Sexual Abuse at the Hands of a Youth Pastor by Shanyn Silinski


I am excited to have guest blogger and frequent contributor to Emerging from Broken, Shanyn Silinski from “the Scarred Seeker” blog sharing with my readers today on the topic of Spiritual abuse and Church abuse. Please help me welcome Shanyn and as always, please feel free to contribute your comments and feedback in the comments section of this blog post. ~ Darlene Ouimet, founder of Emerging from Broken

 Church abuse, spiritual abuseSexual Abuse at the Hands of a Youth Pastor by Shanyn Silinski

Mark 9:42 “And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.

 For years it was me who wore the millstone of being dirty, whorish, asking for it, trash and I wore it silently because my abuse at the hands of a youth pastor was a secret for years.  He knew, of course, and because of the shame I didn’t tell.  I paid the price for his secret desires, and his willingness to touch a child.  I look back on the photos of that weekend.  I was just a kid.  Not ‘blooming early’.

When I finally did tell someone, I was told, don’t be so dramatic, it wasn’t you he wanted but me (my mother). Take it as a compliment.  This was years later, and I realized that she knew he lusted after her, and she thought somehow, in hindsight, that it was okay to have your daughter serve as substitute. 

I remember it so clearly, driving in the truck, finally breaking the silence.  Hoping and praying for something more than that.  I was worried what if he hurt other girls and was ‘assured’ I was the only one, after all there was only one her, and I looked just like her. 

Shockingly, it didn’t horrify me that someone could think that was a compliment and that they would be okay with their child as a substitute.  I was more worried about another voiceless child.  And my own voice was once again silenced.

Looking back, I can see how this shook me.  My faith, still young and fragile, was shaken to the core.  The folded fifty dollar bill had more power to a senior pastor than a tear stained face.  The abuse of power which created an atmosphere of mistrust drove me first away and then seeking to be redeemed I came back in. 

Only to find the only difference between a stranger abusing you and someone you know is their access.  The stranger took what he wanted and left.  Left me bruised, scarred and scared.  He was gone. The blame, the laughter of the witnesses stayed but it faded.

Seeing my abuser in church and around other young women was a slap.  It made it my fault.  It seemed it was my sin that was screaming scarlet in the sanctuary.  I wanted some where save where I could rush to confess my sins that made it possible for him to hurt me.  Not knowing it wasn’t me! 

The assumption of blame on the victim especially in the church, seems to come from a belief that there are no thieves in God’s house. (hello, Judas was a the money keeper for Jesus – and he was a thief, betrayer and sneak).  It cannot be the trusted youth pastor or the choir leader or the __________who has been there for years. Therefore it must be me and you and everyone but them.

The blame is always on the one who it is assumed has caused temptation and never on the one who gives into temptation.  Because of an under the surface assumption that cripples us, it demeans us, it steals us away from grace.  That assumption is that a) there really was temptation, b) the temptress (or tempter) was doing it on purpose and c) that the one who gives in has no choice.

I was no where near the adult woman my mother was.  Budding, sure, but no blooms.  Not grand roses.  Perhaps a slight whisper of physical maturity.  I was not her substitute.  I couldn’t be.  I was barely a teenager.  He was a married man, with a child and was a youth pastor.  Even if he was an older teen, single and available it was still abuse.  It was still abuse in the church

As to being a temptation – who could possibly think that violating a child in the dark is somehow a substitute for an adult interaction?  She was unattainable, of course she was, but that didn’t have to consign me to the position of this will do.

He could have stayed away from children. Someone could have noticed that bad things were going on in my life after that.  They couldn’t hardly miss them! But they chose to.  He had a choice, and adult always has a choice.  I did not but I paid the price.  I carried that for years.

Last year, looking for some closure, I reached out to my old pastor.  My old betrayer who would rather be friends with my parents than be a shepherd to a lost lamb.  They got to him first.  They always impressed him with their style and whatever it was and do you think this man would call me back? Respond to an email? Acknowledge a prayer request?  Another cry ignored.

The reach of my parents in their sphere of influence is frightening.  I’ve lost friends and have been ignored by people solely on their say so.  I’m outcast because I won’t come back under their conditions.  I’m denominationally challenged and I tend to challenge pastors because I know they are human.  They make mistakes. But as teachers, as leaders, they have a higher standard to adhere to.  I expect that.  I have the right to.  Just as I had the right to be safe in church.  Having a right doesn’t mean it won’t be violated but violating it doesn’t remove it either.

I speak up for children, I stick up for the elderly, I advocate for welfare and safety for all creatures – I’ve found my voice and I’m gonna use it as long as God blesses me with it!

Matthew 18:5 “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.

