JD Shrock: In Fear & Trembling An Advocate is Born

A few weeks ago, a gentleman I had never heard of before, called. He had some questions, and wondered if I would take a few minutes to respond. He had heard of me through the CAM scandal, and out of curiosity purchased my memoir “Between 2 Gods; A Memoir of Abuse in Mennonite Communities”.

In its pages, he was quite certain he had found “the moment”…

Not only was I shocked speechless to have a stranger see so deeply into my story – because I knew what moment he spoke of, before ever he mentioned what he had found; I was moved to tears. When he paused for me to respond. I could not speak. It was all I could do to hold myself together.

He paused momentarily, and then continued…

In his blog he posts an excerpt from my book, and I will post an ‘excerpt of the excerpt:

I found myself standing there alone, at age thirteen, wanting to pick a fight with dad, just to distract him. I never fought with dad, at least not willingly. This was different. It was my baby brother who had meant no harm. I would take a stand against dad’s violence.

I began clearing the table – not a task I typically help with. My chores were in the barn, working with animals and all the fun stuff that goes with that. It was one of my favourite places in the world. When it came time for dishes, I scattered and preferred not to return until it was all done. The house, and keeping it, was my least favourite thing in the world. Cleaning stalls in the barn, and shoveling manure, was far more fun. But not that night. That night the kitchen was my priority.

I made a silent vow that if dad beat Abe, I would pick up the phone and report him, or take matters in my own hands. I had held his rifles when he wasn’t around, just to see if I had it in me, should the need arise. One way or another, it would be his last act of violence in our home, if I could help it.

I stopped clearing the table long enough to look him in the eye. The warning look that says, “If you do, there will be a price”. It’s a look most parents use – especially mom’s – though without the threat, when a child is crossing a line. A look I should not have had to use on my dad.

He looked at me. “Well, what are you staring at?” he asked.

He had taken the bait. Fear surged through my body, deeper and harder than I anticipated. I pushed it down and said nothing. Picked up a few more plates. Stopped, now and then, and looked at him. But I never spoke a word to him in confrontation.

To read the rest of the excerpt, go to “In Fear and Trembling an Advocate is Born.” To read the rest of the memoir, go to: Amazon Canada or Amazon USA.

***

Later today, or tomorrow, depending on the timing of things, I plan to release a blog written by Bill Miller. He is a conservative Anabaptist who appreciates his culture, and whose heart is devastated by the ongoing poor handling of sexual abuse cases within that culture.

***

***  See below: early ‘concert only’ registration for abuse survivors Nov. 2, 2019. ***

The young woman who was assaulted at age 7… Five donations have come in so far with enough funds to cover . (We are still waiting to confirm the fee, so not sure just how many). Thank you for contributing. Every bit helps, as this is will require ongoing support. If you wish to contribute, you may do so through the following link: Support for Rape Survivor.

She continues to be amazed by the support that she has felt and seen, and extends her thanks and appreciation. It has been encouraging for me to see ‘the church’ enter into her story and care for her well-being in word, prayer, and helping with her counseling costs.

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

***

ONLY 2 MORE WEEKS TO REGISTER WITH LUNCH AND CONCERT INCLUDED!
(ENDS AUGUST 1, 2019)
THE GATHERING, NOVEMBER 2, 2019, LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE:
One of the things we are working toward November 2, 2019, at  THE GATHERING, is creating a place where we collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse, and their trusted support persons to join together for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering. We will cry out to God, together. The invitation is to ‘come as you are’ in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

(More information for potential attendees is available under THE GATHERING Registration and for non-attendees at THE GATHERING Information.)

EARLY CONCERT REGISTRATION FOR ALL SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ABUSE:
If you are a sex abuse survivor – Anabaptist or not – and are not a sex offender, who wishes to attend the ‘concert only’ portion of The Gathering, we will allow for early registration before tickets are released to the public, August 1, 2019. For link to register for the concert only, email AslanHasHeard@gmail.com. Subject line: “Concert link for survivors”.

***

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

© Trudy Metzger 2019

 

 

 

HAITI: 2nd Court Hearing Jeriah Mast & CAM (July 18, 2019)

On July 18, 2019, the second court hearing was held in Petit Goave, on behalf of some of the victims of Jeriah Mast. One of the individuals who sent me updates, was a gentleman from USA who has guardianship over a young man in Haiti, who sent short updates during the procedure, and more after the hearing was over. I also received photos of the hearing.

The following is a statement from one of the lawyers for the young men represented in this case:

Mr. Emmanuel Louicéus:
A warrant was issued by the public prosecutor’s office against Pastor Erisse Labady who did not appear at the hearing although he was expected for this purpose.

We, the attorneys for the victims of Jeriah Mast, requested that the prosecutor defer the lawsuit to the office of investigation for an investigation to be conducted on this subject. We also asked for the arrest of the CAM representative, which was not done by the chief prosecutor.

We continue our battle in favor for the victims so that justice will be rendered to them.

***

The hearing was intense according to those who have sent updates. Two CAM representatives showed up; Dan Hooley and James Mullet. Mr. Hooley is relatively new to CAM in Haiti as Field Director in Titanyen, and Mr. Mullet was placed in Eli Weaver’s position when Mr. Weaver was put on administrative leave, I am told. (If nothing has changed, James Mullet will be working with Eli Weaver’s support during the transition. Though further details have not been made public).

When questioned on the stand, CAM’s Mr. Mullet denied CAM board having any knowledge of the abuses in the past. Simeon Shankster was in the audience and knew this information was not accurate. He approached the stand (I was not told if summoned or voluntarily) and informed the courts that Eli Weaver and Paul Weaver both knew.

Jeriah’s victims were supported by other missionaries present at the hearing.

In an exchange after setting the record straight, Mr. Mullet stated that he misunderstood what they were saying. The following was one of the updates sent to me from Haiti:

The magistrate asked James Mullet, “Was any members of the board aware that Jeriah was doing these actions in Haiti?” And James said, “No, none of the board members was aware.” […]  After Simeon sat down, [he asked] James “Do you know what I was talking about?” And James said, “No I don’t.” […] James was answering for, “Did any of the board members know about these specific four victims.” So he felt like he was answering honestly. 

One informant wrote that it did not look good for CAM to have a representative on the stand who was not informed. Mr. Mullet had to keep telling the commissioner over and over that CAM did nothing for the victims and sent no one to find them or check on them.

