Sexually assaulted in a Christian home: A victim speaks

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Female Silhouette in Field with Sunlight - courtesy of Image Catalog via Flickr

Female Silhouette in Field with Sunlight - courtesy of Image Catalog via Flickr

Trigger Warning: This post contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.

During the past week, the world was hit with the extremely disturbing news of child sexual abuse within a well-known Christian family. This horror has created no shortage of news articles, opinions, public statements, and blog posts from what seems to be the entire spectrum of humanity. Unfortunately, much has been written by professing Christians that clearly demonstrates the need for more understanding and education regarding the dynamics of sexual abuse and those who abuse.  However, I do believe that this difficult public dialogue may actually be raising a greater awareness to an issue that is all too often ignored or misunderstood within much of the Christian community. 

In my opinion, the most important voices to speak into this ongoing dialogue are those who have been victimized.   These heroes can teach all of us so much if we simply take the time to turn down our own voices so that we can truly listen to what they have to say.  

Jen Bicha is a good friend who is one of these amazing voices. She continues to teach me so much about this issue and about the heart of Jesus.   I encourage each of us to take a few minutes to turn off our voices, and listen to what this hero can teach us. Thank you, Jen. – Boz

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Last year I walked into a Florida courtroom prepared to testify about the memories that continued to haunt me. When I took the stand, the district attorney asked me what my relationship was to my offender. I hesitated before answering, “He is my brother.”

As I’ve watched the Duggar story unfold in recent days, I have been filled with a mix of emotions. Grief. Anger. Disbelief. Horror. As I saw debates rage back and forth about forgiveness, age, consent, hypocrisy, justice, and even Christianity itself, I wanted to scream that we are missing the point here. Who will be the voice of the five precious young women?

Can we take a moment and consider what it may have been like to grow up in a home where your older brother, your protector, is also your rapist? Imagine a world where monsters really do live under your bed, in your closet, and in the shower.

I will never forget the subtle ways my rapist began to groom me. My brother would be put in charge of watching my sisters and I when my parents would leave on errands. He would insist that he needed to watch us get our pajamas on as we prepared for bed. I was very capable of getting myself dressed without his assistance, but he threatened to tell our dad that I wasn’t obeying if I refused. I didn’t like what he was doing to me, but he was placed in a position of authority over me, so I felt I had no choice but to obey his demands.

After the initial grooming period, my brother’s abuse quickly grew extreme. Many nights I crawled under my bed and curled up in the furthest corner hoping he wouldn’t find me, but night after night he did. When I would go the bathroom, he would be hiding in the shower. There was no place of escape. As I lay in bed, my body aching in pain from the repeated assaults, I cried out to God for rescue.

But, rescue never came.

I grew up in an extremely religious/sheltered environment and had no knowledge of sex. I didn’t even know anatomical terms. Even if I had wanted to tell someone what was happening, I didn’t have the vocabulary. My brother also manipulated me and said that if I told, I would get in just as much trouble as him.

As months turned into years, I felt trapped in a nightmare that would never end.

The many adults who knew of my abuse including my parents, pastor, and teacher couldn’t fathom that a child, a young boy, was truly capable of this crime. In order to make it easier to stomach, they rationalized in their minds that maybe this was simply kids playing around. These mandatory reporters chose not to report. I still bear the pain of their actions. I was not believed. Nobody protected me. Nobody listened when I cried for help. They chose to believe my rapist instead of me. Over and over again, my abuse was minimized.

By minimizing my rapist’s culpability because of his age, they also minimized the severe, life-altering impact this crime had on the victims. My brother never received counseling or faced any kind of repercussion for his crimes. My father refused to allow me to receive counseling because he viewed the actions as consensual even though he had walked in on my brother raping me.

Every instance of abuse, no matter how seemingly insignificant, must be reported to the authorities who are trained to handle this. It is never our place to investigate or to try to determine the severity of these kinds of actions. By not reporting these crimes, we fail both the victim and the offender. I strongly believe that if this had been reported while my brother was still a young teen and he had received intensive counseling, our family would not have been so irrevocably shattered. However, when an offender is allowed to continue in these patterns of behavior for years without any accountability or repercussions, there is nothing to stop them from continuing to abuse.

