Mary Demuth’s book We Too: How the Church can Redemptively Respond to the Sexual Abuse Crisis is a “voice in the wilderness” surrounding the sexual abuse crisis and resulting cover-up in churches. Mary writes, “We must weep. We must grieve. We must speak up.” While reading this book, you will weep, grieve and be called to action!
This book is a sobering read. Yet, it’s absolutely the timeliest book you will read this year. As the #METoo movement swept across our Nation, I searched for a voice like Mary’s. A survivor who has received enough healing that her words instead of entrenched with anger, was written with wisdom. I found what I was looking for within the pages of this book. I highly recommend it to anyone in leadership, serving in a church, church member and/or a survivor.
For me personally, I wasn’t angered by Mary’s account of how the church has handled sexual abuse. I believe she is Spot. On! I am bewildered by the fact that as followers of Jesus, we have stood back and allowed our churches to care more about reputation then redemption and protecting the perpetrators over defending the victims. It’s counterintuitive of what our churches were designed to be.
It’s evident this book is God-ordained and gives us, as a church, the opportunity to get right what we have gotten wrong for decades. It’s a call to love and serve like Jesus, those who have experienced sexual trauma. To protect, serve others righteously, unashamedly and without fear or condemnation.
The book is split up into different sections. The first few chapters of the book give background to this crisis. Through Mary’s own transparency and stories, we get a glimpse of how poorly survivors have been treated by family members, caregivers, and churches as they dared to give voice to their experiences. She then uses Biblical accounts to show how abuse was handled in the early days, which is true to form to the responses we have seen in our churches for years. Additionally, through scriptural references, she provides examples of hope, healing, and even justice through Jesus Christ. One who experienced violence, betrayal and excruciating physical pain.
The middle of the book focuses on where we are at today. Daring, truthful and arduous the reader is shown the true condition of the church. How porn, protection of predators, and denial within our church walls has led to further trauma for victims and driven them from the one place where they should feel safe. It’s a web of sin that has infiltrated hundreds within leadership in our churches and organizations.
The end of the book familiarizes the reader about the effects of sexual abuse trauma and classic coping methods survivors often default to. After providing an understanding of the characteristics of sexual trauma, Mary admonishes the church. Not in an ugly, hateful way but through the lens of someone who loves the church. Mary is coming alongside to help the church become more like Jesus. She ends the book with solid solutions for followers of Jesus Christ to practice in order to positively move forward in serving, listening, and loving survivors of sexual abuse and trauma. These steps can stop the cycle of protecting the reputation of the church over justice, restitution, and healing for victims.
Throughout reading this book, I teetered between being broken-hearted for the survivors and feeling ashamed of how I and the church have failed them. At times, I wanted to scream or throw something. Not at any one individual or institution but at the enemy of our souls. After reading this book, my prayer is that we, the church can recognize the battle we are in. Then repent, and stand hand in hand with survivors. Giving them back their voices…it’s long overdue.
We Too is scheduled to be released on August 13, 2019. Click here, to pre-order.
*** I received an advance reader copy of this book through We Too launch team. I am under no obligation to review the book. All opinions are my own.