 Shanyn Silinski

Shanyn Silinski is an outspoken survivor who writes, creates and lives life as fully as she can with her husband, son and the animals on their small ranch in Manitoba. The author of a number of blogs, a book of poetry with two more in the works, Shanyn also sculpts, scrapbooks and loves having fun with photography. Please visit her recovery blog “The Scarred Seeker”

Categories : Family



Thank you for guest posting this week on EFB. I am struck as always by the way the sick system in our world works. The perps are rarely held responsible no matter what organization the abuse is going on in is. I have deep memories of being told over and over that I had to respect my elders.. I was taught not to question anything, I was taught very young that if someone was wrong, it was me. I became compliant because that was the only way. I became accepting of the blame and learned very young not to question it.

It was hard to unlearn that!

I am so sorry that this happened to you Shanyn. There is no excuse. Telling a child that it was her mother they wanted… that it was her mother who was desired, that you were a substitute is SICK and crazy. That is a double abuse. It makes me sick that these kinds of justifications exist!

Again, thank you so much for guest posting.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene – thanks for having me post here. It’s been a long time and a lot of years that this story rattled around in the dark of my mind. I never shared it like this before. It is so hard to unlearn that you have little value except for how you can benefit others.

((hugs you)) thanks Darlene! You may be the first person to say that they were sorry about this. Ever. Amazing.

Where you have people you’ll have people making good and bad choices. The bad choices of adults when I was a child could have destroyed me, but for the Grace of God I could have become so many other things than what I am right now. God blessed me, and this experience is shared to shed some light on a ‘sacred cow’ that is cared for by fallible humans.

Thanks for having me. I always enjoy guest posting for you Darlene!


Shanyn, Thank you for your courage and your pursuit of truth. People seem to think that people in church cease to be people with all of the thoughts for evil that people have. When those thoughts turn to action, then protecting the image of the church kicks in and everything, no matter who it hurts, is pushed under the rug. This is done by people who are prideful and have a wish for church people to be seen as more than they are and perfect. This is never about God and I don’t believe that God has any pleasure in a man using religious authority in fulfilling his perverse pleasure and then people who profess faith in, Jesus conspiring to cover it up. Yay! for the denominationally challenged who truly believe in what they profess and seek to live it out.

I too carried the shame of sexual abuse as a teenager for decades. Carrying shame that doesn’t belong to you is like having someone deficate in your presense and then smear it all over you and then having the people who say they love you, pinch their noses in disgust and refuse to help you wash it off. They prefer you to wear the excrement of another to risking getting their own hands dirty.

I wore that shame for decades and then when I demanded that my family acknowledge the truth and also, my parents acknowledge their irresponsibility in allowing it to happen, I was told that the 28 year old man who hurt me was just a victim of the sexual revolution and my parent’s neglect wasn’t a crime because I was so rebellious. I am also branded as not being honorable toward my parents by insisting on the truth. They want me to lie and accept that lie as honor and they do so in the name of God. It doesn’t matter, in church or out of church, it is safer to blame the victim than to take on the perpetrator. It’s disgusting. I don’t care anymore what they say or how they label me, I will not go back to living a lie. Life lived in the light has become highly precious to me. Thank you, for also bringing your story into the light so that it may become light and be a beacon for others who seek freedom from the shame they carry but haven’t earned.



Pam – thank you for reading, and commenting. Your comment was so encouraging for me, and for those who read it. Your analogy of carrying shame is very accurate! I’m so thankful that we can wash ourselves off and that we have friends on the healing path to hand us some clean towels!

Your family was shameful in how they put it back on you. The truth, when spoken for us, is our truth. Not theirs. God would never ask us for less. Your last line is one that shines for me like a beacon, “for others who seek freedom from the shame they carry but haven’t earned.” AMEN!


Shanyn. I am so sorry for what you went through . I understand the shame of carrying secrets for a long time.because this is how the church said it should be .. that suffering shame silently would make me closer to God was what was drilled into me.

When I revealed my secrets they were made light of and I was even told to hush .. or I would not make it into Heaven.. Now after the scandals and knowing how many secrets this church has swept under its rug .. I am not surprised by what happened to me as a little child ..

Unfortunately I didnt know the evilness of the church as a child. I idolized the pastors and nuns like saints mouth pieces of God.. so I never ever thought to question their words: was like God speaking.

Only now this year had I begun to open up but now am wondering was it wrong to have done so .. !!

The Church sanctioned all the abuse I ever went through and acted ignorant of what was happening in my home and later on in my life. .Ignorance is always called upon to protect the abusers. they never knew .. they didn’t realize.. they never saw anything..

