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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another day, another situation…

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

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

Yet another situation…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

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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.)

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

© Trudy Metzger 2019

Poll Re: Responses to Sex Abuse Victims in Conservative Mennonite/Anabaptists

In a recent post on Facebook, I was trying to point out two wrong response to the whole topic of sexual abuse:
 
1. That child molesters are most despised in society
2. And victims who speak out are most despised in church
 
Both statements have exceptions, and I was not intending to overlook those exceptions to say that ‘all people, in all situations’ respond this way. (In fact, that short quote was a mini-introduction to the longer post I was working on, which immediately followed and addressed the bigger message).  But the initial status was met with a defensive response to how wrong I am about how victims are treated and that it isn’t all churches, because I failed to ‘say it in so many words’ that it is not all, in every situation. 
 
I made a statement, based on 8 years of working internationally with victims of sexual abuse in conservative Anabaptist communities and spending the past two years reading academic papers from other religious communities, that victims who speak out are most despised in church and offenders most despised in society. I absolutely believe what I said. The statement about victims applies in two ways. Victims are not as despised outside of church, they are most despised in church. And, when considering those who are despised in church, I know no group to be more despised than victims who speak out about abuse and won’t be silenced. 
Acknowledging this was not meant to stir hatred toward offenders. It is what victims experience (less so in my case than in many), and to acknowledge and look at it is key to changing how things are. Frankly, I believe this is why half the crowd can’t read what is intended because someone is hell-bent on preventing Christians seeing it for what it is. If we do, we stand a chance at making a powerful impact.
 
Nonetheless, rather than take my word for it, and in order to let the stats speak for themselves, I created a poll for all victims of sexual abuse in/from conservative Mennonite/Anabaptist churches to vote on their experience in this regard. I trust the responses will be honourable and honest. (It is completely anonymous… I don’t even have access to names or identities of who voted).
The victims I work with may well be the group who are damaged through abusive response from church, and represent a small portion. The rest might be thriving because the church responded so well; I do not know. What I know and am confident in is that what I said is truth in the demographic of hundreds, even thousands with whom I have interacted, internationally, for nearly 9 years. And the statement regarding offenders is also true, based on academic papers written regarding sex offenders in prison — child molesters in particular — and the testimony of child molesters who have done time.
If you were abused in the conservative Mennonite/Anabaptist church, you can take the poll here: poll on response to sexual abuse.  After you have voted, the results (in percentages, will pop up. Currently, for 50% their church never found out, and the other 50% the church new and did not offer support to the victims.
As always…
Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018

Forced bestiality, beatings, and other sadistic abuses in religious communities

When I think I’ve heard it all, and am beyond shock, every now and then something strikes such a shocking blow that I am left reeling. This week was once such week. Frankly, I’m glad I wasn’t sitting face to face with some of the people whose stories were told to me this week. I have a ‘thou shalt not gasp’ policy, meaning no matter what I hear, I remain even-keel, calm and reassuring. What I felt as I read stories this week was not even-keel. In truth, I felt anger. And, at moments I slipped towards hopelessness that we will ever make any real headway, with all that lies hidden, and carefully swept under the proverbial church mat. But then the realization, We are making headway! This stuff was hidden yesterday! Today it is not. This conversation was silent not so long ago, now it is not.

And that is true whether we are talking about sexual abuse, bestiality – forced or other – and beatings often justified as spankings. We have made unbelievable progress, as far as I and the victims/survivors/overcomers of abuse are concerned. Of course that means for those who wish to hide it, the job of sweeping has suddenly become the job of shovelling waste, as the carpets are ripped away. But that’s another problem entirely. And that one isn’t mine.

What I mostly want to address in this blog is two things: forced bestiality and beatings justifies as spankings. Predominantly the former.

First the beatings as spankings… My Facebook friends and I have had some rather engaging conversations this past week. I could try to capture the conversations here but will leave you with the links, if you are interested in reading the many thoughts shared. (Visit links to read/engage discussions: spanking wives/adults and Christian ‘counsellors’ saying that is what abuse victims need if they just don’t get over it , also,  on bowing to religion – the not-God-kind of religion, that is.) My request is this, if you engage, choose to also listen to opposing views. Some strong feelings were expressed on both sides of the spanking debate, but from what I saw, it mostly stayed respectful. That is my expectation.

