WES Blog — Believe Survivors

           These last few weeks have been draining for so many of us, especially those that are survivors of sexual assault and violence. It is a real struggle to see such radical callousness from the leaders of this country in the face of trauma and pain. It is a disgrace that people are being forced to relive their experiences and recount them to Senators, staffers, news, strangers, even family or friends that approach these experiences with skepticism and distrust. It is only natural that we are feeling anger and despair with the state of the world.
           For some, the approach to this anger is to be on the streets organizing, lobbying, and engaging in civil disobedience. I am very grateful to the WES Community for your support of the work that I have been doing to show solidarity with women, LGBTQ and trans folk, and male survivors. I know many of your hearts are with me as I march or get arrested. One of the most powerful things about being clergy is knowing that when engaging in these events, I represent so much more than myself; that I carry your stories, outrages, and tears with me. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for entrusting me with your voices.
           It is not enough though to simply know that someone in the community is involved. Everyone needs a chance to either show outrage or find the time to heal. The national focus has been on the actions taken right now. Little attention has been paid to the amount that old wounds are being reopened and the memories and emotions that are being resurfaced. I would like to invite everyone to pause and breathe just for a moment or two. A chance to know that it ok to not be on the street, our priority remains caring for ourselves.
           Tomorrow afternoon, there will be another march downtown. If you are able and willing, please feel free to join us; if you send me an email I will send the details. In the evening Amanda and I will be hosting a vigil at WES for survivors and all those that are struggling. We recognize that we need a time and place to be held by community and feel the presence of compassion. We will have a reflective time indoors at 6:30pm and a silent solidarity action outside at 7pm (feel free to bring signs for the action, and we will also have some available). For those who want to be in the reflective space but are not in a space to take action, one of us will remain inside to further conversation and care. I hope to see you there and that you know that Amanda and myself are always available to talk if you are in need of a listening and caring ear.
           We have been watching one vote and one political battle wage in the news. We know that regardless of the outcome, there will still be a need for vigilance in disrupting rape culture. In this ongoing work, WES will continue to be here to support you and our society.
           I remain hopeful. Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of people speaking out and acting up to show their support and belief in women and survivors. Together we’ve created a strong narrative that proves that compassion remains active in this country. Compassion may feel like an underground movement, but it is growing and getting stronger.
Zeb Green, Clergy Intern