Abuse

Sammi Sluder 7-17-2017

Image via Eva Blue/ Flickr

Gay is a true prophetic voice. She laments her life, her trauma, and her weight. She doesn’t promise victory but speaks to the pain that so many people feel: victims and survivors of sexual violence, bisexual people, fat people, and lonely people.

Jamie Howison 5-30-2017

IN SEMINARY we “wrestled” with the problem of evil. Human evil. Systemic evil. The apparent evil of natural disasters. Drawing lines between the horrors wrought by an earthquake and the tragedy of an air crash caused by a mechanical failure. Tracing human culpability for the famine in Ethiopia. I wrote one dandy paper on the failure of process theology to deal adequately with the problem of evil. All at arm’s length, in the relative comfort of a “starving student’s” life.

It’s funny, in a way, that even though I already had worked for years with abused and neglected kids, their experience of evil rarely entered my college musings, at least not in any significant or sustained way. ... Guess what? This girl [an abuse survivor] doesn’t want my “problem of evil” package. Some do, you know. Some of the kids I’ve worked with will ask, “Where was God when I was being abused?” because they want desperately to hear that God was in the picture somewhere. Anywhere. ...

One thing is sure: I can’t “comfort” her into a faith in God. I can’t hope to find some new and dynamic arrow in the theological quiver that will penetrate the armor of her anger and disillusionment. I can’t hope to find some new stuff to put into those old packages. In fact, I have to fight every urge to tamper with my packages, and instead learn to leave them up on the shelf, where, for the most part, they belong.

Lucy Hadley 5-09-2017

Image via Molly Crabapple/ #FreeBresha Campaign

In the early hours of July 28, 2016, Bresha shot her father with his gun while he slept on the couch. Relatives say this action put an end to years of abuse, accounts that are corroborated with police and child services accounts. In 2011, Brandi Meadows, Bresha’s mother, filled a police report accusing her husband of constant emotional, financial, and physical abuse during 17 years of marriage. She told Fox News, “[Bresha is] my hero. She helped me — she helped all of us so we could have a better life.” According to her lawyer, Ian Friedman, Bresha’s brother and sister — witnesses to the shooting — will testify that Bresha acted in self-defense.

Layton E. Williams 4-13-2017
a stained glass window depict Jesus on the cross.

Submissive obedience is deeply embedded in Christian theology. The origin of sin is attributed to Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the garden. Jesus, by contrast, is described as “obedient unto death” — an example we are taught to emulate. God is depicted as all-powerful, all-knowing, a king and lord and father with relentless control over all things. And we — broken, limited, and prone to mistakes — are meant to trust God in all things, and give ourselves over completely to God’s divine power. This call to submissive obedience is exemplified, more clearly than anywhere else, in Jesus’ willing submission to torture and death on the cross.

Good Friday is an invitation for us, every year, to ask: What is actually good about Jesus’ death on the cross? What about it is salvific, and what is it saving us from?

Image via Josephine McKenna/ Religion News Service 

“The effort to keep the church from stopping this sort of thing is shocking,” she added. “It is about male power and male image, not people’s stories. The real trouble is they have defined their power as spiritual leadership and they don’t have a clue about spiritual life.”

Image via Barb Dorris/SNAP/RNS

“We’re really not talking about anything changing,” said Mary Ellen Kruger, chair of the five-member board of directors of SNAP. “Our everyday mission is the same: helping survivors, protecting kids through education, and exposing predators. So that’s not changed.”

Image via RNS/Reuters/Jason Reed

At this time of year, we often see animals subjected to cruel holiday stunts, or treated as living props in our confusing pageantry.

Domino’s Japan recently announced it was canceling its ill-conceived plan to train reindeer to deliver pizza, following a PETA Asia campaign. And just this week, a man was charged with abusing a camel that was part of a hospital’s live Nativity scene in Pikeville, Ky.

Elaina Ramsey 10-06-2016

via Elaina Ramsey / Sojourners

Over the last few months, Bresha’s plight has gained national support as advocates call for her immediate release. Accused of killing her father after enduring a lifetime of abuse, prosecutors have threatened to charge Bresha as an adult, which could potentially leave her in prison for the rest of her life.

For me, Bresha’s story hits way too close to home.

the Web Editors 5-17-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

These accusations suggest evidence of a coverup on the part of the Seattle Archdiocese, wrote KIRO7 reporter Dave Wagner, who first broke the story on his Facebook page

But "the Seattle Archdiocese maintains it is trying to atone for the sins of the past."

Timothy Morgan 5-11-2016
ABWE / RNS

Photo via ABWE / RNS

The Association of Baptists for World Evangelism has released a 280-page report revealing how its leaders failed to stop a leading missionary surgeon from sexually abusing 22 women and girls.

