“There is no agony like having an untold story inside you.” - Zora Neale Hurston
The Case for Suspending Credentials: Lindale, Virginia Conference, and Definitions of Accountability

The Case for Suspending Credentials: Lindale, Virginia Conference, and Definitions of Accountability

We are grateful to Hillary Watson for posting this piece on her own blog, Gathering the Stones, on May 9th, and for crossposting it now on OSU. It is a helpful contribution to the continuing conversation around what accountability ought to look like for Mennonite church leaders when it comes to...
Good Intentions Aren't Enough: How church authorities slid my sister's sexual abuse under the rug

Good Intentions Aren’t Enough: How church authorities slid my sister’s sexual abuse under the rug

  Lauren Shifflett, recently shared the story of the sexual trauma she experienced in her life including how Luke Hartman coerced her into a sexual relationship, then stalked and threatened her when she tried to end it. If you have a moment, please read it with caution and kindness. It’s long,...
Now We Are Free

Now We Are Free

This may be an unfair assumption, but many people are probably only reading this post to hear about my experiences with Luke Hartman. My story is so much bigger than him though, and writing this post has involved revisiting some of the hardest moments of my life. Please don’t cheapen...
Why queer youth cannot be “kittens that we rescue": An interview with Yvonne Zimmerman (Part 3)

Why queer youth cannot be “kittens that we rescue”: An interview with Yvonne Zimmerman (Part 3)

This is the third part to a 3 part interview series between Stephanie Krehbiel and Yvonne Zimmerman on the narrative of sex-trafficking. Zimmerman is a veteran of the sex trafficking debates. Her book, Other Dreams of Freedom: Religion, Sex, and Human Trafficking, examines the influence of conservative Protestant theology on U.S....
Coming home to our bodies: trauma and justice

Coming home to our bodies: trauma and justice

This piece is a cross-post, originally published on January 29, 2016, on the Brethren Mennonite Council website. My senior year of high school, I was talking to a school counselor about an experience I had earlier that year with another classmate. As I finished my explanation, he told me that what...
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An Open Letter from OurStoriesUntold to Eastern Mennonite University

An Open Letter from OurStoriesUntold to Eastern Mennonite University

Last week, in an email to faculty, staff and students, Eastern Mennonite University acknowledged and responded to Lauren Shifflitt’s testimony to the stalking and abuse she experienced from former EMU Vice President of Enrollment, Luke Hartman. The EMU statement has been shared widely through social media. EMU’s public response to Lauren Shifflett’s testimony impacts Lauren, survivors...
Prostitution, sex-trafficking, and agency: An interview with Yvonne Zimmerman (Part 2)

Prostitution, sex-trafficking, and agency: An interview with Yvonne Zimmerman (Part 2)

Yesterday we posted part 1 of a 3 part interview series between Stephanie Krehbiel and Yvonne Zimmerman on the narrative of sex-trafficking. Zimmerman is a veteran of the sex trafficking debates. Her book, Other Dreams of Freedom: Religion, Sex, and Human Trafficking, examines the influence of conservative Protestant theology on U.S. anti-trafficking policy. In part one,...
The victim narrative on sex-trafficking: An interview with Yvonne Zimmerman (Part 1)

The victim narrative on sex-trafficking: An interview with Yvonne Zimmerman (Part 1)

What is sex trafficking? Is it different from prostitution? Is it slavery? Who is involved in sex trafficking? Why does it exist? What does it mean for survivor communities to talk about sex trafficking? While sex trafficking constitutes a relatively small percentage of total estimated human trafficking activity, our collective American preoccupation with sex trafficking...
How storytelling helped me heal | Healing from Sexual Abuse Vlog, Ep. 5

How storytelling helped me heal | Healing from Sexual Abuse Vlog, Ep. 5

<—– This is a photo of the trees and me being supermodel Awesome. Down below is a video (vlog post) of the trees and me being not supermodel but superhero AWESOME. Seriously. One year ago there was NO WAY you would have found me talking this openly about my story of sexual abuse and/or sexual identity....
Self-Care: Indulgence or Preservation? | Healing from Sexual Abuse Vlog, Ep. 4

Self-Care: Indulgence or Preservation? | Healing from Sexual Abuse Vlog, Ep. 4

Have you heard the term self-care mentioned a time or two? How does it make you feel? Do you shrug your shoulders and say, “Self-care? Who on earth has time for that?!” Many people in the Christian and activist world lack a self-care discipline. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard people speak...
What is compassion, anyway? | Healing from Sexual Abuse Vlog, Ep. 3

What is compassion, anyway? | Healing from Sexual Abuse Vlog, Ep. 3

Have you ever thought about compassion? I mean, reallllly thought about it? Have you considered the line Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and rather than use it to justify how we treat others, look at it as a reflection of how we treat ourselves? Most of us, especially Christians that I know, live life...
Exploring Identity: Who Am I? | Healing from Sexual Abuse Vlog, Ep. 2

Exploring Identity: Who Am I? | Healing from Sexual Abuse Vlog, Ep. 2

Thank you everyone for your support, kind words, and thoughts that were shared yesterday. I felt so loved and held by this amazing community. If you didn’t see yesterday’s vlog on vulnerability, it’s not too late to check it out here. As I mention at the beginning of today’s vlog, these videos are for everyone, not...
Video Vulnerability | Healing from Sexual Abuse, Ep.1

Video Vulnerability | Healing from Sexual Abuse, Ep.1

I’ve been debating whether or not to post this for the past 24+ hours. To say that it is embarrassing is an understatement. I showed my closest friend the video below, asking their honest opinion on whether or not I should launch a vlogging (video blog) series for Our Stories Untold, and proceeded to hide...
Have we learned anything from the John Howard Yoder cover-up?

Have we learned anything from the John Howard Yoder cover-up?

*The piece originally appeared as as a blog post on TheMennonite.org on December 12, 2015. ———————————- On December 1st, Mennonite Church USA’s (MCUSA) Executive Board staff cabinetannounced the members of a new sexual abuse prevention panel. This panel is a direct response to the Churchwide Statement on Sexual Abuse passed by the delegate assembly this summer at...
Loving Pain into Speech

Loving Pain into Speech

These last many months, I have slowly allowed myself to acknowledge anew the depth and endlessness of the heartache I carry within – heartache for the ways we human beings tear at each other’s bodies and psyches and spirits and holy places and communities and cultures and homes; heartache for the ways we tear at the earth and its...
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