Disclaimer: The following piece is referencing abuse in faith-based communities. Underlying this post is the caustic notion that victims are somehow responsible to face their offenders; to adjudicate justice against their offender; when just facing another day takes all the courage they have. It hits on the pretentious Pontius Pilates who smugly wash their hands and say they can do nothing about the egregious offences committed by the alleged offender unless the weak lead the way. If you have have been a victim of religious trauma, this post may be triggering, as it references The Christ. Be at peace.
What is the victims responsibility in the face of abuse?
To recover choice.
To find voice.
To restore the ruins.
To do the hard work of healing.
Don’t you DARE tell a victim it is his/her “responsibility” to tell the story. It shows you are uniformed, at best, and utterly obtuse, at worst.
Do you know how long it can take to do the hard work of healing for the sexuality that someone else smashed???
Years, I tell you. Years.
Cowards look at the Courageous and ask for more. Why?
They are COWARDS.
You know not what you ask.
You put a foot on the neck of the broken,
You ask them to rise, to speak,
Yet you never remove your polished boot.
Shut thy mouth.
Then no one will think you the fool.
You smugly look at the victim writhing on the floor under your boot and say,
“We can no nothing unless you speak.”
You are full of rot.
You the strong, regard the weak as the excuse for your complacency.
You will not be excused.
You will not.
Victims already feel responsible for their abuse.
You heap shame upon merciless shame – in Jesus name.
You COMPLACENT COWARD.
“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means the highest point of reality. A chastity or honesty, or mercy, which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only under conditions. Pilate was merciful til it became risky.” CS Lewis
You are merciful until it costs you.
Do something with what you know.
Hold your brother to account.
Not so easy is it?
You’d do well to look at the PLANK in your own eye.
A survivor should speak when he/she is darn good and ready.
The role of the bystander may be any or all of the following:
1. Mandatory reporting
2. Supporting/strengthening the victim(s) and secondary victims
3. Educating yourself on abuse
4. Educating others and advocating for change
When you the bystander wring and wash your hands in the face of power;
When you say there is nothing you can do unless the slaughtered leads the way;
When you bend your ethic to the politic of the institution;
When you betray the sorrowful, the suffering, and the slaughtered;
You become a coward surrendering your scruples to the crowd.
When you educate yourself and advocate for others;
When you speak on behalf of the silenced;
When you enter into the unspeakable agony of abuse;
When you sit with the slaughtered;
When you strengthen the weak;
You become something like the Christ you proclaim.