Whether blatant lies, strategy or ignorance, it showed disrespect for the Haitian authorities.

Throughout the proceedings the magistrate stressed repeatedly that this thing is NOT a joke. It will NOT fall through the cracks. The ball will NOT be dropped.

When it was over, one informant wrote that the hearing was shut down for the day because the head Haitian Pastor (Erisse Labady) for CAM was ordered to be present, but never showed up. “Purposely is the charge.”

***

On the heels of that, someone sent me a statement from CAM leaders… (or is it former leaders if on administrative leave, but allegedly still helping behind the scenes?) Paul Weaver and Eli Weaver:

img_0408-1

***

On another front, the gentleman from USA was in Haiti to support victims in another area of Haiti, near where his son – the young man of whom he was granted guardianship – and advocate for them.

A gentleman in the community there told of the portable tent Jeriah Mast carried with him; a tent he allegedly used to lure young boys. His supplies of food drew them. Allegedly, if they refused his advances (at least in some instances), Mr. Mast refused to give them food.

He also had a tent he set up on the roof of a house, where he would molest young boys, within sight of a beautiful new church. And I find myself wondering…

How many victims look out their ‘window’ and see a ‘beautiful church’… just beyond the reach of their need for safety and protection?

***

***  See below: early ‘concert only’ registration for abuse survivors Nov. 2, 2019. ***

The young woman who was assaulted at age 7… Today was ‘search for a counselor day’. two donations have come in so far with enough funds to cover the first few sessions. (We are still waiting to confirm the fee, so not sure just how many). Thank you for contributing. This is will require ongoing support. If you wish to contribute, you may do so via PayPal through the following link: Support for Rape Survivor.

She extends her thanks and appreciation. One day, when this all comes to light, I pray that she will be able to tell her story in full, and you will continue to hold her in prayer and support. And I pray that you will see the powerful redemption God brings to the most horrific of places and stories.

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

***

ONLY 2 MORE WEEKS TO REGISTER WITH LUNCH AND CONCERT INCLUDED!
(ENDS AUGUST 1, 2019)
THE GATHERING, NOVEMBER 2, 2019, LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE:
One of the things we are working toward November 2, 2019, at  THE GATHERING, is creating a place where we collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse, and their trusted support persons to join together for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering. We will cry out to God, together. The invitation is to ‘come as you are’ in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

(More information for potential attendees is available under THE GATHERING Registration and for non-attendees at THE GATHERING Information.)

EARLY CONCERT REGISTRATION FOR ALL SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ABUSE:
If you are a sex abuse survivor – Anabaptist or not – but are not a sex offender, and wish to attend the concert only portion of The Gathering, we will allow for early registration before tickets are released to the public. For link to register for the concert only, email AslanHasHeard@gmail.com. Subject line: “Concert link for survivors”.

***

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

© Trudy Metzger 2019

Podcast: Conversation on Sexual Abuse with Asher Witmer & Answering Questions

Last week I had the honour of chatting with Asher Witmer about sexual abuse in conservative Anabaptist settings. It was a delight to engage in such a meaningful and respectful manner. He has posted the link on his podcast:

Unfeigned Christianity: Episode 2

***

Today I will take a few moments to answer a few questions I’ve been asked many times, and especially recently in light of the shocking news of Jeriah Mast’s crimes in Haiti, and CAM leaders’ knowledge and failure to act responsibly:

  1. What are rates of victimization in Anabaptist communities?

    We know rates of victimization are high. Is it 10%, is it 90% or somewhere in between? We don’t know.

    In two schools I am aware of (each during a very particular timespan) the rates of students were over 50%. This was circumstantial in one of those settings, where the teacher molested many of the students. The other case was a mix of various abusers; a mix of adult abusers and teenagers. In a third setting several minors (all under 14) abused many children.

    In contrast, I’ve been in communities that remain relatively free of abuse, by all appearances. People seem to speak freely enough about it, and there is a ‘sense’ that they really do have a protected community.

  2. Do I believe all conservative Anabaptists are sex offenders? (especially males?

    Not at all. I don’t know the rates. Statistically the number lands at 117 per offender, based on self-reporting by sex offenders in prison. In our Anabaptist communities, I do not see the rates that high very often, but I do see between a dozen and twenty victims far too frequently. More than that, I see ‘trails’. Uncle ‘so and so’ molests his niece. The niece later molests a male child she is babysitting, and so on. Multiply that by 5 victims per offender and you have an epidemic, if those patterns are replicated. I could draw many ‘maps’ of abuse that span 4 generations, simply because victims have come to me spanning across the years.

    Also, there are missionaries (not referring to Jeriah Mast), who are said to have many victims in several countries, as well as at home. But, again, the number of victims is unknown. And confirming that the details takes deep, deep investigation. (What made Haiti unique is that a few came forward, and several missionaries believed them, and soon realized it was a massive crime case.In other cases, while I do report to law enforcement as soon as I have reportable information (which has to be more than a rumour without names or location of offender), I often cannot report. There’s simply not enough information. All of the leads I have with even a hint of a trail that can be followed have been reported in 2019. Approximately half before the Jeriah Mast became public.

    As more and more cases come forward and are exposed, I think we will get a clearer picture of how widespread this is. And if we can respectfully also name those who have taken ownership, we might be able to get ahead of this thing.

  3. What about those who have apologized for past offences, and are now church leaders who never turned themselves in to the law? 

    My role is to work with what is known, and to take my queues from victims.

  4. Is there no place for redemption in the life of someone who has offended?

    Absolutely! I hold the grace of God in high regard. In light of the spiritual and eternal, the moment they genuinely repent they are free before God.

    The grace of God, however, does not let me avoid the consequences of stealing a million dollars without repaying or doing prison time. Who of you, if someone took all that you had, would begin an outcry for everyone to forgive?

    Are we really willing to say that a child’s life holds less value than money?

    When a child (or adult) is sexually assaulted, the core of all of who they are is impacted; emotionally, spiritually, psychologically. Many, many victims struggle deeply with faith in God. Many walk away from their faith.

    Are we really willing to say that a child’s soul is worth less than money?

***

These are a few of the questions I’ve been confronted with in recent days. There are more. Many more. And I am working towards either addressing them, or having someone address them.

Some take considerable work and research, which I don’t currently have time for.  I have asked Hope Anne Dueck of A Better Way to pull together a post to address what signs to watch for that might indicate a child or teen has suffered abuse. She kindly agreed to work on organizing this.