Yet a little child told them.. ..Now am a big child again I am wondering why did I ever let my secrets out .. what good did it do me. My T was suppose to help me with all I slowly emptied and instead she
ran away from me like all the rest.

SO I am bleeding inside, confused .. wandering around like that little six year old girl smarting from the abandonment imposed on me .. hoping..praying . God will send me someone real .. to help me as I go forward in my healing.

Secrets are painful but more painful is having shared them with someone who never really cared.



Joy, many hugs for you, and much love. The evil that lives in a church comes from the people who allow it. They either turn their backs or through their silence give assent. We are taught to trust people who have either earthly or spiritual authority – children should be able to trust, so should adults. When someone steals that from us, and then expects us to carry the hurt, shame and blame alone they are the ones who are wrong. Not me. Not you.

Secrets are like poison, when we hold them too long, they hurt us more than if we let them out and get them away from us. I’m sorry your T hasn’t been able to continue with you. That is a terrible trauma for you right now. I’m praying for you Joy. And I’m sending you lots of hugs and love.


Joy, Your truth is for you. Those who seek to cover the truth and blot it out,live in darkness, no matter their position,title,or profession.To be loved and accepted by such people,one has to be like them. I would much rather be a reject in their eyes and live in truth.



First want to say . that I see Darlene and EFB as answers to my prayer for help in my darkness


Sad thing is it took so much out of me to empty my secrets to my T then she left.. but I know .. something good will come from this. I feel it deeply.

Thakn you for the hugs and love I so appreciate it:

(( hugs))


thank you so much for your kind words: short but deep and amen to what you say <3




Shanyn, first thank you for sharing your story. Second, I am so sorry for what you were put through and for your mom’s reaction and continued sneaky abuse. You keep speaking out. God’s gifted you with a voice and He’s using you in mighty ways! Love your heart ?

Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God


Mel – thank you for coming by, it is so encouraging to see you here. Thank you for your comment, it blesses and encourages me. Hugs you.


Shanyn ~ your mother’s reaction was INSANE. Her response to learning that you had been sexually abused by the youth minister, was no less abusive than what he did. I am outraged that you were treated so horribly. And I am amazed at how strong and courageous you are, after everything you have gone through. You are AWESOME.



Oh Shanyn – I did not know this about you … don’t know how I missed it, but I am so sorry this happened to you! Abuse of any kind is the most terrible thing to happen to a child – it steals from us our own identities and who we could have been!! So brave of you to share your story. It still amazes me how those of us who are abused are often estranged from our families because they choose to not believe us, they choose to live in ignorance … but we know our own truth.

Big hugs to you girl! And “Bravo!” for sharing so openly!!


Lynda – thanks for your encouraging comment. It wasn’t until much later that I realized how insane the whole situation and response really was, and probably still is. I think, for me, the worst part is that no one cared that other children could have been hurt or that I was hurt by this. I appreciate your support!

Rise – you couldn’t have known my friend, I have a few secrets left and that was one. Not a secret any longer, although it took too many years to see the light of day. When we lose a part of our childhood and no one seems to notice or care it is a terrible hole in our lives for a long time. My family has chosen their path, and walked away from the boundaries I set for my safety and sanity. Their choice to walk away and you are right we know our own truth. Thanks for the hugs!


OMG does that ring true “Don’t be dramatic” – I’ve heard this several times over the years from my mother, as a response to just about any subject that has me mentioning abuse of me. My family are Brethren, my grandfather, a vile man and was a sunday school teacher, best friends with his brother inlaw who sexually abused both my mother and myself. They’re scum, social inadequates, incapable of attracting anyone worthwhile, so they validate their lack as people in the church, getting power from it, which is a shame for those member of the church who are decent people. They have taken your childhood, as they took mine, but they have not taken your integrity, see them for what they truly are – the scum of the earth. My very best wishes to you.


Where I come from the past is the past… forgive and forget…pretend nothing ever happend…

If they could only see what they are doing! But they won’t…


Calvin, That is the chant of my family. What happened to me wasn’t important to them but my remembering it is a crime, in their thinking. What people need to understand is that an unresolved past that includes abuse is always in our present. It stays that way until it is reckoned with. Forgive and forget was a major road-block on my path to healing and being able to put the past in the past. I had to break with my family to do it.



