(PART 1 of 5): Should abuse victims sue? And what about healing & forgiveness?

SHOULD VICTIMS SUE?
My previous blog “Why Anabaptist Sexual Abuse Awareness (ASAA) Founder Hopes Conservative Anabaptist Church Gets Sued…” left some questions unanswered, I’ve learned. In it I addressed a conversation with ASAA founder, Randal Martin, and his wife, and him saying he hopes the conservative Anabaptist church gets sued, as he believes it is the only way they will take the ongoing problem of sexual abuse seriously. What was unclear in my blog, and left people with questions is my position. Where do I stand on victims suing abusers?

I’ve worked with survivors for nearly a decade. None have ever, to my memory, expressed interest in launching a lawsuit. And I have never suggested such a thing. But I do tend to agree with Randal’s statement, and am concerned the issue will never be taken seriously by some churches and communities until such a thing happens. Will it then? Possibly. Or will they revert to the cry of, “We’re being persecuted for righteousness sake.” The latter is more likely, but, Sunday after Sunday they will think about victims when they pass the offering plate to cover the lawsuits, I imagine. They won’t think kindly of them, or compassionately… but they will part with their hard earned dollar and remember…

I’m also fairly certain if the problem of sexual abuse hits the wallets they will have a vested interest in functioning differently, going forward. So, while the heart wouldn’t necessarily change, the methods might, and children be more protected. I mean, how often can you afford a massive lawsuit? A recent case against the Jesuits, whose missionary Mr. Perlitz abused around 150 victims in Haiti, cost them a whopping $60 million. The similarities to the current Jeriah Mast case are uncanny. I’m suspicious the Jesuits will be screening their missionaries better, going forward. And that, I would expect, will happen with our culture too, when a massive lawsuit hits. It seems that might be a positive outcome, regardless of anyone’s personal opinions about suing.

While suing has never come up with my clients, if one were to express interest in launching a lawsuit, I would definitely not interfere or try to talk them out of it. And I would continue to support them as I did before. They’ve been robbed of their voice and thrust into deep struggle against their will. Finding their way back out is messy.  And whether they sue or not in that process is none of my business. I trust God will allow what needs to be done to bring accountability to the church, and bring the people of God to their knees in true repentance. And that may well include this kind of thing, given other cries have been long disregarded by religious communities.

That said, what I would tell any client is that the lawsuit will not bring you peace. It can’t. It might provide the funds to afford the help you need, but it won’t heal you. It might make it possible for you to relocate to a new start. But it won’t remove the hell you must walk through. That hell will follow you. It may distract for a while, but sooner or later you will have to face the truth and walk through the healing process. Much like grief, it comes in stages and phases.

There will be anger, for most. There will be tears and sorrow over the loss. There is, most often, phases of denial. There is despair. There’s the overwhelming sense of lost identity.

Money doesn’t address any one of those things. It can’t. But that doesn’t mean God won’t allow – even orchestrate – a series of events to shake up His people through lawsuits. He’s been known to do things like that and use uncomfortable means and methods to call His children back to truth and what really matters. And right now money and power matter too much. Don’t be surprised if God strips those idols.

So I let those things play out as they do, knowing God has a higher purpose, and in all things He pursues all hearts. That is who He is, it is what He does..

HOW THEN DO WE HEAL?
Every victim has his/her own journey to walk toward healing. I’ve not met two people whose stories were identical. None that could be turned into a calculated formula to apply to every individual. There are steps and layers. And how they bringing healing, or what order, is dependent on so many things, such as temperament, the nature of the crimes committed against the victim, and by whom.

Sometimes it is non-victims who offer more compassion and understanding than other victims. It is easy for victims to get down on each other for how the other is not healing their way. I see comments and statements by victims directed at other victims that are not helpful. And when I ask the nature of their stories, the one may have been a rape victim at the hands of a father, pastor or brother, the other had someone pull down their panties and looked at them.. sometimes touched. Or, they may not have suffered sexual abuse at all, but suffered emotional abuse, and somehow feel all healing should follow the path that worked for them. And, sometimes, once victims are healed, they forget their own struggle and have no grace for others to walk the journey they themselves walked.

It isn’t realistic to expect victims to arrive overnight where we took 20 years. Not even if we impart our wisdom. Is it possible they can avoid 20 years of agonizing struggle with healthy support and guidance? Yes, by all means! This doesn’t mean they will never struggle or have tough moments even after healing, but there is a far cry between living in that dark pit and slipping over the edge at moments, or being triggered. But, no matter what, they still deserve space to walk the messy process of healing.

While there is not a formula, there are certain steps that must be part of that process, for deep healing to be achieved. …

Continued… (PART 2)

 

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019

***

ANONYMOUS SEXUAL ABUSE SURVEY BY ANABAPTIST MEDICAL DOCTOR

Some time ago, a friend told me of a medical doctor (Anabaptist) who is doing research into sexual abuse in Anabaptist communities. To take his survey visit:
Anabaptist Medical Matters

***

JASON GRAY CONCERT:
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster PA
7:00pm
CONCERT TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC: Here

NOTE: Due to the concert being the celebration for survivors of abuse,
we ask that any who have sexually abused as adults not attend out of respect

November 2, 2019:  THE GATHERING, held at Lancaster Bible College, is a place where survivors of sexual assault, together with our support person(s), collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse and trusted support persons to gather for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering and sexual violence among us. We will cry out to God, together. Come as you are in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. We welcome you! The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to grieve and 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.

NOTE: After August 1 concert is included dependant on availability. Once concert tickets are sold out, registrations will continue until October 1 and include lunch only.

***

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.

 

Why Anabaptist Sexual Abuse Awareness (ASAA) Founder Hopes Conservative Anabaptist Church Gets Sued, Mr. Hoover on Mandatory Reporting, & the Porn and Sex Trafficking Problem

Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 10.18.52 AM

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When I met face-to-face with Randal Martin, founder of ASAA, and his wife at a Panera Bread in Lebanon PA, he said he hopes victims will sue the conservative Anabaptist church to force them to take sexual abuse seriously. His message was that if they have to pass the offering plate to collect money to pay for those lawsuits, they will be forced to take abuse seriously. Until it hits the pocketbook, he said, he is concerned that the issue will not be given serious attention. I agreed. Said that I fear, too, that victims will never be truly heard until this happens.

