Flip the Script on Defending Abusive Behavior

One day I was peacefully scrolling Facebook, when this post caught my eye. This has helped me a great deal in adapting a healthy view at abusive behavior. Flip the script! How many of us have heard these arguments for abusive behavior?

Sadly, sexual abuse is more common in Christian Fellowship Ministries than current members would have you believe. If you’re down the social ladder, you’re shunned, if you’re up the social ladder, your transgressions are covered up. If you’re a pastor, or even the kid of a pastor, your sins will even appear non-existent.

If you’re a victim to sexual abuse, according to Christian Fellowship Ministries that makes you the problem somehow. They’d rather lie and cover everything up, than to be held accountable.

Christian editor Lisa Thompson explains it best:

Abusers often present as “nice” people in the community and in the church. That’s a key part of narcissistic behavior. But abusers often play a role. Just because an abuser was “nice” to you doesn’t mean he’s always “nice” to everyone.

As such, you often hear supporters make the following excuses for abusers:

“He’s such a nice guy. He can’t be guilty of this.”
“Aren’t you a Christian? That means you have to forgive him.”
“He deserves another chance.”
“He has such a great future ahead (or call of God on his life). Why would you try to ruin that?”
“Let’s leave the past be.”

But instead, we need to flip the script. Prioritize the victims and their healing.

“She’s such a nice girl. She shouldn’t have suffered at his hands like this.”
“Aren’t you a Christian? How can you justify his behavior?”
“She deserves justice.”
“She has such a great future ahead. Why did he try to ruin that?”
“Let’s address the past so that she can heal.”

Disclaimer: Abusers are referred to as “he” and victims as “she” in this post. This is for the sake of convenience only. Abusers can be of either gender.

Update: 20 October 2020

Since there’s so much more that needs to be said on the subject, especially after hearing current members from The Door say: “Look at the beam in your own eye before trying to remove the mote from another’s eye.” or “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”, we have decided to extend this post.

The above examples of what current Potter’s House, or The Door, members use as arguments, depict exactly what’s wrong within the organization. But the Facebook post of Lisa Thompson already discredits these arguments.

Some former members who have been through abuse often feel guilty, let me assure you, you have no reason to feel guilty. Jennifer Greenberg explains why: “Reporting an abuser doesn’t ruin their life. They did that themselves. Reporting an abuser doesn’t damage their reputation. It makes it more accurate. Reporting an abuser doesn’t hurt their family. It protects them from abuse. Reporting an abuser isn’t gossip. It’s integrity.”

It’s understandable you don’t know how to put into words what you’ve been through, hopefully this post helps.

In case you’ve once been a ‘locked-in’ member of The Door, who was very enthusiastic about the church, and now “suddenly” (according to current members) you’re against them and call them a cult, the explanation by Heather O’Neill might be good to quote: “The abused will often speak highly of their abusers during the time they are oppressed. This is because they create pretty, wondrous narratives in order to survive. It’s a survival technique. It does not contradict the story they will later divulge when they have escaped.”

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