Thank you so much for sharing…yes, I have met up with that $50 bill SO many times, and “my parents’ sphere of influence” IOW, more money for the pastor, wow, makes me sick to my stomach, and the story of my life. I wasn’t sexually abused, but abused in every other way in religious settings. by the time i was ready for college, I had put enough hours into getting to and attending church that I could literally have earned a phD and had a way to support myself, not to mention be a single mom with four children. The time alone that we give these people so they can trip out on the power/position/money is staggering. We would be so much better off if we just lived our own lives, doing what is useful, beautiful, and healthful.


yes, abusive families are not for their members which are abused, but that ARE for someone…and churches are often the ones found in favor


What a heart breaking story. I would get as far away from that church and your mother as I could. In my opinion, she is worse than he is. Kate is right: seek to do what is useful, beautiful, and healthful. I would also add, merciful. It sounds like you are already doing those things. So sorry you went through all that; horrible people banded together to make themselves look good. Run from it. Thank you for your courage to share.


Shanyn, you said “It wasn’t until much later that I realized how insane the whole situation and response really was..”

I understand that, only too well. When we are taught all our lives that we don’t matter, because only SOME people matter, and we aren’t one of them… we can’t see how insane it is because, to us, in our world, that is “normal.” I was 50 before I began to really SEE and KNOW how insane my childhood was. This is despite the fact that I have an extremely high IQ. It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are, if you grow up in a family where everybody calls red, blue, then you are going to believe that red really is blue. It’s not easy to unlearn this stuff.

How narcissistic it was for your mother to say that your youth pastor had abused you as a child, because you look like your mother and he “really wanted HER,” but she was unavailable, so he used you as a substitute! How unbelievably CRUEL it was for her to tell you that you were “being dramatic,” and you ought to take the sexual abuse as a COMPLIMENT?? Oh my God, I am OUTRAGED for that precious, unprotected, and discounted little girl you were.

BIG HUGS for you, Shanyn.



Jane – thank you for sharing, and for coming by. That phrase, “don’t be so dramatic” is one that was used often to discount my feelings and demean me. You could have the wrong tone, posture, look or even improper eye contact and get hit with that. I’m sorry for what happened to you Jane. I wish you the best on your healing path.

Calvin – my family also was the master of silence, denial and they did know some of what was going on, I had tried to tell them once or twice. But I learned quickly that it wouldn’t do any good.

Pam – thanks for sharing that, you brought up a key point. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we need to forget, I don’t think we could. Breaking with family, putting up boundaries for us to heal is totally about us, not them. And even if they don’t understand that, we do! Thanks for sharing.

Kate – thanks for sharing, and you are so right to point out that there is so many kinds of abuse. This instant of sexual abuse was fostered in an atmosphere where being important and having influence could be bought instead of earned. That is a major problem for me (and you, and so many who read and comment here)…people assuming their money makes them something that their character shows they are not.

Jeri – thanks for the encouragement! I have made my break, run for it and live safely on my side of the boundaries I set up. The ones they choose to walk away from ironically. I liked your addition to Kate’s list! Working on those, as we all are, and it feels good to live without them in our lives. Sometimes I wish they could choose differently, but they won’t.

Lynda – you described so much of my childhood and early adult life so well in just two paragraphs! Being gifted or highly intelligent doesn’t make us less vulnerable! The insanity of clinging to something that is just wrong because it looks better than the truth is sad and disturbing. Lynda – my little girl self never had anyone outraged on her behalf. I really had to digest that line, and having been raged at is something so different than someone being outraged on your behalf. I want to thank you for it.

I want to thank everyone who read and commented for their support and love and understanding. This was a hard post to write (and rewrite, consider and still go forward with!)…your support is amazing, for me and for each other.



You write wonderfully; it took courage to share your story and it helped me find strength in understanding my own. thanks for writing such a beautiful article



“people assuming their money makes them something that their character shows they are not.”

active, not passive, they demand this of their money


Ah Shanyn,
What a horrible thing to have happened- especially at a time in life where your sense of you who you are and what you value is was being formed. Thank you for your courage.
I’m with Lynda – think you’re terrific,


“The blame is always on the one who it is assumed has caused temptation and never on the one who gives into temptation. Because of an under the surface assumption that cripples us, it demeans us, it steals us away from grace. That assumption is that a) there really was temptation, b) the temptress (or tempter) was doing it on purpose and c) that the one who gives in has no choice.”

The thing that tempted him was not you; it was power, power “over” another


blaming the victim is giving in to more power temptation


Oh wow yes! One of my abusers was a man who had been my church camp counselor for years (used to take girls for walks in the woods all the time) and when I got ‘old enough’ I suppose, he crossed the line. Told my Dad, who is a minister and was in charge of the camp, several years after it happened. This man was removed for I believe a year from being a counselor and then as I understand it was allowed to come back…Talk about betrayal…My dad had already betrayed me in so many ways, by having an affair with his church secretary, my best friend’s Mother, by not protecting me from my Mother’s physical, verbal, emotional and sexual abuse, and by not protecting me from the sexual abuse by my brother, and the not really believing me about it to this day…This was just another blow and further betrayal! And this main is still at the same church around the teen girls, and taught at the jr high level for years, until accusations were brought forth by a few girl students of his…he is no longer teaching but was never really held accountable…he now teaches at the college level…the age I was when he crossed the line with/abused me…
I have since found out there are more girls than just me who he ‘crossed the line’ with and have talked to one of them who was a very close friend of mine…
So surprised Ii have not completely run away from the church!! Married a minister…who is also abusive…and yet I continue to keep my faith…perhaps the only positive thing of this whole journey.


