Gags, muzzles, screenshots, the evidence, a hole in my boat and a ‘farewell curtsy’…

The facts and the evidence should speak for themselves. But often they are muzzled or gagged into silence, while another narrative is written.

Sometimes a cry for help escapes from behind the gag… But it’s nothing a healthy smack in the face or a gun to the head cannot fix.

And the movie continues….

***

Since I don’t feel free to publicly post evidence, for various reasons, I have created a password protected web page where I am posting what evidence I have been given permission to share. It is not there to serve curiosity and cause destruction, but for pastors, victims (and their families).

Evidence includes parts of audio recording, testimonies of some victims including only those who have given permission to share it, screenshots of conversations, among other things. This will not be available until Tuesday evening, May 22, 2018.

UPDATE: REQUESTS FOR ACCESS ARE NOW CLOSED AND WILL NO LONGER BEING ACCEPTED AS OF 5:30PM EST, MAY 22, 2018. THOSE WHO REQUESTED, SENT THE INFORMATION REQUESTED (BELOW) AND FELL WITHIN THE ABOVE CRITERIA OF “PASTORS, VICTIMS (AND THEIR FAMILIES” WILL BE GIVEN ACCESS TO INFORMATION. 

  1. Your full name and address, and what church/ministry you are part of.
  2. Include a written promise that you will not download, print, leave on your computer screen or store in any format, or share with another person, or give any other individual access to this information. And promise that only your eyes will view it. Each individual must ask for his or her own permission to access.
  3. Explain the reason for your interest and concern, what your connection is to D and S, and what influence you believe you have for creating accountability for S.
  4. If you’re just curious, at least be honest and say so.

EVIDENCE TRIGGER WARNING: Should you choose to request access, be warned that the content – just quoting what D said to these individuals – is highly pornographic in nature and deeply disturbing. The risk for traumatization is significant for those who experienced these kinds of phone calls and messages. Those who took time to write out their experiences frequently shared it nauseated them.

I have been immersed in this now for four days and am completely burned out emotionally, spiritually and psychologically.  And I’m left to wonder how the church so blithely overlooks this abuse. Shame on us all.

If S and leadership can really turn a blind eye to this…  I don’t even know what to say. …

***

This has been exhausting – no doubt for others as much as for me – and the grief of what has been lost in the months since January is completely overwhelming. So kindly don’t spit on the grave before the dirt has even settled. I still care deeply for S, his wife and his ministry. If you comment, please be respectful. I won’t tolerate hate or attack against S (or his ministry). My heart is not and never has held hate. I am concerned about the wellbeing of vulnerable and victims, therefore I have spoken out publicly because the private conversation was much akin to spinning in the mud, and all the while public risk continued.

I urge you… if you, or your wife, or your daughter, or your friend were impacted by the grooming, the sexualized talk and questions by D…. Speak out.

And to those of you who have been through this, I’m sorry.

I am sorry no one told you what you should have been told many months ago. I do not regret telling you now. And I’m sorry that I can do no more at this time. The rest is now up to each of you who were impacted. You now choose whether you let it fall through the cracks, and let this kind of thing continue, or to rise up and let your voice be heard. There is nothing more I can do without you rising up with me.

I am here to support as I am able. I have audio files, paper trails and messages, but without those of you speaking out who were intimately impacted by D and the silence of S, things will go on as they were. If you have been muzzled or silenced, no matter what the excuse to not speak, speak out anyway. There are whistleblowers in many organizations, and they survive. On the outside, I can do my itty bit, but true accountability must rise up from the inside and those closest. That is the only way.

I urge you to speak out and let your voices be heard. Contact leaders of the Anabaptist Sexual Abuse Symposium with the stories you sent me. Contact church leaders. Contact the board. Let them hear your stories and your voices. Expose the abuse, the perversion, the affairs that wreaked havoc in your marriages. Be the voice for your sons and daughters who live with the aftermath you shared with me, and teach them to be the voice for the next generation.

And, if D spent time with your sons and daughters, ask them questions… And then do something. Don’t let others be victimized. Every time I speak out, new stories spill out, now reaching an alarming number, and yet I have never mentioned D’s name even one time. (I am creating a spreadsheet, but I am guessing the number who have been negatively impacted is over 100, or at least very close to it. Given I have never used his name, and that many people wrote, not to ask me the name but to tell me… that should trouble you. And those who feel anger toward me for speaking out, though I expected it, is badly misplaced.)

And to the leaders (whether the board of S’s ministry, the Symposium, or other affiliated leaders who have not heard or seen the evidence) I urge you to at least take a moment and contemplate looking into this thoroughly…

This silence cannot go on. And Symposiums change nothing if the patterns are happening, unchallenged and unchecked, in those who lead addressing them. I am all for this to be addressed, and I am absolutely for the Symposium, ( I planned to attend the event), but I have grave concerns when one of the lead people behind it is blatantly mishandling an extreme situation and refuses to hear people who bring it to his attention. It is every kind of wrong.

I do not believe this is beyond redemption. Yes, I am disheartened and weary of this battle. Tired in ministry… feeling like every bucket of water out of the boat (with church being the boat, and the water being all sexual abuse in church) is met with two buckets poured in on the other side from someone inside this boat, as yet another trusted leader looks the other way, or engages in abuse…

All the while the rain falls….

she died_because she trusted us

Yes, I’m tired…

But there is still hope…

There must always be hope…

***

And with that, I confess that all that can be said by me, publicly, has been said.  So I offer a curtsy, and bow out…

***

Proverbs 31:8  
“Open your mouth for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018

A wheelbarrow and a shovel… “Where to from here?”

It’s the same manure that stinks to high heaven,
and frustrates the life of the housewife who hangs wash on the line,
… Or her husband, if he did it for her, God bless his heart…
that causes flowers to bloom and gardens to thrive.
~ Yours Truly….
….from in the middle of the stink ~ 

***

I wrote “Part 1 and Part 2” of this blog and then, as I wrapped it up, I looked at it. And I realized “Part 1” was for my personal processing, and Part 2 is for posting. So that is what I am doing. Because Part 1 does nothing more than present evidence. For now I am sharing only this portion because I’m not sure any good can come from the other part at this time, and I am just not at peace with it.

***

Going public, while not fun, was the right thing to do. I have zero doubt about that. It was necessary. (It has, however, been my most successful weight loss ‘program’, with a record over 8 pounds shed in four days. But it is not a ‘program’ I recommend). And it has brought forward countless stories, each naming D by his full name, and giving those individuals a place to speak. It also brought some new allegations to light in other scenarios. The level of shame some of these individuals have carried is staggering.

