As our world, that to the outside world seemed so sheltered, unravelled because of the abuse and cover up, the church leaders were busy excommunicating members and putting others on probation. The sins? Everything ranging from rebellious attitudes and uncontrolled tempers, to listening to radio.
One individual was disciplined for inappropriate sexual relations, though it was with The Travelling Missionary… Rapist, and until the individual tells me personally that it was mutual consent, I will continue to believe it was another case of victimization.
To my knowledge that was the only attempt made by the church to even acknowledge the abuse. By quickly excommunicating the one publicly known ‘guilty party’, or presumed guilty, the church again looked squeaky clean, as if all was taken care of and such things would never be left unresolved.
The church dysfunction led to rebellion, not only for me, but for many youth, even those a bit older than our peer group, who, to my knowledge were not involved in the victimization.
An angry teenager, I still believed that I was the only victim, a ‘misfit’ in the culture. I believed I was, as one of my school peers told my brother, ‘used goods’ and destined to a life of lonely rejection in the culture. No one would ever want ‘used goods’, even if I was the victim of groping, a failed sexual encounter, and had been kissed. It was the kiss that made the ‘Mennonite youth news’ and travelled through the churches, leaving me feeling ‘marked’.
With home life still feeling volatile, because of Dad’s violence, and church being completely unsafe, I made the decision to leave home. Rather than rewrite the story, I will post the links throughout this blog, back to parts of my story as written in the Spiritual Abuse Series. Some links lead to the first in a series, sharing the journey of my rebellion.
My first home when I moved away my family, with Grandma Katie, was a safe place. For a while life was good, with no abuse, no violence.
It didn’t take long before I was excommunicated from my church, for a variety of reasons, allowing them to wash their hands of me. At age sixteen I was on my own, no church, no family, no accountability. It didn’t take long for the rumours to start travelling through church, that I was a terrible sinner, living a dreadful lifestyle. When the rumours first started, they were ungrounded. Lies. But I soon lived up to their expectations, escalating the abuse and trauma in my life.
For the first time in my life, my self-worth and value were not wrapped up in my perception of myself, nor defined by life’s experience. When I stood before Jesus, and saw Him writing in the sand, with nothing but love for me, I knew who I was, for the first time in my life.
Sexual Abuse is a horrible thing to experience. There is no other way to see it. It is tragic, it is destructive, it is cruel. It is horrible.
But God’s redemption, His healing, are not limited by tragic life experience. You are worth more than the pain inflicted on you. You are worth more than the abuse imposed on you. You are defined, not by the abuses you have experienced, but by the greatest Being who exists, God, the Creator of the universe.
Discovering even a glimpse of that truth changed my life. It was the first step toward freedom. And each step prepared me to walk others through their abuse, to wholeness. Most importantly, it helped prepare me for motherhood, to teach my children the beauty of their bodies, the wonder of sexuality, and the amazing plan and purpose for which we are created, within that.
© Trudy Metzger
Return to 1st post in Sexual Abuse Series