Open Letter by
Pastor Deanna M. Stokes, Ed.D.
This is an open letter to all those insensitive people who call themselves Christians.
For those who know me, I am NOT a political person. I actually hate (strong word, but
appropriate) politics at all levels. But, over the last week I have listened to women weep and
recount their stories, some over 30 years ago, of abuse, violence, rape, sexual assault, you
name it. It has been difficult for me as a follow of Jesus, Pastor, and woman who has survived
abuse to sit by, say nothing, and not feel for these and other women. This letter is NOT about
Mr. Kavanaugh or Dr. Ford or the confirmation hearings. It is about the women who had
thought they had let go of the abuse they suffered long ago, only to find themselves sitting in
front of the television set reliving it all over again. Maybe it is difficult for some to empathize
with victims. Maybe if you were never abused, molested, or sexually assaulted, it is difficult to
understand. This is why women marched, the Yale students had a sit-in…why people kneel,
stand, or whatever, to get everyone’s attention about injustice. Why can’t you understand?
Why? Can you see it from the perspective of your sister, daughter, wife, mother, aunt,
grandmother, friend who was assaulted some 30 years ago? Why can’t you be empathetic and
try (as difficult as it might be) to put yourself in their shoes? A little discomfort is what we need
if we are truly Christ followers! Ah, this is why women are silent. Because of the way you have
acted in this situation. She didn’t want to or think it was worth more pain to see you act this
way and cause even greater pain than her abuser caused. We, the abused, don’t want to deal
with your attitude, lack of support, or emotions over something we went through and you fail
One should not gloat over these confirmation hearings. I am asking you to be more considerate
and more empathetic to the effect that this hearing has had on women in our society. I believe
Jesus is empathetic. I believe Jesus cares about Mr. Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford. I believe Jesus
cares about all of us girls who have been violated, and I believe Jesus cares about you as an
unsympathetic Christ follower. I am an eternal optimist and believe that we can all come
together and be reconciled, and redemption happen at the table of love. This is a time for us to
love not to hate or alienate. I read a comment from a certain man who questioned the evidence
in the FBI investigation of Mr. Kavanaugh…ranting, “where is the evidence? He should not be
convicted without evidence.” I’m ok with that! One should not be convicted without evidence.
One should be innocent until proven guilty. Maybe there was not enough evidence, and maybe
the FBI didn’t find enough to move forward. But, my argument is why don’t you stand up for
injustice for ALL people? Why not speak loudly for Black and Brown men who have been
accused of things they did not do or have been convicted in the media before proven guilty. In
America, we pass judgment before there is a trial. Why not rant and cry out about that? Can
you stand up for those Black and Brown men, and all women, the way you did for Mr.
As I close this letter, I want to remind us that we live in a system that was created long ago for
the degradation of Black people and women for that matter. In order to break the system, it
takes the people who caused the system to be so, White men. I leave you with this thought
from a powerful movie: A Time to Kill. The lawyer Jake, a White man (played by Matthew
McConaughey) defends a Black man, Carl Lee (played by Samuel L. Jackson), for killing the two
White boys who raped his 12 year-old daughter Tonya. There are scenes of violence and racism
that will tear your heart apart. But, in Jake’s closing argument, he asks the jury to close their
eyes and imagine something. I ask you to do the same while reading as I paraphrase that
powerful scene. A 12-year old girl is coming home from the grocery store carrying groceries for
the family when all of a sudden two grown men attack her. They tie her to the back of their
pickup truck and drag her along. They stop and unhook her and begin to rape her, one at a
time. They use her head as target practice as they toss their beer cans against it. Their sweat
and semen is all over her. Can you see it? Can you see her torn body and her torn up womb?
Can you see it? Now imagine she is WHITE!
This is for all the little girls, White, Black, Brown, and women who have ever been abused. If it
takes you to see them in your color, then do so, but DO NOT IGNORE US ANY LONGER!