So where to from here…

S and I have both acknowledged that trust is broken between us. Our positions are completely polarized. I do think if S and I could meet and share all the ‘evidence’ and ‘story’ we each have, we might have a starting point to work from. I am almost certain that if he saw and heard all the messages in my inbox, and if he would compare D’s word to me – which I would have him hear and see – with D’s word to him, and see if it matches what D told him, we stand a chance at progress.

I would like S to take breast-groping and butt-grabbing more seriously as a sexual assault than he has indicated in some of our communications, and as relates to the case with D’s victim. (Even if that was all he did – which isn’t accurate because I have a confession by him to doing more than that – it should be taken seriously and the damage to the victim acknowledged.) I would like him to meet with me and see and hear the evidence, and let it speak for itself. (Something I have struggled to even contemplate trusting him with since he went back to D with everything I already shared.) Yes, there is more to the story than the evidence tells, but the evidence is very incriminating. Under no circumstances will I send any of it to him because he broke my trust before I had opportunity to show him the evidence. I would hope that, if he saw the evidence, he would see the urgency that I see. And if he saw that urgency, I would hope he would publicly admit that he knew since September, and that his decision to be silent left many people vulnerable.

I acknowledge that he also does not trust me – more specifically he has said he does not trust the conclusions I come to, because he believes I see abuse scenarios through the lens of my experience. This is fair. I freely acknowledge that I do, and that every human does. S does too. I do my best to be consistent in how I respond from case to case. It means that clients whom I love and care about know that I will report them if they abuse someone. That’s the lens through which I function, and it seems to not be an adjustable lens. I would appreciate if S contemplated the reality of his own lens.

So, while I am willing to meet with S, I am only willing to do so with my pastor present – Pastor Dale Ingraham and ideally also someone like Dan Beachy of Life Ministries (whom I have never met and do not know other than the testimonies I have heard), and he could have whomever he chooses present for support. S and I are far too polarized to make headway without that.

We have had a pastor ‘in the middle’ for the duration of this conflict, and I appreciate him very much. (An interesting ‘aside’, his initials, like S and D are also a double of one letter. I am choosing not to disclose his initials because he’s been dragged into enough already.) Our temperaments and spiritual giftings are actually quite fascinating.  The pastor has an incredibly tender heart and would define his ‘calling’ to be to bring unity to the body of Christ. S has a very tender heart as well, but I have not heard him define his calling, so I will not attempt to guess. I do know he is firmly committed to what he believes. I am also tenderhearted, and tenaciously committed to my calling: To bring healing to victims, to expose the darkness of sexual abuse in religious communities, and to help offenders. Each of our gifts are valuable.

***

My first commitment is to support the victim(s) – whether the victim of the sexual assault, or the victims of D’s phone calls and the shame these individuals carry, not to mention the psychological aftermath. Numerous victims have suffered physical/psychological consequences such as panic attacks, nightmare or terrors, fear and trauma at the thought of ever seeing him again, and nausea at the memory of what he did. In whatever way I am able, I offer to help these victims find support. That is my first priority.

***

I sat for almost 2 hours yesterday with a man who molested a young woman years ago. I told him the same thing I just wrote… I will report all abuse, no matter who. No matter what. We worked through some ongoing identity issues. We dug deep. In the end he looked at me and, tears in his eyes, thanked me.

Maybe those who have offended, or are at risk of offending, actually crave someone to take them to hard places… Maybe we owe it to the victims first, but maybe we owe it to the offenders too.

This is my prayer for D, that he will take full ownership without *any* blame toward victims. That he will stop lying about “all the hurting who come to him… for support… for money… for ‘whatever” when the evidence trails proves he is writing people and offering them money and many are declining. It is my prayer that he will be surrounded by men who will walk with him

When I met D, I saw a tormented man. A man apparently helpless in the clutches of his own sins and crimes. Begging for forgiveness, drawing temporary relief from ‘forgiveness’, but never having had someone who would dare to also hold him accountable to face the legal consequences of his crimes.

I have had the opportunity to walk with tormented offenders as they turned themselves in to the law knowing they could be sentenced to prison. I have heard them express after that they ‘finally have peace’ even before the knew the outcome. And I have heard them say they are no longer tempted, having laid aside any perceived ‘right’ to protect themselves from those consequences. I would be willing to go with D to support him if he decides to turn himself in to the law for the sexual assault that he has admitted to (in writing and verbally to S in September 2017 and to me in March 2018), any other and other crimes he may have committed, or allegedly committed. I would be willing to arrange for him to have a support system should he be sentenced to prison, and to ensure he has support when he is released so that he is less likely to reoffend.

***

At the very root of the issue of sexual abuseand why it continues thriving in the church – not only hiding, but truly thriving, for a lack of better word – is a list of ways we mishandle abuse cases when the cost of dealing with it looks greater than the cost of blinking an eye. We would never say we are inconsistent, or show favouritism. Yet, when it’s someone close to us, or someone we trust – because they’ve never done that to us or to ours, therefore they would never do such a thing – we trust our feelings about them rather than entertain the possibility that they are predators, in some cases, or have molested.

I made a promise in about 2012 that I would not ask how wealthy an alleged offender is, how prestigious,  or how closely related to me or those I love. That may have been stupid. But I did it. No matter the story, I would do what I have always done as long as the victim asks me to confront it, or gives permission to report in cases where the victim is an adult. This means I’ve stepped on some toes that were gold-plated. I’ve confronted leaders. And I’ve confronted someone in a family one of my siblings married into. What I do is not popular when the offender is an elite, or close to an elite. When there is no ‘higher’ association, I do my work unhindered and undisturbed. And then there are times that there is an impenetrable power covering the offender. I still do what I am called to do. (It’s why I have a wheelbarrow and a shovel, not a bandwagon. The advantage is when it’s time to shovel…)

This is my  appeal to all leaders. Help the victim in seeking support. Expose the abuse and the abuser. Don’t do it to destroy them, do it to protect the people from danger and to make sure they cannot further harm others or themselves. (The hell they live with, knowing the damage they have done – for those who are not so narcissistic that they don’t care – is awful.) It is your God-given responsibility, to the best of your ability, to protect all the vulnerable, the women and the children. Don’t show favouritism. Don’t compare banning a sex offender from events or church with banning people who have other addictions, or who are divorced and remarried, or some other thing. These are not comparable, because the others do not pose a threat to the safety of vulnerable people.

