8 thoughts on “shepherding survivors of sexual abuse: a re-blog for those who help

  1. The one that drives me barmy is the first one “sin is sin is sin”. But what really gets to me is not when it comes in that formulation, but when it comes like this:
    Pastor or well-meaning Christian says to abuse survivor (me): “All your sin is dealt with at the Cross.”
    Excuse me? *My* sin? Where exactly did I sin when I got abused? I thought the abuser sinned against me? But you’re trying to counsel me by telling me that this sin of abuse was dealt with at the cross. Well I’m not the sinner here! I’m not worried about my so called sin not being dealt with at the cross! I’m worried because you seem to be blaming ME for having being abused, because you’re talking as if I’m the sinner who needs cleansing from guilt!

    I have been through this crazy-making dialogue with more people than I can count. And it’s always the same. I try to explain where they are getting it wrong, and they don’t get it. They just think I’m lacking faith because I don’t seem to believe that all sin was dealt with at the Cross. It goes round and round and in the end it makes my relationship with them – well – either useless and dead, or superficial and unsatisfactory.

    Does anyone out there relate to this? Or am I crying to the wind?

    • Barbara,
      I understand your angst as well. The fact that sin is sin is really not part of the conversation at all. The fact that one has been sinned against has NOTHING to do with one’s own sin. Even the fact that the abuser’s sin is dealt with at the cross (if the abuser does sincerely repent) has NOTHING to do with your victimization by your abuser. There are still CONSEQUENCES to sin, experienced by the sinner (hopefully) and by INNOCENT parties.

      If a young child is maimed by a drunk driver, the drunk can become sober, truly repent, and do all to make reparation. NOTHING (and I would have it in bold if I could), short of a miracle by God, will bring healing to the maimed child. That child will be limited by how s/he has been injured. This is true as well as for those of us who are survivors of sexual abuse. EVERY survivor has been effected by their abuse; while healing takes place, it can NEVER go back to the way it was before. The topic of sin applies only to the perpetrator, NEVER the victim.

      I am glad to hear that you have made such progress as you report in your healing. Could this “bump” you refer to be only a heightened sesne of justice, rather than truly a result of your own victimization? Just a thought.

      • Hey I like that! “a heightened sense of justice, rather than a result of my own victimization”
        Thank You!
        This reminds me of the work of Allan Wade and his colleagues. They talk about honoring the responses of victims. You might like to pester Morven to blog about them, as I recently passed some of Allan’s material on to her and she told me she thought it was great. (hoo! I’m a wicked delegator, aren’t I?)

  2. Please know you are NOT alone! I’ve been in your shoes, and know only too well how it feels to be blamed and shunned when you have been abused. My experience also took place in a “Christian” setting. I went for help, only to be blamed and ostracized. Needless to say, it was, and has been emotionally devastating, and I have not been to church in quite a while-the entire experience has ripped a hole in my soul where there was already one to start. It brings to mind the title of a book–“They Like Jesus, But Not His Church.”. How true.

    Barbara, you are not alone. You are in my prayers, and I know it may not mean much coming from someone you don’t know in cyberspace, but you are not to blame for what happened to you! I hope you can take comfort in that.

  3. Thank you Margery, and (((hugs))) to and with you.
    You know, I am a writer and activist in this field and have been so for years, and am a long way down the track of healing, and yet this particular comment that was made to me in the past still rankles. It’s like an old hard lump under the skin, maybe it was once a boil but it never comes up to the surface any more, never blows up into a red balloon of tender pressured flesh, it just sits there in a hard little lump below the surface, and whenever something reminds me of it, I go off and have my rant again. GRRR! (rant over now!)
    I think for me that comment is particularly pernicious because it’s so dressed up as ”good’ theology. After all we can’t get any better theology than the theology of the Cross, can we?

    BTW Margery, have you visited the blog CryingOutForJustice? (wordpress.com) It’s where I blog with Ps Jeff Crippen.

    • I totally understand what you mean Barbara! Sometimes, when something masquerades as “good theology,” it takes a while to process-then, when you realize how offensive it really is, it’s kuje a bullet hitting you. Haven’t been to your blog yet, but plan to visit this week-end! I’m starting a blog myself as well-I’ll be blogging about things I’m passionate about like disability issues, animal rescue-kind of a variety of things. More details to come!

      • Good oh, Margery. I hope you write some posts about what it’s like having a disability and suffering domestic abuse as a Christian. Is that too big an ask?
        Kuje – is that a special American expression? Or just simple onomatopeia? I get the meaning in your sentence, but being a word-o-holic, I have to ask in case what it means exactly, in case it comes in useful later.

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