Sexual misconduct allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein spurred an uprooting of perpetrators of sexual harassment in Hollywood. In the midst of it all, women on social media shared their own experiences using the hashtag #MeToo. Now, the hashtag #ChurchToo is trending as Twitter users share stories of sexual misconduct that have happened within places of worship.
According to one Twitter user, #ChurchToo was started on November 21st by two women — writer and trauma researcher Hannah Paasch and spoken word poet Emily Joy.
Joy tweeted out a thread detailing her experience with a “youth leader” in her evangelical megachurch. What started as an innocent mentor-mentee relationship snowballed into something extremely inappropriate. Joy noted that she was inspired to share her story after reading Twitter user Audrey Assad’s thread about a similar situation that happened to her.
Sexual abuse allegations surrounding higher-ups in churches are nothing new. For example, the 2015 film Spotlight tells the true story of Boston Globe journalists investigating the numerous sexual misconduct allegations made against a Boston priest. And Netflix’s The Keepers delves into Baltimore’s history of sexual abuse scandals and coverups in a local Catholic high school.
We hope that as #ChurchToo continues to gain momentum, something will finally be done about the secretive goings-on within churches across America.
(Warning: some of the below tweets contain triggering content.)
Supporters of the #ChurchToo movement are using the tag to call for widespread change.
We are again reminded that Hollywood is not the only community plagued by sexual abuse and harassment.
Thank you to those who have come forward about your experiences. It’s not an easy thing to do, but in order to make a change, sharing these stories is incredibly important.