No more tape over my mouth


I am perfectly sick of being timid when it comes to speaking my mind. I don't care how it makes anyone feel, who is horrified, or who I offend, this is me and I'm done hiding behind my fear of judgement and un-acceptance. I think it took me being infuriated while browsing facebook today to feel that there is no good reason for me to shove my anger and frustration under the rug day after day. So here goes.

I was molested as a young teen. A man living under my parent's roof, paying his rent by helping with the remodeling of our home, in training at Greyfriar's Seminary to become a pastor , groomed me, sexually abused me, and molested me from the time I was 13 until I was 16 years old. He was 10 years older than me. A true monster; I was made to feel worthless, as though no one but he would ever love me. I was told that if I ever told anyone, it would ruin his life because people simply wouldn't understand what we shared. I became an expert at lying to my parents. I was forced into sexual acts time and time again that no young girl should ever be subjected to. When I was 17 years old, a friend whom I had confided in (and who I am forever grateful to) convinced me to go to the police and press charges against my abuser. After much persuasion from her, I went to my parents and to the police. The process that followed was long, painful, traumatic and awful. During this time, I was offered little to no support from the church I attended, in fact, on the day of the sentencing my former pastor and my abuser's pastor sat on *his* side of the courtroom, successfully compounding my own feelings of guilt and shame. I felt terribly alienated and many times regretted every saying anything about the abuse. Sadly, my story did not have a just ending. My abuser, who was originally charged on 3 counts of "child sexual abuse", "lewd and lascivious acts", and "forced sexual contact", was convicted of "injury to child"- the same term that would have been used had he slapped a child on Main Street. We were encouraged to go to mediation rather than to trial, and at the last minute the visiting judge decided the sentence/label of 'sexual offender' was too harsh. He equated what had happened to a "homeschool teenage love affair", despite the fact that my abuser was 10 years older than me. As a result, rather than being labeled as a sex offender (which was the only outcome I desired), his charge was lowered and he was sentenced to 4 months in Cottonwood prison and a few years on probation (which he was released from early a few months ago). After serving his sentence he was free to go. Free to live and roam wherever he pleased, which just so happened to be right back to Moscow, back to his lovely old church, back to MY town, where he now lives a normal life, owns his own construction company, and eats at his favorite downtown restaurants. Clearly he felt terrible about what happened. Clearly he felt shame and disgust with himself. Bullshit.

Now I see him once every week or two and though I no longer attend the church in which it all took place, many of the friends I still associate are friends with he and his family. While on facebook today I received an invitation to attend the baptism celebration for his most recent child. Years ago, I received letters from the church after I left telling me I was under church discipline and could no longer take communion there, meanwhile my abuser was welcomed back into the fold with open, loving arms...And people wonder why I left.

I am completely ok with admitting that I hate this man. I live my life, I am healing, and I have chosen to take my past and be stronger because of it, which I respect myself greatly for, but not everyone is so lucky. There are myriads of young girls used and abused who don't heal and can't move on. Too many women who suffer abuse are made to feel as though they have no voice and no place. The lack of justice in my situation is extremely common and more often than not, sexual abusers and pedophiles are let off the hook because of our own inability to face the issues. Yes it's uncomfortable to talk about but IF WE DON'T talk openly about these issues with our daughters we are potentially exposing them to the same harm we suffered. STOP THE ABUSE, don't let it continue any longer. I will attempt with every bone in my body to teach my daughter to respect herself and to demand respect from other people, something I was neither taught nor practiced.

So I will say it now; I am not ashamed, I will not keep quiet, and I care not what anyone thinks of me - I have only myself to answer to. Pardon my language, but here's a big 'Fuck You' to my abuser and those who defend him. He is a criminal and deserves to be treated as such.

My daughter will know my story and I will equip her with the tools to protect herself.

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."
~Elie Wiesel

Comments

  1. Dear Natalie, I have 2 very close family members who were sexually abused at about the same age. I witnessed the injustice of the court system 30 plus years ago. Some things haven't changed. As the mother of many, I purposed to do all in my power to prevent any such thing from happening to my children, and took steps many thought drastic, no spending the night at a friend's house, etc. I applaud your transparency, honesty, boldness, and going public! My prayers will be for your continued healing and for the church, in general, as it too often turns a blind eye to this issue; thus, contributing to the pain of those most hurt, children. May God protect your children and guide your family as you plan how to care for them in this regard. May God end the cycle of victimization in your family. Through Him all things are possible...Psalm 91...God's peace to you and yours, Love ~ Mrs. Burke

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  2. His name is Jamin
    The "church" is Christ church
    The "pastor" is Doug Wilson

    Shame on all who turned their backs on you and support him or that cult

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    1. This is one of the many reasons I do not attend that Church anymore, although my parents still do. When people ask, I simply say, "I'ts not a good fit for me." and have to leave it at that.