If you have questions you would like addressed, please send them to info@generationsunleashed.com with the subject line “Blog: Question”. If I am not able to answer, or the time factor is more than I can commit, I will do my best to find someone willing to write an article.

If you are in ministry for the victimized and would like to submit an article appropriate to the topics addressed here, please send your idea to info@generationsunleashed.com with the subject line “Blog Article Idea”.

If you have resources to recommend for churches or for victims, please send them to info@generationsunleashed.com with the subject line “Victim Resources.” (NOTE: these will be screened. Content must be sensitive to the suffering of victim. Furthermore, resources cannot be the product of organizations or leaders and authors who *are known* to be abusers or to enable offenders, cover for them in any way, or neglect to address abuse appropriately in their own sphere of influence.

***

By way of update on the young woman who was assaulted at age 7… Today was ‘search for a counselor day’. Two donations have come in so far with enough funds to cover the first few sessions. (We are still waiting to confirm the fee, so not sure just how many). Thank you for contributing. This is will require ongoing support. If you wish to contribute, you may do so via PayPal through: aslanhasheard@gmail.com.

She extends her thanks and appreciation. One day, when this all comes to light, I pray that you will continue to hold her in prayer and support. And I pray that you will see the powerful redemption God brings to the most horrific of places and stories.

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

***

ONLY 2 MORE WEEKS TO REGISTER WITH LUNCH AND CONCERT INCLUDED!
(ENDS AUGUST 1, 2019)
THE GATHERING, NOVEMBER 2, 2019, LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE:
One of the things we are working toward November 2, 2019, at  THE GATHERING, is creating a place where we collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse, and their trusted support persons to join together for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering. We will cry out to God, together. The invitation is to ‘come as you are’ in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

(More information for potential attendees is available under THE GATHERING Registration and for non-attendees at THE GATHERING Information.)

***

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

© Trudy Metzger 2019

On being banned from MennoNET, and Does non-criminal sexual deviance ‘among us’ pave the way to group rape?

Before I get into the ‘bulk’ of this blog… I learned that my blog content has been banned from MennoNET due to the blatantly graphic content. I respect that. Not everyone can stomach the harsh, graphic, blatant reality of what is happening in church. I have boundaries on my FB page too.

Like yesterday, instead of showing any concern or compassion for a woman who shared how she received 104 ‘straps’ at a Charity school, a new follower told her she was looking for attention. I told him if he is going to speak that way to survivors of horror, he is not welcome in my space. He made a few more rude comments, told me I am abusing him, and then unfriended me.

To me that is sheer ignorance. No compassion for a woman who received 104 straps in a religious setting and then cries ‘abuse’ at someone setting boundaries? Ummm… No. So I blocked him to make sure he could not follow the conversation, lest he would decide to bully them privately. (I still need to go back and read the remainder of the comments. Admittedly I wasn’t expecting almost 400 comments on a post about spanking. Seems I opened another fresh can of worms! And I have marking to do for University! But that can of worms is for another post, on another day, when we will talk about the horror stories surfacing out of the Charity churches).

So I understand boundaries, and bless MennoNET for making the call they feel is right for them and their people. I wouldn’t have known about it, had no one told me, as that is one site I do not visit. Not even tempted.

***

EXTREME GRAPHIC CONTENT TRIGGER WARNING:
I’ve heard all manor of stories for years, so no longer deal with that shock factor. All situations are not the same. The case of 3 adults raping a child is shocking, as it should be. There is no consent.

Other scenarios, that are not criminal, I seldom delve into, simply because my work is with victims, not because I don’t find it tragic. There is only so much a person can do. Even so, there is a time to address it so in this blog I tell snippets of such stories, most briefly, because people seem to have trouble grasping how a group would collude together to commit such an act. And that question is an important one to ask. The answer I think lies in some of the non-criminal activities that are brought to my attention by those who participated in them, or family members and friends who know and cannot contain it.

A group of young men, all minors, stand in a circle, each masturbating the one in front of them. This is North-Eastern Ohio. Some are from the conservative Anabaptist community (not Amish), others are not identified by the person sharing, nor their church setting.

Some of my readers, I expect, will recognize this scenario, or another like unto it… maybe down by the river… maybe changing your clothes on Sunday afternoon, or some other ‘scene’ entirely. If you do, and wish to get it off your chest, I know honourable men of God near you who I am confident would mentor you. … even now, after all these years.

Another day, another situation…

I am a young married woman, sitting with someone ‘a long journey away’ from where we live. We are not in ministry. I don’t yet work with abuse victims. But, like everywhere else we go, people just share…

Amid tears the man (whose wife is also present) tells of the ‘group orgies’ that were prevalent in his youth among the young men in church.

Yet another situation…

A group of young men gather around a cell phone and watch porn together….

A young man recruits a young teenager to rape a preschooler, while he watches and laughs… The teen is a victim of the older recruiter. The preschooler is a victim of both.

HOW DO A GROUP OF MEN COLLUDE TOGETHER TO ASSAULT A CHILD?
Moving back to the victimization of a child by a group.. Let’s start with those orgies… If a group of young men get together for those orgies (and I know of plenty more in other communities), why not to molest children and rape them?

A young woman in US tells me of her experience being assaulted, in a barn, as a group of teenage boys take turns “playing bull and cow”, using her, on her hands and knees, to rub themselves against her. She is clothed. She doesn’t understand. She is younger, they are older. Later she remembers… and suddenly the weight of what that group did to her, even with her clothes on, leaves her traumatized.

She is one of many who have told me this story. Some were not so fortunate to keep their clothes on.

Is it really such a far leap, to imagine that those boys, having sex with each other or group-assaulting a little girl, reaching adulthood and finding more perverse ways of assaulting children?

With the amount of this that goes on, I’m astounded at how many can’t fathom the sexual assaults.

Shaming those who tell the graphic, blatant truth demonizes truth-tellers and thus enables darkness. That’s another reason it is not so hard to imagine how darkness stoops to this level.

HOW DO WE STOP THIS MESS?
We start talking honestly, if we haven’t. And we keep talking honestly if we already are. Keeping silent is a curse. And it is the devil’s idea, not God’s. Certainly we won’t stop it by silencing people.