The ‘birthing’ of these conversations all began a few months ago when — not for the first time and not the first person — someone wrote and asked if I would address the topic of spankings and the religious justification for it. But, most specifically, this individual asked if I would address the topic of sexual arousal in the child being spanked. I’ve heard of this over the years when working with survivors of abuse and trauma, but what was unique in this case was that the individual was raised in a loving home, protected from abuse – sexual and otherwise. Even in that environment this individual struggled with sexual arousal during spankings, which developed into a spanking fetish later in life. (Read the conversations on spanking & fetishes here: First conversation and Second conversation.)

(To better understand this,  I have read claims that the increased blood flow to the genital area can, in some individuals, cause erections in males and engorgement of genitals in females. I will not link the articles as there was other information that I am not comfortable linking in my blog, given my audience. I offer the disclaimer that I cannot endorse or disprove these claims, but it would make some sense of the phenomenon.)

The result of this sexual arousal during a spanking can lead to spanking fetishes, as was explained by the individual asking me to address it, and it can also lead to fascination with BDSM. (I have supported and engaged multiple clients/individuals, internationally, who have experienced this, and most, if not all, developed the struggle through spanking  and/or sexual abuse. Not all were sexually abused, but all were spanked. So I am personally familiar with this, though my experience is limited.)

My motive for opening the conversation, especially when my knowledge and understanding of it in our settings is so limited, is quite uncomplicated. To give voice to those who are isolated and ashamed, with no one who understands them. There was a day when we, as survivors of sexual abuse, thought we were the only one, that no one would understand us, and if we spoke out we would be judged, condemned and shamed. Well, part of that proved to be true. Most of it, in fact, except the being all alone part. And the judged, condemned and shamed parts were already our reality, so nothing was lost. But we gained a community of supports, a place to be understood, to stand together in our brokenness and try to heal. And, just as importantly, to try to influence change for the next generation, to make sure they do not suffer what we suffered. Or, at the very least, that some who would have suffered if we had not spoken out, do not because we spoke out. For survivors, that is often more important than our own healing and justice. So I give voice to this today, for those who have suffered, so they can rise to the Light and find freedom and support. (Yes, you will be judged, condemned and shamed, I can’t make that go away; it is the painful reality of religious responses to suffering and speaking out. But I can promise you that there is also a community of supports who will rise up, cautiously at first, but then grow stronger, and hopefully save the next generation of children this horror.)

Before I address forced bestiality, I want to address the many who have engaged in bestiality out of ignorance and a lack of teaching surrounding sexuality. People freak out when you talk about bestiality. Yes, it’s tragic. It is horrifying. It is dehumanizing. But lay aside the disdain and the judgment for a moment and hear me on this. It is not as cut and dried as many people make it, of a perverted teen deciding one day to have at it with an animal. It mostly doesn’t work like that. The reality is, it often starts young, and often because of abuse and/or exposure to things no fault of the child/youth. That doesn’t make it ‘okay’, but for heaven’s sake, consider the context. Their recovery/healing and redemption depend on it.

The number of people who engaged in forms of bestiality as relatively young children – I believe the youngest I am aware of is around age 4 – and into teens is shockingly high in our farmer-family conservative Anabaptist Christian groups. (This is not to say it isn’t a problem in other cultures, but I cannot speak for non-Anabaptists because I have no such stories to draw from.) Some engage in bestiality because they were abused (forced to perform sexual favours such as fellatio/cunnilingus) and this sparks the idea of engaging with an animal. Others see older siblings, hired hands, or fathers engage in bestiality and experiment. Some experience sexual feelings and watch the animals and decide to experiment. Whatever the driving force behind it, almost without fail there is no teaching on sexuality, and no awareness of what it means, or the consequences. I do not wish to shame you, judge you, or further impose that darkness on you. I have worked with many clients who were involved in various forms of bestiality and I have a lot of compassion for you. It is heart-breaking, the lack of teaching and whatever you suffered that influenced the choices that flowed out of that. There is healing and freedom for you; you do not need to carry that shame.

