The “C” Word

Part 1  (Part 2)  (Part 3)

I don’t know what word’s more controversial… “C–t”, a vulger word for a part of a women’s anatomy, or the word “Church.”

You poll a random group of people about what they think of when they think of church and you’ll most likely get a wide range of responses… anything from descriptions of inspirational community, to greedy tele-evangelists.  I’ve met few people who are ambivalent when it comes to organized spirituality… most at least have some sort of opinion, usually built off of a personal experience.

With that in mind, let me share with you my experience… at the time I started to first speak of my trafficking I had been attended a rather large denominational church.  I loved that place, it was the first arena that began to teach me about real love.  It had truly become a sanctuary for me in the recent years.  I saw what was happening at home as evil (and rightfully so) and saw what was happening at church as good (and rightfully so).  I so struggled with my double life because all the while I was plugging into this faith community, I was still being pimped out on a pretty regular basis.  I hated not being able to fully share my broken heart; I hated keeping secrets from these people and constant lying to them or simply omitting information.  It felt so wrong but I felt very stuck by my situation.  There’s no way my father would let me just walk away from “my family duties” but I was falling deeper and deeper in love with Christ.

Before I knew it I began to lose the secret battle with myself.  These people were getting to me… all their love was annoying strong. It made cracks in the wall around my heart and wormed its way into my emotions until I found myself blurting out one day, “I’ve been raped.”  It was the first time I had outwardly said anything about my abuse.  Little did the person I was talking to know, but that was only the tip of conversation.  (Little did I know as well.) I couldn’t believe it, it was as if I just parted my lips to breath and the words somehow escaped by mistake.

The church was wonderful there at the beginning.  They did a lot of things right.  Most assuredly I wasn’t the first young woman to come forward with a sexual abuse experience so I guess they felt they knew what to do with me.  Leaders stepped up with love and even walked me through how to get plugged into counseling, financial assistance and all.  With this new level of comfort built I started to share more and more of my horrible experience–  even pointing out some unknown sexual offenders serving within the church. (Please know this this congregation did run full background checks but these men had either found loopholes or had not yet been convicted.)  Sadly, the more I talked, the more cautious the church grew of what I was saying.  I found out later that some pastors were even calling me a complete liar because the abuse sounded so outlandish.  They had dealt with rape before, but no one had dealt with sexual slavery and didn’t yet have the wisdom to know how to pace my story or how to use the correct self-identifying language like the term “trafficking”.  It was an unknown, ungraceful dance for us all.

I was very wounded by some people in this church in the end but I honestly came put much blame on them… my story sounded absurd, because it was.  They were in complete disbelief that slavery could exist so close to home.  I can’t really fault them for not knowing what to do– I didn’t know what to do either… (Find the rest of the story in my next post.)

May this blog serve as an education to those who do not yet know or understand the atrocities of trafficking and may it serve as an encouragement to those who understand it all too well.

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  1. Last of the “C” Word « 9to20
  2. More of the “C” Word « 9to20

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