Friday, May 25, 2007

My New Home Makes Repairs

The church where I was abused and which has actively covered up these crimes for years, was an independent church. Though they did not have "Baptist" in the name, they are baptist in doctrine and practice. Years ago, about 15 in fact, my husband and I found a home in the Southern Baptist Convention. While each church is autonomous, there is a connection among the churches. I have often had the idea that if clergy sexual abuse took place in a Southern Baptist Church, there would at least be some response by the other churches. Sadly, that is not necessarily the case.

Christa Brown is a survivor of Clergy Sexual Abuse within the SBC. Predators can take advantage of our structure and move from church to church without being discovered. There is a move to create a database of convicted molesters and we hope that it will pass and work.

The Catholic church has covered this sin and crime. The independent church that I went to, has done the same. If anyone can do something positive against Clergy Sexual Abuse, it is the Southern Baptist Convention. We have to value the souls of our children over a false image that we call "our church's testimony." We have the chance to be different and take the lead in saving children and other vulnerable people, from those who would destroy them.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Chronology of Events

I realize that when we are talking about things that happened so long ago, that a timeline can be confusing. However, my story is told over a long time and it becomes important in understanding. This is my best attempt at putting it together.

• 1977, July – November: The molestation took place during church youth activities and when the youth intern took me to or from church activities.
• 1977, November: My mother found a journal or letters in which I recorded the events. I was given the message that I was never to speak of this, again.
• 1977 – 1983: I continued to go to the same church every week. I would see the molester every time I went. I kept silent until I was dating the man who is now my husband.
• 1987: I suppressed thinking about the abuse until I was pregnant with my first child. I now know that this is very common for abuse survivors. Sometime around 1988 I began going to a “Christian Counselor.” His advice was to go home, look in the mirror and tell myself how bad of a person I was until I got over it. I read later, that he was arrested for videotaping women using the restroom at his office.
• 1999: My husband and I were in the process of applying to be missionaries in Latin America. I knew that there would be questions regarding our pasts, beliefs, etc. Part of me believed that if our board knew about my abuse I would be disqualified from service. This is part of the shame factor with abuse. Somehow, the victim takes on the guilt of the event. I began to believe that I would either have to deal with this head on or our dream of being missionaries would have to die. This is where the chronology gets interesting.
• 1999, November: I attended a Sunday evening service with my parents at their church. After church, we went out for coffee. When we entered the diner, the guy who molested me was sitting with a teen-age girl from the church. The girl was the daughter of one of my best friends. Suddenly, it all came together. I had not been the only victim and I knew that I had to do something.
• My husband, Chip, and I talked about seeing my friend’s daughter with the molester. Chip sets up a meeting with the molester and the current pastor of the church. This pastor had been at the church for four or five years and would have had no idea that I had been molested.
• My husband and I meet with Pastor P and the molester, Mr. S.
• 2004, June: We find out that Pastor P is no longer at the church and wonder who is watching the molester?
• 2004, August: Contact Pastor H who is associate pastor of the church. He assures us of full cooperation and says he will protect the children of the church.
o Mr. D, Chairman of the deacons, gets involved and says he will investigate.
• 2004, September or October: Mr. D writes and tells us that while Mr. S admits to having had improper contact with a 13 year old (me), that since Jewel was the only victim, there is nothing more that needs done!
o Further, I am chastised for my unforgiving spirit and told to leave them (the church) alone.
o Mr. S will not be removed from working with children or youth!
• 2005, August: The church calls a new pastor, Pastor R. Chip calls him from South America to let him know that he has a molester in the church.
o Chip asks him to “do the right thing.” We do not know what if anything has ever been done other than that Mr. S does not go to church because he is ill.
• 2007, May: I launch this blog spot in the hope that someone will be helped.