As I said in the previous post, I am still dealing with emotions. As an abuse survivor, it dredges up feelings – not really memories. Feelings of not being heard. Of being expected to live with someone else’s issues at the expense of my family and myself. Outrage. Grief. Despondency. Even problems in my bedroom with my spouse.
While I was upset Six had been molested more than once, Andrew’s mom’s response cut me to the quick. And while I tried to be gracious, tried to take my time to process her words “I forgot. I was focused on Andrew’s birthday. I’m sorry I didn’t respond when you thought or how you thought I should.” All of those things took me back to when I was six years old. The sheer rage her words brought up inside me was incomprehensible.
I called the First Lady at our church and discussed the problem. Once I realized that Andrew’s mom had spoken to her first, and how she completely downplayed the situation, I was beyond livid. I felt I what I was saying was being not taken seriously. Until the events with the teacher happened and I discussed it with the pastors, I was not taken seriously. I do charge it to their perception and lack of understanding. However, I did listen and tried to show her grace.
I tried to go to church. I could not. Andrew’s mom was in a leadership role-praise and worship. I could not watch someone minister who would so boldly live in denial, and it be accepted. While I understood there had to be some kind of mental incapacity to behave as she did when it came to Andrew, I still could not stand in agreement with ignoring her denial and apply love covers all to this situation. Even Jesus got angry and took action at least once in His ministry. I stopped going and went to another church, our sister church, so I could make sure I was still getting fed and could work through the situation without constantly exposing my family to them.
Long story short, until I sat with First Lady and told her what happened with Six and his teacher, I didn’t feel my concerns were taken seriously. Until it was completely undeniable, I was told to apply love, patience and grace. This happens often in churches. I felt my concerns were basically ignored until it was highly evident my son had been molested, and it was clear Andrew had been too. Then people wanted to have meetings for accountability and help. That was great. Except it didn’t happen. Andrew’s mom had been having health issues and wound up in the hospital. The meeting was supposed to happen this week. It still hasn’t happened. Keep in mind it has now been a few days shy of a month since the discovery of abuse. It has been three weeks since someone in church was informed and made aware of the situation.
Sadly, we are no longer members of the church – and it isn’t entirely because of this situation, but this is definitely a prayer answered. Side note: I had been praying about attending our sister church and asked God to show me without any doubt it was time for us to leave. Some events unfolded that solidified we were to move on.
We still have not had this meeting with Andrew’s mom. I’m no longer interested in involving the church in any potential conversations we will have with her. They have not contacted us about rescheduling meetings, nor have they checked in to see how Six has been. Believe me, there will be conversations had without them.
I’m not sure that we can ever be the friends we once were. Only God can restore that. To be honest, I’m not sure if I want to be the friends we once were, although I do want healing for her and her family, as well as my own.
The point of this post is not to make people angry with Andrew’s mom, nor is it to shame the church I was attending. So do me a favor – pray they’ll be healed and that we can speak without any hurt or anger. Anyway, I’m outlining how these things can happen and how things can be overlooked. Because appropriate action wasn’t taken quickly, there are damaged relationships between children, parents and church members. Because the church doesn’t always take things seriously and really investigate these types of matters, the opportunity for offense, hurt, lies, and continued abuse lingers, and often occurs (not just the church I was attending, but many churches).
Sexual abuse of any kind often has stigma associated with it, and unfortunately, those who really need help don’t receive it. Victims are told to either keep quiet or they aren’t taken seriously or they’re ignored altogether. Abusers are not held accountable, and aren’t exposed to the help they need. The families of both parties are left to deal without real guidance or accountability. It’s not good for anyone. People remain broken. And that’s not Christ-like, godly or wisdom.
So what does healing look like for us? We are looking high and low to get Six into a play therapy program that we can afford. Most therapists are not taking our insurance or are strictly private pay. This is a crazy cycle. Why does it have to be this hard? The behavior stemming from what happened, combined with challenges he already has with change and behavior have made these last three weeks hellacious. We get a call from school EVERYDAY about his behavior. He has become more and more aggressive with his teacher. It’s tiring.
We do not blame all of his behavior on the abuse, because that’s not true. At the end of the day, it’s our responsibility to make sure our son becomes a productive member of society regardless of what has happened to him. It’s our job to provide him with opportunity and time to talk, and express himself. We do. We’re not the parents that stick him in front of a TV or shove him in front of a tablet, phone or laptop screen. We try to make life as normal as possible.
For awhile, we saw our little boy spiraling out of control. It was clear that he wasn’t himself for awhile. Now that we are at the bottom of it, and we have eliminated what we believe to be a main contributing factor of his odd behavior, there are some positive changes at home that we’re seeing. For awhile, he wasn’t singing or smiling. He would have weird emotional outbursts. He was not sleeping all night without nightmares. When he did get TV time, he would stare like a zombie at it, like he wasn’t there. Now, he’s back to singing and smiling, and sleeping all night. Right now, he’s at home because of his behavior toward his teacher yesterday. He is calm today. He is currently watching a program to help him read (which he loves), and he is engaged. He is saying the words and sounding them out. He seems to be more in control of himself at home lately. Oh, don’t get it twisted. We still have our moments everyday, but he’s getting better. And we can see it.
One of the takeaways from this experience is that people will not move unless there is something that forces them to. Unless there is a vested interest or grave risk to their own children or well being, nothing will happen. This is sad because this is a rampant issue in churches everywhere, not just my church or even only yours. I have been following the Catholic church controversy and how they handle it, versus how other church communities handle the issue. It’s the same action across denominations. This tells me it’s the same demons doing the same thing, and the church body is turning a blind eye or has fallen prey to it.
This angers me.
We, the church of Jesus Christ, are supposed to have authority over these kinds of things. We are supposed to expose the truth and exterminate these kinds of things with prejudice. Not people, but the spirits behind them. People need to be set free! While there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, Jesus and the apostles and the early church was still very much pro-responsibility! We can’t say love the person and hate the sin unless we’re really prepared to do the spiritual battle. Unfortunately, the church is soft, with many people not even believing in deliverance ministry or having the knowledge of how to wield the authority given to us to trample on scorpions and serpents mentioned in Luke (and naw, I’m not talking about those crazy folks that handle snakes – cuz I ain’t doin’ that). I pray we will wake up and take authority, that we will fight – not in the natural zones, but in the spiritual realm where it goes down.
The molestation is a generational thing that has now been broken from my family line. We have been taught what to look for, and have received healing for it. The changes in us as a family is amazing. Molestation, rape, and abuse are foul spirits that like to open doors and set up strongholds to more malicious things. But this convo is for another time. It sounds scary to many who have not ever experienced or seen it – and it even looks fake. But I’m a witness to the reality of demonic powers – and the blood of Jesus being able to break those strongholds. And no, I’m not crazy or hysterical. I’m a regular chick just like everyone else…but I’m also learning that Jesus is real, and He has given us power to live life the way He did. I am thankful that we don’t have to live in bondage to behaviors we can’t control, or leave things to happen to our children without remedy.