I have learned so much through the last couple years of confronting abuse from officers in my denomination. There are some things that most of us just cannot be aware of or see clearly unless we, or someone we love, find ourselves in a more vulnerable position. Since I’m using the word abuse, I want to define what that is. In consulting with an expert on the topic, I learned that spiritual abuse is anything where you use your power to do/take from another what is not rightfully yours. That was a helpful definition. I began listing the things that were taken from me. Protection was a big category that I needed to break down: protection of my reputation, physical protection as jokes were made about a possible meet up where I was speaking, vocational security as calls were made warning people who booked me to speak and my writing is being misrepresented, protection in my denomination, and protection of my dignity and personhood. Another thing taken from me was agency and power: power to be notified, power to defend myself, power to seek justice, and power for restoration. Wade Mullen gives another helpful definition:
When someone treats you as an object they are willing to harm for their own benefit, abuse has occurred, and that person has become an abuser. Some of the worst forms of abuse are psychological.
Abuse is all about gaining and retaining power at the expense of another. And it’s a pattern. I also resonate with what Mullen says one needs in order to begin to free yourself from the power of abuse over you:
Freedom comes first by understanding, and understanding means having the language to identify and talk about your situation.
And so I have documented the more public steps of trying to address the officers in Genevan Commons and the undershepherds and process of doing this over the last year:Continue reading