As the church and evangelical world continue to unfold story after story of horrendous leadership falls and fails in the area of sexual or spiritual abuse of women, Kyria realises it’s important that we don’t stay silent. If you follow us on social media, you would have noticed that we regularly create space to address these issues. No one article can do justice to such matters but Kyria feels it is important to speak to the issue because it is our mission to champion, empower and release women into spheres of influence. Therefore, it’s important to highlight, agitate and advocate against instances of such leadership with the desire that there are better days to come.

Below are three brief points that will help us as we address areas of sexual and spiritual abuse within the Church as well as outside of it. None of these points are easy to do but all are necessary to enable lasting change in these areas. It is our firm belief that as women increase in confidence and boldness these stories will decrease, and equality, justice and freedom for survivors will eventuate.

1. Speak up

If this happened to you even some time ago, we encourage you to find a place of safety where you can share your experience and gain the support you need and deserve.

If it happening right now, we strongly encourage you not to delay in seeking help and support. To do that will take huge courage and fear is an ever-present enemy, but it’s vital that you know God’s deep love for you, and that these things are not His will for your life. Some of our own Kyria team have their own scars and pain in this area but as they found the courage to speak up, they have found it possible to educate the Church and advocate for a new way. As a result, freedom, healing and acceptance have flooded in, and life has been restored to themselves and their leadership contexts.

If any of this resonates with you, it’s vital you understand that you are not in the wrong. On the contrary, you have been wronged. No one subjected to any form of abuse is in the wrong, and the God of justice, mercy and grace speaks that truth over us. Details of agencies who can support you are below. It’s important to realise you do not need to do this alone – there are people who will believe you and support you on your journey.

2. Speak into

As you speak into your leadership contexts, you will help create safer places and spaces for other women. Christians are called to the message of Micah 6:8 which is to ‘do justice and love kindness’. Part of this is protecting the vulnerable and providing spaces for them. For too long the Church has hidden behind arguments of theology, temptation and tradition in regard to women in the Church, and women in leadership. This is completely wrong, causing women to be shockingly vulnerable both inside and outside of the Church. We all have a responsibility to speak into current systems, create safer communities of faith, and choose to challenge arenas that prevent the rights and freedom of women.

3. Speak out

Help us advocate against the abuse of women.

Justin Humphreys, Joint CEO of thirtyone:eight, says “Although the word ‘safeguarding’ itself does not appear in the Bible, throughout its pages we’re given hundreds of examples of God’s heart for vulnerable people, and the expectations he places upon communities and societies for how we should respond to, and treat those who fall within that category, so we can be left in no doubt as to God’s thoughts and feelings on the subject One verse that sums this up for us so clearly is Proverbs 31:8 from where the charity thirtyone:eight derives its name. This verse encourages us to ‘speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable”

Calling out sexism, misogynistic behaviour, misandry, abusers and perpetrators for their actions and choices is always the right thing.

Join us with the IWD #choosetochallenge campaign and add your voice to thousands of others to make lasting changes for gender equality. (Further details in update below)

The Kyria network must be a safe place for women leaders to share their experiences. We are here to serve, listen and support any way we can, and doing so, call forth a future in which gender is irrelevant to leadership. Don’t suffer in silence. Get in touch with us or the agencies below. We can make a difference together.

We are aware that speaking out takes courage and grit, especially because of the blame and neglect victims can be subject to, but we stand with you in this.