Unbiblical, Part 6 – Forgiveness v. Victims’ Rights

“ ‘And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us’ ” (Luke 11: 4).

As I have said elsewhere on this website, forgiveness is a personal matter between abuse victims and their God.  Urging forgiveness on victims prematurely ignores the gravity of their trauma, and the depravity of the sins committed against them.

This amounts to a further violation.  Victims will necessarily feel that Christians are siding with the predator…even condoning the abuse.  Shockingly, in some cases Christians have been guilty of this.

Witness the Catholic Church sex scandal.  This was, at best, a product of poor judgment, and a distorted view of Scripture.  At worst, it was a cold and calculated attempt to avoid corporate responsibility, while facilitating the most heinous of crimes.

Detail from “Christ before the High Priest” by Gerar van Honthorst (1617), National Gallery (Accession No. NG3679), London, Source Web Gallery of Art (PD-Art, PD-Old-100)

Either way, church hierarchy applied precisely the same rationale to young abuse victims, as the high priest, Caiaphas, did to Christ:  “ ‘…[I]t is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish’ ” (John 11: 50).

To be clear, forgiveness is not a “warm and cozy” feeling, on the part of victims.  It is a deliberate decision by victims to leave the harm inflicted on them behind, and instead move on with their lives.

Significantly, genuine forgiveness can provide victims a release from their past which nothing else can.  The link to the predator is severed.  The hold the predator has had over victims is broken.  More than that, through God’s grace, victims are set free to heal.

Forgiveness is not inconsistent with victims’ rights.  A victim may decide no longer to expend emotional energy focusing on his/her loss.  This does not preclude criminal prosecution of the predator for the crimes s/he committed.

Criminal liability and lifelong monitoring, when imposed, are consequences of the predator’s own actions.  This is entirely in accord with Scripture.  Society must take necessary steps to protect its most vulnerable members.

Conclusion

A few final words:

Christians genuinely interested in being supportive to abuse victims should better educate themselves, both on Scripture and abuse, and should pray fervently for compassion, which – sad to say – many lack.

God is waiting with open arms for abuse victims.  They are more precious to Him than diamonds or gold.  In fact, His Son Jesus died for them.  It is this truth which Christians should strive to convey.

Originally posted 4/12/15

Wishing You All A Merry Christmas!

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com


RETRIEVED https://avoicereclaimed.com/2018/12/23/unbiblical-part-6-forgiveness-v-victims-rights-2/

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Pick the spot … 🤔🤫😱!

Whether memories of ‘stories you’ve heard of‘, rumours told by past teachers, or your own actual experiences: past “Issues” are being charted in this map.

From the updated aerial map of BBC’s layout, now is our chance to mark out WHERE ‘suspicious activity‘ happened?! This Toowong map has been trimmed to include the neighbouring borders of most of BBC. The yellow ball, accross from the P&F Oval, Miskin Oval and next to Oakman Park. Red ‘X’ mark locations of identified events: will be Updated ASAP!

Appearances can change, yet some memories can last forever


Image retrieved from Proposed Development at 23 Union St, TARINGA. (City Shape & The Urban Developer)


Childhood amnesia, also called infantile amnesia, is the inability of adults to retrieve episodic memories (memories of situations or events) before the age of two to four years, as well as the period before the age of ten of which adults retain fewer memories than might otherwise be expected given the passage of time.[1] The development of a cognitive self is also thought by some to have an effect on encoding and storing early memories.[2]

Some research has demonstrated that children can remember events from the age of one, but that these memories may decline as children get older.[3][4][5]Most psychologists differ in defining the offset of childhood amnesia. Some define it as the age from which a first memory can be retrieved. This is usually at the age of three or four, but it can range from two to eight years.[6][7][8]

Changes in encoding, storage and retrieval of memories during early childhood are all important when considering childhood amnesia.[9]


RETRIEVED

Wikipedia. (2020). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood_amnesia