It makes me sick that anyone would call a teenage girl a ‘temptress’. I’ve read that most teenage girls who become pregnant were impregnated by a grown man. This is a sick attitude that needs to change. A youth pastor that can’t control himself shouldn’t be in that postition. This just fills me with anger…



Thanks for shring! and very powerful that you started with that verse.


Shanyn, I never had anyone outraged on my behalf, either, until I met the man who is now my best-friend-husband. I met him when I was 50 and he was 54, we were married the following year, and we’ve been married nor for a little over 7 years. I didn’t meet Stan until after my self-esteem had finally healed enough for me to know that I deserve to be treated with respect, equality, kindness, and LOVE.

Like you, having someone be outraged on my behalf, is a whole new and amazing experience. Lord knows I’ve been raged AT, many many many many countless times in my lifetime, beginning with my earliest memories. But to have someone value me enough, to be horrified and grieved and enraged by me being mistreated? Wow… what an awesome thing.

Reading your response to my last comment, Shanyn, brought tears to my eyes. Because I SO understand.



my mother was my first abuser… and she gave me to so many and once they were finished i continued to allow myself to be taken for others’s sick purposes. amongst the worst were a church leader and choir leader – my step father, and then a youth leader at another church, nieghbourhood boys, grooms from our local stable, and then my boss, and so on and so on…. i understand the idea of ‘not being one of the important people who deserve better’, i know what its like to be ridiculed and punished for making people want me in ‘those’ ways, i know how sex, pain and humiliation can unseemingly all be a part of ones sexual orientation, and i know how it feels to never be really loved. i am forever a pawn in other peoples lives. its so hard unlearning all this shit, i am a highly intelligent, motivated single mother….. i need to learn quickly so i can be a parent to my little boy. shanyn, your story has allowed me to look at my own life and this public admittance of what happened to me has kinda lifted the veil. thank you for letting me see its ok to speak about this.


Thank you for sharing your story. What inspired me about your story is that your relationship with God continues to go strong, despite you being abused by an individual in the church. There are people in the church who call themselves Christians, yet do not walk with God. God did not want your abuse to happen. The enemy was trying to distract you from God’s destiny, His mighty call on your life. No weapon formed against you shall prosper in Jesus name. May God anoint you to carry his message of healing. Keep being a blessing and may the Glory of the Lord continue to shine on you!


Shanyn, thank you for speaking out, for trusting your truth, and standing up for yourself and others. **What a blessing that others who are abused have you on their side.** I spend a lot of time thinking about how so many people who have children are so very hurtful to them. Also, I am amazed at how many sick, hurtful people are considered to be the best choices as teachers and counselors. The systems, in families and in religious establishments and public and private schools and camps, all conspire to deprive children of respect, credibility, and genuine nurturing guidance, and look at how this has shaped society. I know how hard it is to be someone who speaks the truth and then be regarded as if WE are the crazy ones. I too am so sorry for what was done to you, and I am grateful to you for taking action. Blessings, Sophia


Joy, Kate, Maribeth, Pam and Lynda – your comments really encourage me. This was a hard post to write. So glad to see you here.

Michelle – your story breaks my heart. Your continued faith is inspiring.

Lynda – isn’t is amazing what our partners can do for us? My husband has been so supportive on this crazy journey. I’ve been raged at too, blamed and offered up as the reason for why things go wrong. It’s our turn (for any of us!) to have that support and outrage for what happened to us. It can be very powerful to know you are not alone.

Tarynne – thank you for sharing here, this is a good place to start on a healing path. Your story brought tears to my eyes. We carry the stuff people put upon us and it weighs us down. When we can take it off, look at it an leave it, there is freedom and healing in that. Praying for you and your son. Keep reaching out. Once the secret is told the power it had is lost. Many hugs!

Samantha – thank you for your comment. After writing this I felt drained and maybe a little dirty too. I hold onto my faith because my relationship with God is not tied to my relationship (or lack of) with a church building, church community but rather to the Church body of believers around the world. We hold each other up. Thank you.


