After Reading Ruth Everhart’s 2016 “Ruined,” the powerful, painful memoir of her rape at gunpoint when she was a college student, I was touched by her courage to go on with her life. That compelled me to invite Ruth to Champaign-Urbana, IL, to speak to pastors and leaders about sexual abuse – abuse we now know often goes hidden or under reported in churches.
When Ruth came and spoke, she was just finishing the writing of “The #MeToo Reckoning.” As she told her own story, coupling it with her deep insights into the #MeToo movement, I was mesmerized and greatly impacted. I couldn’t wait for her book.
It did not disappoint. In The #MeToo Reckoning, Ruth intertwines an engaging writing style through her life as a pastor, a wife, a mother, a victim sexual violence and now a student of the church’s often dreadful response to sexual abuse. Everhart weaves stories from Scripture alongside current stories of the complicity displayed by so many churches toward sexual abuse in churches.
In the end, Ruth issues a clarion call for the end of sexual assault, whatever its appearance. Ruth Everhart’s tenacity and deep concern for those who have suffered sexual violence have gained her hard-won discernment into how church communities can respond in protecting those most vulnerable to sexual abuse.
This book should be required reading for all church leaders, who should then insist that their pastors put the book near the top of their reading list. I hope that will then lead those pastors to both preach and explain why Ruth Everhart believes sexual abuse happens and yet is so often down played.
This kind of sexual abuse must be confronted and stopped. Ruth Everhart believes the Church can find a way forward.