Your Story Can Make a Difference
Have you wondered about the absence of reporting on the Me Too and We Too movements? Where did they go? Have you ever watched in horror as a victim, who finally finds her voice to disclose the details of her abuse in the hopes of finding justice, is silenced by those in authority or the media? Have you been afraid to tell your own story because of the destructive impact of victim shaming? Oftentimes, when a sexual abuse or exploitation victim discloses, leaders in faith communities attempt to manage the disclosure by sweeping it under the rug or discrediting the victim. Many times, nothing is done to help a victim until a cop or lawyer shows up in the lobby. Even then the response is often reactive which can cause further harm and secondary abuse to the victim. It is human nature to want to place blame when a crime occurs, but God calls His people to a higher standard. Leaders in the church and Christian communities can do better. Writing your story can help them understand why their response is critical to healing and what they can do differently.
Instead of telling the stories of actual victims with names, dates, places, and specific situations, which can lead to further harm for the victim and shut down healing conversations, Illuminate is compiling anonymous stories by topic such as childhood sexual abuse, assault by a church leader, or sexual assault by a friend or family member. By compiling your stories topically, we can prevent victim blaming and instead shine a light on the issue to get new conversations started about best practices in response to sexual abuse disclosures. Together, we can help Christian leaders help victims of sexual abuse and exploitation in the church find hope and healing at the foot of the cross.
Would you like to be part of this important research and compilation of sexual abuse and exploitation stories in the church and other Christian communities? Your anonymous story will be compiled with hundreds of others to shine a light on the impact of sexual abuse and exploitation in a new, poignant, and powerful way.
Illuminate is seeking to compile 300 sexual abuse and exploitation stories as part of a research study. Please fill out this anonymous form and include your phone number if you would like to be interviewed for the research study and your story used in curriculum development.
“I was 12 when it started. My mother just looked the other way. I still blame her for not protecting me. I never feel safe. My childhood assault still destroys my ability to trust now in my 40’s.”
“My 14-year-old stepbrother started molesting me when I was seven. He did it until he moved out at 18. I never told anyone because he threatened me. I still walk in fear every day. I just want to be free from the memories.”
“My Youth Pastor raped me at camp. I was only 15. It was scary and confusing, and I didn’t know what to do. He told me it was God’s will for me to serve him and that I should not tell anyone. I liked his attention but not that. I felt dirty.”
“My mom’s boyfriend sexually assaulted me when he would babysit when I was nine. It lasted three years until I was old enough to get away from him. My mom doesn’t know. I never told anyone. I have struggled with drugs, porn, and suicide. Some days I wish I was dead so I could stop feeling scared.”
“My husband rapes me weekly. It is violent and ugly, and he makes me watch porn with him. My Pastor says I have to do it to please him, and it isn’t rape. I hate my life. I wish I was dead.”