Sad but not Silent

I am heartbroken by this election. And if that turns you off, then so be it.

I am heartbroken about what this election says about our hearts and minds as Americans. About what it says about how we value women, and people of other cultures, other colors, and other identities. 

I am devastated to hear the taunts and chants that are being repeated in schools across our land. That children, some quite young children, are exhilarated by taunting and bullying those that are different than themselves.

I fear for girls who may face danger and abuse from their classmates and not even know how to put words to it. 

I am disgusted with a Church that has resoundingly supported someone that stands against everything Christ came to do and demonstrated for us to do. 

I'm not sure where we should go from here.

But I will not be silent.

I declare that women, your voices will be heard.

You matter. God loves you. You are not just your genitals, or your looks, or your obedience. You are powerful, co-heirs of Christ. Daughters of God, made in the image. And you have the power to change the world. 

I declare that I will listen and we will create spaces to listen. If you have been abused, harassed, marginalized, belittled, or threatened, keep speaking up. I hear you. And I will fight for you. You are not invisible. 

And we will not be invisible, no matter how hard people try to silence us. The fight for women to be seen as human, is never ending. During these times, find your voice and use it. We will not go quietly or otherwise. We are here. And we will be heard so that the truth of who we are created to be will known to all. 

What Girls Are Facing

There's an article in the Washington Post today that talks about the impacts of sexting on a 7th Grade girls. Let that sink in.

7th Grade. 

Not High School. Not College. 7th Grade.

Kids who are barely into puberty, are sharing nude or semi-nude photos. Believing that this can bring them acceptance and love. And before you say, never my kid, understand that the pressure of all of this on kids, especially girls, is enormous.

Pressure to belong. To fit in. To be loved. To be accepted. To have a place. To have friends. All of the things we used to want, they want too. But now cell phones add a completely new dimension to the battle. The instantaneous ability to change your life forever.

Law enforcement agencies could have told her parents how truly ordinary their situation was. Sexting has gained a presence in every kind of school — rich and poor, urban and rural, big and small. As phones make their way into the hands of younger and younger kids, the incidents have grown more complex: Students collect their peers’ nude photos in passcode-protected Dropboxes, private Instagram accounts and apps disguised as calculators. In Massachusetts alone, the state police computer crimes unit gets multiple calls a month from schools needing its intervention. - Washington Post

And this isn't getting better. The impact of this on dating and relationships is overwhelming. Hook-up culture is infiltrating middle and high schools. Online only relationships are becoming normal; instances where kids never connect face to face with the person they are "in a relationship" with. 

Texting, sexting, semi-nude and nude pictures - all are becoming normal behavior between boys and girls. The book American Girls goes into detail about these behaviors. It's a startling read at best.

Sales' steady string of vignettes can be numbing at times, with one girl after another talking about boys asking them for “nudes,’’ the lack of romance in a culture that revolves around “hook-ups,’’ and the pressure to constantly project a virtually approved image of perfection. - USA Today

We need to be aware of what's going on. And we need to find loving ways to speak into the lives of the kids around us. 

And just note, even taking a phone away doesn't stop this behavior. Kids find ways to participate on other people's devices or on computers. Trying to hide from it will only lead to more secrecy and vulnerability.

Please take a few moments to read the Washington Post article. Knowledge is power here. When we can talk knowledgeably about what's going on, we are more likely to have the power to change it.

You can find out more about American Girls here.
Washington Post - And Everyone Saw It
USA Today Review of American Girls