Sophia – your comment is almost a mini post! So well written and I agree. There are a lot of hurting and hurtful people out there doing damage. I’m so honoured to know people who work on healing, make time for kindness and speak out against hurt and harm. Thanks for coming by.


I never DID tell anyone, and I still CAN’T tell anyone, not in a way that makes any sense. I have to say it happened, but I don’t know who did it, but I DO know he was a member of the Catholic Church and a cleric of the church as well. Not just part of the “flock” that they talk about. He had an official title, but I can’t tell you what it was, b/c I still can’t tell you who HE was.
None of it makes any damn sense. What’s the point of having a fragment of a memory that never gets resolved b/c you don’t have enough of the memory with which to work?
And why am I upset about something I barely remember?
And why would a mental health professional tell me it’s a “false memory?”
I work in emergency medicine, and I’ve never HEARD of a false memory. I’ve heard of memories distorting and twisting out of shape during a physical trauma, b/c that’s the body’s defense mechanism for making sure the organism doesn’t destroy itself by being put under too much pressure while also dealing with physical trauma. But I’ve never heard of a false memory and, anyway, I wonder why false memory would be the first damn phrase that pops into a mental health professional’s mind when you’re trying to tell the person something that you remember, but don’t remember all of it.
TBH, the term false memory dissuaded me from even wanting to expand on the topic, and I’ve said nothing more about it until now. And that’s only b/c it isn’t going away to tell myself it might be a false damn memory.


Vicki – oh how I wish I could give you a hug, and make us a tea. I’d sit down and listen to all that you could remember. Then we could take those broken pieces and see if they needed to be put together in a picture that made sense so you could have clarity and more help on your healing path. I have many memories that are fragments with strong emotions connected to them. They don’t make sense on their own, but all too often they can make sense when I can put them into the context of why they are coming up for me in my life. What triggers it? Where am I, what am I doing or saying. Sometimes even a smell or a taste will bring back a memory fragment. I too was accused of having false memories, messaged and chastised by a very distant cousin for causing problems for people he didn’t know. Why? Because he believed all childhood memories are false. I was stunned, offended and then I laughed. How could he know? He, they and the rest who didn’t walk this path don’t know squat or jack about it. They WISH it was a false memory because then the blame and responsibility would be back on me again, instead of where it belongs. False memories are an issue I can only speak to from my own experience, and I’m in no way an expert. I can only offer my prayers and support as you work through this Vicki. Hugs!


Why do pastors have to sexually harrass women who have been sexually abused? My husband has fully admitted his guilt to my pastors, and yet I still endured multiple rounds of
Were you a virgin before you met him?
What were the parameters in your relationship before abuse?
What is the sin in your life that you aren’t (or so they think) meeting his sexual needs?
What are you doing to get out of sex? (Nothing, its been offered every night for years)

By God’s grace, my husband now knows why he abused for so long….and because of the knowledge…I believe will abuse no longer.


Deborah Lynn – firstly thank you for coming by. And for sharing. This is heartbreaking what you said. I’m so glad God has moved in your marriage and life. I pray that your church also gets the same measure of grace. Thanks for being here.


That sounds like what this total jackass said to my daughter right before she tried a serious attempt on her life that would have worked for sure if I wasn’t a paramedic and couldn’t see, b/c I’d treated it before, that she WASN’T just sleeping.
It was October 21, 2001 and, unknown to me at the time, she had gone to talk to the former pastor of the church her dad attended before he was killed in the World Trade Center while he was at work.
She wanted to know why it had happened and she was only beginning 9th grade at the time, so she went and visited the pastor, who told her Eric (her dad) “must have committed some sin that we didn’t know about but for which he was being punished by being killed that way.”
Then the pastor told her, in a roundabout way, that he didn’t want her to come to that particular church.
Incidentally, he told her that, b/c of the “embarrassing way” Eric died, he wasn’t allowed into heaven.
Besides making a serious attempt on her life, she’s never gone to church again since he told her that. I can’t even begin to talk to her about anything spiritual, b/c she becomes enraged at the very idea of God, and the arguments we used to have were so terrible I decided to stop talking about it to her altogether.
But I don’t understand the pastor’s attitude at ALL. Like why the hell is he even a pastor in the first place? Like how can he turn around and say that about a person who always gave generous sums of money to the church?