CityShape. (2020). https://app.cityshape.com.au/project-report/A005404132

Brisbane Boys’ College. (2020). https://www.bbc.qld.edu.au/join-us/visit-us/

The Urban Developer. (2020). https://theurbandeveloper.com/

Unbiblical, Part 5 – Self-Sacrifice v. Codependence

Sketch for mural “The Spirit of Self-Sacrificing Love” by Kenyon Cox at Oberlin College, Smithsonian Museum (1983.114.15), Source https://americanart.si.edu (PD-Art, PD-Old-95)

“The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.  We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”

– Mother Teresa

Self-sacrifice is natural to Christians, and encouraged.  Christians are to put the legitimate needs of others ahead of their own, in imitation of Christ.  Mother Teresa was a shining example of this.  For abuse victims, however, self-sacrifice can become confused with codependence.

Codependence as an After-Effect of Abuse

Individuals suffering from codependence will allow the emotions and behavior of others to dictate their view of themselves.  Those with codependence will tolerate – even, unconsciously, seek out – relationships that are “one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive verbally or physically” [1].

Codependent characteristics include low self-esteem; fear of anger; denial of any problems with the relationship; and an exaggerated sense of responsibility for the feelings, choices, and actions of the loved one [2].

While on its face, codependence may resemble Christian self-sacrifice, there are distinct differences between the two.

The codependent individual may forego his/her goals and desires to meet the perceived “needs” of a loved one.  But the underlying motive for this is not the welfare of the loved one.  It is fear.

Actually, the codependent individual is attempting to shore up his/her fragile sense of worth, strike an unspoken bargain for love and affection, and maintain the relationship at all costs (however abusive or unsatisfying it may be).  An overly solicitous mother might be a crude illustration.

By comparison, Christian self-sacrifice is not the attempt to manipulate (or placate) an individual perceived as more “important” or powerful.  It is, or should be, truly selfless.

Clinging to an Imitation

None of this is meant to imply that abuse victims cannot love and love intensely.  The problem lies in the fact victims have not seen healthy love modeled.  What feels familiar is a flawed version of love, an imitation.  The real love and support victims need seem out of reach, so we cling to the imitation with all our might, confusing pain for passion.

Reality Check

Codependence does not have to be a permanent state.  What can loosen its grip is reality, in liberal doses.

  • What would a third party identify as problems in the relationship?  Putting aside the excuses victims have always made for him/her, what attitudes and behavior on the loved one’s part cause victims pain?
  • Why is it victims feel unworthy of a satisfying relationship?
  • What would the consequences be, if victims expressed their dissatisfaction or anger? What was the response to their anger in childhood?

Notice that the list of our supposed failures and inadequacies is not included here. That, for the most part, is a work of fiction.  But abuse victims are not likely to recognize the fact until the foundation for the fiction has been undermined.

The reality is victims are no longer children.  We are entitled to have needs, and express them. We are entitled to have negative emotions, and express them.  We will not be annihilated, if the abusive relationship ends.

The reality is victims are not responsible.  Not for the feelings, choices, or actions of the loved one – much as victims might like to believe that.  An exaggerated sense of responsibility provides only the illusion of control.  That illusion may be necessary to the child; it is crippling to the adult.

The reality is victims can survive.  The proof is – astoundingly enough – that we have.  Despite the dire predictions of those who should have loved us.  Despite childhood insults, curses, and neglect; despite adult scars.  Despite even the flawed relationships into which we have fallen, thinking we deserve no better.

Only when abuse victims understand the concept of self-love will we be able to put the needs of another before our own, freely.  Till then, victims will continue playing out the tragedy of abuse.

[1] [2] The Diversified Intervention Group, Education, “The Latest Definition of Codependency”, http://interventiontreatmentrecovery.org/education/codependency/?gclid=CPSfiK3-_8MCFdgYgQodshIARw.

Originally posted 4/5/15

This series will conclude next week with Forgiveness v. Victims’ Rights

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

Unbiblical, Part 4 – Trusting God, Self, and Others

Detail from “A Girl Comes to Christ” by Fritz von Uhde (1884), Museum der bildenden Künste (Accession No. 550), Germany (PD-Art, PD-Old-100)

Trusting God v. Trusting Self

Christians talk casually about God’s plan for their lives and the lives of others.  This can be grating to the ears of abuse victims (especially those new to, or unfamiliar with, the faith).

