Rev. Dr. Kendyl Gibbons, DMin '80, delivered this sermon at the All Souls UU Church in Kansas City on October 16, 2016, exactly a year before millions of women worldwide shared their experiences of sexual harassment and assault with a hashtag "#MeToo" on social media.
"Now, let me suggest that if you don’t know what the big deal is; if you’re not familiar with the kinds of experiences I’m talking about; if you don’t believe it’s all that common, you should check out the stories at hashtag Yes All Women. I could tell you my own stories, and stories that other women have shared with me, but that would just subject everyone here to yet another helping of ickyness, another round of revulsion and powerlessness, so I’m not going to do that. What I am going to do is to urge all of us to challenge the conventions of silence and dismissal – and I mean all of us, men and women alike, including the trans and bi folks who likely know what I’m talking about even more intensely. And in this sometimes difficult process, I offer you the shield of faith, in case it might be useful. It helps our teenagers sometimes, when we give them the option of saying to their peers, “I can’t be part of picking on a person because they’re gay; it’s against my religion,” just as their Jewish friends might respond if offered a ham sandwich. Well, you can use it too; “I can’t let you touch me like that; it’s against my religion,” – because it is. “I can’t listen to these jokes; it’s against my religion,” – you will be telling the simple truth. Or try “I can’t watch you treat a woman that way; it’s against my religion.” There can be no more accurate witness to what Unitarian Universalism is; it might even help outsiders to answer for themselves the invariable question, What do UUs believe?"
It may be that this means that some well-meaning men are going to have to reconsider a few of their innocent conversational habits or social gambits, some of which may not have been as innocent as they were pleased to believe. So be it. It’s not the fault of women; it never has been, and we are not over-reacting.Rev. Dr. Kendyl Gibbons