Viciy, what some people call a false memory is a thought that might be implanted in a person’s head, perhaps during hypnosis. What you describe does NOT sound like a false memory. And how could a pastor talk to your daughter that way, so cruel to say something like that to a grieving girl. Aren’t clergy supposed to help and comfort people? Why does he dare to presume that your husband must have “sinned?” What Vicki and Deborah Lynn describe sound like men abusing power, and clothing it in “holiness.” I am not involved with churches, so I am shocked to realize that these pastors can ask such intrusive, judgemental, and intimidating questions of a woman, especially when it is the husband who seems to have erred. Big hugs to all, Sophia


I am now 72, and just beginning to complete my adolescent, sexual maturing. This was because of help from a therapist/counselor 20 years ago. It has taken a long time. This therapist told me to remember that I experienced an extremely violent childhood, some of which episodes I have amnesia about. The thing I hadn’t fully understood about abuse, especially sexual abuse, is the double bind it puts one in. A child has no choice. If s/he is abused, s/he has to say “yes” and allow herself to be abused, hurt, defeated, used, devalued as an individual. S/he can’t say “no” because that’s bad and part of the threat to make it stick (manipulate). So she’s damned if she says “yes” and damned if she says “no”, thus in a double bind — a victim with NO choice, no way out. That stays with people all their lives.
My father was one who abused me, and when I told my mother, she said I must have lured him. I understood as an adult how she could say that, but I was a child, and mt mother’s word was sacred. Though I knew what she said was wrong, I still blamed myself, and kept punishing myself for any “normal” sexual feelings that came up later. But the therapist made me confront both my parents before they died. I was about 43. This marked the beginning of my real healing, now pretty close to being wonderful. My message is — Never give up. Trust your heart to choose a trustworthy helper as a real, flesh and blood support.


Vicki – all I can say is that pastor you spoke of is wrong, from a God and Grace standpoint, he was acting on human impulse and pride, taking power from his position on church instead of being humbled by it. I’m so sorry for your experiences there, for your daughter and family. It is a terrible crime when people are treated that way.


Celeste – what a terrible path you took to get to the healing! I applaud your courage. It took me until I was almost 40 to put up boundaries and keep them with my family. Your courage and strength inspires me. Thank you so much for sharing!


My own history with several ministers has shown me how fallible ministers can be, how some of them are not above using their power to abuse those that they see as lesser than. The are no better and no worse most of us. They are people first and ministers second. Some of them make mistakes. Some of them are actually abusers and know what they are doing and just don’t care.

Shanyn, thank you for sharing your story. You are a beautiful light in my world. Your goodness influences me to be a better person. I am sorry that you experienced this as a child. Spirituality when it is used to abuse is, in my opinion, one of the worst forms of abuse. It not only affects how you see yourself but it can deeply affect how you form a relationship with God.

At the age of 3, I called myself an adultress and took on the blame of being sexually abused because of a sermon at my grandmother’s church by a man that I loved and highly respected. He never knew how his words condemned me to Hell. He didn’t intentionally do that. His sermon was for the adults in the room and possibly for his alcoholic wife who wasn’t even in the room. Not long afterwards, he was fired because his alcoholic wife who wasn’t even a member of the church divorced him.

I don’t have memories of being abused that young in my life. I just know that I would not have called myself an adulteress and would not have even known what that was if I wasn’t being sexually abused already. My memories of incest don’t start until the age of 11.

Even though I am an incest survivor, I still do not understand the mentality that it takes to sexually abuse a child. Honestly, I don’t want to understand them. I just want them to stop and they won’t as long as we keep our secrets. Thank you Shanyn for having the courage to speak out and share your story of abuse.


Ty for sharing your story i been crying out for years now at 26yrs old youth pastor at age 13 did stuff to me then in 2009 i was even more mortified when i put trust in this pastor telling him how i liked this one preacher lady on a walk in roadside park i bend down he has a gun in my face standing up laughing saying hes in authority shouting glory to god raping me and using Hebrews 13:17-21 i currently avoid walking to any church going inside gets me into panic attacks like rape all over i dont like to be around male pastors i admire your story thanks for sharing to know i am not alone


Hi Katherine
Welcome to Emerging from broken
That is horrible! I am so sorry that happened to you. That man should have gone to prison for that. I can certainly understand why you have trouble going into churches and have trust issues with pastors. There is healing and hope. I hope you will read some of the other posts on this blog.
Hugs, Darlene
Founder of Emerging from Broken


Katherine – thank you for coming here and sharing. That this other pastor used such trust infused verses as these against you horrifies me. His misuse of those words is heartbreaking, the threat of violence is criminal. I can completely understand you reaction to churches and to trusting male pastors. Katherine, I am proud of you for sharing here. This is a great community of survivors who show support and love to each other. You are not alone. I look forward to seeing you here again.


