Category Archives: abuse

A Sexually Predaceous Christmas Song

Every year around this time I will re-publish this post. My opinion is the same this year as it was last year.


“No!” Means “NO!”

A Winter Romance album coverI don’t know about you, but “Baby It’s Cold Outside” absolutely disgusts me. Every time I hear it sung on the radio (usually by Dean Martin), primarily during the Christmas season, it makes my blood boil! But what happens when I complain? Nothing; it’s “just an innocent song,” they say.

It’s just a “cat and mouse” thing, they say.

But seriously, would you just consider the lyrics? Have we not progressed to the point in society where we recognize red flags when we see them? Or, are we still in the age when it’s perfectly acceptable to coerce a woman, to interpret her “no” as a “yes”?

Is it acceptable these days to care nothing about a girl’s feelings and reputation all because your pride might get hurt if she says no to your advances? Well, that’s all “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is; an aroused sexual predator pressuring a reluctant date to stay the night, drugging her if necessary.

Red Flags

To make my point, I have included the lyrics to “Baby It’s Cold Outside” in this post, highlighting and commenting along the way.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside”

I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go away – Baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice – I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice

Up until this point, it’s not that bad. Asking someone to stay the night is not the problem (from a legal sense). But things start to progress from questionable to insensitive pressuring very quickly.

My mother will start to worry – Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
Father will be pacing the floor – Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry – Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Maybe just a half a drink more – Put some records on while I pour

So, the girl actually cares about the feelings of her parents – imagine that! But does that matter to the guy? No. He cares nothing for her fears or her parents feelings – sounds like a real “keeper.”

The neighbors might think – Baby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink?No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how – Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell – I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell

Yeah, who cares what the neighbors think? No biggie, right? But isn’t putting drugs in your date’s drink illegal? Isn’t denying your date safe transport home considered kidnapping? Isn’t drugging your date and keeping her against her will the precursors to rape? I guess it’s hard to break the “spell” of a drug once it’s already caused one’s eyes to sparkle like “starlight.”

I ought to say no, no, no – Mind if I move in closer?
At least I’m gonna say that I tried – What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can’t stay – Baby don’t hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside

Notice the “no, no, no” followed by the predator’s advancing moves (as a father, I wan’t to beat the crap out of this guy about now). She said “no,” but she also said she “ought” to say no. Well, what do you expect someone drugged to say??? Now you’ve got a girl who’s unable to decide for herself what to do and a guy who’s making her feel guilty for not putting out!! Whatever happened to the season of giving, not getting, hmmm?

I’ve got to get home – Oh, baby, you’ll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat – It’s up to your knees out there
You’ve really been grand – Thrill when you touch my hand
Why don’t you seeHow can you do this thing to me?

Don’t you just love this? It’s now around the fifth time this girl’s expressed her desire to leave her date’s house, but he won’t give up. Then she appeals to chivalry and asks for his coat, because by now she can’t remember why she doesn’t have one, even though it’s cold enough to be snowing. Does he give it to her like a gentleman should? No, he hides her coat (evidently) and continues to touch her! Finally, she begs him to recognize her reluctance, but all the animal can do is play mind games (a hallmark of predators).

There’s bound to be talk tomorrowThink of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied – If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can’t stayGet over that holdout
Ah, but it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside

Once again, it’s all “poor me” from the predator, mixed in with a little twist of feigned caring (“Oh, you’ll get sick!”). Does he care about her reputation? Does he care about her at all? Evidently not. Even after she makes one last plea, all he can say is “get over your holding out on me!” Because, after all, it’s cold outside.

 – Lyrics: Frank Loesser, 1944

I’m dead serious about this, people. This is no joke! If we will allow every other little thing to offend our sensibilities, and yet allow this song to be played over the airwaves, we are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites.

Am I overreacting? What if it was YOUR daughter? 

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Filed under abuse, General Observations, Parenting

The Unbearable Secret

Do you have a secret? 

If it is true that “we are only as sick as our secrets” then sexual abuse is one of the most lethal secrets in our society today. There are an estimated 60 million adult survivors in the U.S., and one in 10 young people will be sexually abused by age 18.

I am one of these statistics. And, I just published a book inspired by true events, about a friend who also was victimized, but did not live to share his story.

Many survivors will tell you their abuse was the worst thing that ever happened to them. From my perspective it is not; denial is.

Denial perpetually re-victimizes, extending pain’s power over victims’ lives and adding fuel to a fire of self-destruction that can include substance abuse, relational brokenness, and pornographic and other sexual addictions.

Why We Hide

Why do sexual abuse victims hide the truth about what happened to them?

Shame.