I had no notion on doing such a thing then (and still don’t), but I told him I know of someone who mentioned launching a class action against the Eastern Mennonite church. Randal gave me the name of the lawyer who  handled the Haldeman church lawsuit, to pass on.

It seems that this wish for a lawsuit – or was it a prophecy? – is coming to pass in the current CAM case. Ironically it is in the very case in which ASAA is being asked to help the victims in Haiti. God has an uncomfortable sense of humour, in the timing of things.

It is my hope that ASAA will support the victims in Haiti who wish to pursue litigation, even if it is against Christian Aid Ministries rather than the Eastern Mennonite Church. It is the only non-hypocritical thing to do in light of Mr. Martin’s comments.

***

The following article on reporting sexual abuse is well written. Excellent, really. I’ve heard criticisms of details like, Is reporting really only important because it is a legal duty.. like, what about moral obligation? I’ll speak for myself and say this. Dealing with sex crimes is always a moral duty. Always. But how we deal with them is influenced by the laws of our land. Knowing Mr. Hoover a bit better than I did a few months ago, I know he also feels a sense of moral duty to get involved and does so. He and I do not agree on some of the ‘how’ of what he does, and he knows I have some grave concerns, but he does feel a sense of moral duty. Also, in fairness, he has disagreements with me as well. I am comfortable with that, and far as I can tell, he is too.

Some time ago I asked Mr. Hoover for permission to share it on my blog; permission he granted. He is on the Advisory Board for the Anabaptist Sexual abuse Awareness (ASAA). I have interacted with him a fair bit in recent months, and have been forthright with him about my concerns, both in ASAA handling of events last year — details he still knew nothing about — as well as ongoing concern over how offenders are being prioritized to the neglect of victims. (For example, victims’ voices are not yet being invited into the legal processes, nor are they being represented with skilled and informed support persons who know the legal processes. This support is still being given to offenders). In my honesty about my concerns, I have felt he tried to hear me in spite of disagreement. He has been honest with me too, from what I can tell, and I have tried to hear him.

Where truth is spoken, I appreciate it. The following article is truth.

***

How can Conservative Anabaptists reconcile the command of Matthew 18, “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone,” with the reporting requirements in Pennsylvania?

The entire issue hinges on the words, “If thy brother shall trespass against thee”. What sins would this include, this “trespass against thee?”

Perhaps he trespassed by having moved the line-fence and thereby taking some of his neighbor’s land, or borrowing something and returning it broken, or slandering a brother’s name by repeating unkind gossip. There are many ways that a brother may trespass against a brother personally, and we then need to go to him alone to see if we can come to an understanding.

But what about serious sins that are much more than a personal trespass against an individual? Did Jesus also imply that if my brother murdered his neighbor or raped my wife that I would need to go to him between me and him alone, and if he hears me I have gained my brother?

God forbid! Such a sin needs to be reported immediately to the proper civil authorities, who do not carry the sword in vain (Romans 13:1-6, 2 Peter 2:13-17), then to the church.

Yes, we believe that if a brother has trespassed against us, we should first approach him alone. But if we discover that he has seduced a neighbor’s 13-year-old child and ended up violating her (either emotionally or physically), we do not believe that Jesus would direct us by this command to keep it “between thee and him alone.” Such a brother has not only trespassed against his neighbor, but he has broken the laws of God himself as well as the laws of the land. This is not only a trespass against an individual, but a heinous crime. We are duty bound, both for our brother’s sake and for our daughter’s sake (as well as possible future victims), to report him.

Today we know of the terrible hold of sexual addictions. We have seen perpetrators who have been found out, and who “repented” and made their sins right with the church, and life supposedly went on as usual. But, life did not go on as usual. The sexual addiction had not been dealt with, and later there were relapses, with more cover-ups, more victims, and more children whose lives were forever changed, because we did not deal with the sin in an appropriate and timely manner. 

We need to acknowledge and recognize the difference between a trespass against a brother that can be taken care of “between thee and him alone,” and serious sins that are much more than just a trespass against a brother. This is why we believe that it is good, proper, and indeed necessary to obey state laws on mandated reporting.

The offender can only be brought to redemption if he or she takes full ownership of his or her iniquity, transgressions and civil responsibilities. Using civil authority is a part of that not a power play. We are loving the offender when the sin is exposed to authorities because he/she is in bondage to their sin and full of deception – and an emotional response to exposure and a few words of apology are no sign of repentance. The offender is self-injuring, not just injuring others. No habituated sin is easily stopped. If we are honest, we all know this on a personal level.

~ Allen Hoover, Advisory Board for ASAA ~ 

***

I was surprised that ASAA advisory board wasn’t even made aware of the details surrounding last year’s fiasco, in which a man admitted to their vice-chair having assaulted a young woman and the young woman was not offered care while the offender continued in close relationship with the board member. And I am just as surprised that the Advisory board didn’t think it was important to know details or get involved, being too busy with other things.

As I said to Mr. Hoover, it is this sort of lack of engagement that created the dreadful abuse situation we have in Haiti, and I struggle to grasp how a group can help others overseas if they don’t first deal with their own situations appropriately at home. When victims are blatantly neglected in cases at home, how are they equipped to go to Haiti and help there. I would hope they can and will do better. Especially since Mr. Hoover’s statement so clearly states that “an emotional response and a few words of apology are no sign of repentance” as was proven true in last year’s fiasco. The offender at the centre of that case has continued with inappropriate connections with women. This summer I heard from three more women regarding the same offender, proving Mr. Hoover’s words to be accurate.

In light of this, while I support what is written by Mr. Hoover and promoted by ASAA, and I am posting it as I had told him I would after he granted permission, I appeal to them to live up to their own words and teachings. I appeal to ASAA to first deal with their own issues honourably at home, before going overseas. Don’t just teach better ways of responding; live it. When that happens, I will be happy to support ASAA efforts.

Disclaimer: When I asked permission to post the above, I did not yet know that the ASAA founder and the board of directors had not informed their other committees thoroughly of my concerns. This only came up in communication with Mr. Hoover on August 5, 2019.