Stop calling ‘talking about it” pornographic & stop the production of this porn:
My blogs, I am told, are banned from MennoNet. I have long been banned by some of the conservative Mennonite private ‘internet’ providers. While this is terribly unhandy for people who have had to get my blogs printed off by friends or go to  ‘visit’ to read them, it does give me free advertising. So I appreciate that part.

REALITY CHECK:
If a baby, child or youth isn’t protected from a full grown man’s penis, or the molesting fingers and objects by men, women and teens, or is forced to perform oral sex (which is strictly forbidden by some when they give advice to young couples getting married) then shame on us for saying it can’t be talked about. How can we justify letting it go on in silence and condemning the truth-tellers?!

And if you wouldn’t be comfortable having it done to your child or grandchild in the front of church service, while the preacher is teaching, then stand against it. And if you’ve done things like that, I will say to you like Joshua said to Achan, “honour God this day and tell this thing that you have done” (based on Joshua 7:19).

If it’s too explicit to tell, surely it’s too horrific to have hidden in church. No? What am I missing here?

So, for the sake of the children who still find no voice, I will keep telling their horrors, and some will keep reading, and stand up to fight for these neglected ones.

And if they don’t, I’ll keep telling anyway.

Because the raped and molested children deserve to be acknowledged. And every single day I receive messages of thanks. All from conservative Mennonites. Ranging from teenagers to aging grandparents.

And they keep saying, “Don’t let them stop you, no matter what!”

Yes, they keep pleading with me to stay strong against the accusations, the name-calling and all that goes with exposing corruption.

But more than that, when I stand before God and account for my life, I want to have done what He called me to do.  First in showing His love to the victims, and secondly in exposing the evil to prevent more victims in the future.

And I am not alone. Thousands, and thousands are rising to take a stand for Jesus and against the abuse and corruption. Daily emails and messages are pouring in, from conservative Anabaptists across the world, and especially from USA. While it is thrilling to see, I don’t know how I will ever get caught up!

Praise God that finally, finally, finally there is a massive move across the Anabaptist community to speak out against abuse.

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

***

ONLY 2 MORE WEEKS TO REGISTER WITH LUNCH AND CONCERT INCLUDED!
(ENDS AUGUST 1, 2019)
THE GATHERING, NOVEMBER 2, 2019, LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE:
One of the things we are working toward November 2, 2019, at  THE GATHERING, is creating a place where we collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse, and their trusted support persons to join together for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering. We will cry out to God, together. The invitation is to ‘come as you are’ in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

(More information for potential attendees is available under THE GATHERING Registration and for non-attendees at THE GATHERING Information.)

***

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

© Trudy Metzger 2019

Update on 7-yr-old group rape survivor & exposing rapists

CONCERNS AND OUTPOURING OF LOVE & CARE:
Communications continue between myself and the woman who was group raped by 3 Anabaptist men. Since posting her story there has been a public outpouring of both care and concern.

A huge concern – justifiably so – is the risk of there being other victims

Criticism and the whole “she should get over it” mentality was part of the smorgasbord (or should I say ‘pot luck’) menu. Like all good smorgasbords, you go back for second helpings only to some dishes, and avoid others if you can. This “should get over it” mindset is profoundly linked to the belief that becoming a Christian and inviting Jesus into trauma will remove the aftermath of trauma.

The gap and inconsistency in such teaching and thought regarding sexual abuse is directly linked to ignorance surrounding the physical damage that trauma causes to the brain. So to demand a person who has suffered extreme trauma to function as though nothing happened is much akin to asking the person with an amputated leg to walk as though they have two legs. It just does more damage.

The reality is Jesus enters our story and experience; He doesn’t always miraculously remove it. He said “The truth will make you free”. To ‘make free’ is different than to ‘set free’. One is ‘removing from’, the other is not necessarily. Some offer the “Jesus heals” (which I believe) in a tender and caring way that allows Jesus to ‘enter in’ without demanding the person pretend there is no leftover trauma, scars, PTSD, nightmares etc.

This latter group, they’re the keepers.

IS THE STORY TRUE?:
A few wrote to question whether such a thing could possibly be true. First of all, that’s disturbing, to even suggest it is not true, yet I understand the shock. Those who ask out of shock (albeit with ignorance) are one thing. Those who question the thing to death because they don’t want truth… that’s another thing entirely.

For me, I’ve heard these kinds of stories for years, so no longer deal with that shock factor. All situations are not the same. The case of 3 adults raping a child is shocking, as it should be. There is no consent.

Other scenarios, that are not criminal, I seldom delve into, simply because my work is with victims. But, later today, I will tell snippets of such story, most briefly, because people seem to have trouble grasping how a group would collude together to commit such an act. And that question is an important one to ask. The answer I think lies in some of the non-criminal activities that are brought to my attention by those who participated in them, or family members and friends who know and cannot contain it.

Question if you must. Nothing wrong with that. But writing off a horror story just because you want to and can, within your own mind, makes you part of the bigger problem.

EXPOSING & DEALING WITH THE OFFENDERS;
One of the most common cries was regarding ‘outing’ these men so others can be protected. This is, of course, a big concern for me. As I said in yesterday’s blog, I don’t have enough information to do anything, nor is it likely I could given she is an adult.

After some conversation with her about what it would take to be ready to deal with this, and some conversations between her and her husband, we came up with the beginning of a plan. To be strong enough, she will begin meeting with a counselor to work through the trauma.

In the meantime and overlapping with this counseling, a few individuals will meet with her to come up with a workable plan. Part of that is a desire on this woman’s part to have the support of a few godly Anabaptist men/leaders and their wives, along with my support. She is conservative Anabaptist and within the setting it is critical to have that support. But on the other hand offering such support can be an invitation for serious persecution against those who offer it.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  1. PRAY
    That may sound trite, but I believe prayer is the only way this is going to happen.
    Those of us who are Jesus followers draw much strength from prayer
    So please pray for
    • ongoing healing from the trauma and strength to face this
    • that we are able to find a Christian professional counselor who is a good fit
    • peace in the process and wisdom for the counselor
  2. CONTRIBUTE FINANCIALLY TO HER COSTS
    • initially there is only the cost of the counselor, childcare while she goes to the counselor and meets with law enforcement, and travel
    • with time, depending on what plan we all work out we will raise funds for other

If you wish to help with costs for counseling, childcare and travel, you may do so through aslanhasheard@gmail.com. Please mark it clearly for “Survivor of Group Rape”. From time to time people contribute to other causes, so this is important to avoid confusion.

