BAHM organizes foot-washing to promote respectful and consensual relationships
On Thursday evening, four chairs were placed on the lawn of Seven Palms and a tub of warm water was set at the foot of each of the foot-washing stations.
Two male members of the Brothers Against Harassment Movement (BAHM) knelt beside each tub during the event, “The Basin.” The men waited to commence a foot-washing ritual that aimed to serve women and show them that they are respected and seen by the males in their community.
A few women bravely began the procession by sitting down on the chairs, removing their shoes and allowing themselves to be open to the restoration and empowerment that was offered. The men humbled themselves, conversed with the women and created a space of comfort before beginning to wash each woman’s feet.
At first, some of the women were hesitant to approach the empty chairs and the men crouching behind them. However, it didn’t take long for the stations to fill up.
Soon, many women had gone through the process of getting their feet washed while praying and building relationships with their brothers in Christ. Smiles and tears were visible as past pains were worked through alongside the men who humbled themselves through this service.
For freshman Grace Bonds, an undeclared major, the event was “earth-shattering.” She was the first to sit down at the designated foot-washing stations.
“In the past, things have hurt me, and this is just such a beautiful way of reconciling that,” Bonds said. “These men at APU have such a servant heart. They want to humble themselves and lift and empower women in this way, and they want to find new ways to do it as well, and it’s beautiful.”
Also at the event were several different stations open for all in attendance to participate. One table was designated for women to write words of encouragement, prayers for men and specific ways in which men could pray for the women. By the end of the night, the prayer request box was filled with multi-colored note cards of prayer requests.
Directly adjacent to this was a space designed for prayer. The space allowed the women to open up and pray with other female leaders. Groups of women could be seen sitting on the grass, embracing each other and being truly vulnerable with one another as they prayed, conversed and shed tears.
On the opposite side of Seven Palms, dozens of men sang and hung up pledges to be vessels of change in society. They pledged to be a brother and friend to those around them and to step in when observing behavior that demeans or degrades others.
BAHM is attempting to end the cycle of harassment toward women in the world by setting a godly example for others to see and follow. Joel Absalom, a junior acting major and founder of BAHM, said he wanted to start this movement to give women the opportunity to feel fully empowered in their God-given identities.
“We also want to raise up a generation of mighty men who love, honor, respect and view all people as sons and daughters of God,” Absalom said.
Pastor Coba Canales offered his support for BAHM midway through the event by voicing words of encouragement.
“I think the world is really looking for people to demonstrate what it means to truly live out this kind of care and love for one another, and they don’t have any examples,” Canales said. “I’m looking for people who are going to step and say, ‘You can look at us. We’re not perfect, but we’re going to strive to be led by Christ into a new normal.’ That’s what I believe we have an opportunity to do through a university like this.”