Sex offenders need help and support, but don’t be afraid to tell them to seek help elsewhere if their victim is in your church, or if the environment of your event is one where many vulnerable people are present. If offenders are so arrogant that they demand seeking help in an environment where they make others unsafe, they are not repentant. Repentant sinners are humble. And repentant sex offenders humbly accept that they need to stay away from certain places and activities for the protection of others, and to ensure they do not commit those crimes. I have been thanked for helping them set boundaries to ensure that safety. This is our duty as leaders.

***

Proverbs 31:8  
“Open your mouth for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018

Steve Stutzman, Dave Denlinger, Strait Paths, Land of Promise

 

The Crossroads… (Part 5: On hugging a cactus)

The question mark
Hung at the end of every fear
Is answered by
The promise that you are with me here
And that’s all I’ve got
When the lights go out and I lose my way
So I’ll close my eyes
I won’t be afraid, I won’t be afraid

As I reach for your hand in the night
When the shadows swallow the light
‘Cause I’m giving up, giving in
Once again a childlike faith
Is my only way
To see in the dark
~ Jason Gray ~

 ***

A year after we started Generations Unleashed, I was with two young women – sisters .- and supporting one of them facing traumatic memories. She was not a client then, nor did she ever become one, but I had been asked to meet with her. In her trauma, she curled up on the floor in a fetal position – a tiny little woman – writhing in agony. Heartbroken by what I saw, and with no training, I responded the only way my humanity knew to respond: I picked her up. That lasted only seconds but felt like an eternity, because immediately I felt it take something out of me and sensed God saying, “That’s not yours to give.” Not comfortable laying her back on the floor, I asked her sister to hold her, and she agreed. In hindsight, I don’t know if that was right or fair. I just know it was wrong for me to hold her. And I have never again gone there. About that time I also put my arm around weeping victims and let them cry on my shoulder whenever they wanted.

I have since developed much better practices and have watched people heal far more effectively, by getting to the root of the issue, rather than creating dependence on me. And I have looked my clients in the eye when they ‘craved’ that touch and promised them I will never violate their boundaries or their trust, or take such unnecessary risks. That extended physical touch should not come from the professional/ministry worker who is their mentor, coach or counsellor. It is my duty, first and foremost, to protect them and help them heal. I will not cross that line. It creates unhealthy bonds that eventually have to be broken, and is entirely unprofessional and unhealthy. It has led to affairs, struggle with lesbianism among young Mennonite women (when the person holding them was female), and is all around unfair to them.

This does not happen with LOP seminars that I am aware of, but D certainly did it ‘on the side’… It should cause both those who practice this and those who hear of it to at least pause and ask if it is healthy… When you hear of  men holding the vulnerable (sometimes curled up on their lap, faces placed cheek to cheek, and other times more discretely) to comfort them ‘like a daddy would’ or ‘like kind Heavenly daddy’, be aware. Not all who have done that have molested, but many who have been held have felt sexually and spiritually violated. Those being held are incredibly vulnerable, and women are by God’s design very sensitive to tender touch. It’s how we are wired. Do the math. They get sexually aroused being held (this has also happened with females holding females) and go on to deal with sexual shame and confusion all over again.

Women are predominantly stimulated by tender touch – based on my work with them – and are especially vulnerable when they are working through abuse. Some fear touch. Some crave it, but then find themselves deep in sexual feelings for their counsellor (or whoever offers that touch). Some hate it, feeling violated and resenting that feeling of being overpowered. And in every client with a trauma story, there is a power imbalance that makes it even more violating, regardless of the intent of the person touching them. Even when it never feels sexual for either party, damage can be done. For this reason I choose not to take that risk.

Some, like D, have held the hurting ‘like a daddy’ and then gone on to sexually violate the vulnerable individual. And, shamefully, somehow it gets misconstrued as her consent when she was groomed to be victimized. It is, in my opinion, not appropriate for a man to have young women curled up on his lap and call it ministry, but I do know some have done it with what they declare to be the best of intentions.

My advice in any case is, Don’t. Just don’t go there. Because when it gets to court, you will likely be guilty. Nor does it, in reality, typically – if ever – heal the victims. It often intercepts their connection with God and draws them to you and your bandwagon. Just don’t. I have spoken with numerous friends in ministry and urged them to end the practice, telling them that if it ends in court, and I am asked to be involved, I know which side of the court room I will fill. And it won’t be their side. I know the incredible damage this has done in many cases. It is a terrible violation of boundaries – which vulnerable people, especially abuse victims, usually lack – and completely inappropriate.

***

If we are going to make a dent in the abuses going on, it will require seeing fondling breasts, grabbing buttocks and groping crotches as the vile abuse that they are, and acknowledge the damage they do. It will mean no longer downplaying these things and then deciding the victim’s trauma after the fact is for show or selfishness. It is not only rape that devastates victims. Of all the damage I have seen, none is greater than the damage done by someone who is a ‘spiritual hero’ and then molests those who trust him/her, regardless what that violation is. This is spiritually destructive, and I don’t take that lightly.

Until this past week I kept telling myself that S must not know the truth. After working with him on a case recently, my trust grew shockingly strong, almost instantly. Not without reservation, but limited reservation. When I wrote him last week to make him aware of that bigger story, I discovered at the end of the day that he had taken what I told him right back to D. He insisted I am being lied to. I have assured him that I have been given copies of proof for everything I shared with him that day, except one item. (What I shared that day was different information than the sexual assault and lewd phone calls shared here. It had to do with finances). Regarding the sexual assault and phone calls, I have been given copies of messages validating the victim’s experiences, including some sent by D himself. The evidence is undeniable. Had he taken full ownership, and had there not been molestation of a young woman (I reiterate, she is not a minor), it would still be concerning and there should still be some form of ‘buddy system’ at events where he has blatantly prowled in the past.  In this case, had leadership listened to warnings from people close to them who cared deeply, intervention would most likely have prevented the assault. When there are signs of predator-like behaviour, intervention is in the best interest of potential victims, as well as the offender, who ends up carrying shame that could have been avoided.

I do not ask S to hold to my personal values, standards and principles, or to keep the promises we made – this isn’t about that. This is about keeping our promises and commitments to our calling: serving vulnerable people, and exposing those who violate them. The day I cannot do that and fear of facing the fallout and consequences for exposing is greater than my commitment to that calling, is the day I need to resign from ministry. So help me God if I continue without that commitment. This is my calling, and I embrace it. Not comfortably – much like hugging a cactus, really – but I embrace it nonetheless.