Female Silhouette in Field with Sunlight - courtesy of Image Catalog via Flickr

Female Silhouette in Field with Sunlight – courtesy of Image Catalog via Flickr

Forgiveness and justice are not mutually exclusive. Taking the appropriate and necessary steps to report and prosecute abuse is not unforgiving. It is in fact the most loving thing someone can do, because it can help to protect other potential victims. Admitting your sin and confessing it does not negate the consequences of your actions. A truly repentant offender will do whatever is necessary to restore what he has taken. An excellent Biblical example of this is Zaccheus who repaid his debts tenfold. Although my offender admitted what he had done, he never acknowledged this was a crime and was unable to grasp the gravity of his offense.

Many have said that Josh Duggar’s actions were just a mistake. Repeated and ongoing abuse with multiple victims is not a mistake; it is a sexually deviant and calculated crime! Calling sexual abuse a mistake puts the blame back on the victims when they continue to struggle with the horrors of what they have endured.

This “mistake” wakes me up night after night with dreams too horrific to put into words. This mistake causes me to panic at the slightest touch. This mistake causes flashbacks and triggers that make me break out in a cold sweat while my heart races. This mistake has caused depression that looms like a cloud of darkness that threatens to consume me. This mistake has caused a litany of health problems, trust issues, fear of men, and countless other life-altering struggles.

Childhood “mistakes” are long forgotten, but an injury to your soul lasts forever.

Another common excuse that I’ve heard is: “It is in the past. He is a Christian now. He has changed.” When abuse has not been handled correctly, there is no “in the past” for victims, especially when your perpetrator continues to live in the same home as you. When parents allow the offender to remain in the same home as the victim, they are telling the victim that the offender’s comfort and external family appearances are more important than the safety and emotional well-being of the victims. Even when you try to shove it down and act like everything is fine there is a lingering sadness and deep pain that is magnified when you are not believed, not to mention the terror of not knowing if and when the attacks will begin again.

When Christians call for grace to be given to an offender, especially when abuse wasn’t properly handled, it can be very damaging emotionally and spiritually. During the time frame that my brother was raping me he claimed to have become a Christian. If he was a Christian, did that mean that God Himself condoned these horrible acts? What had I done to deserve this? These are some of the agonizing questions that come when offenders are not held accountable for their abuse.

I remember sitting in church as a 12 year old hearing a sermon on marriage and being filled with shame. I already knew something was different about me; something that I couldn’t yet put into words. How do you explain what it means to lose your virginity before you are old enough to even know what that word means? I was never told that the shame I carried wasn’t mine to bear. I never knew that God could still love me with all of my scars.

Silencing victims by saying that this shouldn’t be talked about, or should remain within families, says to a victim that this is something to be ashamed of. That they are in fact damaged goods. When these crimes are called out and discussed in a public forum, the offender alone should bear both the responsibility and the shame. These matters need to be discussed not only for prevention, but also for healing.

Victims need to be heard. They need to be believed. They need to know that what happened was not their fault. We bear witness to their suffering when we give them a voice.

The only way we can ever hope to stop abuse is if we are willing to talk about it and admit that it happens. We also need to acknowledge that the Christian community is not exempt from this horror.

“When we imply that victims bring on their own fates – whether to make ourselves feel more efficacious or to make the world seem just – we keep ourselves from taking the precautions we need to take in order to protect ourselves.” Dr. Anna Salter

It is demeaning towards boys and men when we say that abuse was just because of hormones. We need to raise our sons to honor and respect women. We need to be open and honest with our children and have frequent, ongoing conversations about their bodies and appropriate boundaries, especially surrounding the issue of consent. By doing so, we are providing our children the necessary tools to recognize and communicate unsafe behaviors that others display. Open communication with our children is essential if we want them to come to us with the difficult questions or issues.

My story is a devastating example of the damage caused when all too often our focus is on protecting the offender and not providing support for the victim.

I knew my family would be upset when I reported my brother’s abuse, but I never expected the intensity of their rage and their unabashed support of my rapist. They repeatedly reminded me that I was ruining his life and that they believed he had changed in the many years that had passed since he committed his crimes. My heart screamed. Didn’t I matter? How many victims should there be before his crime is taken seriously? In court, my brother admitted to abusing four other girls, although he could only be charged for the two victims who reported.

My family couldn’t see that their questions already tortured me when I lay in bed at night. What if he has changed? Am I destroying my brother’s life by bringing this up over a decade later? But I was haunted by other questions too: What if he hurts someone else? How will I ever live with myself if I could have stopped it and did nothing? Instead of judgment, I needed a shoulder to cry on. The weight of this decision was too crushing to bear alone.

