When Doug Wilson Called My Father An Abuser
|My sweet dad, wrestling with a handful of his grand babies at my kid sister's graduation last year.|
|Dad and his two girls.|
Doug Wilson, my former pastor, recently had some sad and untrue things to say about our family and I would like to address some of them here.
On Tuesday, October 27th, Christ Church held a Heads of Household meeting specifically to discuss the "recent controversies", namely the Sitler and Wight/Greenfield situations. For those of you unfamiliar with this type of meeting, it is a meeting where the church leaders meet with the heads of each household or family. These are typically men or single women. The elders report on the church business and invite questions and feedback from the congregation. This last HOH meeting was unique in that the spouses were also invited - from what I understand it was packed out.
Naturally, I did not attend the meeting but I have heard a good deal about the content of it over the last few days from several trusted friends who were there. Doug Wilson led the meeting. In fact, with the exception of the Q&A segments in which attendees could ask questions, Doug spoke the entire time. As it happens, he had quite a lot to say about my family, particularly my father, Gary Greenfield.
Here's a screencap of a tweet from a couple of weeks ago, in which Doug Wilson refers to my father as someone treating me 'abusively'. His meaning was a bit confusing and then I realized Doug was referring to my dad and not my actual abuser (the man who targeted and groomed me, then sexually, emotionally, verbally, and physically abused me for over 2 years) This was very upsetting to me. My father and I enjoy a close and healthy relationship. There were some tough times after I came out about the abuse and as my parent's marriage came to an end, but I would never dream of describing my father's treatment of me as abusive, not at any point in my life.
Then, a couple of nights ago in conversation with a friend who'd attended the HOH meeting, I heard this, "At the meeting, Doug said your father was under church discipline for abusive mistreatment of his family. He said 'The way Gary treated his family was every bit as bad as the way Jamin treated [his ex-wife]'"
This remark is frightening.
I'd like to explain a bit about what Doug is referring to when he mentions Jamin's treatment of his ex-wife, the mother of their 3 beautiful children. In subsequent years Jamin was once again on trial, this time brought up on charges of felony attempted strangulation of his (now-ex) wife. Doug is comparing my father's behavior in his family with Jamin's treatment of his ex-wife. Local court records will show, to any interested party, that Jamin's "treatment" of his wife included but was not limited to: the punishing use of pornography and filthy language, violent anger, erratic driving in order to frighten and punish, physical assault, punching holes in walls, threatening to kill her, and of course the strangulation with intent to control. This abuse took place over the course of several years of marriage.
Jamin was a lying, manipulative, predatory bully.
My gentle, soft-spoken father was directly compared to him. Additionally, it was reported to me that during the meeting Doug never once referred to what happened to me at the hands of Jamin as "abuse", instead he called it things like "sexual behavior", but found it fitting to repeatedly describe my father's treatment of his family as "abuse" - this is a profound twisting of the truth.
During the aftermath of the abuse and as our family began to come apart at the seams, the stress and emotional strain on all of us, particularly on my parents, was extreme. My father is the first to admit that he was nearing an emotional break-down. He was desperate to take his family away from Moscow and Christ Church, and in his is efforts to accomplish that he exhibited some admittedly extreme behavior. There were some emotional outbursts and strong words exchanged in our family. But I image anyone that has witnessed or experienced a messy divorce can attest to the fact that extreme emotional duress can sometimes make us behave in ways we aren't proud of. That being said, my father was not abusive to us. He deeply loved his family and wanted nothing more than to protect all of us.
As my father's name is once again being dragged through the mud and his character publicly shamed, I feel a need to protect my family's honor. I reached out to each of my 4 siblings earlier today to speak with them about this matter. I also spoke with my mother (who I am blessed to have a very close relationship with). I asked each of them the following question and was given permission by each family member to post their responses.
My question to my siblings: "Do you feel that dad was abusive to you in any way, shape or form at any point in your lifetime?"
Their responses were as follows -
Zach, my older brother: "Dad never abused us! He was always really kind."
Ben, my older brother: "I don't remember dad ever being abusive to me at all. He was quiet and gentle."
Isaac, my oldest brother: "No, dad was never abusive. I know I was a hard kid to raise and I pushed his buttons, but he never abused me."
Granted, my 3 older brothers weren't living at home when my parents went through their divorce, so they weren't exposed to a lot of went on in our home during that time. But my little sister Rosie and I were right there in the thick of it.
When I asked Rosie the same question this morning, her response was, "No. Dad was never abusive. Things got a little intense at home when he and mom were going through the divorce but he never abused me. I always knew he loved me and I know anything he ever did was done out of love and protection for me."
And finally, I described to my mother, Pat Greenfield, the way that Jamin treated his ex-wife. She was pretty horrified. I then asked her if dad, at any point in time, treated her in a way which was remotely similar to or comparable with the way that Jamin treated his ex-wife, and more specifically if dad's treatment of her during the time surrounding their divorce was anything like what I described to her. She said, "No. Absolutely not. Dad never treated us like that."
So there you have it. Each one of the Greenfield kids stating very clearly and openly that our father, Gary Greenfield, was not abusive to us, that he loved us and cared for us and wanted to protect us at all costs. And my mother clearly stating that my father's treatment of her was nothing remotely comparable to the way Jamin treated his ex-wife, as Doug claimed. Comparing my father's behavior to that of a dangerous criminal is slanderous and deceitful.
As Doug Wilson continues to try to deflect attention away from the matter at hand, he makes it very clear that he does not understand abusive relationships or how they should be dealt with. He does not understand how to support or protect victims or their families. He does not understand the gravity of the mistakes he and the elders of his church have made in dealing with situations of abuse in their church. He continues to stand firmly by the decisions he made to defend a dangerous criminal and shame a victim.
You may wonder when I'll be done talking about this. The answer is pretty simple.
When people start listening.