It has tormented me, knowing that D assaulted someone, and wondering if LOP leadership was aware, and then discovering they knew and were repeatedly warned about D before the assault, and again after, by people who love them deeply… It has tormented me that if I know and say nothing, and D keeps sponsoring victims, or grooming them, and eventually assaulting another, that I have allowed that through silence. Not to mention that if victims of sexual abuse discover he sexually assaulted a girl recently and I knew and said nothing, that I betray them…

I cannot live with that betrayal of their trust.

I can live with being hated. i can live with being verbally attacked. I can live with being called a drama queen or a nutcracker. I can live with many things. But I cannot live with knowing and being silent.

When I am in a place where I am ‘forced’ to choose between speaking out and being silent about abuse, for any reason (whether out of a sense of duty and loyalty to someone I consider a friend, or to protect family) I will choose to defend the vulnerable no matter what it costs me.

And it has cost me a lot…

But taking a strong position for the vulnerable wasn’t my idea, it was God’s example -and it is His command. It is the Jesus Way. It is the path I choose. Cactus plants and all.

***

Proverbs 31:8  
“Open your mouth for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018

The Crossroads… (Part 4)

Here I am
Begging for certainty again
But simple trust
Is what you’re asking me to give
[…]
I’ll reach for your hand in the night
When the shadows swallow the light
‘Cause I’m giving up, giving in
Once again a childlike faith
Is my only way
To see in the dark
~ Jason Gray ~

(…continued…)

In the past few days, or week, since having conversations with S on some of these things, he may well have taken action on things I challenged him on. One of those things was that, up until that time he had not even checked up on D’s victim. If he has done so since, I am glad so long as it was for her sake and not any other reason. I cannot speak for him on that. I have concerns about some comments he has made that showed shocking disregard for her wellbeing.

I communicated with S regarding D, asking him why he doesn’t warn people – in particular for the sake of vulnerable individuals attending events. The attack is relatively current and not resolved in the courts, and D is still messaging and targeting vulnerable women. His behaviour is consistent with predator behaviour, thus making him a current risk. However, S maintains he is not responsible to inform, and takes D’s word over that of the victim, whose story he has never heard  (I have heard both) – and insists people misunderstand D’s heart, and that I don’t know the truth. (As stated earlier, there is always more story that is easily revealed, but what has been revealed is extremely incriminating.

S further states that LOP seminars are not for victims – which I understand to mean not specific to victims. To my question about warning the public, he argued that all are welcome and if D was told no to come he’d be the only person not welcomed to attend. And if he wants to pay for people to attend, that’s his business and S has no control over that.

In my view it is about protecting victims, and letting them decide whether they want to attend an event where someone will be present who has recently sexually assaulted a young woman, or be sponsored by that person. Some will choose to attend events where known predators are present, but many, if not most, will decline. And not all parents will want to fund attendance if they are concerned their sons and daughters are at risk. But in either case, the assault is current – in the second half of 2017 – and it should not be kept quiet. And,  because the assault is current, I reiterate, he remains high risk. That risk is increased by his ‘can’t remember’ approach to responding to the allegations of things he has done. This indicates he is either in complete denial making him among extreme of high-risk predators, or he has victimized so many that he chooses that line because he’s done it to so many, also making him among exceptionally high risk predators. The individual who is not in denial easily remember his/her crimes. And the repentant one most certainly does. I do not profess to know which of those two things are the truth about D. In either case, he remains high risk and attendees need to know in advance that they will not be informed of such current predators.

I understand that those who have offended need to get help and healing as well, and personally work with them. When my clients share that they struggle with temptation, I look them in the eye and tell them that I care about them, and then I add, “If ever you give in, I will report you to the law.” And I give practical advice on how to manage such temptation, not the least of which is recommending a licensed counsellor who works with this. They are keenly aware of my boundary, and have thanked me for it.

But, that all said, it is unfair to individuals like D’s victim and others who are vulnerable, to see him all “spiritual-daddy” like and trust him, only to be sexually assaulted as one victim was, or spoken to in sexually inappropriate ways, leaving them. Furthermore as long as he deceives those who are trying to help him, or in any way puts blame on the victim, he is not safe. That goes without saying. There’s not great science or profound study that teaches this; it’s common sense. And when someone who has sexually assaulted continues with that type of behaviour, the place they should go for help should be a very different place than a venue where the masses flock for healing.

When I asked S about the way D throws money at people while disregarding some of his own family’s needs – S’s response was that D is can’t say no to pleas for financial help, and asked what he’s supposed to tell him to do. To his credit, S has not seen the messages forwarded to me by the women, of D offering them money versus them asking for it. Of course, it does sound a lot less ‘predator motivated’ if it is ‘responding to pleas of money’. And since S has not, to my knowledge, read even one of those messages and I have read many, I can understand him falling for that line. … Sort of…

The reality is, I take this part of my ministry seriously. We (women) are repeatedly told that we are too emotional to handle things ‘wisely’ regarding the topic of sexual abuse. To that, I respond with this: Someone has to protect the vulnerable. And if men of God feel no sense of duty to protect the vulnerable from predators – whether male and female – it falls to us. If you will not speak out and protect us from breast-groping, buttock-grabbing, crotch-feeling predators, then who will?

And the answer is, I willI will do my part. It may not be much, but it is something. 

I have no interest in taking down LOP or S. I am, however, boldly committed to warning people that men like D, with current sex crimes and men who brazenly pursue hurting women – therefore known predators, but whom S does not acknowledge as predators – have been (and based on responses from S.) continue to be free to roam without anyone assigned to ensure the safety of other attendees. And with no warning to these attendees.

Guard yourself. Guard your youth. If you care about their innocence, be aware when they start calling other men ‘Daddy D’, or are being funded by men who display predator-like behaviour. If they are young and attend LOP, attend with them. Whether you are male or female, young or old, if you see the predator-type-individuals doing their thing, be bold and speak up. Do not give these individuals access to the women and children you love. It is your duty to rise up.

…To be continued…

***

Proverbs 31:8  
“Open your mouth for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

 

© Trudy Metzger 2018

The Crossroads… (Part 2)

When all is dark, and the road divides
And you don’t know which way to go
Listen closely to your heart
Hear the whispers of God…

In the stillness
Where the path divides and all is dark
Follow the echo of truth
His Spirit will guide you.

(…Continued)

A few months ago when I was made aware of a middle-aged man making lewd sexual phone calls to women, I was concerned. Still, such calls are hardly ‘actionable’, at least not easily, especially in religious culture where it is well nigh impossible to bring truth of sex crimes to light. In the worst of cases, even rape, the offender is far more likely to get support than a victim. So trying to confront sexually inappropriate phone calls and pin someone down for it, apart from a group lawsuit, is much like catching toots in the wind. They tend to get away. But I would soon learn there was a much bigger story.