I will never forget watching my relatives line up in the middle of the courtroom waiting their turn to go on record supporting my rapist. First an aunt testified, then another, and another, then my uncle, sister-in-law and finally, my own mother. My friend held my hand and whispered in my ear, “This is incest.”

When my rapist was led away in handcuffs, tears streamed down my face. After waiting a lifetime for this moment, instead of celebrating, I felt an overwhelming sadness. There were no winners in court that day. He was my rapist, but he was also my brother and I grieved for the devastation this crime had inflicted on my entire family.

The next time you defend a predator and say, “Oh, he was just a child,” remember the faces of the innocent little ones whose childhood was stolen.

To the Duggar girls and all of the precious abuse survivors reading this: Never forget that there is hope for healing. Although life after trauma is messy and working through the pain is difficult, it is absolutely worth the fight. May you rest in the hope of a God who cradles his wounded children in his arms as his own body is wracked with sobs for the suffering you have endured.

 

Jen Bicha is a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Nurse. She is also a passionate advocate and speaker on child sexual abuse particularly focusing on how to bring healing and change to the religious communities. Jen would like to thank Tina Anderson who helped her write this difficult, but incredibly important post.

  • Brooklyn

    I can’t believe how close this is to my own story, even down to living in FL! My brother/rapist is free, and is becoming a pastor, even though I did everything that is humanly possible to stop him, but the state won’t go after him since its too expensive. I’m so happy that you were able to put him behind bars, and my heart breaks for you having to loose your family. I also have lost everyone in my family except for my youngest brother, including extended family. I too was told that I was in the wrong and needed to forgive because I was destroying my family. ME! Not my brother! Honestly, sometimes I feel like I live in the Twilight Zone because of how insane it all is. I want to scream at the world for not supporting us, and comforting the men/women that took away our childhood. I’m constantly told that I should stop focusing on the “bad things” in the world. But how are we supposed to, when our children are in constant danger? Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  • Raz

    Thank you so much, Jen, and Boz.

    Your courage speaks with a loud, clear voice.

    I hope and pray there are those who will listen.

  • Mary Brown

    I’m thankful that the Duggar family’s sexual abuse scandal has been brought to light publicly and pray that the Protestant churches rise to the occasion and finally come to the right conclusion about accountability for perpetrators of violent crime and support for the victims of it. This is an issue long overdue for discussion and resolution so that sex criminals are not left free to abuse others, which they will most assuredly do if not held accountable.

  • Priya

    Dear Jen,
    I had to respond after reading this story. I’m sorry you went through this and that you went through this with the rage of your family. But, that said, the courage you’ve shown in defying your family to bring justice for yourself and potential future victims is incredibly admirable. I don’t know too many people like you. You are a rare breed. You are amazing. Thank you so much for writing this essay–I’m sure you’ve given other survivors the courage to speak out about their own stories.

  • Whitney

    You are incredibly brave.

  • Julia

    Wow, just wow. Thank you so much for sharing that painful piece of you. I want to but i just can’t.

  • Sue

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have been wrestling how to put words to my problem with all of these current revelations, and this does it. You are a courageous and honest woman. Many blessings.

  • Jen,
    YOU are a valiant woman!
    Thank you for sharing; I am cringing inside, “seeing” you hide, albeit unsuccessfully..doing what you were able, tho no one.. not dad or mom HEARD you!
    Your brother learned the art of manipulation and spiritual terrorism early on…
    Your message here really is an urgent alert to WHAT parents teach the children about boy/girl relationships..and what they DON”T teach or demonstrate.
    I am deeply angered…FOR you…for the abandonment that left you helpless!
    I am so sorry!

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I’m still trying to dig through my emotions this week. Incredibly triggering. My father is in prison for what he did to me, but his family shunned me and supported him, as did my maternal uncle (shunning, at least).

  • Stephanie

    Excellent article. Excellent, excellent, excellent. I’m so tired of the Christian community blindly supporting the perpetrator!

  • Brave, brave girl. I wish I could hug you.

  • Turning your pain into prevention–you are brave, strong, and living a redemption story. Thank you for seeking justice and sharing your story to inspire others to do the same.

  • Daniel

    Thank you for sharing your story. Days ago when details of the Duggars’ story were just starting to come out a friend of mine posted something on facebook to which I felt the need to respond. I am glad I didn’t because after reading your story I am convinced that I do not have an understanding of how to respond.

    You are so right when you say that no one wins in situations like these, and you’re also right in stating that forgiveness and justice are not mutually exclusive. As a man, I can’t possibly comprehend the extent of your pain and I feel embarrassed that my heart grieves for all the lives affected. I just pray that God heals and comforts you in ways that only He knows how, because tragic cases like yours only show us how short we fall of perfect justice and grace.

    Thank you for your courage in sharing your story.

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  • Doug

    As a pastor for more than 35 years who has sought to walk with victims of sexual abuse – both from male to male and male to female abuse – I have learned more from this article than from any other spokesperson. Thank you for your humility, honesty, grace, courage, and hope which I trust can be conveyed to as many of the oft unvalidated, unbelieved victims of this tragic abuse as possible. Advocacy for the forgotten and voiceless is a priceless and godly ministry.

  • Denise

    For those struggling with PTSD-related nightmares, there is a medication that can bring relief called prazosin. It’s a blood pressure medication that has been around for years. It works.

  • Randy Bombardier

    Good for you. This makes me sick. Co-dependent behavior alive and well in the Christian community. Your brother the pastor needs to be exposed before he grooms young people under his care. If he’s never come to you personally and humbly admitted his sin and was broken he’s not fit to be a pastor.

  • Your strength and healing are a beacon for sufferers everywhere. Thank You, Thank You, THANK YOU for coming out with your truth. I am so sorry for your pain.

  • Nellmezzo

    Beautiful piece. Deep regrets for your suffering. Here is some additional context: A family with a disturbed member will often ostracize anyone who calls out the problem. I suppose some families correctly identify the person with the problem & get help for them, but often it is important for them to pretend instead. Anyone who tells the truth is then hated with all the passion normally felt for “family”. It is very hard to be hated by your own family, especially when they choose a “morally superior” stance too.

  • Grace

    I wish more Christian outlets would use the opportunity to educate like this, and also more generally, talk about what might make someone an abuser.

    Time magazine offered this. http://time.com/3894293/josh-duggar-molestation-claims-pedophilia/#3894293/josh-duggar-molestation-claims-pedophilia/

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  • This was hard to read, but its a very important article. I linked to the article on my article about sexual abuse within the church, using Josh Duggar as an example.

    Reaed here: http://lambtheology.com/2015/05/29/on-josh-duggar-and-sexual-abuse-the-church-needs-to-do-more/

  • Angie

    Thank you so much for sharing.
    No one wants to acknowledge the pain of an injured soul.
    And no one wants to hold the ‘christian’ abusers accountable.

  • Ann

    Jen, You are very strong and you are very brave, even if you don’t always FEEL that way! Thank you for speaking for the Duggar daughters and all of us who have suffered sexual abuse by family members in a Christian home.

    Though my abuse was not from a sibling, but 3 adults, when I remembered it, and started talking about it years after it happened, I was the one labeled as “crazy and trying to destroy the family”. And 2 of the perpertrators were already dead! To this day, in spite of the passage of time, my siblings prefer to protect the reputation of the violators rather acknowledge the violation and the hurt that I endured. I have concluded that healing is a life-long process,that ebbs and flows. As I contiue down that path, it certainly would be nice to have family suport, but it is not there. So, we get that support from those who have been there and who understand. I have just added YOU to my list! Blessings and keep talking!!

  • Diane S

    I think there may be some confusion as to who the offender is here. In my initial skimming of the article, not having read the intro carefully, I was fearfully under the impression that the offender was Boz’s brother and that Boz was the victim. Having gone back to re-read more carefully, including the intro, it now appears that the victim was Jen Bicha and the offender her older brother. Hopefully this takes Boz’s pastor brother off the hook. If not, this should be clarified.

  • Larry Wilkes

    Brooklyn, my heart breaks for what you, Jen and far too many others have gone through at the hands of those who should have been your protectors. For the sake of the people who would otherwise be under your brother’s care if he is ordained, please contact the denominational body that he is under to let them know of this, if you haven’t already done so. If you have and they refuse to hear you or look into this, then shame on them; they will share in his sin as accomplices, should he commit this deviant violence again.

  • Pr Chris

    I truly love your strength in writing what you have. I’ve been posting all over the internet on this, and my posts have been very similar to what you posted. These girls obviously got no significant counseling…if Josh didn’t get counseling, then, since the Duggars are all concerned about him, the girls are the “collateral damage” in the story and they’re doing nothing.

    For the Duggars’ form of “Christianity” the goal in life for girls is to grow up and get married and have many kids of their own. But that is exactly what is being destroyed in their daughters. How are they going to relate to young men when it comes time to look for a mate? How are they going to be able to trust him? How are they going to be able to sustain married life, with the intimacy that is essential to it. These girls are likely to have great difficulty in finding a mate, and being able to remain in a marriage will take superhuman strength, and the family will always wonder “why?” I know…

  • Miss Linda

    First, thank you so much for speaking out for us, who have been sexually abused, especially as children. I did not and it affected me all my life up until I was about 40 or so, when I finally sought biblical counseling.
    Second, when you say this article is not for replicating, you mean to copy/print it, but we can share it, right?

  • Laurie

    Thank you for writing this excellent article. What you have to share needs to become a part of the shared knowledge and wisdom the Christian community turns to when responding to abuse. For too long and too often the response has instead been to further injure the victim through minimizing the impact and not holding offenders accountable. Along those lines, I think there is a typo in the article when it says that by minimizing the offenders culpability the impact was minimized. Minimizing the offenders culpability maximizes the devastating impact to the victim, which is what I think you, the author, meant to convey.

  • eli

    Now, my question is…how do i raise my daughter in a healthy way, keeping my baggage out of her life. I was not raped like Jen but i was assaulted at 11 years old. in church. during sunday school.

  • Rose

    We could have been raised in the same home. My brother is 10 years older than I am. My mother knew about the abuse, but she forbade me to tell anyone. Then, although she never left me under his care again, she watched and listened throughout the rest of my childhood, my teens, and my young adulthood as he tortured me verbally. Not once in my memory was he ever punished for anything that he said or did. She always said that I had been such a precocious child that his teen hormones had taken over, due to the temptation that I had presented at age 4 or 5, when it began. I finally spoke to my dad about it the week that I graduated from college. I was completely unprepared for the level of anger that the entire family had toward me. I was shouted at by several family members for trying to ruin my brother’s life and for ruining my dad’s retirement and his pride on my graduation day. My parents are gone now, and my brothers and their families barely speak to me. Your words help my healing.

  • susan

    Eli, I was raped at age 4. I am a survivor and I wanted to answer your question. I raised 3 children. 2 of them girls. The way to raise a child in the light of your own abuse is to be honest, open, and someone she can come to and tell anything to no matter how horrible she thinks it is. You must learn to believe what tell you. Make sure she understands anatomy, feelings she might have growing up. My girls knew if they felt funny or uncomfortable around another person, EVEN a person of authority, they could tell me or their father.I also told them what someone might say to them, such as, they won’t believe you or I will hurt your parent or you if you tell. I explained that this was a way to scare them into doing what they wanted. Now I know this sound like I dumped a lot on them, but I would look for ways to initiate this kind of conversation. Maybe a commercial or show on tv or an article that they might have seen. All in all, this subject needs to be spoken about openly.

  • Jill Boredom

    I know how you feel. Send me a note to
    frederik.elias01@gmail.com

  • This was a horrible wrong done to Jen Bicha. I immediately think of the Lord saying “Vengeance is mine” and “love your enemy.” She writes “Didn’t I matter?” which is a valid self-consideration, but the question is indeed about self = ego. We all matter, but then even in the face of cruelty and abuse baggage that so many carry, we have to empty ourselves and focus on eternity as our purpose and end. Not a popular concept with today’s consumer orientated church, who strives to fulfill the American dream which is largely unbiblical. Think if the Lord refused being punished for our sins, certainly he didn’t deserve what was due us. Having been abused myself, I choose not to seek restitution or vengeance but to trust all things to the Father. The purpetrator is no longer living in my case for consideration of others. Is it my duty to seek justice? In spiritual reality, justice and forgiveness are not incompatible. If the culprit is proven guilty, he/she should receive a severe…

  • …not because of vengeance for the sake of personal “justice”, but because a society must safeguard others. While forgiveness would be very difficult in such a situation, it does not stand in contradiction to justice. The structures of society require appropriate sanctions for wrongdoing through justice; broken relationships require forgiveness. We don’t get what we deserve; Christ got what we deserved at the cross. That is grace! When we express the spirit of forgiveness toward one who has wronged us, that attitude is possible because the “sentence” for that wrongdoing has already been served. So we, too, are free to express grace! We live in a world with an excess of bitterness and hate and injustice. God’s people urgently need to hold fast to love and justice. To do so requires the exercise of forgiveness. Once again, forgiveness does not mean the setting aside of justice. It does mean we are not free to become resentful and bitter, or to become our own “administrator of…

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  • Tedd

    It is incredibly important that you raise this issue. Simply because the family goes to church or even is very active in church doesn’t mean anything. The statistics are the same in our churches as they are in the rest of the society.

