This week, a number of Christian women’s blogs are undertaking a project to encourage survivors of abuse in a Christian environment to come forward and share their stories.
These blogs are using the term, “Spiritual Abuse” to highlight the role of church institutions and misguided faith in all sorts of abusive situations (not just sexual abuse), as well as to highlight the spiritual impact abuse has on survivors.
Participants include Wine and Marble, a blog that is written by a survivor of spiritual abuse (and contains a section on religion and food – yum!), Joy in this Journey, ShaneyIrene.com, Elora Nicole Ramirez’s “The Rebel Diaries” series, and Rachel Held Evans.
Posts so far include a story of the lasting consequences of a father’s pornography addiction, an interview with the founder of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment) and a story of the lasting consequences of a restrictive homeschooling environment,
I was morally and emotionally infantile, asymmetrically maturing in my fluency in Pharisee, successful passive-aggressive social manipulation, intellectual irrationality through simplistic logic, and unable to name for myself my own feelings, experiences, loves, fears, passions. If something about me wasn’t acceptable to the world of SGM and my parents’ approval, it didn’t exist as a valid reality.
They didn’t mean to shape me into that person. But when you create a world that is morally immature and only black and white, you stunt yourself and those under your authority and prevent the brilliant beauty of diverse humanity and the full impact of grace on human relationships from being visible. And that short-sightedness combined with power over people is the perfect storm for spiritual abuse.
Currently, the project is not highly publicized: the twitter hashtag #ChurchSurvivors has only appeared about twenty times on Twitter today. Hopefully this blog’s few readers can add their support. This is a really provocative and well-thought-out project, and it takes a lot of bravery to stand up and share these stories.