***

ASAA also posted the following video on their Facebook page. (It was from their site that I took my featured image, to give credit of sources). It is a powerful video addressing pornography. If you are into porn, you are part of the sex trafficking industry. You are funding it. Advertisers rely on your addiction to evil, to fund this industry. 

 

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***

If you have the stomach for it, the following news report is a powerful, powerful news report on sex trafficking. I submit that political agenda is intertwined, quite obviously. Tune out the jargon and listen to the problem of sex trafficking. It is real, and it is closer to home than you would imagine. I know of conservative Anabaptist youth being used as prostitutes, where one ‘user’ (Anabaptist adult male, in one case) will alert others to the girl being vulnerable. I know of them being offered money for sex. I know of one case where money was exchanged. This is not so far out there.

The video clip is hard to watch, admittedly. But this is based on the true story of a young woman who was trafficked.

Her brother speaks after the video clip. He shares a lot of wisdom on the problem of sex trafficking, and how it works. He isn’t about fear-mongering. He gives solid information. He addresses the fallen morality of the nation of USA. He talks numbers of what pimps make.

And he makes this gut-churning statement, “You can almost order a child like you order pizza.” And later he says, “This shouldn’t be a conservative issue or a liberal issue […] children should not be for sale.”

He also states, “It starts with a pornographic culture. Soft porn. It’s the objectifying of women. Which, we as a country have done a great job at completely objectifying women into sex objects and emasculating men.”‘

These statements should startle us. According to several studies, a high rate of men in church admit to porn use

There is no child immune. No culture protected. This wickedness is something we need expose. And we, as the people of God, ought to be leading the way. But I challenge you to consider that sex trafficking in a different form is happening among us. Just as in the country structure, in religious structure the top most powerful are protected. There is grace for these offenders, and protection, while those ‘sold out’ are mistreated to keep them in line. The similarities are startling.

Like our sexualized culture, we are desensitizing church culture to child sexual assault, but we are doing it through treating victims shamefully and protecting offenders. The culture is such that abuse thrives, the oppressed have no voice, and sexual violence against children is viewed as ‘moral failing’ and ‘a mistake’.

Children are being trafficked among us, and it starts with the cavalier attitude toward child exploitation that allows adult men and women to call it ‘moral failing’, or ‘a mistake’. It starts by dehumanizing the victims in the eyes of the congregation or community. It starts be silencing victims. And it starts by leaders hearing things and shrugging them off rather than digging deeper and doing their due diligence in cases such as Jeriah Mast. (Using one that is public of the hundreds or thousands I could choose from). Because when abuse is handled this way in church, it is the exact same thing as sex trafficking, with different players and a far more deceptive mask.

All of these things teach the ‘pimps’ and abusers that it isn’t really that big a deal to use and abuse the vulnerable. They do not take it seriously. I had one man say, after molesting his daughters, “I only did it for 60 seconds.” His church gave him a short proving period and then life went on as before. He had a history of sexually assaulting starting in his teens, right up to his late 40’s when I confronted him. The church blinked. Didn’t report. Bishop from PA intervened in TX to help navigate it. And life went on as before. (I tried to report. The social work I was communicating with who was passionate about the case, when I called back a few weeks later, was told, “She is no longer with us”. The church leaders talked with the Sergeant, and he stopped responding. I will never know why. I have solid evidence and an open confession in my possession, legally obtained. And the law does nothing. The church does nothing more than they have to.

That, my friends, is how sex trafficking continues in church.

These things have desensitized many in the church culture, and silenced others for many years.

And while all of that is going on, and children are being stripped, destroyed, raped and programmed… on the streets and in church… We can’t get our act together to stand firm against this wickedness….

God help us…

God help the children… And He will.

Someday, He will come and set the children free…

He will come…

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019

***

ANONYMOUS SEXUAL ABUSE SURVEY BY ANABAPTIST MEDICAL DOCTOR

Some time ago, a friend told me of a medical doctor (Anabaptist) who is doing research into sexual abuse in Anabaptist communities. To take his survey visit:
Anabaptist Medical Matters

***

JASON GRAY CONCERT:
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster PA
7:00pm
CONCERT TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC: Here

NOTE: Due to the concert being the celebration for survivors of abuse,
we ask that any who have sexually abused as adults not attend out of respect

November 2, 2019:  THE GATHERING, held at Lancaster Bible College, is a place where survivors of sexual assault, together with our support person(s), collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse and trusted support persons to gather for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering and sexual violence among us. We will cry out to God, together. Come as you are in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. We welcome you! The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to grieve and 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.

NOTE: After August 1 concert is included dependant on availability. Once concert tickets are sold out, registrations will continue until October 1 and include lunch only.

***

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.

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

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

 

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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.

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*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

 

 

 

 

 

PSA: Jeriah Mast, charged with molesting 5 young Ohio boys, out on Bail (No charges yet for Haiti Crimes)

JERIAH MAST OUT ON BAIL
Numerous individuals contacted me earlier this morning to say that someone posted bail and Jeriah Mast is out. This comes as no surprise to me, as I anticipated it. The only thing that is surprising is that they waited this long.

For Jeriah’s church and family, this is an answer to much praying and pleading with God. To victims of abuse, this is a nightmare.

Bail was posted by Judy Skelley of Sly Bail Bonds. UPDATE: (It is confirmed that Mast is required to wear a GPS monitor, he must report weekly, turn in his passport (if he had not already), and have no contact with victims. The prosecutor is also filing a motion that he have no unsupervised contact with any juveniles). That they used a bondsman (or woman) was also expected. It is unlikely the same amount of funds have been invested in helping the victims, and knowing who posted bond would not look good.

***

Also, just a reminder, that the present arrest and bond are specific to the five known victims in Ohio. There are, as of yet, no charges filed for the Haiti crimes, and the alleged 30 plus boys Jeriah Mast sexually assaulted while serving as a missionary through Christian Aid Ministries. That investigation, I understand, is ongoing.

To date Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) has not mailed out any notification of the Jeriah Mast’s crimes, to donors who are on mailing lists only. I applaud those individuals are taking it upon themselves to print off news articles and blog posts to distribute among those who do not have internet. Donors have the right to be informed.