    My dad was a serial child molester and more. He had a degree in Bible from a well-known conservative Christian college. By the time he had his degree, he already had several victims, including a couple of adults. I became one of his victims when I was 5-13.

    My mom went to the same college he attended. He was an elder and she was a deacon. She was also an abuser.

    The entire family (5) was very active in the church and Boy Scouts. All of the family claimed to be Christians.

    Was that a Christian home?

    Sometimes I wonder if the idea of a “Christian home” is a fiction. Maybe there are only Christians and pseudo-Christians.

    But the Church needs to take off the blinders and see the reality of it all.

  • Jen, I applaud you for the tremendous courage you have demonstrated in speaking the truth despite so much apposition. You are a precious lady and a true inspiration to many other victims of sexual abuse. Thank you for sharing you story. I wept as I read your articles. I remember meeting you years ago when you visited your sister at college. I am praying for you and that God will continue to use you in a great way. May we never remain silent when we learn of a child being abused. Thank you, Jen.

  • Learning to be a survivor

    S. E. Ray,
    For those of us, including Jen, who were raised in a culture where “forgiveness” was required instantly and cheaply, there is something missing in what you are saying.
    It is NOT wrong for Jen or any of the rest of us to ask if we matter. It is a valid question. In the very conservative, fundamentalist world we grew up in, we did not matter to God. We were considered nothing more than trash and had no value whatsoever to God, yet our perpetrators were and are held as highly valuable to this same God.
    If I were to follow the direction of your statements, I would be trapped back into a religion where sexual abuse is quickly covered up and forgiven. It is the perfect playground for a sex offender. He only has to say that he is sorry and he is free to move on to his next victim.
    Please try to understand that Jen and many of us grew up being taught that we have absolutely no value whatsoever.

  • Learning to be a survivor

    Wondering if we matter to God is not an ego trip. It is a real question that torments us as we were taught differently.
    When the abusers are the very people who are pastors, missionaries, christian school principles and teachers, etc., do we just sit back and tell the victims to empty ourselves and just focus on God?
    Offenders are given a free pass, but if their victims struggle with confusion, doubt or fear, we are immediately met with some obligation we must do to please God.
    Earthly justice is God ordained. It has nothing to do with forgiveness.
    Why do we teach young children the song, “Jesus Loves Me?” According to your argument, that would be teaching them something wrong. Do we not learn to love him when we discover his love for us?

  • Learning to be a survivor

    Linda,
    I am glad that you seem to have found healing. For me, biblical counseling only further alienated from the concept of God’s love. If you have encountered differently, than I am very glad for you.
    However, if you are still struggling a trauma therapist is well equipped to really help in ways that biblical counselors just don’t have the training or understanding to offer.
    I hope that you continue to find healing!!

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  • CL

    Having complete empathy for the writer’s situation, I feel I must also comment that it in no way compares to the Duggar situation. The writer’s situation,from what we know, is so much more severe than what went on in the Duggar home.

  • Patrice

    We were made by God, in His image! When things went wrong, He thought us so valuable that He came down as one of us, that we may be restored. We are sons/daughters of the God of the universe!

    It is a travesty when a brother treats a daughter of God in such terrible ways. Forgiveness only goes so far when the perpetrator has no intention of repenting. Forgiveness means coming to a point where the perp no longer holds power in one’s life.

    Forgiveness can take a long time. Meantime, there will be despair, anger, grief, confusion—normal responses. Christians sometimes confuse them with bitterness/hate. I wonder if they do that to avoid discomfort. If the the healing emotions can be called sin, they are no obligated to empathize/aid.

    Yes, as you and Gen write, justice is very important to pursue. That job properly belongs to the community around the victim, with the victim giving support as she can.

  • Jill

    I am sorry you were further alienated from God.
    God has used Biblical counseling from a Godly woman and the use of listening prayer to bring healing, ability to forgive, peace and yes, joy to me.
    He has also used a supportive husband, good friends, loads of books and the Bible.
    I pray you find peace too

  • Jill

    Thank-you for sharing your story.
    You are brave.
    I am so sorry that your family did not support you.
    This hurts so much doesn’t it?
    I pray that you continue to receive healing, peace, and more freedom from the pain of what was done to you.