Reissue: What Does Reconciliation Mean for Sexual Abuse Survivors? (Rachael and Jacob Denhollander)

This episode was originally published on February 4, 2022. In light of the Southern Baptist Convention's release of a report on sexual abuse within the denomination, we thought this episode was worth reissuing for our newer listeners.

This week, Rachael and Jacob Denhollander joined the podcast to discuss what reconciliation and restoration can look like following horrific abuse. Rachael Denhollander, a lawyer and former gymnast, rose to international prominence in 2016 when she became the first woman to publicly denounce and pursue criminal charges against former USA Gymnastics’ team doctor Larry Nassar, who sexually abused more than 500 girls and women. Rachael authored What Is a Girl Worth?, which explores her story in depth. 

In cases of abuse and sexual misconduct within the church, Christians can become fixated on forgiving and forgetting, and fear what will happen if the church gets bad press. But God will continue preserving His church, hence our job is not to protect the church from critique; it is to pursue justice. Failure to do so systemically enables sexual abuse. Justice and reconciliation must go hand in hand.

Show Notes:

  • 0:26 Is forgiveness necessary for reconciliation?
  • 6:41 Returning to a proper understanding of God's justice
  • 11:49 There's a cost to caring
  • 17:32 The spirit of humility
  • 20:25 Sexual violence and the church
  • 27:04 God's justice
  • 31:40 How do we restore what was broken?
  • 34:11 Complicit organizations—can you forgive an organization?

Tweetable: "The church has an obligation to pursue justice because that's who God is."


Show notes by Dominique LaCroix 
Credits for the music used in TBM podcast:
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