(I cannot share the offender’s full name at this time, so will simply call him D. I had one proofreader immediately ask if he was ‘so and so’.  It wasn’t correct. So please make no assumptions. If it applies to you, you are welcome to write and ask, but I cannot publicly share that information right now. And that is true for all individuals mentioned in this series, some by choice, some at the request of law enforcement and preference of lawyers involved.)

Of the women who personally contacted me, all were either a) in a vulnerable situation  and he somehow used their vulnerability to contact them (In one case leading the young woman to believe he had information that would help her in a very difficult situation. Instead, he became perverse. Note: She has written a guest blog to be shared here shortly.); b) women who are no longer with their husbands, having either been previously abused or abandoned c) *Women in financial need. He gave thousands of dollars, either in cash or in goods, to some of his victims, and offered it to others who declined. (* he also gave to at least one couple, and made comments that made her uncomfortable, but my understanding is it was not sexual.)  

D’s public Facebook persona is religious, and above reproach. It includes expressing deep compassion and care for those who are sex-trafficked. Just the kind of man a victim of sexual violence should be able to trust. Knowing about the lewd phone calls to women, I messaged D on Feb. 3 to ask him to help me reconciles the way he makes perverse phone calls with the super religious image he presents on FB. I admitted to him that I stumble over it. (And for those who think a phone call isn’t a big deal, there is a woman in Ontario who was brutally psychologically scarred by that very thing and has to this day never recovered.) When I confronted him, D could only think of one such incident, he said, and named that victim. The one he mentioned was new to me. After I told him I know of three, he thought of one more but didn’t name her.

In spite of how violated women felt, or ‘creeped out’ as several described it, he insisted it was ‘innocent’ and thought he was merely sharing his weaknesses with them and seemed surprised that it was offensive. He did not mention that, besides sharing his struggles, he also asked some of these women if they ever withheld sex from their husbands, among other inappropriate conversation. Several times, on separate occasions, he commented to young passengers riding in his car that they were brave to be in his car, given the kind of man he is. (This wording from several very different sources.)

I posted several status updates on FB over a period of several days using no name, location or identifying information and received over 30 messages, til all was said and done, all naming D, and taking the list nearing twenty women. After confronting D, I connected him with a pastor in Ohio and urged him to get help. (I learned later that he had already been seeing a licensed counsellor for many years – a ‘buddy’/counsellor). I left it at that, for the time being and hoped he’d get help before taking his predator-like behaviours further and actually molesting someone.

Little did I know…

****

(Note: The victim has given me permission to share, but asked that I not use her name).

I was contacted a few weeks later… a young woman had been molested, her buttocks grabbed the first time – something he admitted to me – as well as groping her breasts the next day when she fell asleep and he had access, which he also admitted to me. Allegedly there was more but D denies the last allegations, so it seems prudent that I leave those details unspoken in public domain. Prior to this, he had given her thousands of dollars worth of goods and sponsorships, totalling well over $6000. And the day he assaulted her, he had been recruited to ensure her safety. He had been a ‘spiritual daddy’ to her, and, in her words, “showed me who Jesus really is” and then turned around and violated her. This devastated the young woman and shattered her faith.

I spoke directly and personally with D, and had 2 other people present. In the course of that conversation I asked him about the various allegations, including one in which a woman whom I had never met, wrote me to say that D had offered a girl money to get in his car (which turned out to be inaccurate). This allegation was similar to one in which he allegedly offered a girl money to ride on a Hoverboard or some such thing – allegations that came from several sources. The former, about the car, was completely unfounded – I confirmed this via the person who told me, after . She had misunderstood; it was about the Hoverboard incident. D said he tried to get her to ride the Hoverboard, and may have coaxed her with money – he had done that to numerous people, he said, and couldn’t remember who all. But he said he did not ask her to go on it with him, as there would be no room. (I had no reason to doubt he was telling the truth here.) Other allegations of sexual assault and sexually deviant phone calls have been confirmed by D as well as victims sending screenshots or summaries, and the ‘paper trail’ of evidence.

D professes to be repentant, yet he has continued to find ways to blame the victim and downplay his crimes, and offer various ‘degrees’ of truth to different people. What he confessed to me does not match what he confessed to others. These ‘fruits’ do not resemble repentance in any way, and Jesus said the fruits are trustworthy evidence. He expresses his own pain, but fails to grasp the damage done to his victims. If he grasped that damage, he would stop pursuing vulnerable women with gifts of money, books, messages etc, knowing that he has these allegations against him. He also has a court protection order (which is public record) to have no contact with the victim, either personally or via third party. (Whether he has ‘accepted’ this court order or not, I cannot say, but I do have the ID number of the document.) And if he was truly repentant he would recognize that as long as he keeps playing the hero and the saint in the lives of vulnerable women, he is setting these people up to be devastated when the truth finally comes out.

D sponsored the victim (prior to the assault) to attend a LOP conference. (Note: This was not where he ‘met’ her. It is one of the many things he did that won her trust.) The victim shared with me the text messages sent by D, in which he said S, who leads LOP, knows what he did to her. (It has become increasingly apparent that S. does not know everything, but he did know about the assault since late September 2017). This alarmed me because I knew D continues to be welcomed at events, unmonitored, and continues (to this day) to send money, books, gifts and text messages to countless vulnerable women, while telling S. they pursue him. Women are forwarding screenshots to me of current messages – as recent as the last two days – in which he uses the same tactics he used in the past. Tactics that are well known to those who study grooming. Numerous women were sponsored by him – covering the cost of their registration with LOP as well as paying for hotels, while his wife received less in all of 2017 than some of his victims received in the value of one gift. (If confronted you would likely be told – by him and those close to him – that he gave her a credit card. You would not be told what that all links to, and what it would cost her if she were to use it. I have seen with my eyes and held with my hands that ‘story’, but it I am not free to tell it at this time.)

***

Elephants are cute until they fill a room and sit on people.
Then they are deadly. Silencing, suffocating them.

***

…To be continued…

Proverbs 31:8  
“Open your mouth for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018

The Crossroads… (Part 1: The Introduction)

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
~ Robert Frost ~

“The road was laced with hell and pain
E’en so it was the one I had to take
For it was led by the hand of God
And I took it for His sake,
Because HE chose a dark road stained with blood
…for me.”
~ Anonymous ~

***

When the word count in this blog hit over 4000, I divided it into several blogs to make it more manageable and allow readers to more easily read it in ‘sittings’ versus all at once. It is a bit overwhelming, to be honest. I tried to write without ‘story’, but that failed, so I wrote it all again. This is my third attempt. And even now, too much is left to guesswork.