As victims are inclined to see it, God’s plan for them included abuse.  Whether He caused that abuse or merely allowed it to occur, He failed to protect them against it. And they have the scars to prove that.

The issue of innocent suffering is a profound one, and cannot be papered over with a handy Bible verse.  For abuse victims, coming to terms with it may be a lifelong struggle.

Trusting themselves can be as great a challenge.  Abuse has effectively “taught” victims not to rely on their own judgment, their own instincts.  This is something they must unlearn.

It is not helpful for Christians to urge victims to trust in God, rather than themselves.  Such trust will come with time.  It cannot be rushed.  There are deep wounds which must be healed first.

Trusting Others

Christians should be sensitive in the language they use around abuse victims.  To victims of incest, even the term “Father God” can sound disturbing.  To those who were sexually abused or tortured by siblings, the term “brothers and sisters in Christ” may be equally threatening.

Christians should not pressure victims to drop their defenses, and should not hug or make other physical contact with victims without their permission.  Victims may experience either as invasive, and shy away.

Christians should allow abuse victims to take the lead, insofar as relationships. Friendships should not be forced.  These will develop as victims gradually come to see they will not be harmed.

Originally posted 3/29/15

This series will continue next week with Self-Sacrifice v. Codependence

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com


RETRIEVED https://avoicereclaimed.com/2018/12/09/unbiblical-part-4-trusting-god-self-and-others-2/

‘End of 19/20 yr’ Update


Approaching the end of June 20, it’s the rollover of another year on many levels. ‘Mid-year madness’ is a common title given to Sales, states-of-mind, emotions, shortest seasonal day (Winter Solstice), School holidays have begun, unexpected losses of home isolation & COVID19’s impact is expected to continue; contrasting with Australia & New Zealand being awarded the Womens’ World Cup 2023 by FIFA! So, life goes on.

In this Mid-year madness, we’re pleased to be bringing our growing audience (currently 1,422) the 2nd + 3rd in a series of 6 Editions of Anne Waldherr’s Unbiblical series. These may be suitably timed, as each of RCbbc’s releases have seen a global leap in readers of our site. There have been occasional messages, which allow conversations to be shared.

As seen by our planned eNews, there have been notable jumps in visitors + countries, related to the varying Topics. Since our last eNews, we have covered:

The understanding of a ‘Ripple effect’ of CSA Predators, continues throughout society. The resources to challenge this issue cannot be easily sorted. These pieces of data will continue to be shared. The imbalances that the church-military-politics have had for millenniums cannot easily be changed. These will be an unexpected form of ‘Let Honor Stainless Be’, by demanding justice for ourselves and our effected families.

Feedback Received – re: NRS

Anna Waldherr (avoicereclaimed & ‘unbiblical’) : It is good to know such a Scheme has been established. You may at times stand a lonely vigil. But the information you provide is essential.

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Unbiblical, Part 3 – Humility v. Lack of Worth

“Eve” by Auguste Rodin, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Author MicheleLovesArt (MIchele Ahin at https://www.flickr.com/people/39627257@N04) (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

Many, if not most, victims will conclude from the abuse inflicted on them that they have little or no value.  They are likely to view God as angry and withholding, unconcerned for their welfare.  This applies whether the abuse is emotional, physical, sexual or in the form of neglect.

When in all humility Christians describe themselves as undeserving of Salvation or compare their righteousness to “filthy rags” (Is. 64: 6), abuse victims can readily identify.  However, abuse victims are inclined to view themselves as irredeemable.

Having been treated like filthy rags, having been taught that love must be “earned” – and never is – victims may, even as adults, wrestle with shame and believe that they are worthless.  This can drive them toward legalism (Christianity as perfectionism), in a frantic attempt to obtain the love they have been denied.

But God values every life.  His love is freely given.

