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

A Prostitute’s Plea

Jesus Cares

“Three things will last forever —
faith, hope, and love —
and the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT

When I was sexually, spiritually, and emotionally abused by a pastor, I was talked about and treated as a “whore” by some people. Some said I led the “poor man of God” astray. I believed them and began to identify myself by their words. I was trash. Not even 100 showers a day could ever wash away the filth I felt.

Sometimes we are so ready to judge others when we don’t even know what lies in their hearts. I was never even asked my story. The elders never recognized all the signs and proof of abuse. But to be fair, at that time I felt and said I was totally to blame. Since I had recently become a member, I had to make my confession of guilt in front of the congregation.

Because of my experience, I feel a deep compassion for prostitutes. I know in my heart there is always a deeper story we don’t know.

Did you know that most prostitutes have a history of sexual abuse in their childhood? And the perpetrators are often family members? And this also happens in church communities? Did you know that many are victims of sex trafficking and are coerced or deceived into prostitution? Their minds and wills broken down so badly that they believe they’re not good for anything else?

Perpetrators stalk and prey on the lost, lonely, and vulnerable. So many prostitutes have never learned what real love is. They don’t see themselves as beautiful creations of God, because no one has ever told them. They feel unloved, uncared for, and forgotten.

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody,
I think that is a much greater hunger,
a much greater poverty than
the person who has nothing to eat.”
~ Mother Teresa

Recently my niece, who also feels a deep compassion, shared a poem/song she created from a prostitute’s perspective. It deeply touched me. I know what it’s like to feel alone and “stone cold” so as to shut off emotions. To be controlled like a puppet on strings. To feel in the midst of a “living hell” with no hope of ever getting out.

My niece, Shelley Marie, releases her emotions in songs that come into her heart. Like myself, it hurts her when someone says something bad about prostitutes. She has graciously given me permission to share her poem/song with you.

woman-crying

A Prostitute’s Plea

I sell my body for a dime
I’ve never heard a nursery rhyme
And if you can’t see my hurt I’ll never tell
Ya, that my life is like a living’ hell

I paint a smile on my face
And I can give you what it takes
And you’ll go on and brag about yourself
And you don’t know my life is a living’ hell

So, Please remember me someday
When all your lust fades away
And you’re contemplating where your life has gone
I once was just a little girl
Like the one you hug and give a twirl
The one who calls you Daddy when you get home
Please think of me with kindness in your soul

I never had a soul who cared
No one to hold me when I was scared
My heart is just about as cold as stone
And you don’t know how much I feel alone

I’ll act the way you want me to
‘Cause that’s all I know what to do
And there’s no part of me I call my own
And life is hell when you’re someones else’s pawn

So, Please remember me someday
When all your lust fades away
And you’re contemplating where your life has gone
I once was just a little girl
Like the one you hug and give a twirl
The one who calls you Daddy when you get home
Please think of me with kindness in your soul

 © Shelley Marie

A Child's Trust
 “Broken Girl”
by Matthew West

in-memory

Lord Jesus, thank You so much for allowing Yourself to be broken so we can be made whole. For Your love and grace that can create beauty out of the ashes of our lives. Please give us open minds and hearts to all who are hurting. Help us to be gentle, loving, and compassionate. Not harsh, judgmental, and condemning. Please remember victims everywhere. You can see into every heart and You always know the true story. Please shine the power of Your healing love into their hearts and give them the strength and courage to break free from the chains of shame, insecurity, and fear. Give those who are still in physical and mind bondage the help and the power to get out of those situations. Give us prayerful hearts for them and the courage to do whatever we can. Lord, I believe in the power of Your love and grace! Please help!
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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Barbie – Weekend Whispers

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