Before reading this series of blogs, I suggest reading up on HOW PREDATORS GROOM. (Not all info is necessarily endorsed by me or applicable, but having a bit of understanding about this will help you understand why I am adamant that one character in this blog is a predator.)

Before going further, I will say what I’ve said before. There is grace for offenders of sexual crimes, no matter how heinous, how devastating the outcome. I hold the grace of God in high regard. But never, never, never… Not in a million years, is it acceptable to offer blind trust or look the other way when a predator is on the prowl. To favour the person who has offended (or even one who displays grooming behaviour), over the safety of others, is wrong. God takes protecting the vulnerable very seriously, and Matthew 18:6-9 summarizes how He feels about it. I am with God on this, so much so that I am willing to put myself out there for stoning, if that’s what it takes to warn and expose.

***

I understand now why many leaders choose not to touch the topic of sexual abuse. Why it is easier to be silent than to speak out in some cases. Why there comes a moment when you weigh silence against the potential outcome of speaking against power, and the scale appears to tip heavily in favour of silence. And you can’t tell if it is real, or an illusion. But, like Tim said this week, “We made a promise that this stops with us.” And we will keep that promise. I recognize that I do most of the communicating – I am the writer, I am the speaker – but Tim is my steady rock in ministry, the one who keeps me ever before our Heavenly Father, and guides me to Him and through the challenges of ministry. I am eternally grateful that God gave us each other in this battle against silence in the church, re-victimizing of those who have suffered sex crimes, and the persistent tendency to hear the voice of the offenders over the voice of victims. That day must end. That darkness must be shattered.

Some readers may be tempted to stone me. Some may be tempted to stone the people in this blog. I ask you to suspend judgement of people, and let God work with hearts… all of our hearts. Judge what is wrong without apology, judge what is not Godly, but don’t judge hearts. Mistrust our hearts, if you need to, question our hearts; these are normal responses to breaking silence. But I ask that you not respond with hate or destruction, especially against those I write about. Destructive comments against them will not be approved. If you must hate me, then hate me. And if you must speak that hate, then speak it.

There is extreme polarization of positions involved here, with both the other leader and myself trying to protect values we feel we cannot compromise without compromising ourselves before God. (That is my position, and it is what I ‘hear’ from the other side.) We both believe with certainty that we are taking our stand for the sake of God’s kingdom. The other leaders wants to protect ‘the Kingdom’ from damage (my interpretation is damage in the present), and I see an inevitable and extreme devastating outcome in the future. Furthermore, silence simply isn’t an option for me when I know of a predator, which is a very different thing than an offender who repents and displays only humility, not arrogance and ongoing predator behaviour. What I am about to share has been addressed with  with  by me and by other people before me, in both this particular situation and with similar concerns about other situations.

My first appeal to this leader dates January 11, 2018, sharing concerns I had (and have) not directly related to this. Little did I know that by February 3, when asking another man to explain his indecent phone calls to women  and help me reconcile that with his public religious image, that I would find myself in deeper much than I ever wanted to go….  Never did I imagine I would be writing this blog. While I am certain it is what I am supposed to do, and at peace, I tremble…  I tremble because all before me who have tried to address these issues, who have contacted me, took the fall. I have no reason to believe the same will not be my lot. I have not bolstered my defences or called on anyone to defend me, nor will I. And I am keenly aware there are masses who will struggle with my choice to do what I do here, and I can appreciate that. But I am confident in ten years, looking back, we will see God will have done some good thing…  Hopefully in all of us. This is my prayer.

Nonetheless, the path immediately before me looks rough. And, to my shame, I am tempted to take the paved hi-way and be silent – and at this point even resigning from what I do looks more appealing than this – but I know without question that God has spoken.

Before I go further, there are a few things you need to know. #1. I speak from the place of truth and facts I know; facts I have heard or seen – screenshots of messages sent by various parties in this blog, with ‘parties’ including the unnamed victims. #2. There is always more ‘story’ than the evidence presents. I do not profess to have a full understanding, but I have been thorough in verifying what I know. I was presented with false information, and I weeded it out. It is not included in this blog. #3. I have chosen to use initials of the various individuals, because the whole world does not need to know every bit of those details. Those to whom it applies or who have been or could be impacted by it need to know. #4. I have the permission of numerous victims to share what I write of their stories, though I do not name any. #5. The offender never has been, and never will be, my client. Circumstantially, that is not an option.

…To be continued…

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

 

Proverbs 31:8  
“Open your mouth for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

