Friday, April 29, 2011

More Comments from Heather

This came from Heather.

I had been seriously sexually abused as a child, my father raped me for years, and my mom had full knowledge of what was going on. There are those in our church who have a history of abuse and abusers, and I treat them nicely and accept them, but am prudent.

Right now I am working on a memoir about the abuse, so the feelings are raw, and God is working on healing those feelings in me. Healing is such a process--sort of like peeling the layers of an onion. I have even forgiven my abusers, but the posts on your blog have shown me there is more work to be done.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Comments from Heather

Heather wrote this after reading about the two men who were registered sex offenders.

I love your blog, Shattering the Silence, and a few posts have raised some questions in my mind, the posts where former abusers wonder at their reception in churches. I have been praying over this because I realize there are some unresolved issues in me that need work. I am going to put out some of the thoughts I've had since reading their posts so you can get an idea of what I have been thinking.

I do agree that a person can ask God for forgiveness, He forgives them and they are forgiven…

I also realize that those who are abused can end up being abusers, that the abuser is often a victim. My father, my abuser, had a tough childhood, and his rage underscored that.

If a thief comes to church and repents, they are forgiven. But a wise person doesn't leave an open, unattended basket of money near a thief. That would be tempting them before they could form enough spiritual muscles to be able to resist temptation.

If there was a known child molester in my church, I'm not going to put my teenage daughter alone in a room with him. While I would forgive the person, I also have to act with wisdom. As time goes by and behavior is proven, then things might change, but for the time being I would be nice, but careful.

My husband is faithful, but if he had been caught up in adultery, I would forgive him, but it would take time to rebuild trust. When trust is broken, it takes time to restore.

I am wondering what your thoughts are regarding what those men said regarding forgiven sexual abusers in the church.

I responded with these words:

Of course you have to be prudent and use common sense.

But if we accept others, it shows in the way we treat them; it also shows if we don't accept them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Glad That He's Dead

Some of the emails and letters I receive come from people who still hurt and feel deep pain. The following from Ralph in South Dakota brought tears to my eyes.

He did "it" to me three different times. I told him I wouldn't let him do it to me again. He said he wouldn't but if I told anyone, he said he'd kill my baby brother.

That was more than 30 years ago and I'm sure he lied, but I believed the [expletives deleted]. I went to his funeral a few months ago. I thought I might go to hell for being glad that he was dead, but I'm glad the scumbag died. When I walked away from the funeral home, I said, "I'm glad you're finally dead. You won't hurt any more kids."

I want to forgive him and maybe I'll be able to do that one day. Right now I can only thank God that he's dead.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Second Chance

He signed his email Tim T.

I have a second chance. Maybe I always had it but didn't know. I can now talk about what happened to me, and I have three friends who were also abused. We knew each other for maybe five years before I ever said anything. When I told them, I thought they might stop hanging with me, but they didn't. Ronnie said, "The same thing happened to me." The other two, who are twins, had been abused for years by an uncle.

That's why I have a second chance. I'm with others who know what it's like to hurt and have feelings that we can't talk about to other people.

Ronnie is one of the pastors in a large church. He wants to start a group for people like us.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hyam's Comment

The post below came as a comment yesterday. It is powerful (and painful) and I felt it deserved to be read more widely and carefully.

I admire Hyam for not giving up. Despite the painful rejections from churches, clergy, and congregations, he has finally found people who accept him.

I've been in that boat. I had a public disclosure done in two small communities in which I lived. I have had people shuffle their kids to the other side of pews when I sat down beside them. I have had deacons shadow me whenever I was in the building.

When my wife (now ex) got a restraining order against me rather than talk about our issues, I had to return to my home province and thought I could find some measure of peace in a church that had known me for several years, and who often referred to me as a son.

I was mistaken, and a few weeks later, the pastor sat me down (at a mall food court) to tell me that I was no longer welcome because his first obligation was his congregation and I wasn't a part of it.

It wasn't the first church or religious organization to turn their back, but it hurt the most.

It took me a few more years to find another church. Even there, we had many meetings in the beginning... they asked me to stop coming for a while, and ironed out a bunch of rules and regulations that were supposedly for the "good of the community". The board discussed me like I wasn't really a person, but more of an issue that had to be "dealt with".

