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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

***

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

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

None.

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

Three or four grown men.

And little seven year old me.

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

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

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

***

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

But the calendar says I’m 27. 

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

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

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

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

I don’t know. 

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ the warrior child ~

***

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

Trademark Excuses of Molesters Begin with Blaming the Child

victim blaming

“But…” the man in his 70’s paused…. “but, she wanted it.”

“No, sir,” I said, “she didn’t want sex.” He looked startled, as though this had never occurred to him. “How old was the child?” I asked, speaking kindly, but firmly.

“Ten.”

“She was ten, sir. No ten-year-old wants a man almost old enough to be her grandfather to have sexual contact with them. She didn’t want to have sex with you.”

“She didn’t?” he asked, not convinced.

“No, she didn’t. Do you want to know what that little girl wanted from you?” I didn’t wait for an answer. “She wanted you to be her safe place. She trusted you. Her father was a molester and you were the one man she thought was safe. She wanted acceptance. She wanted affirmation. She wanted protection. You broke her trust and violated her heart and body.”

The man went pale, as if realizing for the first time what he had really done. For almost thirty years he had told himself he had only done what she wanted.

That conversation is as close to ‘verbatim’ as I can recall it. It started when the man made a comment, in relation to my father, that he doesn’t understand how a father could molest his own children. He didn’t know that I knew he had victimized a child years earlier, and was taken off-guard when my response was something to the effect of, “And molesting another man’s child is better?” And that’s how the conversation began.

*****

Making excuses for molesting is devastating to the victim, and keeps abusers in bondage. Not to mention that these abusers are by far the most likely to re-offend. And, often enough, having made excuses the previous time(s), when they are caught, they try to convince themselves and the people close to them that it never happened before and would never, ever happen again. It was a weak moment, and caught them off guard. Or maybe ‘the child asked for it’ or ‘was such a needy child’ (as in the case mentioned above) and they thought that was what the child wanted.

Any time an offender offers anything beyond full ownership, repentance, and accepting consequences for their actions, they are high risk. These are men and women you don’t want near your children unattended. Ever. They are not safe. They are not repentant, beyond being sorry they got caught or found out, or feared they were about to get caught. And if that sounds judgmental, so be it. My Bible says that the repentant are supposed to produce fruits in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8) and that ‘by their fruits you will know them’ (Matthew 7:15). Excuses are not fruits in keeping with repentance, therefore by their fruits I determine they are not repentant.

If you care one iota for the well-being of children who are molested daily, and dare I say particularly in church settings, then please familiarize yourself with trademark excuses child molesters use. These excuses find ways to put blame on the child, and/or let the offender off the hook at least as far as ‘intent’ is concerned. (Reality check: when you touch a child sexually, your intent is sexual. The only exception is a child who is not sexually aware, touching another child.) These excuses create a sense of the perpetrator having been victimized by the child’s behaviour, and they “wouldn’t have done it if…” and “if only the child hadn’t…”

To the offenders I would ask, “Is it not enough that you have stripped their souls and pierced their spirits with one selfish act, and left them to fight hell and demons, often alone with no one to offer hope or understanding? Must you really blame them for it yet too, as though they committed soul suicide? Can you not just own your crimes, and at least leave them that bit of dignity to heal?”

And to family and friends of offenders, don’t take any comfort in the ‘goodness’ of the offender who makes these excuses that ‘at least it wasn’t preplanned or intentional’. No… let it do the exact opposite, and put you on guard around them. Any repentant offenders I have known–and yes, I have known them–have made no excuses and shifted no blame. They look very different than this. And extending the grace of Christ does not include overlooking how high risk such an offender is, and how high risk he/she will remain until the blame-shifting and excuses stop. It is criminal, the act itself, and vile to turn around and hold a child responsible.

Yes, the grace and blood of Jesus are enough for every sin. But no amount of grace can change an arrogant man or woman, until they recognize their sinfulness and fully own the crimes and sins committed. Matthew 18 has plenty to say about how God views children, and how He views those who offend children. And those who blame the children have twice offended. God will hold them accountable.

I posted this status on Facebook, as an appeal to the public to not buy into the lies of blaming children for adult crimes and sins:

Two children--not related--were molested locally by 2 different members of the same family. Word on the street is that the one 'had already done this to several other men' and 'asked for it'. And the other was a 'particularly needy' child, wanting attention. My heart is sick at hearing these things... I have moved way beyond feeling anger, to feeling a heaviness for which I have no words. Please, please people, don't buy into those lies and don't protect the offenders. This is so wrong, on so many levels. And the trusting/naive/ignorant audience is passing the info on as if it is legitimate.

Instinctively some will turn to feelings of anger, hatred and violence toward the offenders, and understandably so. But that is not the answer, nor is it my intent to stir that up. We need to fight for the children’s innocence, empower them to protect themselves, and believe their horrific experiences without turning to hate and violence (in word or in deed) if we want to be effective.

Creating awareness and understanding of the lies and excuses is critical, so people are aware of who is safe, who is not; who is repentant and who is not. (And, again, for those who say you can’t know, I disagree based on Matthew 3:8 and Matthew 7:15).

If we are wise and informed, it will go a long way in protecting the little ones among us and around us, rather than giving the perpetrators yet more power to destroy the children. There is no justice in that, and in Amos 5 God makes it pretty clear what He thinks of those who worship Him without justice and righteousness. He states that he is very aware of the ‘manifold transgressions’ and ‘mighty sins’, and how ‘justice’ is being diverted at the ‘gates’–symbolizing at the place where protection should be–and says He will not receive worship from those who do life that way.

He then pleads for His people to let justice flow like a water, and righteousness like a mighty stream. Justice (Hebrew ‘shaphat’: execute judgment; vindicate; pronounce judgment) and righteousness (Hebrew ‘tsedeq’: accurate; fair; righteous acts). These things are of great value to God, and we, His people, are called to value them too.

I choose justice and righteousness. What will you choose?

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger