In support of the
Many women have expressed their great grief to me at how their churches have ridiculed them when they attempted to protect their children who were molested by men and boys within their churches. I also have personal knowledge of both sons and daughters that were molested by other older boys in their church. One woman that I know very well was ridiculed by her elders and pastor for being an “overly sensitive” mother when her six year old son was molested, yet the aggressor was not punished and was allowed free access to other children in the church. When her son’s physician asked her about the abuse, her church instructed her to say nothing because reporting the abuse to the authorities would be “a violation of the rights of the sexual abuser’s father’s headship.” When she found this aggressor fondling another one of her sons in the church building and went to the church leadership, she was belittled, blamed and ridiculed for being over reactive. When the authorities became involved, her church held her accountable, but not her husband, for creating problems for the church as if she had been the abuser.
Many women suffer as a result of the “evil woman theology” perpetuated by CBMW because their sub-Christian view of the nature of women scapegoats women as the root cause of all problems within both marriage and the family. Therefore, daughters raised within such systems suffer as well, because they are seen as merely objects of use to men of all ages. I personally know one family who took in a grown young woman who was forcibly raped by a Baptist pastor’s son and fled her home because her parents demanded that she submit to other demeaning abuse under the concept of male headship. I believe that young men who have been raised to believe that women are objects – beings who are lesser then men—and who are also taught to blame women as the ultimate cause of sinfulness have been given tacit permission to resort to mistreatment of women. Why would they have cause to think otherwise when they have been taught from their mother’s knee that they are the spiritual intermediaries for women and that all women should be subject to them? This redefinition of the nature of women gives place to the devil when ministers use Scripture and pulpit to justify this behavior, even if it is subtly and tacitly justified.
Terrified people speak in secret of these abuses, fearing retaliation in their churches but also in the courts for slander, adding to the shame of the abuse itself. The victims of this abuse suffer revictimization in the process. Ask the Sisters of Survival from the Hephzibah House about the many ways in which the theology of the Danvers Statement and its evangelists impact them on a daily basis.
They have redefined marriage and family as a war zone with wives and daughters as the principle enemy. They may claim in their paternalism that other aberrant groups and lesser individuals have distorted their teachings, but their “good” intentions do not exonerate them. As Believers, we are called to speak that which is good to the use of edifying in order to minister grace, with elders and teachers bearing an even greater responsibility. Instead, they’ve ministered abuse, and many weep.