Sixth Annual CTMS Lecture
“The work at Osborne House destroyed the myth I had believed: that pacifists don’t emotionally, physical, and sexually abuse anyone.” This striking observation from Rachel Neufeld, who worked at a shelter for abused women in Winnipeg during her assignment with Mennonite Voluntary Service, was published in Der Bote in 1991. The 1990s were a decade of reckoning for Mennonites in Canada, as women throughout Canadian society began to break their silence about their experiences of physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse. As Mennonites struggled to address forms of violence they hadn’t previously recognized in their homes and churches, programs were developed to support victim-survivors of abuse, rehabilitate perpetrators, and educate pastors and communities. Dr. Melanie Kampen will examine the coverage of abuse in Der Bote, the Mennonite Reporter, and the Canadian Mennonite from 1980 until the present, analyzing how experiences of abuse in churches and communities were reported on, as well as shifts in attitudes towards women, abuse, and social and theological norms.
Melanie Kampen is the 2021-2022 D. F. Plett Historical Research Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow. She hold a PhD in theology from Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on the neglect of sexual and colonial violence in primarily white settler Mennonite theologies and communities. Melanie specializes in Mennonite feminist theologies, Christian ethics, trauma theory, and critical social theories.
This event was held virtually.