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What is the Code of Silence?

The Code of Silence in our faith communities on the issues of rape and sexual violence promotes Suffering in Silence.  This silence on the part of community/family is a profoundly self-focused, self-protective,  and selfish position.  As a cultural phenomenon that becomes a shared belief within the faith community body, it is an example of mass denial.  Such shared denial promotes further damage to the survivor by minimizing her voice and essentially abandoning her.  Passivity and silence support the perpetrator and wounds the entire community.

Emotional safety in our congregations is central to helping survivors come forth with their stories.  “Other things being equal, the more taboo it is to talk about an experience the more traumatic it is likely to be,” writes Diane Russell in The Politics of Rape.

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