***

OPPORTUNITY TO HELP HAITI VICTIMS WITH LEGAL COUNSEL AND MEDICAL AID
In the meantime a first responder, Rick Ashley, is in Haiti meeting with victims and helping them with legal aid. Rich adopted a young nameless boy of unknown age (approximately 8-10 years old), after the child sought treatment following the earthquake almost 10 years ago. Rick has provided for this young man ever since. The boy was found near the CAM site in Titanyen, chained up and and sold for sex by a woman who, they say, was obviously mentally unwell. She beat him with a machete, leaving him physically scarred for life, and the sexual assaults left him mentally scarred.

To learn more, and help with funding their legal counsel, here is the link to the GoFundMe Account: Sexually Abused Haitian Boys, Urgent Need.

Remember the victims.

***

NOTE: The follow up blog post, to yesterday’s powerful word from a husband, will come out this evening.

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

What I Wish You Knew About Childhood Sexual Abuse (A Husband’s Perspective)

In the past few weeks I’ve posted blogs written by my friends and readers. These were writings shared with me that I found helpful and thought the public may benefit from, so I asked each of them for permission to post what they wrote to me. 

I have a few more that I’m hoping to share but still need permission, and several lined up that have granted permission. Some choose to be anonymous while others are comfortable using their names. I respect the wishes of each individual. Some of those sharing I’ve interacted with for years, some I just ‘met’ recently. 

Today’s blog is the voice of an Anabaptist husband. It is powerful, tender, touching, challenging… It is a call for understanding and compassion, and awareness of the incredible damage done to children (for life) when they are sexually assaulted. In his wife’s case, as you will read, she was raped in childhood. 

TRIGGER WARNING:
While the following is an incredible read, please be aware that the content may be triggering for trauma survivors and those who feel deeply what they read. This is not all bad, as facing triggers is part of the healing process for many. And for non-survivors, it creates deep understanding of the victims’ suffering. Each reader should be aware of what you can tolerate.

***

I get the feeling that people think childhood sexual abuse is not as bad as it is painted – that there are few long term effects.

But I know that’s not true.

I know, because I am married to a survivor of childhood rape.

I know what it’s like to get married but not be able to have sex because grown men decided to rape and abuse my beautiful bride when she was a little girl.

I know what it’s like to lay my hands on my wife of nearly 3 months and beg God to heal her vaginismus – and see Him do so instantly.

I know what it’s like to have her burst into tears in the middle of sex because something triggered a memory of the rape – and for this to be somewhat a “normal” occurrence.

I know what it’s like to hold my wife in my arms, and as she shakes with grief and anguish, hear her ask, “What did I ever do to deserve that kind of cruelty?”

I know what’s it’s like to pull the covers up over her head as she curls up in a fetal position – trying to protect herself as yet another flashback appears out of nowhere.

I know what it’s like to lead my wife in prayer – hundreds of times – to forgive the “Christian” men who did this horrific evil to her.

I know what it’s like to see her disassociate while giving birth, and wonder if I was going to lose her.

I know what it’s like to call my boss to say that I will be an hour or two late for work because it is not safe to leave my wife at home alone.

I know what it’s like to get home from work and meet a teary eyed wife with many hard questions, and after much listening, discussion, and prayer, realize that the house looks worse than when I left in the morning.

I know what it’s like to hear our chiropractor tell me that my wife regularly visits the office with her back, neck, pelvis, hips and ribs out of place – and “she walks like nothing is wrong” because her body is still in shock from trauma that happened 20 years ago.

Don’t tell me that sexual abuse doesn’t affect people in real ways. Don’t tell me that forgiveness takes care of the pain.

I know better.

Spare me all the usual idiotic things said about abuse. The little girl who is now my wife did not ask for it. She was not dressed immodestly. Yes, she said “no”. (She even cried out to Jesus to help her!) No, it’s not something she can “just get over”. No, she’s not bitter or unforgiving. And no, it’s not just “all in her head.”

Furthermore, please stop saying ignorant things about the beautiful concept of forgiveness. She has forgiven these men more times than we both can count, but flashbacks still come. Memories are real and cannot be controlled. Forgiveness does not mean she (actually, “we”) stop paying for the consequences of the sin done to her.

These men are not “brothers in the Lord”. You cannot do this kind of evil and be a Christian. It is the opposite of everything Jesus is. Jesus implies that anything less than death is mercy for an offender. And there are days when only the mercy of God keeps me from taking justice in my own hands.

If all of this surprises you, you’ve never sat close enough to hear a victim speak. You’ve never listened without judgement. Contrary to what you may think, abuse victims are not looking for attention. They just want to be heard and seen as people whose pain and voice matters.

I know, because I am married to one.

If you want to see a victim of sexual abuse blossom and heal, you have to be a safe person. Listen instead of trying to “fix” them. Do not put healing on a timeline. The broken parts of them are not something you can fix anyway. Just love them like Jesus loves. Lay down your life like Christ laid His down.

Believe me, it works.

I know, because I am the husband of a childhood rape survivor.

***

Tomorrow the blog will be from this gentleman’s wife, sharing some deep soul musing and struggles. Those who dare to enter the raw struggle of the soul are especially misunderstood in church.

Observation has taught me that those who wrestle most have deepest faith. It takes no faith to speak of, when life is a breeze and everything makes sense. But when nothing makes sense, we either run, or we enter into an intimate struggle.

It is in this wrestling with God, in struggling for answers, in asking the hard questions that we draw most near to Him. It is in this wrestling, like Jacob did in the night. (And as I type this, I recall a talk I did some years ago that was recorded that some who fear the struggle may find encouraging: Invitation to Wrestle with God).

When you read her blog tomorrow, remember this. She is a woman of incredible faith who has inspired me, challenged me and encouraged me. She is a warrior. She is a child. She is an outstanding woman of God.

***

Remember the victims! Remember Haiti! Pray for their redemption and healing.

Pray for the church, for eyes to be opened, for truth and justice with mercy to matter again. For an awakening to the depth of depravity we have allowed in church so that genuine repentance will rise out of this darkness, and children will be protected.

Pray for Jeriah and CAM, to truly, completely come clean and repent, without self-preservation driving the process. What is money in light of the wellbeing of children? What is humanitarian aid with the misrepresentation of Jesus, and without the protection of children? Pray that these realities would sink deeply into the leaders of CAM.

