Recently, there was a death of a well known minister. I could list his name but then the focus of my blog would turn to him and his deeds. The intent of this post is to enlighten people on following their own path of truth. Faith comes in many forms. But was is faith when you are a survivor of sexual assault? Is there a road to recovery if you suffered at the hands of someone you've trusted to lead you closer to God? Can you blame victims for questioning the existence of a God when abuse happens to them? How can rebuild their faith and become spiritually connected to their heart source?
Sexual misconduct, Sexual abuse, Adultery, Theft, Manipulation and shaming has always been part of the "Church". If it weren't so, why does the bible have to constantly mention how wrong sin is and why did there have to be a 10 point list of Do's & Don'ts? Religion has made it's way into mainstream. We see it in politics, social media, sports and even people thanking God or quoting scripture at Awards shows.
So, why is it that religion has made its way into being the thread that holds up immorality secretly for those that are rich and powerful. Yet, religion shames those less than famous, low-class and infamous. Why is it we can protest abortion clinics, pray against the LGBT community, give sermons on how God hates sin or shame a child for being pregnant? I have two words; cognitive dissonance.
What is cognitive dissonance? By the Websters dictionary it states; the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change. Basically, it's the dictionary's politically correct way of calling out hypocrites. Where did this disconnection come from? And how did we become so disconnected from the source of truth aka God/Universe/Source?
I have been a re-birthed spiritual practitioner now for almost 6 years. I walked away from the church in 2011 and haven't returned. There wasn't a dramatic exit, I was awakening to another level of truth. I learned much from the church. Had it not been for the last two ministries I was a part of, I wouldn't have be sane enough to leave my 1st marriage. I was in a situation that I prayed for so many years to give me an out. The teachings, got me through many days, months and years. But on the flip-side, I attempted suicide 3 times. Other examples of disconnecting: 1. I had a very close friend that was an active member of a church and she took her life because of the stress of her job and a personal loss. 2. I knew of a mother of a church that was gravely ill, she was diagnosed with diabetes and she wouldn't eat right and she claimed that God had healed her of her sickness. 3. I childhood friend of ours was convicted of child molestation. When he got out of jail, he became a deacon of a church, married a woman 20 years his junior. Quiet as kept, he went back to molestation and with a younger male member of the church. And you guessed it right, he's in jail for the rest of his life.
You see, the disconnect I am talking about is how we "dis" ourselves. We dismiss our bad feelings, pray that Jesus will heal us. We dismiss our true nature, hoping that no one will find us out or for the fear of being shamed. We dismiss others that aren't "saved" because they are obviously doing the very thing we can't do anymore or secretly doing. We disregard feelings if they aren't congruent with the word. We disregard other's opinion unless that person begins with "God told me to tell you. . ." and we disregard worldly rules when we are ready to break them. Religion has capitalized on the disenfranchised so much, that it's normal to believe you as a believer must live poorly until God says so. Meanwhile, Megachurch ministers preach in the "hood" and live in a gated community outside of the metropolis.
All of that "dissing" it's not surprising that religion removed God from the very fiber of our being. We have two sides to our being: Spiritual self and The Ego. With Spirit we connect with faith and sees the world as God sees us - righteous and pure. With the Ego, we connect through perception. Everything the ego sees may not be part of reality. When we are led through the ego, we adorn our men and women of God with high praises so much that if they were accused of heinous acts of sexual deviance, they would shame the victims, because somehow it is more important to protect the accuser than the accused. However, if the people of the cloth better are caught stealing from the parishioners, there is a lynch mob ready to take action. Interesting that we'd protect our money, people of the cloth and ourselves instead of victims of proven crimes.
Now, that I've spoken about the church. Let's talk about people in power, family members and other people entrusted to interact with innocence.