The real issue I want to address on this topic is the use of bestiality as a weapon of abuse. I will not expound at length on it, nor will I be graphic in it. My intent is to create awareness and hopefully give voice to those who are and/or have suffered this violation. Furthermore, I want to make leaders, family, friends and fellow believers aware of it, so they can respond and be available to help these victims heal. Our minds cannot fathom the horror if we have not been there. And we have no right to silence them, or to rush them to healing. (Which, in religious communities often equates to pretending things while the mind slowly deteriorates into insanity. Not healthy at all!)

It was early in ministry when bestiality crossed my radar the first time. I had heard of it, a little, but was relatively naive. And certainly naive to the prevalence. In 2012 a counsellor from Guelph – a city not far from us – asked to meet. Their team had heard that I was doing conferences and wondered if I would be willing to share how I do what I do, what my training was, and other various questions. I agreed to meet and candidly responded to anything they asked. When the counsellor asked, bluntly, if I was encountering many stories of bestiality I was stunned. Yes, I said, more than I expected, including young women. This was their experience as well.

Over the next few years, from near and far, the stories trickled in. Were there hundreds? Probably not. Though I never kept track. But there were men. Men and women, alike, told me their stories – or wives told me their husband’s stories, and men their father’s or brothers’ stories – and the shame, the guilt, the brokenness that ensued. Fathers teaching their sons. Sons seeing their fathers. Brothers shamelessly engaging together. Young women. Sisters….

Several years had passed, with story after story trickling in. Wives resenting and despising their husbands, wanting nothing to do with them after they found out. And then the first story of forced bestiality appeared. Nothing can prepare the mind for such a thing. Daughters told of their fathers forcing them into it. Sons told of their fathers ‘teaching’ them. And wives… wives forced to engage in it at the commands of their husbands.

I have not been able to write about this before. And even now, as I do, my heart is sick. I really do not care what people think. That’s not what troubles me. It’s the horror… the opening up of something so deeply buried inside our walls and our churches. A cancer eating at the souls of our people … A poison draining the life from souls. And, like everyone else, I’ve just not had the stomach to open it up.

But the time of silence is over. As I said on Facebook, I have no one left for whom to perform, and the weight of that burden lifted is a gift. It frees me to speak all the things that need to be spoken, with no fear of consequences. Oh, there will be consequences, but they really can’t take anything from me. I have nothing left to lose in the religious world. (Thank you Jesus!) Nothing and no one left for whom to perform. And even my personal life, upon my death – should someone see it necessary to eliminate me, I expect a series of disclosures to be set in motion that will rock the world. I do not plan to die with secrets left to kill another generations. So I really don’t have anything to lose.

What I stand to gain is the freedom of those crying from the shadows. And that, to me, is everything. What I stand to gain is the hope that maybe someone in the next generation will not suffer because some adult found healing before they hurt that child. That, to me, is everything. What I stand to gain is that one person, currently in bondage, will hear the voice of Jesus saying, “I have not forgotten you. I have not ignored your suffering.” And that, to me, is everything.

If these are your experiences – whether the person who willingly engaged in bestiality, through ignorance and confusion, or the person who was forced into it, or the child (maybe now adult) who struggles with fetishes or BDSM – you are not alone. There are godly and good men and women who will walk with you, love you, support you. As many of you know, my world is quite busy/full right now with university, but I am not too busy to do my best to link you to support in your community. If you need someone to talk to, private message me, (EMAIL FOR SUPPORT) and I will do everything in my power to find someone safe for you to connect with.

Don’t suffer alone. Don’t suffer in silence.

And if you are guilty of committing the atrocity of forced bestiality, whipping, beating or spanking adults without consent/participation, or abusing children, youth or adults, reach out. I will help you face the truth. It won’t be easy. But you will find freedom. You will have to face the consequences, but it will be worth it to break the chains for yourself, your victim(s) and the next generation. There is no price too high for freedom.

With compassion… sadness and deep love for the broken… As always…

Love,
~ T ~

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing consensual spanking and/or BDSM as a healthy practice, I’m merely saying it isn’t my business and it isn’t illegal or criminal. My calling is for the victimized and to help offenders face consequences.