It’s a story as familiar to small, neighborhood churches as it is to large megachurches, though those are the ones that grab headlines.

Image via /Shutterstock.com

A Louisiana judge has ruled that a state law requiring clergy to report child abuse or other crimes learned in the confessional is unconstitutional because it infringes on religious liberty. At issue is a long-running case involving Rebecca Mayeaux, a 22-year-old who claims that when she was 14 she told the Rev. Jeff Bayhi, a Catholic priest, during confession that a church member was abusing her. Mayeaux claims Bayhi told her to “sweep it under the rug.”

the Web Editors 2-09-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

Rape. Domestic Violence. Acid Burnings. Female Infanticide. Human Trafficking. Emotional Abuse. Sexual Harassment. Genital Mutilation.

These are just a few forms of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) that women and girls endure on a daily basis. But these assaults on the human spirit and sacred worth of women and girls will not have the last word.

the Web Editors 11-25-2015

What do you do when you want to balance the budget and don't know how to compromise? Well, if you're Congress, you raid $1.5 billion from a fund set up specifically for crime victims and hope no one notices.

The Victims of Crime Act fund, set up by Congress in 1984, is distributed to states to support local domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and a variety of victim assistance programs for survivors of trauma and crime. The thing is, this is a self-sufficient federal fund — meaning that it doesn't come from taxpayer money but rather the fines and penalties imposed on criminals and offenders.   

Nagmeh Abedini. Image via Adelle M. Banks / RNS

The wife of Saeed Abedini, the Iranian-American pastor imprisoned in Iran since September 2012, has had a difficult month.

First Naghmeh Abedini canceled all public appearances after telling supporters by email that her husband had abused her physically, emotionally, and sexually. Twelve days later, she released a statement saying she regretted her previous emails.

“I was under great psychological and emotional distress,” she said.

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

In every moment, we are every age we have ever been, according to psychologist Carl Rogers. For me, this means our bodies are like a bus riding down the highway of life, and the passengers are who we have been at every age. As we travel through life, some things we see, hear, and experience evoke feelings of great joy, love, and calm — or trigger tremendous anxiety, pain, and fear — from different past experiences.

When children are treated like they are not important, told they not smart enough or good enough, valued more for their accomplishments than for the unique individuals they are, treated like they only have value if they have money, or abused emotionally, physically, or sexually, the impact of those feelings never goes away. Those feelings continue to ride on the bus.

Because the child within us never goes away, the impacts of childhood abuse and neglect are long-term unless there is meaningful intervention.

BGM

“BLACK WOMEN AND GIRLS are killed by the police, too.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a blank stare when I made this statement, even in activist spaces. Occasionally I’ll see a few affirmative nods, but overwhelmingly there is apathy. I leave with a sick feeling, wondering, “Where is the rage and protest for my sisters?” and “Who will fight for my life?”

In May, Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100, and Ferguson Action came together for a national day of action for black women and girls. We wanted to shed light on the fact that black women and girls, in all our complexities, have been erased from the broader narrative of police terrorism and modern-day lynching in this country. Cities such as Oakland, Calif., New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Miami all participated in powerful acts of public resistance that involved reading the names of women who have been killed by police and using the hashtag #SayHerName as an awareness tool on social media.

Speaking our sisters’, daughters’, and mothers’ names at a vigil on a day set aside to acknowledge our humanity is powerful, because it says: When the world has forgotten Mya, Aiyana, Tanisha, Rekia (and so many others), we will not forget.

Kaeley McEvoy 6-04-2015
Image via Burlingham/shutterstock.com

Image via Burlingham/shutterstock.com

From 2001 through 2012, 6,410 women were murdered in the United States by an intimate partner using a gun. That is more than the total number of U.S. troops killed in action during the entirety of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars combined.

Guns are used in fatal intimate partner violence more than any other weapon. Of all the women killed by intimate partners during 2001-2012, 55 percent were killed with guns.

Fraternities have become the tail that wags the dog in U.S. universities. 

Trudy Smith 5-06-2015
Image via Sergey Nivens/shutterstock.com

Image via Sergey Nivens/shutterstock.com

Runaway Radical is a heartbreaking story told with great courage and honesty. In it, the authors offer a much-needed critique of both fear-based, crime-and-punishment theology and unjust power dynamics which are sadly commonplace within Christian culture. It’s an important story, one which I hope will create space for others who have been hurt by the church to share their experiences without shame or fear of rejection.

But Runaway Radical struck me as an inappropriate title for a book whose subject matter was spiritual abuse and unhealthy striving, rather than any fundamental problem with the “radical” idea of taking Jesus’ teachings about wealth and sacrifice seriously.

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