If you wish to contribute to Generations Unleashed expenses, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

***

We are looking for recommendation of solid Christian counselors (professionally trained) in California, Missouri, Montana, and Tennessee. If you have suggestions, please email them to: info@generationsunleashed.com with subject line “Missouri counsellor” (or other state, as the case may be). They must be professionally licensed.

An understanding of Anabaptist culture is ideal as it is cumbersome for victims to first need to explain their culture before the unique aspects of trauma makes sense. Counselors cannot be in any way affiliated with ASAA or Strait Paths.

***

ONLY 2 MORE WEEKS TO REGISTER WITH LUNCH AND CONCERT INCLUDED!
(ENDS AUGUST 1, 2019)

THE GATHERING, NOVEMBER 2, 2019, LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE:
One of the things we are working toward November 2, 2019, at  THE GATHERING, is creating a place where we collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse, and their trusted support persons to join together for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering. We will cry out to God, together. The invitation is to ‘come as you are’ in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

(More information for potential attendees is available under THE GATHERING Registration and for non-attendees at THE GATHERING Information.)

 

© Trudy Metzger 2019

Why don’t I report the 3 rapists? And a word from an Old Order Mennonite Grandpa about touch

WHY DIDN’T I REPORT 3 RAPISTS:
On July 12, 2019 I posted a blog called ““Help me Jesus! Help me!”… a child’s cry as she is raped by full grown ‘Christian’ men“, in which three men are mentioned who raped a child of age 7. (This is written by the survivor). I had not explicitly said they are/were conservative Anabaptists, which led to questions on Facebook (and other social media, I am told) as to whether they may have been ‘outsiders’. For this reason I edited that part of my blog to create a clear image of how things were and are. I knew before posting it that two of the men are conservative Anabaptist leaders, and the other in leadership of another sort in a conservative Anabaptist setting. They were all conservative Anabaptists at the time of the group rape.

The second debate, or more like criticism, came from people asking if we know the names of these offenders. I said to my knowledge there are no leaders who have been informed, and I don’t believe the church is aware. And I also said that I know the names of all three offenders.

This led to email and private messages (via FB), of people asking why I don’t report them. Others a bit insistent that I should. And even asking how I can justify reporting Jeriah so swiftly and then do nothing here. The following will hopefully help you understand:

Jeriah Mast case:
• the victims had already come forward and spoken out before I said anything
• I asked 9 of the victims and a lawyer if I may share and was given permission
• I had court documents
• I was told that in Haiti there are victims who are currently minors
• I had been told that Jeriah turned himself in for Ohio crimes. Note that I didn’t focus on Ohio victims in my blog, citing the investigation. (I also had no court documents).
• I found out about Jeriah around May 10, but was not given a name, city, state or even what country he was in, or what organization. In short, I didn’t have enough info to report.

Case of 3 rapists:
• The victim, to our knowledge, is the only victim and not a minor
• The victim has said she is not ready to have me share or act
• There are no court documents
• We know of no minor victims, or other victims at all . (If anyone else was group raped, we welcome you sending in the names of the rapists and your story.)
• I don’t have a clue where these men live, or what churches they pastor or are in other leadership. In short, I wouldn’t know where to report and until the victim gives me that information, or the town, region or other identifying information, I can do nothing even if I am mandated to report. (You can appreciate that in a culture where the search for Robert Weaver in Ohio produces 184 records and David Stoltzfus produces 236 in PA. Please note, these are not the offenders’ names. I merely chose common Mennonite names).

No one asked to be assaulted in Haiti. The 7-year-old did not asked to be raped. The least we can do for them now that they are adults, is ask what their wishes are. There are victims in Haiti who have made it clear they do not want to be identified or part of court proceedings because of what that would cost them in shame and rejection. So, if they wish to speak, let them speak. If speaking out is too hard for them, then respect that, unless you are mandated to report when victims are adults. (ie: A pastor in PA told me they are mandated to report adults).

The reason for *not* reporting adult victims’ abusers, unless mandated, is because the law can’t (or won’t) do anything anyway. (I would say can’t, because they need a witness and don’t go digging for victims unless they have one, in most places that I am aware of).  So any reporting in such a case serves to  create further trauma to the victim, with no hope of it being dealt with, and leaves the victim feeling raped again.

In the case of the 7-year-old victim, several individuals have written to say they would be willing to help fund legal processes, if that would help to get these rapists behind bars. I have passed those messages on, and am leaving the ball in her court. She knows now that I, and a fine honourable army of you, are here to ‘have her back’ if ever she so chooses. That, alone, has been very empowering for her.

However, an organization like CAM would have an obligation in reporting the sexual abuse of vulnerable. Being aid providers to an impoverished people makes them vulnerable and gives us awful power! And we see this play out by Jeriah Mast allegedly withholding food from those who did not comply with his sexual demands. In that case the organization is morally and legally responsible to act.

The third concern came regarding questions surrounding re-traumatizing victims by posting and sharing the case publicly. These concerns came from several people, including one friend who forwarded screenshots. The answer to whether sharing is re-traumatizing is not easy to answer. I can speak only to the victims with whom I have been in contact, and from whom I received permission to share.

There was information that went public with the first blog that identified victims. I had attempted to ‘white out’ their names (even though I was told it was public record and didn’t need to be protected), but had not saved it right and missed that when posting. Another revealing snippet was there, and the victim contacted me within hours. I immediately offered to remove it, but was told to leave it, so I did.

My aim is always to do my best to protect victims’ identities if they wish to have them protected and respect their wishes. There are going to be ‘accidents’, unfortunately. The key is to immediately correct it, own up, apologize, and take direction from the victims.

The tragedy is that exposing sexual abuse is fraught with risks. Not exposing is fraught with greater risks. In both situations the most critical part is humility, sensitivity, honouring the victims and taking ownership of failure.

***

Ponderings of an Old Order Mennonite Grandpa:
Last week I received an email from a ‘Grandpa’ who recently suffered the loss of a granddaughter, causing his world to forever change, in more ways than one. I don’t know if he is Old Order Markham Mennonite, or horse-and-buggy Old Order Mennonite. The following are his words, which I asked if I may share with you. Note: I have made minor wording adjustments for clarity.

In our Old Order churches we are very stoic – we had a teacher from the local Bible Chapel for many years [who attended] […] an ordination in our church […] She was most surprised to see the amount of emotion exhibited by speakers and the audience. 

