UNITED METHODIST AFFIRMATIONS AND BELIEFS ON SEXUAL ABUSE AND HARASSMENT
WHAT WE BELIEVE in terms of sexual harassment, abuse, and violence:
We believe human sexuality is God’s good gift. One abuse of this good gift is sexual harassment. We define sexual harassment as any unwanted sexual comment, advance, or demand, either verbal or physical, that is reasonably perceived by the recipient as demeaning, intimidating, or coercive. Sexual harassment must be understood as an exploitation of a power relationship rather than as an exclusively sexual issue. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the creation of a hostile or abusive working environment resulting from discrimination on the basis of gender.
Contrary to the nurturing community, sexual harassment creates improper, coercive, and abusive conditions wherever it occurs in society. Sexual harassment undermines the social goal of equal opportunity and the climate of mutual respect between men and women. Unwanted sexual attention is wrong and discriminatory. Sexual harassment interferes with the moral mission of the Church.
Violent, disrespectful, or abusive sexual expressions do not confirm sexuality as God’s good gift. We reject all sexual expressions that damage the humanity God has given us as birthright, and we affirm only that sexual expression that enhances that same humanity….
Sexual assault is wrong. We affirm the right of all people to live free from such assaults, encourage efforts of law enforcement to prosecute such crimes, and condemn rape in any form. It does not matter where the person is, what the person is wearing, whether or not he or she is intoxicated, if he or she is flirtatious, what is the victim’s gender, or any other circumstance.
United Methodist Book of Discipline, Social Principles, “The Nurturing Community”
Here you will find multiple resources for education, response, and advocacy.
Statistics on sexual violence from Faith Trust Institute. http://www.
“What religious leaders can do to respond to sexual violence” from FaithTrust Institute. http://www.
“Healing from Abuse: How to be a resource for survivors” recorded webinar from FaithTrust Institute. http://www.
United Methodist Women’s “I Believe You” Faith’s Response to Intimate Partner Violence documentary trailer, toolkit and discussion guide: https://www.
General Commission on the Status and Role of Women http://gcsrw.org/
United Methodist Sexual Ethics http://umsexualethics.org/