***

As always…

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

Haiti: A concerned Anabaptist’s letter & my response

A concerned Anabaptist sent the following message, but used an email that cannot be replied to, and my response to him bounced. Therefore I will respond here in the public domain:

Name: JAY YODER

Email: anonman030612@gmail.com

Website:

Subject:: HAITI

Comment: Trudy

I simply want to pass on my condolences to you. Just in skimming over your blog posts, I see a cynical, embittered person who is desperately lashing out at people. I truly sympathize with you because in your frantic attempts to condemn all people that may differ in their views from your own, the true motives of your heart are revealed. You have much less interest in helping anybody than you do in simply swiping and clawing and hurting all the names involved in this situation. There are no winners in this situation, Trudy, and the biggest loser of all is the person that you are negative about the most, Jeriah Mast. Why in the all-is-forgiven worldview that you endorse is there no room for forgiveness for people whom you decide are wrong?

I challenge you to do this: For the next 24 hours, when you think about this situation, pray fervently for Jeriah Mast as if he would be your son. Instead of blindly condemning him and all of us despicable Anabaptists, pray for him as if he would be a person that looks like you do and shares your worldview. If you can do this, I believe that your heart can rest from it’s current misery. You have no idea what kind of pain this situation is causing and your blatantly condemning remarks will not in any way ease anybody’s pain. May your bitterness find rest and peace that only God can provide

***

Dear Mr. Yoder,

Thank you for your Christian concern. Most of what you have written requires no response, as it is clearly your anger lashing out. What level of knowledge you have of the present situation I do not know. I will leave that and your anger between you and God.

It may be of interest to you that I do not know the people involved in this situation. There is no reason for me to be “swiping and clawing and hurting all the names involved in this situation”. My involvement has come at the request of Anabaptists who care for the victims.

As for considering how I would feel if it was my son… I would be devastated. That, however, would not change what is the right thing to do. I urge you to consider if it was your children who were raped, how you would feel about giving such a person access again and accepting a fourth ‘repentance’ as trustworthy and the ‘all clear’. … or your grandchildren, depending on what stage of life you are in.

As for my ‘all-is-forgiven’ views. You are right, I do believe that God is generous in His grace and forgiveness. Whether Jeriah Mast is repentant and forgiven or not is entirely between him and God. Whether he is allowed to continue the crimes of the past 23 years is the responsibility of many. Some of us have taken that responsibility seriously. I offer no apology for this.

“All is forgiven” does not mean there are not consequences for crimes. It would be arrogant of Christians to believe they can murder, steal, rape children and expect no legal ramifications.

We have a crisis of offenders continuing to molest children under the guise of ‘all is forgiven’. Many Anabaptists agree with this, and openly reject teachings that cause this, as they have watched countless family members and friends molested by repentant abusers. Many Anabaptists also take a firm stand against abuse, and the silence that accompanies these situations too many times.

It is concerning when, repeatedly, as in this case, the concern is not for the countless victims, but rather protecting the offender to whom you say I have done greatest damage and made “the biggest loser of all”.  That, my friend, is one of the biggest contributors to the problem we have at hand. I would suggest that the offender who violates countless children is responsible for his own loss when finally someone has the courage to confront such evil and ensure it is not just another repentance that allows the crimes to continue.

Exposing evil is not harmful. According to Ephesians 5:8-13, it is the thing that makes freedom possible. All harm is brought on the offender and his/her loved ones by his/her own doing. Responsibility for that harm does not fall on the one who points out that evil.

It is my prayer that transformation will come on many levels, and children be protected.

I wish you peace,

Trudy

***

To my Anabaptist friends, prayer warriors, and family who stand for justice,

I don’t need to tell you this if you are on that list who stand for justice, but I want you to know that I do not believe the vast majority of Anabaptists accept the ‘forgive and forego accountability’ mindset.

Thank you to those who stand for truth and justice, while still extending freely the incredible grace of God. While offering forgiveness to the repentant, you also expect accountability and compliance with the laws of the land. While honouring leaders, you do not bow to corrupt power.

Thank you for the countless messages, prayers, phone calls, and encouragement. Thank you to those who have made donations as well, so that our work can continue. Your kindness will not be forgotten.

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

***

PS. Plans are coming together for the next two trips, to take place shortly. Thank you to all who have donated.

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work, you may send funds (via PayPal or etransfer) to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed.

 

© Trudy Metzger 2019

Haiti: Critical items, List of men who abused me, A few good men, A prayer, And a broken Olive Branch

Critical Item #1: Amish Steering Committee

In my first blog on the Haiti Abuse Case involving Jeriah Mast (J), I mention the Amish Steering Committee (ASC). I say precisely what the people who are responsible for Jeriah were telling people to assure them he was/is being held accountable; that ASC and the Restoration Committee are involved. And that they’ve had over 100 cases with only two imprisonments. It is a fact that those Jeriah is accountable to said these things. I did not pull it out of a hat. I have multiple evidence sources. 

Two days ago I posted a blog stating what the Amish Steering Committee State Director told me. I share how, in that conversation I am told that they were not involved, and that the Shining Light Christian Fellowship Church (SLCFC) leaders got their hands on a Restoration plan designed for another offender.  SLCFC leaders then presented a copy of this to a Restoration Committee member for review, with redacted names. After this they asked the Restoration Committee member to call the police station and set up an appointment. I learned that there were indeed over 100 cases, but at least 6 imprisonments. I also learned that many cases are situations other than sexual abuse.

Note that SLCFC did reach out to the Restoration Committee, which works in partnership with ASC. Note that the Restoration Committee member did help with those details.

I tried to portray a fair picture and added to the information the part that ASC contributed after I was able to reach them. I did not retract the information that came from J’s family and the team responsible for him because they actually said it to multiple people in an effort to assure them they are ‘taking care of it’ and holding J accountable.

Fact:
SLCFC said (even if a stretch) that ASC is involved.
ASC says they were not involved
Trudy reported both.

Conclusion: Trudy is a liar. Do not trust her. She doesn’t wear a bonnet.

***

Critical Item 2: Allegations that Stanley Fox Knew

I very intentionally avoided analyzing Mr. Fox’s statement even though there are discrepancies with my evidence and his statement. I chalk this up to imperfect memory and human error. I have no doubt that, were I to sit with Stanley and go over the evidence I have, he would be willing to acknowledge that. (I did not have that confidence prior to releasing my statement and seeing his response, given the track record in this case. I do have that confidence now).

