“Good Church Girls” Don’t Experience Abuse
I grew up as a “good church girl”. I went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and just about any other time the doors were open. I wore my skirts to the knee or below and covered any hint of cleavage, so as not to “tempt” men into lusting after me. I took messages about sexual purity to heart and worked hard to keep myself from immorality or even the appearance of it. I didn’t go to wild parties or take chances with strangers. The only men I spent any time around were “good church people” too.
“Good little church girls who follow all of the ‘rules’ don’t find themselves in domestic violence situations.”
Except I did. And nine times out of ten when I tell my story to other women, whether they grew up in church or not, they whisper, “yeah, me too”.
Domestic violence does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone by anyone, and until we destroy the myth that “good church girls and boys” are not vulnerable to domestic violence, we will continue to stack weights of guilt, shame, blame, and silence on the countless victims in our pews.
Until we destroy the myth that your experience was "not all that bad," "not all that damaging," or "not worth making a fuss over" unless (or even if) you have scars or penetration, nothing will change for the 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men (1) who experience life altering assaults on their bodies, minds (2), and souls.
And until we destroy the myth that abuse cannot be perpetrated by those who are close to us, especially not those within the Church, the disease will continue to grow and spread and wreck the lives of thousands.
It’s time to stop silencing and start listening. It’s time to stop ignoring and start speaking up. Together, we can end this abuse in our communities, homes and churches.
Notes and Sources:
(1) “More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.” -National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010)
(2) "Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime" -US Justice Department