Some years ago, a Mid West Mennonite cousin lost his wife. I was practically disgusted by the amount of hugging that took place at the funeral – not just men with men but mixed. Our church really discourages hugging. Fast forward 15 years and I have a 14 year old granddaughter that has been diagnosed with a fatal heart disease. I can’t help myself – the first time I met her and her 12 year old sister after the diagnosis, I hugged them both. I don’t care what I thought before and I don’t care who sees me; I will hug my granddaughters (and grandsons although that is much harder – they resist). At my granddaughter’s funeral I hugged my own daughter, as well as my sister. In our culture, this is completely improper! And of course I was hugged by a number of other women as well.

Until we overcome this fear or reluctance to show emotion; until we can freely and openly speak, we will not be in any position to successfully relate to or with the wounded. We have to overcome the urge to stifle our thoughts or words when the going gets tough (although there are times when no words are necessary) and learn to speak words of love and care. We have to overcome the older way of thinking; that there must have been a reason this happened. I would certainly like to see some good discussion on this topic.

~ Osiah Horst ~ 

***

Healthy touch should be part of life. The over-sexualization of touch along with the complete dearth of contact, creates a hyper-sexualized response to touch. When healthy affection is a normal part of life starting in childhood, it helps prevent sexual abuse in that all touch isn’t experienced as sexual.

When there has been no touch growing up, and no hugs or affection, and you get one hug (even without consent), there is something in it that shocks you, and something that draws you. I will never forget it…

We didn’t grow up with hugs and affection in our home. When we were little children, as siblings or friends we sometimes held hands walking and playing. There was plenty of abusive touch, beatings, and sexual touch, but not healthy affection. Therefore, when it came to abusive touch, it was familiar, though not talked about, and left me with not knowing how to stand against it.

As a teen girl a young man almost two years older than me caught me in his arms and kissed my cheek at school. I was shocked, fascinated and scared. I squirmed free, and he let me go. The second time he french kissed me, which I had never seen or heard of, and was totally grossed out and scared. The third time he groped my breasts, and tried to get me to reach in his pants, but I refused. Each time he took me by surprise, with the third time being most extreme, and less surprising, but more manipulative, in that he set us up to be alone by sending my brother away. He, my brother and I were together, and nothing could happen… until my brother left. Thank God my brother was suspicious of his intentions, and shortly after he was sent away, my brother returned to catch him in the act. (I write about it in my book, Between 2 Gods: A memoir of Abuse in the Mennonite Community)

I had no healthy frame of reference for what touch should be. And I had no voice to say ‘no’, until that moment when he crossed the line in ways that I understood as violating, when he groped my breasts and tried to make me touch his penis. That wasn’t happening. My ‘no’ was an ashamed, silent, down-cast eyes, shaking of the head and nothing more than a frightened whisper.

When healthy touch is taught and experienced, we are not on ’empty’ looking for affection. I wanted the attention of that young man, but I didn’t want the sexual touch. Until he hugged me, such a ‘craving’ didn’t exist in me. But, once awakened, it made me vulnerable going forward.

Years later, in marriage, I would learn that my main love language is physical touch. Between that and a serious deficit of affection, falling for every man willing to hold me wasn’t that surprising. (Add to that being a people pleaser, and I was toast. But that’s for another time).

This vulnerability to touch, especially in a culture where touch is not ‘the norm’ is one reason that counselors, pastors and person in trust should not be ‘holding’ their clients or parishioners.  To offer a brief hug as a greeting is appropriate if the client initiates and is comfortable, but ‘holding’ is a different thing. Leaders and those in a position of trust can quickly make clients and parishioners feel powerless to say no. Again, especially when there has not been healthy touch.

Touch, therefore, is a healthy part of life. We read in the Bible often about embracing, kissing necks etc. That we’ve arrived at so little healthy touch and so much sexual perversion is a tragedy.

Bringing back healthy touch with boundaries and respect, and doing away with teachings that overly sexualize touch and the body will go a long way in breaking this messy cycle.

Note: This is a bird’s eye view of a much bigger topic. If you have thoughts you wish to share on this matter, I welcome responses. 
Please be aware that if you send emails without your name attached, I will no longer be reading them. (One arrived yesterday soon after posting. I have not read it and don’t intend to). My life is far too full to invest in anonymous advice. I engage with people, not opinions.  I do post anonymous messages here sometimes, though rarely. 

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

***

ONLY 2 MORE WEEKS TO REGISTER WITH LUNCH AND CONCERT INCLUDED!
(ENDS AUGUST 1, 2019)
THE GATHERING, NOVEMBER 2, 2019, LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE:
One of the things we are working toward November 2, 2019, at  THE GATHERING, is creating a place where we collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse, and their trusted support persons to join together for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering. We will cry out to God, together. The invitation is to ‘come as you are’ in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

(More information for potential attendees is available under THE GATHERING Registration and for non-attendees at THE GATHERING Information.)

***

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

© Trudy Metzger 2019

 

Haiti Update: Petit-Goave next court date, Help for CAM & Jeriah Mast victims, & the question we should be asking

Thursday July 18, 2019, is the next scheduled court hearing for victims of Jeriah Mast and CAM, in Petit-Goave, Haiti, which CAM officials and Jeriah Mast are asked to attend.

***

The attitudes toward Haitians (and other impoverished countries) among some in religious groups are despicable, to put it mildly. And they are among the contributing factors to the problem of missionaries assaulting vulnerable children and getting by with it. I will provide but one of the examples that someone sent to me:

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 3.51.25 PM

In reality, these young men’s lives are so scarred and shamed by what Jeriah did, that victims have written me to tell me what happened, but pleading that their names not be released because of what it will cost them. When they go in the streets they are called “Madam Jeriah”, and are shamed, bullied and threatened. It is appalling to suggest they would come forward for a ‘free ticket’. Worst case scenario, if some would, I don’t see how anyone can say “my first concern in this whole thing” is that.

Some have been faced with death threats because they are seen as homosexuals (due to  a male assaulting them) and for that reason should be offered asylum. The threats are serious enough that I was sent evidence in case the holder of it would turn up dead, in which case I am to release everything I have.

This arrogant, ‘better than you’ attitude towards them is dehumanizing, and sickening.

Maybe it’s time for people to stop ‘helping’ or ‘fixing’ or sending missionaries to ‘those poor people’ and start listening to them and valuing them.