Before I go further, I will say again, that he is the first to break rank and I respect him for that. I sincerely thanked him for the acknowledgement/apology. I still sincerely thank him for that.

On Monday I received word and evidence that Stanley Fox knew about J’s abusive behaviour. The information was much more in-depth than what I shared publicly. In a nutshell I stated that Mr. Fox knew since “2016/2017”. He also stated publicly that he knew since 2017. He further states “I had no knowledge Jeriah was a pedophile when he was sent home in 2013…” What gets the focus is “(he) had no knowledge” yet in that very sentence Mr. Fox admits he knew there was *something* in 2013

He did not know what it was but he knew there was something big enough to be sent home for. The adult friend was a young adult, not an ‘adult friend’ who is a peer, or anywhere near J’s age. Subtracting the years since being sent home (4 years) from this young man’s age would definitely confirm he was a minor. Mr. Fox stated regretting he did not do more.

FACT:
Mr. Fox admitted he knew. Trudy said he knew. Trudy has evidence. Mr. Fox does not mention evidence, but still agrees with Trudy’s statement that he knew since 2017. (Albeit, the evidence states 2016/2017).

Since Trudy and Mr. Fox are saying the same thing, this one should be easy. Even so, it is determined by some that, even though his statement confirms what Trudy said, that she should not be believed. 

CONCLUSION: Trudy is a liar. Trudy hates men. Trudy is trying to destroy Mr. Fox. Trudy is using this as an outlet to transfer all her anger against the conservative Anabaptist men who molested her.

***

This is called of critical thinking. Please apply it when you read what I write. And apply it when others write. But don’t make us liars if there is imperfection. I do not consider Stanley Fox a liar for not including all the details I hold in my possession. I hope he does not consider me a liar either. I have not asked him.

But I do know this:

Silence is not the answer.

This topic needed to land in the forefront; we have an epidemic.

Our culture has taught us we must be perfect.

Perfection will never happen; we are messy humans with flaws.

Information will not be perfect no matter the effort.

Searching for truth is messy.

Addressing sexual abuse is messier.

Challenging deeply-embedded norms is probably messiest of all.

Jesus does miracles in messy places.

I welcome a miracle in this mess.

***

The Anabaptist Men Who Abused Me

This point is not so critical, but may be of interest to those who believe I am taking out my wrath on Anabaptist men because of the many who abused me. So here it is, posted publicly for all the world to see.

Trudy’s list of conservative Anabaptist men who abused her.

  1.  (name withheld… because he was a minor and his identity is protected by law)

Yes, that’s right. Not one Conservative Mennonite *man* abused me.

Only one teenage boy, or, more accurately, ‘young man’, I believe he was around 16, molested me.

One.

…. young man

…who was around age 16.

Yes, he was and is responsible for his actions. No, I was not his only victim. There were others. In fact, what he did against me, though damaging, did not hold a candle to the trauma others suffered. No it wasn’t dealt with properly, not by law nor by church.

He, too, was terribly violated. I am sorry for that. It doesn’t excuse what he did, but I am still sorry.

I am sorry he molested others. I am thankful God has healed my heart. I hope the hearts of his other victims are healed, or healing, too.

I believe in redemption. I don’t believe in looking the other way. Not even with minors.

If he had not molested me, I would have no Mennonite abusers. The others were all prior to attending Mennonite church, or after, during my rebellion.

My father, at whose hands our family suffered terrible violence and some (family and others) were molested, was Old Colony Russian Mennonite. He certainly never achieved “conservative Mennonite man” status in my world, and is the last person to come to mind when I think of them. He made a solid attempt for a few years, and failed. I don’t know if he spent more time being a member or more on probation and excommunicated. That’s how successful he was.

So, there you have it. The “list of conservative Mennonite men who violated Trudy” that drive me take it all out on the entire Anabaptist population.

I do not hate Anabaptists, and men in particular. In fact, my book “Between 2 Gods: A Memoir of Abuse in the Mennonite Community” lists some of the amazing conservative Mennonite men who did not abuse me. 

Peter Steckle was an outstanding leader with a gentle heart, and his wife Rita was my friend. I no longer see them, but hold them in high regard. I cared for his elderly failing mother for several years, so I saw their home ‘up close and personal’. It wasn’t perfect, but they were kind. Sure, they corrected me on ‘church standard’ issues, but Rita also confessed honestly her struggle with some of the rules.

I encountered them at a funeral, May 31, 2015, soon after my book came out. Rita gave me a hug and said how good it was to see me. Peter shook my hand and, with tears in his eyes, said he feels they don’t deserve the kind words in my book, and added, “As your ministry, we failed you…”.

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They’re not my only ‘heroes of faith’ in the conservative Mennonite church. There are more, both men and women. It is not the Anabaptist community I hate; it is the abuse that is destroying the community that I hate. I hate it with a fierceness. I hate it because it is destroying a people I love. I hate it because I see it destroying children, and their relationships with family and friends, and causing them to struggle for life in their faith, and robs them of wellbeing. I hate it because I see old men scrambling for a cover of deception when truth is revealed and years and years of evil come to light. I do not hate those men. I hate what they have done. I hate it because it robs them of goodness. I hate it because I watch women, first silenced, rise up to silence those who try to speak, because it touches too closely to their own pain… or their own crimes.

It’s too frightening to face truth.

I hate it with fierceness, the abuse, because it is eating the souls of a beautiful people and leaving behind a valley of dry bones. Before we can speak life into a valley of dry bones and command the flesh to be restored, we must first acknowledge the dry bones and the plague that took us there.

I do what I do out of passion for Jesus and truth, and compassion for victims.

Behaviours of public figures who rely on any public funding are analyzed to death may lose donors if they tell the truth and stand for justice. While I have never considered myself a ‘public figure’, I do acknowledge that I have a platform that reaches many thousands, and influences them. It would be irresponsible not to acknowledge that. Even so, I make no effort in creating a ‘public image’, ‘fan base’, platform or ‘tribe’. I don’t have interest or energy for that.