Christ said:

“ ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth’ ” (Matt. 5: 5).

He said:

“… ‘Whoever receives this little child in my name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great’” (Luke 9: 48).

Christians must, first and foremost, demonstrate God’s love to abuse victims.  If they fail in this, the shame is theirs.

Originally posted 3/22/15

This series will continue next week with Trusting God, Self, and Others

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com


RETRIEVED https://avoicereclaimed.com/2018/12/02/unbiblical-part-3-humility-v-lack-of-worth-2/

Unbiblical, Part 2 – Sin Nature v. Abuse-Related Guilt

Christians speak regularly about the “sin nature” of mankind, the inclination by human beings to do wrong, as illustrated by wars and crime.

The following verses on the topic are typical:

“…[T]he imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” (Gen. 8:21).

“ ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…’” (Jer. 17:9).

“ ‘Then I will…take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh that they may walk in My statutes…’ ” (Ezek. 11: 19-20).

“ ‘For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies’ ” (Matt. 15: 19).

If anyone has experienced that sin nature, abuse victims have.  Victims, however, have been more sinned against than sinning.

Unfortunately, the continuous emphasis on sin is likely to sound like condemnation to victims, when what they need is love, encouragement, and hope.

Christians should remember that abuse leaves behind deep scars.  Victims of abuse may struggle with gender identification, sexual addiction or dysfunction, self-neglect, anxiety, depression, dissociation and related amnesia, drug or alcohol addiction, cutting, anorexia, bulimia, binging, and other issues.  The majority of prostitutes are thought to be runaways, with a history of abuse.

Dealing with major problems like these is not for the faint of heart.  Nor is it for the self-righteous.  Merely living ordinary lives can take enormous effort and enormous courage by abuse victims.  That victims, for the most part, accomplish this is amazing.

Victims should not be made a topic of gossip.  Nor should they be subjected to snap judgments, whether about their morality or mental state.

Above all, victims should be reassured that they were not the guilty party in abuse; that, as children, they were wholly incapable of consent to whatever was done to them; and that God still loves them, despite all they have been through.

Originally posted 3/15/15

This series will continue next week with Humility v. Lack of Worth

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com


RETRIEVED https://avoicereclaimed.com/2018/11/25/unbiblical-part-2-sin-nature-v-abuse-related-guilt-2/

Unbiblical, Part 1 – Submission v. Self-Defense

In a misguided effort to provide comfort and direction to abuse victims, well-meaning Christians will often quote Bible verses out of context or cite biblical principles which do not apply to abuse, thereby actually exacerbating the pain victims feel.

As a result, victims may turn away from the real comfort they would find in Christ.

This series of articles is intended to clarify – both for Christians, and abuse victims interacting with them – certain Scriptural passages and principles that could otherwise be misunderstood or misinterpreted.

Submission v. Self-Defense

Perhaps the most damaging is the principle of “headship”.  The basis for this can be found in Chapter 5 of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, among a set of instructions on holy living for both men and women.  The entire chapter speaks of Christians loving and being “submissive” to one another.

The frequently overlooked instruction to husbands (highlighted below) is an integral part of the principle:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.  Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for her[Emphasis added]…” (Eph. 5: 22-25).

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God alone knows how many battered women have lost their lives on bad and unbiblical advice from a priest or minister that they return to a dangerous household, and submit to the will of their abusive, alcoholic, or drug addicted husbands.

Nowhere does the Bible instruct women to submit to violence – least of all by their husbands.  Nowhere does it require that they risk their lives or the lives of their children to remain in an abusive marriage.  The Song of Solomon is a full book within the Bible describing in lyrical terms the love and devotion that should exist between a husband and wife.

Christians are to be servants to all, in imitation of Christ.  This does not preclude the right of self-defense.  Author, Matt Perman describes self-defense as “the restraint of life-threatening evil” [1].  That description puts the Pauline principle of “headship” in proper perspective.


[1] Desiring God, Topic: War, “Did Jesus Teach Pacifism?” by Matt Perman, 1/23/06, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/did-jesus-teach-pacifism.