But things have changed. I have grown more humble in the situation, and they have grown more gracious. (it didn't hurt that the head pastor left, and a much more reasonable man took his place). Last Christmas, I was even a soloist in their choir...

Things can change, and some hearts (and some Christians) can learn, with time, to look past who you used to be and learn to see who you are. Don't give up. The body of Christ needs you just as much as it needs anyone else.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm a Registered Sex Offender

The following email came recently and I deleted the names and locations of the churches.

I'm a registered sex offender. I've been out of prison since December 7, 2009. I remind myself every day that if I could survive that hell hole, I can survive anywhere.

Because I'm registered, everyone knows about me. I tried to get involved in two different churches. In the first church they seemed warm and nice and I told the preacher and two other people about myself. I figured out that they'd find out anyway. After that, they wouldn't even talk to me. It was only a couple of weeks before everyone in the church acted the same way.

One day I came to church late and sat down in the back next to a woman I didn't know. She got up and moved.

In the second church, I didn't have to tell them. They found out after I had been there only a few times. They wrote me a letter and said they had had a special board meeting about me. They asked me not to come back.

I have a Bible and read it. I watch Sunday services on TV. I've given up on the church. I'm still a believer and I know God has forgiven me. I wish the people of God could do the same.

Friday, April 8, 2011

I Paid a Terrible Price

(By Anonymous)

I paid a terrible price for not being able to talk about my "secret." I didn't know anyone who would listen to me. Every day I was afraid the other boys at boarding school would find out. They tormented kids who weren’t like them.

So I guess I'm a survivor, but I don't feel like I've survived very well. I'm alive, so that's surviving, isn't it? And it's now a little better.

About four months ago I went back to church for the first time since I was 15 and I now have a spiritual director, Father B. He knows what the other priest did to me, and he lets me talk. Father B. has helped me talk about it and he doesn't condemn me.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

From a Second-hand Reader

This came from a man who calls himself a second-hand reader.

I've been reading this blog since it began because a friend forwards it to me. I was afraid to go to the blog itself. That sounds stupid maybe, but I once trusted a man who was supposed to help people like me. We were men who had been molested when we were kids. He listened to me and seemed sincere. He asked me questions about the abuse—every detail.

One day he touched me and tried to kiss me.

I've been scared ever since to trust anyone who talks about helping us. But my girlfriend knows and she's the one who forwards the blogs.

They have done me some good. I'm still not ready to talk to another man, but your blog is helping.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Woman Cries Out

(The woman who wrote this has chosen anonymity.)

I can't be the only woman who has been used in a marriage for sex, then completely ignored outside the confines of the bedroom. I have lived for more than 25 years in a marriage with a dark shadow.

Sex is part of a marriage, but when a wife is used to meet his need and ignored elsewhere, there must be more to his story.

What is his deep seeded secret? Why doesn't he pay attention to me outside the bedroom door? Why does he dote on the kids, love them with words of affirmation and outward affection of attention, and there I stand, unnoticed?

I don't even know my husband. His walls are very high, especially with me—the woman he vowed to love, cherish, and honor the rest of his life. However, to those outside our front door he is kind, loving, thoughtful, caring, and a charmer.

I'm an object to be used only for sex, then to be ignored, criticized, or negated the rest of the time (this includes emotionally, spiritually, and financially). He allows no questions regarding the financial mess we're in and that we'll soon lose our home.

Not once have I heard from my husband’s mouth what his deep wound is. From my extensive research and my discernment, I am pretty certain sexual abuse is at the core of his gaping wound. If you saw my copy of Cec’s book When a Man You Love Was Abused with pages full of comments and highlights, you would realize why I believe he was sexually molested.

The emotional abuse has been curtailed and sexual abuse has been stopped. With God’s healing word and years of counseling, I have implemented healthy boundaries. Even though I am for a whole and healthy marriage, I am uncertain whether my husband will allow God to miraculously heal him.

Separation may need to be next and yet I keep my focus on my Creator. Pray for us, that my husband will address his pain.