In 2017 Emily Joy Allison finally came out as a sexual abuse victim and created the #ChurchToo hashtag to create a platform to expose the culture of sexual abuse and assault embedded in the purity culture prominent in American churches, regardless of denominations, size, and geography. The author’s claim is that funding of schools, politics, ingrained patriarchy, homophobia, and the stressed abstinence of sexual activity before legally married are a poisonous mix that upholds abuse, blames female victims for soliciting, and keeps people from developing healthy relationships in which sexuality plays a natural role.
Statistics can lie, but regarding the age, the average American has sexual intercourse for the first time, eighteen years, there is no exception for Christians despite chastity pledges, purity rings, books, videos, sermons, and condemnations. Allison provides strong arguments why white men, especially those in power are the winners, and women are the losers in this. The author refuses to examine bible verses herself, despite her theological education, mingles her message with a personal coming out as a lesbian, a bumpy ride with a kind of forced marriage, divorce, and no longer calling herself a Christian.
That leaves the reader with lots of food for thought, yet no clear answers and possibly a bridge too far when it comes to endorsing all the practices and beliefs promoted in #ChurchToo: How Purity Culture Upholds Abuse and How to Find Healing.
About the author
Emily Joy Allison is a writer, poet, and yoga teacher. She holds a degree in philosophical theology and apologetics from Moody Bible Institute and is currently pursuing a Master of Theological Studies from Vanderbilt Divinity School. In November 2017, as the #MeToo movement was going viral, Emily came forward with her own story of abuse at the hands of her church and launched the #ChurchToo movement overnight. She has been writing and speaking about religious sexualized violence and its theological underpinnings ever since. Emily lives in Nashville, Tennessee.