veteran with ministry and teaching experience. She focuses on practical theology, urban ministry, theology & disability, and marginalized communities. She is a volunteer youth worker in her church and community, lead consultant with Youth Ministry Architects and serves on the Young Life Capernaum national board. In her free time she can be found playing with her three young children, husband, and oversized dog.