When Christ’s Body is Assaulted
By Danny Chua (Safeguarding Ministry)
*Please note that this article mentions issues of abuse and may be distressing for readers.
I remember that gut-wrenching feeling I had when I read the news about a prominent Catholic figure’s sexual offences earlier this year. More accurately, I felt as though I was in a cauldron of chaotic emotions and thoughts.
On one hand, it was extremely disappointing to read yet again of abuse perpetrated in a religious community. On the other hand, there was some relief that all of these things came to light so to speak. There was some sense of justice, perhaps. Maybe some closure, even if imperfectly.
That mundane morning scrolling the news on my phone left me jolted awake. I think the reality is that abuse and its reverberating effects nearly always catch us off-guard, and leave us with an uncomfortable, sinking feeling of despair and regret whether it happens to us personally or not.
That morning was a reminder from God to me – a reminder that the urgent work of safeguarding in our church family is indeed a crucial and important aspect of our Christian living, and our Christian witness to the watching world. One practical step that we can take, as shepherds and ministry leaders, is to equip ourselves to navigate the complex problems of abuse in a church community together with all the gifts, resources and expertise of the saints in the whole Body of Christ.
It is therefore a great encouragement to me that many other brothers and sisters in the Singapore church are also coming together as one for this purpose. Our Zion Bishan Safeguarding Team will be one of over 20 contributors sharing our experiences in an upcoming book championed by Micah Singapore and Graceworks.
The book ‘Assault on the Body: Sexual Violence and the Gospel Community’ will be put together by the Singapore church for the Singapore church, as we will hear from abuse survivors, families and friends of survivors, therapists, social workers, theologians, lawyers, academics, advocates and pastors.
The book will consider, for example, how sexual assault damages a person and the wider community; what victims need to heal and how the church can support them; and what journeying with offenders may look like, amongst many other topics.
Lord willing, the book will be published next year. We are looking forward to learning from the insights shared by our fellow contributors, and it is our hope and prayer that this book will help Christians minister to those who have been impacted by sexual violence, with the gentleness, compassion and justice that Jesus embodied.
For more information on the book,