Patricia – you are such an encourager! Thank you for your support on this journey, and for being such a great friend to those who are working through to the healing. Bright blessings…


OMG, I can’t believe I stumbled on this post given my struggle with my abuse. I too was abused in the church. I was abused in a Independant Fundemental Baptist Church by the pastor who founded the church and girls home that operated under the church. I was sent to the girls home for running away from home when I was 13. The pastor often preached brimstone and fire messages that literally scared me to death. We were taught that women were tadverse submissive to men and do as men told us, we were not allowed to wear pants, cut our hair, talk to anyone in the outside world including our parents, etc. Around my 4th month there, the founding pastor approached me and quoted a scripture, about submitting to men of God, and a scripture about tempting a man how wrong it was. he told me I was trying to tempt men and I had tempted him and I was sinning. He told me to take off my blouse and he told me I was going to learn from him what happened when I tempted a man. He masturbated and that was the first time. I didn’t cry, I didn’t yell, I didn’t have to be told to keep quiet, he somehow knew I wouldn’t breathe a word. It didn’t stop there, it got worse each time. Every time he read scripture or prayed before, and every time he told me I was a sinner, “a harlott”, “a whore”. Eventually after I had been there a year, the state of La. closed down the girls home because he would not allow them in to inspect it for fire and other state regulations. So my mom was ordered to come and get me, but somehow a few months later the pastor re- opened the girls home and my mom wanted to send me back. I begged her not to. Push came to shove and I told her (very little) but I told her enough for her to know he was molesting me. What I dreaded most happened, she called me a liar and accused me of saying that so she wouldn’t send me back. I was devestated! She sent me back and I somehow got the guts to run away one night in hopes the police would pick me up so I could tell them. The police picked me up all right, but my mom told them I was lying so they dismissed my claim and took me back to girls home/church. The pastor was very angry with me but he never touched me again. He had moved on to another girl, I found out many years later he had many victims going back to 1978! I eventually went home for good after the state again closed the home down for not being able to conduct fire and code inspections. I never would tell another soul about the abuse, after all no one would believe me. Not until last year, I was very suicidal, suffering horrible depression and anxiety and extreme guilt and shame all because of the sexual abuse. It was all triggered when I began going to church for the first time since that experience and in my adult life. I was 31 by this time, married, with two children and had managed to make it to this point from the age of 15 without ever telling anyone, and escaping the emotional scars of the abuse. Then I began searching the web for the church/girls home and found a “survivors” group of alumni from a range of years. In the group the girls talked about the emotional, spiritual and physical abuse they endured but no one spoke of sexual abuse. I stood by quietly for a long while and read the posts, one girl who became an advocate for children in Independant Fund. Baptist girls homes I came to trust and I privately shared with her what had happened to me while there. She embraced me with love, compassion and she believed me!!! I have come a ways in my healing process since then, but I still feel guilt and shame now knowing there are other victims. I should have screamed, kicked, scared him so he would have stopped! I should have spoke louder, I should have told his wife, the female staff, I should have told EVERYONE!!! I should have gone back to the police, I should have pressed charges!!! There is so much I could have done that might have made a difference for me and other victims! Because of the abuse done at the hands of a ” Man of God” and how he manipulated scripture and prayer as a part of the abuse process, my belief and faith in God was slaughtered. I still to this day question the existence of God, I am an Agnostic, which I really do hate! I want so bad to share others faith in God… I just can’t find it no matter how hard I try! For now, speaking about it to my family and friends is really hard, but speaking out is what gives me strength! I do talk to another survivor who was abused much more violently by the pastor than I was, talking to her does help both of us I think. Knowing there are others out there like you, sexually abused in the church by a member of clergy really strengthens me… Just knowing other people have suffered this type of abuse and have made it helps me to know that I will make it too! Thank you for sharing your story, and forgive me for being so detailed in sharing mine, like I said right now being heard is empowering to me at this stage of my healing.


M Lenee – firstly, thank you for sharing. That took courage. I am so sad for you, and the others who were abused at those homes.

You are not alone. None of us are. That is one of the big lies we are told. We are alone. We are unbelievable. We are unworthy. We have no voice. Those are lies. When we stop believing them, as you sound like you have begun to, then we move through to the healing. And in the healing we find our strength. And in our strength we find our voices.

Thank you for being here,I hope you find healing in the posts and comments on this post, and others. This is a great community.


Hi M Lenee
Welcome to EFB ~ I am so glad you are here,
What happened to you is horrible! I am so sorry that this was your experence! Those people should have been put in prison! I am so sorry that your mom didn’t listen to you.
I wanted to reassure you that you are not to blame for staying silent. Survival is the most important thing and when you tried to tell you were ignored so it is no wonder that “telling” was somthing you could not do. None of that was your fault and what happened to others is not your fault either. It is the fault of the abuser. All of it.
thank you for sharing your story here.
Hugs, Darlene
(founder of Emerging from Broken)

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