What About the Victims?

Someone came to buy our stackable washer and dryer some years ago, and I was nervous about being the only one home. My nerves upped a notch when a man came alone. I was handling it fairly well until he mentioned he is a pastor, and my body responses kicked into panic mode – like an automatic switch kicks into high gear – “Run for your life!” My insides shook like a frightened puppy, and I wanted to cry.

Deep breaths… You’re stronger now. This is not the same one who hurt you many years ago. Help me, Jesus! As I zoned out and talked myself through it in a matter of seconds, my body and spirit calmed down.

Before he left, he started talking more about his church and what they believe. As God breathed power into my heart and loosened my tongue, I asked him, “So if someone would come to you and tell you he/she was abused by one of the pastors, what would you do?” Gulp! Did I really just dare to say that?!

He dodged my question…

In another instance, a sincere Christian woman said, concerning news of sexual abuse by leaders, “I don’t know why they bring all that up. It’s in the past. We’re supposed to forgive.”

Ouch! What about the victims? Where is the support for them? What about the victims who have never received justice? Who are still suffering and struggling from the trauma? What if the perpetrator is still using his power towards evil? Why are abusers sometimes protected while victims are rejected and silenced?

Some people and communities want to shove this important issue under the rug. Others may be well-intentioned, but they don’t realize that even if we make it to the process of forgiving, our bodies still subconsciously remember trauma.

It’s not easy to write vulnerably, but God is nudging me to speak up for those who have been silenced, those whose rights are trampled on, those lonely souls who inwardly cry out for validation, caring support, and justice.

“Speak out on behalf of those who have no voice,
 and defend all those who have been passed over.
Open your mouth, judge fairly,
 and stand up for the rights of the afflicted and the poor.”
Proverbs 31:8-9 VOICE

When any person or community is more concerned for the protection of the abusers than of the victims, it hurts. Big-time. When victims are ignored, not believed, or treated as the one who did the wrong, it hurts. Big-time. When Christians tell us we don’t have faith if we can’t forgive and forget and move on, it hurts. Big-time.

Love cares about the grief and suffering of victims who are hurting. Love cries with them. Love sits in the pain pit with them. Love protects  and defends them. Like Jesus does.

Jesus understands suffering more than anyone does. He bends low with us in our suffering and whispers, “I’m so very sorry.” His tears mingle with ours. He never dodges or minimizes our pain. He doesn’t treat mental and emotional pain as less important than physical illness. He doesn’t tell us we aren’t trusting Him if we need therapy or medicine. He blesses these means to help us through. He gives us grace and strength to work through the gut-wrenching grief of being robbed of the very essence of who we are. His never-failing compassion wraps us in the safe and cozy blanket of His love where it’s ok to voice our emotions. His caring support  gives hope that we can be restored to who we are in Him. Through His grace, we can become survivors and finally victory dancers as His healing works in us.

RAINN – Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network – Get Help 24/7 by calling 800.656.HOPE(4673)

What Is a Girl Worth? – Lesley’s moving review of Rachael Denhollander’s memoir of her journey of courageously fighting for justice for herself and other victims.

Cecil Murphey: Abuse Survivor“As long as I kept the abuse a secret, I still wasn’t free. But as I shared my experiences and what I had learned as a survivor, people resonated with those words, and I experienced healing.”

The Hope of Survivors – Support, Hope, and Healing for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Healing Is In Your Hand

30 thoughts on “What About the Victims?

  1. Weeping at your words. They are powerful in their truth and grace and so very needed. Thank you for being so brave. May your words embolden others to speak up also and to share of our God and who He truly is – this is the God I have been getting to know too:

    “His tears mingle with ours. He never dodges or minimizes our pain. He doesn’t treat mental and emotional pain as less important than physical illness. He doesn’t tell us we aren’t trusting Him if we need therapy or medicine.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s surely not easy to be vulnerable, is it, Anna? You are brave, too, in your writing at Beloved Prodigal. I’m glad you returned. “Take Your Place” especially moved me. I’m so glad you found something encouraging here and that you, too, are coming to know more of our God who cares so much, cries with us, and never condemns us. May He keep healing us layer by layer!

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      1. No, it’s not: but praise Jesus He is so strong in our weakness.

        He is emboldening us both, more and more. Lifting fear and shame, layer by layer. Amen: may He keep healing us more and more.

        Our stories might not be the same, but the mighty power of Jesus at work in us is 😊. Blessed by you xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “When any person or community is more concerned for the protection of the abusers than of the victims, it hurts. Big-time. When victims are ignored, not believed, or treated as the one who did the wrong, it hurts. Big-time. When Christians tell us we don’t have faith if we can’t forgive and forget and move on, it hurts. Big-time.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Trudy. Thankfully, there is One Who will always believe us and defend us, Who sits with us and weeps with us no matter how long it’s been since our experience. May He bring comfort and healing to you, to me, and to all who have been through similar situations. Thanks for this beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, thankfully there is One Who will always believe us and defend us and weep with us no matter how long it’s been since the abuse. So true, Liz. I just can’t imagine what life would be without Him. Thank you for your prayer! That means so much. May God give us and victims everywhere ever deeper healing!

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  3. I am so deeply moved by your words today, Trudy. Yes, what about the victims? In my estimation, we should never, ever ignore their needs or try to sweep the sorrow under the rug. Praying that those who have been victimized will be offered every resource for healing and renewal.
    Blessings, my friend!