***

As I write Rick Ashley – a first responder who took guardianship of a young Haitian boy almost 10 years ago – is in Haiti meeting with lawyers, a psychologist, and other professionals. He is paying for an arranging meetings for the known victims in one of the communities with these professionals, as well as medical care since some have developed health issues.

While I have no direct affiliation with Rick, or the services they provide in Haiti, I have spent enough time on the phone with him to hear his care and compassion. I do not know him personally, but hope one day to meet him. He has sacrificed much to reach out to the victims, and has set up a GoFundMe account to help with these expenses.

If you wish to read more and support his efforts, you may do so at:

URGENT NEED FOR HAITIAN BOYS VICTIMIZED BY JERIAH MAST & CAM

 

***

HAITI MISSIONARY ‘HELP’ FOR VICTIMS UPDATE:
The following images are an update for the proposed help to Haiti victims, organized by the men in Haiti. I offer no criticism of the plan itself, However, due to *ASAA being invited to be part of it, when they left a case completely unresolved last year*, and because the organizers explicitly excludes GU (and therefore me… or is that ‘excommunicate’), I will respect that and simply offer the outline they have prepared.

(In humour: A friend who saw the documents wrote to say “I see you’ve been black-balled!”  To which I responded, “Yes… the curse of being a woman and not Mennonite!” But, on the bright side, the less relational entanglements I have on that front, the more free I am to continue investigating without the temptation of protecting relationships. I am ok with that).

And I genuinely hope that those who help are effective, qualified, no history of molesting children and sexual assault, and seek first to understand the needs of victims, rather than imposing their ‘fix them’ plan.

79be5194-9889-4782-9717-1bd8f15c37cd

3fc95121-43d0-4f29-bf69-1cedfb375762

*REGARDING ASAA: Currently I am not prepared to release the documentation for this case publicly. It is convoluted and requires time investment to organize ASAA’s involvement, the gaslighting and handling of the case. I have not had any time for that. A link to the backstory (which does not include the details of ASAA involvement at this time) is available upon request, with full name, and all contact info, as well as reason for interest. It is relevant and I have been working toward addressing it for a few weeks, because I’ve received 3 complaints in the past month about the same offender).

***

In the past two months quite a number of people have sent messages stating that their abuser was never dealt with by their church, and then sent off to missions. In some cases the church was actively involved in helping them avoid the law. Sending them on missions is extremely high risk, and extremely disrespectful. But what if it’s strategic?

The question “Are known child molesters/rapists being sent on missions by the church because the church assumes impoverished countries have no resources to expose them?” has haunted me these past few weeks, and more so with every story forwarded. And, for that matter, are child molesters/rapists asking to go on missions for that same reason? The odds of getting by with the abuse is so much higher!

In America a serial child molester/rapist is far more likely to be caught. And if caught will tarnish the church image and more likely land behind bars. If they go on missions, all looks good, and life goes on.

This question has especially haunted me since learning other missionaries with serious and extreme allegations against them have also been sent, to Haiti and to other locations.

This question deserves serious consideration.

The number of conservative Anabaptist men whose names have come up since this CAM fiasco – some with , who molested in the past and are now in leadership, is startling. Ten conservative Mennonite pastor’s names were sent this weekend (some I had heard before),  involved in churches at home or in missions, or both. On top of that, a list of the leaders who knew and looked the other way.

Either we have to admit the epidemic is so severe among us that a considerable percentage of those running missions and churches will inevitably have committed these crimes, or we have to look at why so many of them are sent out and ordained.

It is well known that many sex offenders are especially gifted in manipulating their way into favour and leadership. That, along with the ‘in house’ handling of things, and ‘back room deals’ with the law in some communities, makes offenders in religious communities yet more ‘untouchable’.

***

The matter  of the vast number of offenders in leadership, and the ongoing ‘rise to power’ of these men needs to be further explored. Repeatedly leaders are saying, “Let’s work together. We’re all on the same team.” Yet there is an ongoing disregard for the needs fo victims.

I welcome any personal testimony of victims who have had experiences with these ‘backroom deals’ in which offenders were given special favour, and where victims were neglected. (Send to: info@generationsunleashed.com).

In the past week I have had several individuals share their stories of neglect, while leaders fight for the offenders to avoid prison, while silencing them. The testimonies I’ve heard are concerning, and make me more and more aware that this is no small matter.

If you want to share your story, anonymously, I welcome submissions. There must be enough details to make sense of the situation, but no need for identifying information.

I’m learning that your stories, your testimonies are reaching people far more and with more impact than my many years of working to bring light to the darkness.

***

PS: Emails sent without your full name included will not be read. I received one this evening after posting the blog… scrolled to the bottom, and saw no name and ‘filed’ it. I have no interest in the opinions of those who cannot sign their name. I connect with people, whether I agree with them or not, not with anonymous opinions. … whether I agree with you or not.

***

Matthew 18:6-7, 10

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! […] Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 

***

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

***

THE GATHERING, NOVEMBER 2, 2019, LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE:
One of the things we are working toward November 2, 2019, at  THE GATHERING, is creating a place where we collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse, and their trusted support persons to join together for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering. We will cry out to God, together. The invitation is to ‘come as you are’ in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

(More information for potential attendees is available under THE GATHERING Registration and for non-attendees at THE GATHERING Information.)

***

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

© Trudy Metzger 2019

 

 

 

 

 

(From a Survivor) Dear World… Don’t Let Me Die Alone

Dear World…
See my heart?
Crumpled on the stony ground,
Torn open, thrown away,
Shattered and bloodied.
See my trust?
Gone, like the soul of a bird,
Feathers dull, lifeless body
Lying cold in the dust.
See this innocence?
No, you can’t; it’s gone too.
Stolen, by ugly lizard hands.
Devil hands.
See my anger?
I didn’t deserve this;
I’m burning up inside.
Hot anguish scorches the walls
Of me.
See this pain?
An ugly black chain
Coiled like a snake around my heart.
Aching, throbbing, pounding, crashing.
Every.
Beat.
Hurts.
Don’t look away from me!
Turn around,
Look at this broken mess
Called me.
See my story
Spilling from my eyes?
I am a child.
Frozen in horror,
Feeling the terror,
Living a nightmare,
And no one heard my
Silent screaming.
I can see you, world…
Do something, don’t walk away…
Don’t leave me here…
Pick me up and carry me!
Don’t leave me shattered
On the ground.
Shameful World!
Can you see Jesus?
I can see Him.
He is weeping, crying…
His tears are washing the blood
From the pieces of my heart.
Don’t let me die alone…
© Sharla Baer

All photos and art are copyright of Sharla Baer.