© Trudy Metzger 2018

Emasculated men, strong men, and God’s grace…

Of accusations from strangers:
Recently, while talking with someone who allegedly sexually violated a woman (I have seen the evidence), the individual was surprised when I encouraged autonomy and said “don’t allow people to emasculate you… Not women, and not men” and encouraged him to grow in confidence. He told me he was surprised by this, and he looked genuinely surprised, and then made an interesting statement. “One of your people told me you only have relationships with men you can control”.
I smiled. Of all statements, that one doesn’t threaten me because it has never come from someone who actually knows me and my male relationships. And this individual and I have exactly one friend in common who knows me well, and the rest are social media connections. Because of the nature of that one friendship, I know it didn’t come from her. So I didn’t give it any attention. Today, however, I want to write about it to share my thoughts on emasculated men, and ending sexual abuse.
Of being emasculated and attempting to reclaim power: 
First of all, I want to say that I didn’t feel he used that line to manipulate me. The first thought I would have if I read this, not knowing the details, is that it was manipulative, in an attempt to deflect. But he genuinely looked stunned by my advice. (If I am wrong and it was intended to manipulate, that’s not my problem to deal with. I take it at face value.) And I stand by the advice I gave: Don’t let anyone emasculate you. Truth is, a huge source of our problem with sexual abuse lies in men and women having had their God-given power taken away. Sexual abuse is about power, not about sex. About trying to reclaim what was lost, but in the very act they continue to further emasculate and strip themselves by virtue of the crime they commit; to take a vulnerable and powerless human and overpower them. That’s low.
A real man – a man who is not emasculated – picks a man as strong or stronger to fight with. He wants to prove his strength, because he knows he is strong and has a certain pride in that strength. A man who is emasculated and disempowered chooses the victim who is easiest to overpower and walks away feeling half the man he was before. He doesn’t realize that the very act of trying to reclaim power, is the act further emasculating him. Take this man, empower him, help him face his crimes and sins along with the consequences, and he can become a real man of strength and courage. (Because of his crimes against children and the vulnerable, accountability becomes a necessary part of life. No exceptions.) Having been empowered, he will be confident and not need to dominate the women in his life, but rather lead with courage and sacrifice.
If a male who has sexually offended becomes dominated by another male, he will get worse, not better, because, again he is being further emasculated. (And, I’ll throw in the mix here a wee rabbit trail to say that church systems that control are guilty of emasculating men and stripping women, thus contributing to the problem of sexual abuse and domestic violence. But that’s another blog for another day.) But, back to the male sex offender being dominated by another male, you will likely see him losing confidence, becoming more controlling, more secretive, further trapped in addictions and all around more volatile. (Alternatively, he may slip into deeper silence and addictions).  You may even see him move into sexual relationships with that dominant male, or attempt dominating other males sexually in an effort to reclaim power. I have theories about the direction this takes them and why, but at this point, beyond what I’ve already said here, much of that remains theories that I will leave to simmer and explore further.
Of empires and friends
Secondly, whoever the individual who told this man such a thing is not ‘my people’, because ‘my people’ come to me with grace and walk with me, and ‘my people’ are first committed to help me grow, not to: a) talk behind my back or, b) overlook my faults. And since not one person close to me has come to me with grace (which doesn’t take into consideration a private attack a few weeks ago by someone who doesn’t know me or my male relationships at all) I am confident that not one of ‘my people’ spoke with this man. Someone did, but not someone who cares for me, because if it were true and truly those in my ‘inner circle’ they would first help me.
On emasculated men:
Thirdly, and most importantly, men who are emasculated are far more likely to molest children and abuse their wives, than those men are empowered. Emasculated men seek control over their wives, over other women, and even other men in their lives, and some commit sex crimes. Emasculated men don’t respect themselves, and they most certainly don’t respect women. (I am respected by the men in my life.) Alternatively, emasculated men retreat in silence, or immerse themselves in addictions, or all of the above. I am not interested in dominating males in any case, but especially with knowing that it escalates abuse. When I sit with sex offenders, I try to get to the truth of the crimes they have committed, because truth is their only shot at freedom, and I treat them with respect and speak life and purpose over them. Because when they are truly empowered, they will drop the need to dominate, control and abuse their wives, children and friends. *This reduces recidivism rates.
Those who are stripped and emasculated have no right to use that as an excuse for the sins and crimes committed. None whatsoever. If anyone walks away with that as their ‘take away’, you’re not hearing me. The truth is women who lack confidence are domineering and abusive too, and the cycle between such partners is rather vicious. Those women, like the men they emasculate, need to be empowered and their confidence needs to be built up. If they are abusive, their own suffering is not an excuse for what they have done or are doing. Neither one can blame the other for their own issues.
emasculated men 2
On empowering, breaking cycles and helping offenders:
But some keys to helping offenders end abusive behaviour is making certain they surrounded by people who dare to confront the crimes, help them move to a place of acknowledging those crimes and facing the consequences, and speaking life and purpose over them, and never dominating them. Pursuing truth, refusing to give in to lies and manipulation, and holding to boundaries is not dominating them; that’s a necessary part of working with manipulators – which most, if not all, sex offenders are. But in spite of that, I choose to believe in their ability to overcome, to believe they have a future that is not about sexual abuse, and believe that with support and accountability **most can change if they are willing to do the hard work. In this way I choose to empower them.
If we do this while taking no chances, and giving them no opportunity or access to potential victims, we offer them a rare gift. And if we work with those closest to them, to  heal and build confidence, so all are empowered to help the others, we stand a chance at making a difference.
These are some necessary steps for breaking the cycles of abuse. It is possible.
Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018

*Restorative Justice, in relating to offenders, seeks to humanize them, deal with truth, and offer empowering accountability. Similar approaches  are used by CoSa (Circles of support and accountability) and in both instances, rates of recidivism drop significantly. That said, Restorative Justice is not ‘offender-focused’, but rather seeks to give all parties a voice, with the voice and wishes of the victim being honoured, first and foremost. They are never forced or manipulated into engaging the offender(s).
**Most offenders would have the potential to change if they are willing to face every crime they have committed, without excuse, and seek help. So when I speak life, I speak it from the deepest place within me. I really believe this is possible. That said,  no offender should ever be left alone with potential victims. And those who truly are sociopaths with nearly a 100% likelihood of reoffending need a whole different kind of treatment plan.

On publicly exposing sex predator names

Currently, the Cleason Martin case in Durham Ontario, shows how effective going public with evidence of sexual harassment can be. In the comments (in that link), family members are not covering for him, but are actually asking victims to come forward. (Who does that?! I’ve never seen such a response before! I’ve encountered all manner of extremes of defending perpetrators, even when there were eye witnesses to the crime, but this? All I can say is, good on them!)

My heart is sick for the family – wife, children and grandchildren – but I also applaud those who are taking a stand against their father’s crimes and sins. I try to imagine his wife’s grief, and my heart squeezes a bit tighter… it must hurt like hell, that betrayal. I don’t support or engage in dehumanizing perps, or name-calling, and my heart is never for vengeance or destruction; it is for truth and justice, with mercy. However, I will not judge the family as they go through this process and pick up the pieces from the wreckage of their father’s sins. They need space to grieve and work through the betrayal, and time process their anger without my judgement and without being marked by the father’s sins. (I know this too well. I am the daughter of a pedophile… or child molester, whatever term you choose.)

I am all for exposing perpetrators and their crime. And, seeing how effective this is, I wonder if we couldn’t be quite effective in exposing other perpetrators. Especially upstanding ‘spiritual’ people who align themselves with ministries to look good, and use them to gain access to vulnerable women and girls. They attend events, offer financial support, reach out to hurting girls and women, and then tell how the hurting are flocking to them. They portray a deeply spiritual ‘presence’ and then turn around and make sexual advances. If this is happening to you, or has happened, I urge you to speak out. If you have experienced sexual advances, whether verbal or physical, speak out. If your children have been enticed with money or gifts, be aware that this is predator behaviour. And if you have accepted gifts or money and feel bound to silence about sexual advances or sexual assault, because “surely I am the only one… a slip in the moment… a weakness in temptation”, I urge you to come forward. These are often predators who will sexually violate numerous (or many!) victims, and each one thinks he or she is the only one, because the perpetrator is so spiritual, “surely they wouldn’t…”

Odds are high you are not the only one, but rather one of countless victims.

When confronted, these perpetrators apologize quickly and profusely, desperate to know they are forgiven. This is how they convince themselves they have a ‘pure heart’ and good reputation, that they are good and righteous, even while they continue committing sins and crimes against the vulnerable. They also ask for forgiveness to silence you; if you speak, others will hear about it and their cover is blown, so forgiveness is vital to survival.

