Have you ever read something that literally made you sick? I just finished a letter by a young woman who was sexually abused by her minister dad for nearly her entire life. She tried repeatedly to get help, and was repeatedly shamed, silenced and lied on by family and other church leaders. I feel like crying. John Shore shares it here:
I was raised Independent Fundamental Baptist; my family lived and breathed it. My mother graduated from Bob Jones University. All of my aunts and uncles attended Bob Jones University. My grandfather is a well-known IFB pastor who is also a graduate of Bob Jones University. From elementary school on I knew that I would attend BJU too, or be literally kicked out of the family on my ear.
My father was accused of sexually molesting little girls while in my grandfather’s church in Pennsylvania. We were packed up and moved in the middle of the night to Tennessee. My grandfather had made the connection for us to this other church—where the pastor, a friend of his, was another Bob Jones University graduate. My grandfather didn’t believe that my father was molesting the little girls. I do, because my father also molested me and my little sister.
The first time I tried to tell what my father was doing, my mother began to sob. Then she called my grandfather. He told my mother not to go to the police (because those evil police and social workers will come out and investigate our home), but to instead call our Tennessee pastor, who, he said, “would handle it.” My mother did call the pastor. Then she took me over to the church to talk to him.
When I started to try to tell the pastor—my pastor—and his wife that my father had been molesting me since I was three or four years old, he stopped me. “Don’t tell me,” he said. “I don’t want to hear it! If you tell me, then I am required to call the police and report this. You don’t want your daddy going to prison over a misunderstanding, do you?”
I was fourteen. I loved my dad. I was confused. I told the pastor that I didn’t want my dad to go to jail, but that I also didn’t want him touching me anymore. The pastor then told me and my mother that he had spoken with my grandfather, who, he told us, was flying down. The pastor and my grandfather were going to speak with my dad. I was promised, “You need to trust us. God won’t let your daddy touch you again.”
Grandpop did fly in. I was in the Christian School associated with the church. When my grandfather showed up, he took me out of school to go to lunch. He asked what my father had done to me. I told him. My grandfather told me that he thought I had misunderstood; that I had confused my dad’s “loving on his daughter” with “evil things.” Nevertheless, my grandfather promised to speak to my father, along with my pastor.
None of this stopped my father from continuing to sexually abuse me.
The letter continues unfolding years and years of hidden and just plain evil abuse. People are often quick to mock the Roman Catholic Church for its handling of child molestation and rape, yet it’s obvious that this is a problem across denominations and into generations of families. Plain and simple, if someone is being abused, REPORT IT TO THE AUTHORITIES. CALL THE POLICE. CALL CHILD SERVICES. This is, as John titles his post, a Christianity to make Satan proud.