The Church Needs a Masterclass in How to Apologize for Sexual Assault

In the past few weeks, two new stories in the vein of the Harvey Weinstein news#MeToo, and #ChurchToo have emerged: those of Jules Woodson and Megan Ganz. Woodson was sexually assaulted by her youth pastor when she was 17; he was 22. Her predator, Andy Savage, has been a pastor for the past 19 years, only recently placed on leave from his current pastoral position when the assault accusations became public. Ganz was harassed for years by Dan Harmon, creator of the television show Community, on which Ganz was a writer.

While the traumas inflicted on Woodson and Ganz are different in myriad ways, they share a common factor: men in power preying upon women (or, in the case of Woodson, girls) who are subservient to that power in some way. Woodson was a student in Savage’s youth group, trained to see him as a spiritual and moral authority. Ganz was employed by Harmon: he decided whether or not her scripts were used and he signed her paychecks. Woodson and Ganz, by virtue of attending youth group and showing up for work, found themselves at the mercy of powerful men who used their power mercilessly.

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Author: Abby Perry

Abby has written for The Gospel Coalition, Christ and Pop Culture, Upwrite Magazine, and The Influence Network. She is the communications coordinator for a nonprofit organization and co-facilitates two community efforts—one promoting bridge-building racial reconciliation conversations and one supporting area foster and adoptive families. Abby graduated from Texas A&M University and currently attends Dallas Theological Seminary. She and her family live in College Station, Texas.