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    1. It’s heartbreaking how many do sweep the sorrow and needs of victims under the rug, Martha. Thank you so much for your compassion and prayer for victims. There are so many who are alone and hurting over the lack of compassion they experience. Blessings to you, too! May we all become more like Jesus who is the Essence of love and compassion!

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  4. This is a powerful post, Trudy, and you express it so well! Thank you for speaking up for those who are often ignored or overlooked. I would love to see the church get much better at being a safe place for the hurting and showing them God’s love. It’s so important to raise people’s awareness of how their responses can be so unhelpful and also to know how they can respond well. Thanks for sharing my review too – I think Rachael’s story is one that needs to be heard and I pray that many in the church will listen. Love and blessings to you!

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    1. Thank you, too, Lesley. You often inspire me to speak up more. Oh, that would be so wonderful if the church was better at being a safe place for the hurting to experience God’s love. I long for that, too. Your review is powerful, and I’m honored to share it here. May we together bring more awareness of the love and support victims need as we continue to experience ever more deeply the healing power of Jesus and His love!

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  5. Dear Trudy,
    I loved that poem by Ellen G. White that you quoted at the beginning. What precious thoughts, along with Psalm 147:3, that Jesus never overlooks, or looks away, but He is so very near to the brokenhearted. Thank you for sharing from your vulnerable heart my dear friend. I appreciate your compassion so much. May the Lord keep calling us to draw in, when the world would shut out. Blessings and love and hugs to you.

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    1. That poem has such a depth of meaning, doesn’t it, Bettie? It’s such an amazing blessing to have Jesus draw near to us in all our brokenness. To draw in when the world shuts us out. We couldn’t live life without Him, could we? Blessings, love, and hugs to you, too! May He help us to continually open our hearts to the roses He gives in the midst of the thorns of life!

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  6. Dear Trudy – I can imagine that there wasn’t anything easy about sharing these words. Your heart must have been beating wildly as you pushed publish. But as you say, your voice is necessary as an advocate for the victims. You know and your vulnerability provides a space of safety for those who don’t feel like anyone is on their side. Thank you for being that person and thank you for writing these words.

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    1. Yes, Mary, my heart was beating wildly, and I had a lot of anxiety. Thank you for recognizing the fear involved in speaking up. Thank you also for your kind words about providing a space of safety for those who don’t feel like anyone is on their side. I do long for that. May God give us courage to speak out what He lays upon our hearts!

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  7. I love your courage, Trudy. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to ask the pastor that question! I’m sorry he avoided answering it. He lacked the courage that you had. You’re teaching us all, friend. Keep up the good work! Blessings to you!

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    1. It was truly a God thing, Lisa. In myself I am not a very assertive person and tend to retreat into my shell rather than being outspoken. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately of how much Jesus defends and stands up for the weak and vulnerable. How angry He is against injustice. I’m afraid I sometimes take a more passive role, because it’s the easier way. But I so want to be more like Him! Thank you for your kind words. May God give us courage to speak out against injustice!

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  8. You are brave and your voice is needed. I was just thinking about PTSD and how one never really “gets over it.” It just becomes absorbed in your daily life – I pray there is a peaceful calm in your heart today. xo

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    1. Thank you, Susan. For your prayer and for understanding trauma isn’t what someone just “gets over.” I don’t know if you saw any of America’s Got Talent this year, but I love what Voices of Service is doing. They personally understand what military PTSD is about and their singing is helping others feel less alone and more understood. XO to you, too! May God help us to use the voice He has given us to help others in which ever way He sends us!

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  9. Accountability. Perpetrators taking accountability, I can imagine, is part of the healing process. However, not always the case. That Christian women’s comments were insensitive, and I hope since then she may have learned how to be loving to victims, rather than judgemental (as saying you should just forgive is judgmental). In Canada, there as been the Truth and Reconciliation Act to try to help heal the damage done to Indigenous children forced into (and many abused by the priests) residential schools. Also the justice system was under investigation to how they treated cases of rape and murder of indigenous women. Thankfully court cases and government apologies have happened, but it will take a lot of time to deal with the generational damage. I only have a news view of these issues which tug at the heart. Yes, let’s not shove these acts under the rug! It’s only in exposure that the light of healing can come in.

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    1. That Truth and Reconciliation Act to try to help heal the damage done is a kind gesture, but as you say, it will take a long time to deal with generational damage. I’m so glad you’re with us on not shoving these acts under the rug, Lynn. May God open the eyes and hearts of people to understand and act!

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  10. Thank you for a great post! It has to be hard sharing your vulnerability as a victim and speaking up for all victims! I think of you often, Trudy. I’ve not posted in quite some time but I read your posts which help me get through each week. Hugs to you!!

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    1. It warms my heart that my posts help you get through each week, Jennifer. Thank you for telling me and for thinking of me. I think of you often, too. My heart feels heavy for you and I pray God gives you strength and guidance for each day. Hugs to you, too! May Jesus pick us up and carry us through whatever struggles we are facing!

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  11. Trudy,
    Thank you for bravely sharing your story and voice. You are helping many. This: “Love cares about the grief and suffering of victims who are hurting. Love cries with them. Love sits in the pain pit with them. Love protects and defends them. Like Jesus does.” Love, hugs, and blessings to you, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Dolly. Love, hugs, and blessings to you, too! May God hold you up through your grief over the loss of your dad! And may we both become more and more like Jesus who is love itself!

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