The Sunday after Christine Blasey Ford’s Senate testimony and the public re-traumatizing of all survivors of sexual assault in the U.S., my congregation, like many others, was hurting, confused, struggling, trying, wondering, searching for words. We spent some time in prayer, and this is the prayer I offered (as best I remember it):
Please join me in a time of silence for victims and survivors of sexual assault.
God we give thanks for the silence-breakers.
God we give thanks for the women who are survivors of sexual assault.
God we give thanks for the men who are survivors of sexual assault.
God we give thanks for the trans and gender-nonconforming people who are survivors, in so many ways.
Make our churches instruments of healing and recovery.
Teach us to lament. To listen to the laments of survivors.
We pray that we will have softer ears,
that we will become better listeners to survivors,
that we will learn to center the stories of survivors
and in doing so to create a more just world.
May we enter the public dialogue
practicing support and advocating for survivors.
May we speak healing and, when we make mistakes,
as we inevitably will in our attempts to learn justice, give us
the courage to learn from them and become better allies and better disciples.
And all God’s people said: I believe women.
Congregation: I believe women.
And all God’s people said: I believe survivors.
Congregation: I believe survivors.