Originally posted 3/8/15

This series will continue next week with Sin Nature v. Abuse-Related Guilt

Wishing You All A Happy Thanksgiving!

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

RETRIEVED https://avoicereclaimed.com/2018/11/18/unbiblical-part-1-submission-v-self-defense-2/

A voice for the poor parallels between poverty and abuse

Poverty in Chicago, IL (1974), Author/Source Danny Lyon for National Archive and Records Administration (NARA Record 1709309; NAID 555950), Original Source Environmental Protection Agency (PD as work product of federal govt.)

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Prov. 31: 8-9 NIV).

Poverty and abuse have much in common.

The traumatic and repetitive nature of child abuse, and the huge imbalance of power between adult and child, can leave profound psychological scars on victims – scars that may include PTSD, depression, and anxiety to name a few.

Often, victims are left with a fear of authority as adults.  The impact of poverty is surprisingly similar.

Fear of Authority

Their hopes chronically dashed and their pleas for justice routinely ignored, the poor frequently assume further effort on their part will be futile.

People who have been repeatedly downtrodden – deprived of basic necessities, cheated of their rights by abusive landlords and the host of other scam artists who prey on the poor – will forget that they have a voice, and throw in the towel (already exhausted).

Angry and Overwhelmed

The thought of challenging a fraudulent real estate agent or employer can leave the poor feeling angry and overwhelmed.  Why bother?  Why risk failure and the associated pain?

That is one of the reasons getting the poor to vote is so difficult.  They fail to recognize their potential power as a voting block.  It is, also, one of the reasons the underprivileged sometimes explode in violence.  Their patience at last at an end, they may see no other course open to them.

Of course, anger turned inward can become depression.  That can manifest as apathy.

A Sense of Empowerment

Regaining control over their lives is essential for the poor. They deserve dignity and security.

Just as with the victims of abuse, if the poor can be convinced to risk confrontation in a judicial setting where their rights are protected, the act of standing up for themselves can help restore a sense of empowerment.

Success in any small degree (particularly when coupled with appropriate legal support and simple kindness) can help re-establish belief in a system from which the poor have felt excluded.

Whatever the outcome of litigation, the poor need no longer view themselves as voiceless children, forced once again to submit.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

RETRIEVED https://avoicereclaimed.com/2020/06/14/a-voice-for-the-poor-the-parallels-between-poverty-and-abuse/

The National Redress Scheme newsletter – second anniversary review



This newsletter outlines arrangements for the second anniversary review of the National Redress Scheme (the Scheme).

Should you find any of the content in this newsletter confronting or distressing, remember support is available.To find out more, go to www.nationalredress.gov.au/support.


Second anniversary review

The Scheme was established on 1 July 2018. With the second anniversary  approaching, an independent review is being conducted to consider how the Scheme is working for survivors and other stakeholders.

The review will undertake consultations from July 2020 until September 2020. Consultations will initially be in the form of a submissions process and a survey.

The review is wide-ranging and will consider the implementation and operation of the Scheme, how survivors experience the Scheme, access to Redress Support Services and to counselling and psychological care as well as financial arrangements.

An independent reviewer, Ms Robyn Kruk AO, will undertake the review. Ms Kruk was the Independent Assessor of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce and is currently the Chair of Mental Health Australia. In 2018, Ms Kruk was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to public administration, including mental health reform.

To help us improve the Scheme, we encourage survivors, advocates and other stakeholders to share their experiences of the Scheme by making a submission to the review. It is critical that survivors are at the centre of the review and the review captures what matters to them most.

Information about how you can make a submission to the review will be provided at a later date.

For further information about the second anniversary review, please see the media release about the review from Senator Anne Ruston, Minister for Families and Social Services: https://ministers.dss.gov.au/media-releases/5901.


Find out more

To find out more about the Scheme, go to www.nationalredress.gov.au or call 1800 737 377 from Australia or +61 3 6222 3455 from overseas.

If you need immediate support, 24-hour telephone assistance is available through: