Merry Complicit Christmas

As the Washington Post calls it the word of the year, ‘complicit’ has become the most searched for definition of the season. Why? Because it highlights a dark spot of shame in our nation – one that is now making its way to the light. Truth does that, you know. I frequently speak about how truth is like shrapnel from the wounds of an inner battle and it will most certainly make its way to the surface of any matter which tries to restrain it.

Complicit is the state of being involved with, or associated with, unethical activity. It is usually followed with passivity of doing nothing and saying nothing. It’s the weapon of silence. It’s a partnership with evil and it’s practiced by everyday people, every day.

Some try to cover truth with anything they can find: lies, silence, ignorance and manipulation, but truth will one day stare us in the face and force us to deal with her. God, I love her. She’s such a badass. I only wish more people loved truth like I do.

The #METOO movement is not void of accomplices, which is mainly why complicit is the word of the year. While the stories of men like Moore, Weinstein, and Lauer fill our feeds there is another set of perpetrators who we have not yet mentioned (and who are not likely to identify themselves or accept any sort of responsibility): those who knew everything and did nothing.

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. – Albert Einstein

Like many women, I have my own share of #METOO stories. What I have found to be equally as damaging as the event itself is reaching out and telling someone and instead of supporting you, they step back, go silent, and leave you to wade out the situation alone with the silence of shame.

Aiding and abetting is a heinous crime against humanity. I wonder how many NBC employees knew about Lauer’s incidents, how many of Weinstein’s staff or cohorts looked the other way, or how many friends and family Moore’s accuser spoke to and not only remained quiet themselves, but encouraged her to do the same.

Pride and fear are quite the power couple. Oftentimes, when a victim shares of an inappropriate experience, our first thought is not how we can help, but we find ourselves quickly assessing how this new information could potentially jeopardize our prized position or infringe upon our platform of perceived power. Our response becomes tangled up with our own self-preservation. It becomes about us.

What I find most particularly gruesome within some of my own stories is that they were tightly wrapped within the walls of religious organizations. Speaking up became an act of christian club-member suicide, as accountability fell into the hands of fearful, selfish, and not-so-innocent religious bystanders. Ridiculous sentiments like, “be still and the Lord will fight for you,” and “in God’s timing, He will bring this to the light“, were spoken to give the appearance of support but only reinforced the notion that doing nothing would be more kind than hurting someone else’s reputation. And our goal, as Christians, is to be kind.

Most people desire to be trustworthy but that kinda means learning how to live in the light of truth and that’s kinda not always comfortable. But, we kinda need to suck it up anyways because truth and trust are allies. If you cannot handle the responsibility that comes with learning of the truth then you cannot be trusted. And the mishandling of truth may be a far worse crime than the crime itself, when we acknowledge the immense and catastrophic damage of broken trust.

I do trust that God’s timing is perfect. In fact, I have seen that sometimes Truth waits until you have built for yourself a nice, lofty platform of power, a large number of followers and a flashy name for yourself before she allows herself to come forth. And as a victim of complicity I find it a much more entertaining show to watch cold-hearted abusers fall from their tall towers rather than stumble off of a short ledge.

– Melinda


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Communications major. Journalist. Willing: to have the tough conversations. Living out the belief that communication strengthens connection.

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