© Sharla Baer

Matthew 18:6-7, 10

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses!For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! […] Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. ***

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

***

THE GATHERING, NOVEMBER 2, 2019, LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE:
One of the things we are working toward November 2, 2019, at  THE GATHERING, is creating a place where we collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse, and their trusted support persons to join together for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering. We will cry out to God, together. The invitation is to ‘come as you are’ in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

(More information for potential attendees is available under THE GATHERING Registration and for non-attendees at THE GATHERING Information.)

***

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

© Trudy Metzger 2019

“Help me Jesus! Help me!”… a child’s cry as she is raped by full grown ‘Christian’ men

The author of today’s blog is one of the most courageous women I’ve ever known. Greatest courage comes in facing our greatest fear and trauma. She does this. She is also a woman of incredible faith. Deepest faith is birthed in dark struggles where believing is almost impossible, yet believing is all we have. Where light is not present, yet Light is all we hold on to. You will hear this in her writing.

Faith, I’ve concluded, is a very different thing than we have been led to believe. It is the struggle, not the certainty. It is not knowing, yet daring to  believe. It is not seeing or feeling God, yet crying out to Him whether in pain, or grief or anger, or all of these at once.

In the survivors of horror and their struggle, I have encountered Jesus like no where else in the world. He really does dwell with the brokenhearted. It is an honour to be able to share this woman’s story with you.

This blog is a personal journal entry that she shared with me a while ago. I was so moved by it, I offered to share it with the public if ever she would be comfortable doing so. With deep appreciation for her vulnerability, I invite you to to a sacred glimpse inside her story and struggle.

This is the life of a sex abuse survivor in religious community.

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TRIGGER WARNING: Do not read further if you are sensitive to rape and sexual violence testimony. The following post is a very personal heart cry from a survivor.

She is the wife of the gentleman who wrote “What I Wish You Knew About Childhood Sexual Abuse (A Husband’s Perspective”

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Where were you, Jesus, when I was seven – a little girl, innocent and sweet- who found herself in a dungeon of darkness with evil men? Where were you when I was playdough in the hands of evil? What were you thinking when they took every last shred of my dignity and innocence? Where were you when there were hands all over me – pinching, feeling, slapping, manipulating? Where were you when I tried to get away from the pain, and one of my captors got angry and shoved himself into every possible place on my body? Where were you when my body gave up – gave in to the manipulation of hands and voices – and my spirit gave up too? Where were you when they mocked me? Where were you when they told me I was their “girl” – that this is what I was made for? Where were you when I believed them…what else was I supposed to believe, Jesus?

I cried out to You the whole time! I kept saying, “Help me, Jesus. Help me!” And in my little girl mind, You didn’t come. I was alone with evil. I was completely powerless. I was in the hands of evil, and completely at the mercy of evil – and there was none.

None.

Only pain with a horrible mix of pleasure. Mocking laughter. Blood. Evil hands. Body parts. Out of place limbs. Darkness. Vulture eyes.

Three or four grown men.

And little seven year old me.

You told me once, God, that you were there when that happened. I desperately want to believe that. You told me you protected me – that you kept it from getting worse. I want to believe that.

But I don’t feel it. And I wish, Jesus, that I could see the scene in my mind with You in it. Right now, I can’t. It’s just me – alone – with evil men. Is it asking too much, Jesus, to ask you to revise that scene with the Truth?

I’m sorry if I’m asking for a sign out of unbelief.

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5 hours later: In my mind, I’m about 7-12 years old. A little girl with no voice. In my body, I’m about 60. I am SO old. So tired. So weak. So much pain. 

But the calendar says I’m 27. 

I feel like I’m dying. Is this what it feels like to be alive? To feel? 

I didn’t know I was so tired. My poor body.

I feel awful for that little girl. She’s kept pressing on all these years. 

Now she’s breaking. But is it safe to break? 

I don’t know. 

Now she’s a mom and a wife. Is it okay to break when she’s a mom and wife?

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After years of holding in the pain, I am afraid that if I begin to cry, I will never stop. It’s hard for people to grasp the kind of terror that leaves a person so damaged that they cannot remember how it feels to be safe, loved, innocent and free.

As I mopped the floor, my tears mingled with the mop water. I was crying to hard I had to lean over a chair to catch my breath…

“God, I’m too scared to live, and I’m too scared to die (emotionally). All these years I have tried to control my life, because I remember how it felt to be out of control and be completely at the mercy of evil hands. And there was none, even though I cried out to You as a little seven year old girl.

You’ve told me You were there…but where? Where, God? How can I live today if I don’t know where you were then? It’s not safe. But it’s not safe to keep trying to control everything either. I’m hurting myself and my family.

I’m stuck God. Stuck between the reality of a broken world where there is no safe place and what I know in my head.

I’m waiting, God. Waiting for You to reframe that trauma for me with You in the picture. I’m holding on, God. Those rainbows You sent mean something. They were not complete rainbows, just partial.

I will hold on to the little faith I have and I will wait for You.”

~ the warrior child ~

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EDIT: There is speculation out there that these men were not Anabaptist. They were, and they are. And today they are all in conservative Anabaptist leadership. Two are ministers. One is in other leadership, and would be too revealing to disclose. Not one of them has ever taken ownership, apologized, or faced legal consequences.

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Having read the blog, remember the very courageous young woman who lived this story. It is hard to stomach. Hard to read. But it is a story of courage, resilience and faith, first and foremost. The author is still a conservative Anabaptist. More importantly, she is a woman who loves Jesus and knows Him more personally than many who never needed to struggle through her ‘hell’ and try to find His love for her in spite of her suffering.

Let’s honour her in this story, and lift up Jesus.

Matthew 18:6-7, 10
But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses!
For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! […] 
Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 
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As always…

With love,
~ T ~

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THE GATHERING, NOVEMBER 2, 2019, LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE:
One of the things we are working toward November 2, 2019, at  THE GATHERING, is creating a place where we collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse, and their trusted support persons to join together for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering. We will cry out to God, together. The invitation is to ‘come as you are’ in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

(More information for potential attendees is available under THE GATHERING Registration and for non-attendees at THE GATHERING Information.)

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If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

© Trudy Metzger 2019