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    2. Shout it out. Tell them why. If no one speaks up then the cycle of abuse and protection of abusers will continue.

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  3. Natalie,
    I went to a camp where an HIV positive coach was a pedophile who molested my friends and made nasty remarks about me (I'm so thankful my mother always went with me). He's still coaching at the same camp years later. I went to another camp where my best friend's sister was molested by another camper at the age of 7. No one knew until she told my mother when she was a teenager.
    I'm sorry you had to go through such a nightmare. I've come to the point where I don't ever trust anyone absolutely, but I hang on to the faithfulness and purity of Jesus.
    Really enjoyed talking to you and Wes and holding your baby last week.
    Hannah

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  4. My God, I'm proud of you. You are a truth-teller, a survivor, and a beautiful, strong woman. I pray your words contribute to the Spirit storm that I am convinced will result in the folding and dismantling of this house of lies and hate. May those who truly know Christ as Lord and submit to him in humility be spared; may those who rejoice in falsehood and violence, greed and victimizing "power-over" fall with it. The day is coming; no person can bring it, but many persons considered pillars of the faith will experience it. You may no longer consider yourself to be Christian, Natalie, but never doubt that God is using you. I send you my love and my sincere thanks. And yes -- it is Jamin, it is Douglas Wilson, and it is Christ Church. May God have mercy on them all.

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  5. You are a very strong woman for standing up, not just for yourself but for abused women everywhere. To think that other women would actually choose to side with a rapist and make you out to be deserving of it for some reason is just beyond comprehenion to me. Doug Wilson reminds me an awful lot of a Jim Jones cult leader type, and you have seen his evil first-hand. I can only imagine how that would feel to watch the pastor of your church, a man that you are supposed to be able to go to for wisdom and support, side with that empty shell of a person. I'm so sorry that your abuser still haunts you. Mine still does me and I haven't even seen him in person, just the memories are bad enough.

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  6. It is so hard to stand up and tell the truth, you are a very courageous and beautiful young woman. I'm right here with you Natalie. Thanks for taking a stand and saying what needs to be said so that other girls and women know that they are not alone. My prayer is that Jamin's story is not over and that justice will be done.

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  7. The Lord knows what your abuser did, how he tormented you, and He will repay! May all of those who enabled this monster be brought to repentance before they are held accountable on their knees before Almighty God. May this monster of a "man" repent and spend the rest of his life doing restitution.

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  8. You are not alone. Your courage to face your abuser will give other women courage.

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  9. This is so crazy. I was on google looking for a picture to use for my blog called "Nap time chat." (naptimechat.blogspot.com) I wrote a post about "Touch and Go" subjects like this with a slightly different perspective and found you when I clicked on the picture. I'm right there with you girl. Crap like this sucks, and no healing is done by keeping our mouths shut. You are awesome. -Mel

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  10. Hi! I just found this through reading another article. I am proud of you for standing up and telling the truth. I am a social worker in a Christian ministry and am sick to death of seeing "Christians" who abuse children and are "forgiven" while their victims are not cared for. May God open the eyes of all of us to see that we have a responsibility to the survivors and their families who are hurt by abusers and to call these abusers to true repentance, which, I believe, requires them to admit their guilt to law enforcement and to the church. Until we, as Christians, stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves - children - we are doomed to see this happen over and over again. May God grant you peace and healing!

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  11. I spent my impressionable teen years in that church, roughly 2004-2009 and had no idea about all of this until today, when I saw a reference on crec memes. They sure did hush things up... I knew of you while I lived there (though I doubt you'd remember me), and I just want to say I am so sorry. My heart hurts for you. I would have stood up for you then, had I known. To this day I am still working out the toxic misogyny and victim blaming I internalized while going to Christ Church, although nothing like your situation ever happened to me. It takes so much time to heal, and I had to get out of that town and delete everyone off my Facebook. You must be so brave and strong for staying in Moscow, I can't even imagine what you went through. I want you to know you have supporters who think you're amazing and strong for speaking out like this.

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  12. Hi Natalie.

    I am curious. What is your present assessment right now regarding church and your faith. Those who have been through what you have been through; where do you think you go from here? In regard to how the institutional church typically responds to this behavior, do you think it points to a fundamental defect in the whole "church" thing, or maybe something else? Your experience have become commonplace in the church, why do you think that is? The church has been around for a very long time, why is a response to your situation not cut and dry?

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