At this rate, I will be using the November prompts for a year. 🙂
Day 2: Share some good advice.
Most days, it is as if it’s become a distant memory. I’m too busy with school and with rebuilding and with the kids. If I pause a moment to think about why I am too busy with school and rebuilding and the kids, then I remember. It’s not the pain it was once, not even the pain it was less than six months ago. Apparently discovering I’m intelligent has helped me in more than just school. Pursuing a dream that has become bigger than anything I’ve ever hoped has definitely helped.
Some days, though, school and life meet at that juncture and I have to face it in the one place I feel safe. That is what happened last week when we delved into marriage in my Sociology class. I had to leave class early and ask for an alternative assignment. It was a long day. If I’m honest, each day after Sociology is a long day. I’m definitely not going to even entertain that as a career option. Today we finished it up and a lot of things occurred to me, one of which is an excellent piece of advice that no religious person I know will ever take, but here’s hoping.
Never be a part of a group that silences the voice of the abused. And, along with that, never be a part of a group that demands or commends reconciliation between an abuse victim and their abuser. In short, don’t be a part of 99.9% of churches in the world.
You won’t listen, though. You’ll make excuses as to why your church might not talk much about it, but it’s really not silencing the abused. You’ll make excuses about how the pastor pressures victims to continue in relationship with abusive people. You’ll make excuses….just like the abuser makes for him/herself. You’ll add to the reasons abuse victims don’t leave. You’ll be the reason they know there is no safety or support for them.
If you cared, you’d go to your pastor and ask him/her if they are aware of the statistics for abuse. You’d point out that there are women in your very church who are being abused. You’d say, “You know, the abuse rate of women is 1 in 4, that’s far bigger than human trafficking and abortion, why don’t we do something?” If he answered that he sends victims to a local center, you’d say, “But if you educated the members of our church about what abuse is, then we’d be able to curtail more of it.”
Eventually, such conversations would lead to the pastor avoiding you and, if you had any sense, you’d just leave. Because pastors don’t care about abused women. Considering the rate of abuse, if pastors cared, they’d preach about it. But they don’t. Just like all religious people, they care about the status quo. They care about the numbers. They care about how much money the church gets. They care about anything but what is going on in the lives of their congregations.
I dare you. Actually, since we’re getting close to Christmas and my kids are clamoring for Christmas movies, I triple-dog dare you. Speak regularly to your pastor about his or her silence about abuse. Give him or her the statistics every time you see them. Then, let me know what happens. If you stay in that church for long after that, you obviously are OK with the silence.