As for losing donors, we have less than ten donors who give regularly, and by regularly, I mean (all but one) “one donation annually” donors. These consistent annual donations amount to about $2000 to $3000 combined. Other donors contribute throughout the year, which fluctuates from year to year. So we have no huge donor base to lose. Yet, if I was booking a flight tomorrow, I have no doubt the funds would be available in a matter of hours, if it was safe and right for me to go. I trust my God.

In light of all of this, my prayer this morning was, “God to help me take it like Jesus did when I’m called a liar for speaking the truth.” I prayed it because I desperately need help. Many things do not cause me much distress, if any at all, in the backlash. But when I hold evidence that I cannot release and am called a liar by the people of God, that trips me up so often. And I don’t want to respond wrongly. I want desperately to trust that God has a purpose, even in that.

I want to learn to dance in the rain of that aftermath, like a little girl in her Father’s love, knowing I am not perfect, but I am perfectly loved…. to let others near enough to my heart to wipe off the tears and the dirt when I stumble…. and ultimately to fall, naked and stripped at the foot of the cross, where He appears; the sacrifice for the people. That place where Jesus bleeds on me and I am made whole… where He bleeds on you and you are made whole, even in this mess. And where the tears of all of us wounded in this horror – and it is all of us, really, who are wounded – flow like a river of repentance that heal the land.

I don’t think everyone who calls me a liar is evil. I think they are confused and hurting. I don’t believe that everyone who defends me does so for righteousness sake. I don’t believe that everyone who defends those I’ve called out for neglecting the abused do so for righteousness sake. I don’t think all who speak out against those I’ve called out do so for righteousness sake. I think many want truth, many want this thing wide open so that God can bleed life into the church where death long has had a grip. I think some want revenge, but that is not what I hear from most on my side of this tragedy.

I’m not interested in destroying these men, CAM, ASC, or JM. I am advocating for change. Spiritual change that will play out in the practical. If ever there is going to be a radical shift, the public does need to be informed of these things and how they are overlooked, neglected, disregarded or missed (pick your word) at a leadership level…. even if not intentionally.

Quietly sending them home (whether permanently or longterm) is not the solution. Several years a young parent contacted me to share how their pastor had crossed boundaries with them and seek advice. They did not wish to go to the law, so there was nothing I could do. This week I learned that he was sent home from the mission field not long prior to the account that individual shared with me.

Is this really the best we can do? Is it really so unimportant to protect our youth and children? We would never say that, but actions speak louder than words, I was always told growing up. And actions right now scream that we care little for the children, and a whole lot for power.

Leaders are a part of the revolution that needs to come, but leaders only hold the power we willingly give them. We, the lay people, have far more influence in bringing change than a few leaders will ever have.

We do need to partner together, all of us, to get there. And that may mean sitting in a room with people we would rather send over Niagara Falls in a barrel, or those who would rather see us in that barrel. We don’t have to like each other. We don’t have to like each other’s ways and methods. But we DO need to face the truth.

And, above all, we need to fall, at the foot of the cross, naked and bleeding… together.  Me… Stanley Fox… Paul Weaver… Eli Weaver…  CAM… and (insert names of other leaders who have failed similarly)… as well as every one of us who is ‘the body of Christ’.  And there we need to repent and begin anew, and lift up Jesus Christ in the midst of this ‘hell’, rather than lifting up humans or looking to them to be our saviour, or to get it perfect. We cannot. We will not. We have all failed the wounded. We can do better. But we must look to Jesus.

That is the only hope, going forward.

At the cross

It is the place I land alone, or with my husband, or with a friend. It is a place we are invited together, yet stand accountable, alone before God.

I am willing to meet in a place of truth and repentance, and work toward a more noble handling of things on the part of both sides going forward. Transparency with the public must be part of that process.

That is my broken Olive Branch, which I extend sincerely to all conservative Mennonite leaders – whether church leaders or ministry leaders – who are willing to work together for truth, prioritizing care for the victims, and with a commitment to transparency.  Guidelines would need to be agreed on, in writing and signed by both parties.

Leaders interested in negotiating a healthy plan for working together, going forward, are welcome to email me at: Trudy@GenerationsUnleashed.com, with subject line: “Broken Olive Branches: A Healing Path Forward” for easy identification.

This is not an offer to compromise on truth or on prioritizing victims’ needs. It is reaching out to those leaders who, though we may not see eye-to-eye, still:

  1. Value truth and are willing to look at the evidence and facts
  2. See that those who are victimized and powerless must first receive care and support, while caring for all involved
  3. For the sake of truth, shun being idolized and revered by the masses
  4. Are humble enough to own up to failure publicly without excuse (and are approachable)
  5. Agree that not every situation needs to be broadcasted publicly, but do not cover for abusers. (I have gone public with two situations in 9+ years that I can recall, as well as one that I was not directly involved with)
  6. Where  a leader has molested/assaulted someone, it must be made known
  7. Prioritize protecting the vulnerable, and giving them a voice in the process
  8. Are willing to apologize to the extent of their sphere of influence for past failure
  9. Report to the law without holding back information in order to protect from prison
  10. Agree an adult who has molested anyone should not be in church leadership or be sent on the mission field
  11. Don’t label as ‘gossip’ when there is public exposure (as commanded in Ephesians 5)

NOTE: Leaders are NOT required to like me. Some who have openly despised me have reached out for help in the past, and I have helped them.

There are more items that could be added, but these are some key basic items. Leaders who are willing to uphold this, I am willing to work with peaceably when abuse cases are brought to me on the condition that victims are comfortable with this, and willing to engage their leaders and me. It doesn’t have to be me. I am making myself available, because the fact remains I am committed to this messy calling. But there are others who will help and will mediate honourably.

Victims, especially, are welcomed to reach out for mediation (between them and their leaders) to assist in being heard, in hopes that leaders will learn from those who have walked this path of brokenness. While their grief, and how abuse has impacted life, is messy, they are the best teachers to learn a more healing way forward. I am almost 100% confident that the most dynamic shift, besides what comes from repentance at the foot of the cross, will come from this move toward validating suffering.

This broken olive branch is for those who love Jesus and whose calling aligns with a similar vision – even if not perfectly the same. It is not intended for those with other goals and values that are in direct conflict.

 

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

PS. Plans are coming together for the next trip, to take place shortly. Thank you to all who have donated. It’s coming together.