Let's talk about the children first:
*Who are the perpetrators of child sexual abuse? FACT: Those who molest children look and act just like everyone else. There are people who have or will sexually abuse children in churches, schools and youth sports leagues. Abusers can be neighbors, friends and family members. People who sexually abuse children can be found in families, schools, churches, recreation centers, youth sports leagues, and any other place children gather. Significantly, abusers can be and often are other children. • About 90% of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser. Only 10% of sexually abused children are abused by a stranger. • Approximately 30% of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members. • The younger the victim, the more likely it is that the abuser is a family member. Of those molesting a child under six, 50% were family members. Family members also accounted for 23% of those abusing children ages 12 to 17. • About 60% of children who are sexually abused are abused by people the family trusts. • Homosexual individuals are no more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual individuals.
(data source by Darkness to Light Organization ~ http://www.d2l.org/)
With these numbers, we would think that we would be more aware and conscious of where our children go or who they are spending time with. The disconnection I would guess is no one wants to acknowledge dastardly deeds. Yet, when it is brought to light, it's almost impossible to close Pandora's box, unless there's a payoff.
Presently, there is a lawsuit against our President-elect that claims he sexually assaulted a child years ago. Now that she is an adult, she has been empowered to face her accuser. In cases like this, the rich guy pays off the victims and they go on their merry way. However, there is more than one victim. Just imagine how many rich and powerful men are paying or buying the affection of children.
Predatory practices of child sex offenders often include promises to a better life, money and other material wealth. In the end the parents may have their wildest dreams but at the expense of their children's innocence.
Now let's talk about adults, women & men:
According to RAINN.org:
Every 98 seconds, an American is being sexually assaulted.
Younger people are the highest risk of sexual assault
Transgender Students Are at Higher Risk for Sexual Violence
Men and Boys Are Also Affected by Sexual Violence
Sexual Violence Can Have Long-Term Effects on Victims
The likelihood that a person suffers suicidal or depressive thoughts increases after sexual violence
Native Americans Are at the Greatest Risk of Sexual Violence
Sexual Violence Affects Thousands of Prisoners Across the Country
Sexual Violence in the Military Often Goes Unreported
The effects of sexual abuse can last a lifetime if the survivor chooses not to deal with it. When I say "deal with it" I mean seek professional counseling, coaching, or seek spiritual help. Yet, that is easier said than done. Much abuse happens at the hands of people the survivors know. Therefore building trust takes a while before being vulnerable to share their stories. The effects of sexual abuse also can impact the families that choose to ignore the assailants. According to the statistics, many reports of sexual assault aren't reported.
While there are many abusers among us, the worst perpetrators are those with money and power. In their own cognitive dissonance, they believe if they give money, material wealth, powers of position or status, they are doing a service. If they do not think that way, then I have to believe they are truly monstrous narcissists.
Once we become aware of the obvious. How can we go from hurt to healing? Where can we actually go or who to turn to for sound advice? Our Inner selves. We have the power and ability to heal ourselves. We have become so disconnected that we do not trust ourselves. We've been mislead to put more trust in others more than we trust our God-nature.
I've read the book "Return To Love" by Marianne Williamson - “Until we have met the monsters in ourselves, we keep trying to slay them in the outer world. And we find that we cannot. For all darkness in the world stems from darkness in the heart. And it is there that we must do our work."
Being a survivor of abuse, it doesn't serve your heart well to hold on to darkness that has been engraved in your psyche. We are here to live and love. Acknowledging the darkness, brings forth more of the light in us.
I am a spiritual practitioner as well as a coach. My methods of coaching is guiding my clients into their own power to process, forgive, heal and build. Although it's painful to relive an incident that you wouldn't wish on your enemy, when the dust settles from rebuilding, the air is so much more refreshing.
The shame is in the "dis"connecting from your heart source and from the source of your heart. I would love to continue and give my two cents on cognitive dissonance of religion in regards to the bible and how it was taught to educate slaves. Instead of the use of textbooks. However, I'll save that for another time.
A Alanda Gregory
Coaching Soul Transparency
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