Their greatest fear, I believe, is for victims to find each other, though they would never call the people they’ve used ‘victims’; they have so thoroughly convinced themselves there is nothing wrong with what they’re doing. They have convinced themselves, too, that it is but a slip in the moment, too strong a temptation to resist. And, besides, they have boundaries; they would never rape someone. They stop short of rape, seldom (if ever) going beyond groping genitals and fondling breasts or buttocks, or possibly exposing their own genitals. But seldom if ever, do the go to full penetration (aka rape). So it’s not a ‘real crime’. Grabbing breasts, and buttocks and touching… they tell themselves these things are virtually harmless. And by repenting quickly and apologizing immediately, they convince themselves of their own spirituality…. Even if this means repenting several times a day for the same sin with different victims…

They don’t see the suicidal struggles of their victims. They don’t hear the tears cried alone at night. They don’t see the loss of trust in God… The God whom their attackers represented, sometimes weeping with their soon-to-be victims, praying over them, gaining their trust… and then violating them. One… and then the next… and the next and the next…

We, too, are accountable for the suffering and spiritual trauma of these victims.

One victim is too many. But turning a blind eye, time and time again, is inexcusable. Completely inexcusable. If you have been warned about these behaviours, take them seriously.

God has called me to be there for them in the aftermath, and it is a calling I carry at times with trembling, as I watch the deep agony of victims whose hearts are betrayed by those who pretend to represent God.

God forbid that hundreds of people see the signs and turn a blind eye, as victims turn their hearts away from God because we failed to pay attention. That is blood on our hands. I cringe at standing before God one day and giving account for it. It is inexcusable, the silence and ‘overlooking’ – because the abuser came to us weeping and repentant (some, time and time again) and therefore we must forgive. It must stop. That is not repentance. It is manipulation. If you are aligned with such predators, do the right thing. Break the alliance and expose them. God will not bless the alliance, and the cost to you will be greater than you could imagine, if it comes to light.

You are welcome to email me and I will help you. Alternatively, if you’re uncomfortable sharing with me, feel free to ask, and I’ll forward contact information for law enforcement professionals who can help you. I have established contacts in USA and Canada who will offer such support.

In any case, the abuse must best stopped. We are no longer voiceless.

Love
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018

What every sex abuse victim must know

One of the worst things about being sexually assaulted is the power the offender has, both in the moment of the attack and after. Especially if that offender ‘presents well’ spiritually or socially (or both), in which case he/she has even more power, and the word of a victim is easily dismissed. Especially where there is little evidence, or where victims didn’t keep evidence they had, and present with anger and ‘issues’. No one wants to believe that good citizens and spiritual men and women would victimize the vulnerable, so it is easier (less messy) to protect the offender and write off the victim.

And often victims think they are the only ones, but truth is, when offenders self-report, they often have over 100 victims, and the average offender has 117 victims. (To those who only have one or two, for heaven’s sake don’t use this to make yourself feel good. One victim is 100% too many).

If you’ve been molested, raped, or sexually assaulted in any way, report it sooner than later, whether it is rape, sexual groping, perverted phone calls or any other thing that victimized you. The more influential, powerful or ‘spiritual’ the person presents, the more critical this is. The more you fear ‘No one will believe me’, it is especially important to document, as soon as possible and with as much detail as possible. People who do these things should not be in ministry or leadership. And the ‘spiritual’ ones will make it appear as though people are flocking to them in droves for spiritual support, when in reality they manipulate things behind the scenes to entice the victims and then abuse the ones who are most vulnerable. If you are a victim of such a person, odds are high that you are not one, but one of many victims. The average offender has 117 victims. This number is based on self-reporting on how many victims offenders in prison have. Think Larry Nassar. That is highly skilled victimization, and I know of others who are as skilled and still moving through churches but until victims rise up *together*, they will not be stopped. So let’s do this. Document, document, document…

You can do this by:
• Save all communication – screen shots of conversations, emails, copies of voicemail etc, copies of pictures sent etc (Keep *everything* that is evidence.)
• Mailing yourself a letter that is date-stamped. Don’t open it. Store it in a safe place.
• Report it to police, even if you don’t want to press charges. At least it is documented.
• Email someone you trust who will keep if confidential… or even email it to yourself.

And if/when you are ready, report it. If you need help reporting, find a trustworthy support person and do it. If you don’t know of anyone who will support you, email us at https://www.generationsunleashed.com/contact-us, and we will do our best to support you. You don’t have to do this alone. (Where feasible, we will physically have someone present with you as you report. I’ve traveled many miles to support a victim reporting, and if possible, will do so for you, or where we have contacts in your area, will connect you with someone trustworthy and supportive.)

By the time a powerful person becomes your church leader or political leader, if the sexual assaults are not previously documented in thorough detail, exposing it will re-victimize you more likely than it will stop them from moving into power. Or it may do both, and you both lose credibility because there’s no evidence that the assaults were previously documented. And, let’s face it, false allegations do happen, when there is an agenda. They are documented as far back as the story of Joseph in the OT, and by the time people rise to positions of power, they are usually surrounded by those who idolize them and see them as victims of heartless attacks. And in their eyes, you are the villain, fighting with hate and anger against the Kingdom of God, or against the beloved politician or church leader.

So document. Document. Document. Keep a journal. Talk to a counsellor. It is a tragic thing when evil hides behind the guise of goodness (wolves in sheeps clothing, as they are often called in New Testament) and the victims are publicly slaughtered. Jesus has some choice words for this type:

Matthew 23:27-28, 33
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.
28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. […]
33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?

The grace of Jesus is great enough for every sinner, but the one who hides sins and crimes behind the cloak of spirituality casts that grace aside and invites condemnation in its place.

Victims, document, report, speak out as you are able. Together we can help stop this madness and crimes against children.

Offenders, I encourage you, don’t hide your sins and crimes. We (the church) have paid a high price for hidden sins among us, and have carried the curse of criminals being applauded and lifted up while victims are shamed and blamed. Just as in Joshua’s day, when innocent men fell dead because of the hidden things under Achan’s tent, many innocent victims today have turned their hearts away from God because of what you did against them, betraying their trust and blaming them. Your hidden sins have pierced the Bride of Christ through with a sword and left her bleeding. I urge you to repent, turn yourselves in, and bring an end to the haemorrhaging church. There is grace for you… there is forgiveness, but you cannot and will not access it as long as you hide behind a facade, and protect yourselves from the consequences while you let those you’ve wronged carry the burden of your sins in silent shame.

 

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018