Outside of the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Jeffersonville, Ind., a sign reads, “Stop sexual harassment. Wear clothes.”
In the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, many in the community are outraged and shocked that the institution, which has been around since 1908, would promote this kind of message.
“I mean, would you say that to a six-year-old girl who has been assaulted when they wear overalls and pigtails?” questioned Madilyn Shipman, a Jeffersonville resident, on WLKY News.
Allyson Condra, another resident, agreed: “As a mom of two daughters, this infuriated me. As a female myself, this infuriated me. As a human being, this infuriated me.”
A neighbor of the church said that the message was removed and shortly thereafter Pastor Sidney Fulton apologized for the sign, promising new steps have been added to ensure further approvals are required before a new sign is made public.
“Recently there was a sign at our church that was offensive. I can make no excuse for the sign. As the pastor of the church I am distressed that such a message has come from our church. The sign caused pain and I would never desire for any message from our church to cause pain,” Fulton said in a statement. “It was inappropriate and there is no place for that message. It has been removed. I am deeply sorry for the pain that our sign has caused and apologize to the community. We will take steps to ensure that such offenses do not take place again.”
Despite the apology, residents are still upset about the message the sign conveyed.
“It was hurtful and demeaning,” said resident Keniesha Zell.
“It does not matter what you’re wearing. It’s not OK to touch somebody if they don’t want you to.”
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