If you are able to contribute, and willing to do so, you may send funds (via PayPal or etransfer) to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed.

 

© Trudy Metzger 2019

HAITI: Stanley Fox Issues Statement & One Victim’s Response

EDIT: I am being contacted with assumptions that I am retracting my statement that Stanley Fox knew since 2016/2017.  I am not retracting my previous concerns. His apology states that he knew. Therefore, because his statement confirms my evidence He only identified it as homosexuality and wasn’t concerned enough to pull a worker for it. I said I appreciate his apology, and I do. It does not change the fact that he knew and did nothing. Why would a troubled young man approach a pastor about Jeriah, if it was consensual relationship? Why would that not alert a pastor to find out what is going on?

***

Several people sent me links to Stanley Fox’s Apology Statement last evening. I was out with a friend for a few hours and didn’t see it until late. He has my respect of ‘stepping out of the lineup’ to speak without a lawyer and without permission. He is the first to do this in this mess.

Stanley Fox

I said to several other leaders this past week that if even one would have the integrity to step forward and say, “We knew…. I am sorry… And, for the record, Trudy is telling the truth,” that would go a long way. This is closer to that than I expected to see. I don’t need them to say for my sake that I’m telling the truth.

People are messaging, encouraging me to reach out to Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) to work with them regarding other allegations that have come forward, and at least practice Matthew 18. (My question is “which part of Matthew 18?” Mostly I assume they’re not talking about the millstone verse and the part that says the angels of a child are always before the face of God). Personally, I think Matthew 18 is applied too much like a bandaid on a heart attack, making it a perfect tool for keeping things hidden that should be brought to light. And like the heart attack, it’s killing the church.

To work in any level of ‘togetherness’ there first needs to be transparency – this apology is a huge leap forward, and comes on the heels of the Public Statement by CAM. There also needs to be a common goal of not keeping the church, the public and donors in the dark. And, finally, it requires giving victims a voice in this.

For this reason, before posting this link to Mr. Fox’s apology I reached out to one of the victims who made me aware on Monday that Mr. Fox also knew, to get his feedback. He was gracious and appreciative, but with some unanswered questions.

His response was:
It rises a few questions but I am happy he made it. That is the person he has make people in Haiti believe he was. […] If he, initially in 2013, thought he was sent back to the US for homosexuality, who did Jeriah confessed to then? as a pastor that has served on campus at the same time as Jeriah, what have he done to find out the whole truth, they had many accountability meetings? So for him, it’s ok for someone that was sent home for homosexuality to come back and serve? I don’t think he would teach that. […] Also, it is confusing for a victim to know Stanley knew (at least in 2017), and didn’t do much to help the victims heal (He talked to name redacted about forgiveness once and prayed with him, in that meeting. He never said a word to me about such a thing), or to make sure Jeriah wasn’t doing it to any other kids and at the same time say that he cares/ love the wonderful people of Haiti. It makes us scratch our heads.

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I’m glad it meant something to the victim. That in spite of his questions about the message this sends regarding homosexuality being acceptable on the mission field, when it is taught against so strongly.

This doesn’t negate Mr. Fox’s apology. It simply raises deep theological questions for the conservative Mennonite groups who punish harshly those who become sexually active, engage in heterosexual relations outside of marriage (albeit with significant grace for adultery and child molestation).

This argument that it was believed to be consensual homosexual relationships has come up repeatedly, so my response here now moves away from his apology. I am truly thankful he spoke out, and respect his willingness to stick out his neck.

Thank you for that, Mr. Fox.

***


Youth of the church are rising to attention and asking the same questions this young man asks. They, who have been disciplined, forced to confess sexual immorality when caught. Youth who see a double standard, based on class, power, connections and various other influences. Youth who have been ‘shunned’ (informally) for clothes being not quite right. For listening to the wrong music. Youth, whose parents funded CAM through this (and, again, CAM has done many wonderful things), and who now defend those who knew and did nothing.

These youth are not dumb. They see through the hypocrisy. Ruled with an iron thumb, some of them, they watch as this unfolds with excuses, as thousands rise up to defend the organization, as leaders say no one knew (besides a few). They watch as it surfaces that there were blatant signs, not only of sexual sin, but bold crimes. Signs that no one pursued. And yet it was the whisper of a rumour that landed them before the congregation to confess kissing and making out? Or, God forbid, got the girl pregnant.

The one thing many thousands are asking for is transparency. The other thing is consistency. If homosexuality is not a big deal here, then it better no longer be the thing we preach against and condemn others for. If our position on it has changed, then it is time to apologize to the homosexuals whom we have bullied, shamed and excommunicated when they came out, or even reached out for help.

If that is not our position, then we have to confess to inconsistency and repent before God.

God forbid that we simply hope this goes away. It won’t. The world of conservative Anabaptism has forever changed, and it will never be able to return to what it was. Our 6/10 is the 9/11 that changed the world forever.

And, God forbid that our response to this be the thing that drives the children of yesterday and tomorrow away from the heart of God.

Such life-altering events demand a response.

There is only one response that will have the desire we all long for. Repentance. Deep, deep repentance.

We can grieve.

We can be angry; “be angry and sin not”… “Don’t sin in your anger” assumes anger is part of life. “Let not the sun go down on your anger” assumes anger but gives instruction to not let it control us. So we can be angry. Angry at the men who knew and looked the other way. Angry at Jeriah for assaulting children. Angry at Trudy for speaking out…. because this really does hurt, and if this hadn’t been spoken out…

So we can hurt. Hurting is honest.

We can weep.Tears are inevitable in our suffering.

But, in the end, if we want God to move we must repent.

Not only three men who knew and did nothing. Yes, them too please. But not only. We, as a culture have enabled this kind of thing. There are systemic factors that allowed this to happen.

Those who understand this will rise to repentance. And those who repent will go deeper. They will be instrumental in revival.

Revival cannot come without repentance.

We have prayed for revival, but we kick and scream when God invites us to the brokenness from which revival flows.

***

***

Plans are coming together for the next trip to take place shortly. Thank you to all who have donated. We have a ways to go, but it’s coming together

If you are able to contribute, and willing to do so, you may send funds (via PayPal or etransfer) to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed.

 

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019