Unlike in other crimes, victims of sexual abuse experience an intense, if misplaced sense of responsibility for what happened. In my conversations with survivors I’ve been repeatedly stunned by how often I hear a version of this statement:

“What happened to me wasn’t sexual abuse; it was my fault because I __________.”

How victims fill in the blank is not important if you understand that “sexual abuse involves any contact or interaction whereby a vulnerable person (usually a child or adolescent) is used for the sexual stimulation of an older, stronger or more influential person.” [“When Trust is Lost,” by Dan B. Allender]

The shame we feel creates the secrecy, but sadly even when we find the courage to break our silence, those we choose to trust often are unprepared and ill-equipped to receive such a difficult disclosure in a life-giving manner, at least initially.

The questions asked or the emotions expressed can serve to confirm victims’ worst fear — that what happened to them really was their fault — so rather than bringing freedom, disclosure can lead to a deepening of shame, self-contempt and denial.

  • When I first told my future husband that I was abused by my high school teacher he asked, “Was it consensual?” Now  a strong supporter and advocate, he deeply regrets his initial response, which didn’t reflect a lack of love, rather a lack of understanding of sexual abuse.
  • My friend, Paul, was an adult when he told his parents about his abuse by a priest in high school. When they learned of his intention to join other classmates in taking the allegations public, his parents questioned why he would “cause trouble for the church.” It took months for them to process their fears and anxiety and join him in his quest for justice.
  • My friend’s sister visited her aunt and uncle for the summer as a teenager. She called her parents and tearfully plead to come home because her uncle was molesting her. They dismissed her claims and told her to “stop being dramatic.”

The Secret Cost

Victims eventually escape their abusers, yet many live in fight-or-flight mode. Who is the enemy they fear most? Intimacy.

As human beings we were created to live in intimacy with each other and with God. Survivors find themselves locked in an internal conflict against this God-given desire. And as with any battle, it leaves a trail of destruction—self-destruction in this case, in the form of relational struggles, divorce, substance abuse, sexual addictions and far too often, suicide.

My friend, Paul, looks for these battle scars to identify likely victims among his high school alums. Netflix’s “The Keepers,” reports these outcomes were common among survivors of the abuse scandal at the center of this series. And The Boston Globe Spotlight team has showcased myriad cases where such fallout plagues survivors.

Secrets Don’t Keep

In Mark Chapter 4, 21-23, Jesus says to his apostles:

Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?

For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.

 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.

Secrets don’t keep. Sooner or later they find their way into the light…and that is for our good.

As difficult as it is, the first brave step for a survivor of sexual abuse is to speak up about what happened. Bring it to someone you love and trust to come alongside you in grace and truth, even if imperfectly. Pursue recovery; I’ve created a short list of resources to help you get started.

And most importantly, bring your abuse to the Lord. Admittedly, this is no small step, especially for those wounded inside the church. Yet we serve a God who promises, “You will find me when you seek me with your whole heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

If you’ll take the risk, God will heal your broken heart. And in the process, as only he can do, he will use your brokenness to become a light to others.

It’s in this way that we discover our purpose, our value to one another and our infinite, unconditional value in the eyes of the one who created us. And that’s when something truly incredible happens:

We connect…intimately

…and we hear two of the most healing words a hurting person can hope to hear from another person:

“Me too.”

You are not alone. You are forgiven. And not only can you be delivered from the darkness of your suffering, but you can become a brilliant point of light in the lives of others.

 

About the Author

Nanette Kirsch is author of the Faith Runner blog  and of the just-released book, Denial: Abuse, Addiction and a Life Derailed, based on a true story, of how denial of childhood sexual abuse led an outwardly highly successful man into a secretive and dangerous double life.

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Filed under abuse, Christianity, current events

Flawed and Loved

Here’s another insightful guest post. I’m so glad God loves me, flaws and all!


Guest Post by: Dorissa Vanover

“Duh!” “How Stupid!” “Dummy!” These words are the words that fly through my head when I’ve made a silly mistake.

I would never, ever talk to anyone else that way, but, for whatever reason, I feel quite free to berate myself soundly at any time or at any place. I simply cannot cut myself any slack – especially when I goof.

I would really like to blame my upbringing. Maybe my parents are the ones who turned this horrible voice on inside my head. No, it wasn’t them. They tried their very best to make me feel good about myself. This voice is one I developed all by myself!

“She’s just being kind.”  These are the words in my head when someone pays me a compliment. If someone says my hair looks nice, I run to the bathroom mirror to try to figure out what my hair has done with itself since I sprayed it this morning – didn’t look so hot to me then.  I love compliments, don’t get me wrong―it’s just that even if I was tempted to believe them, I probably couldn’t see what was worth complimenting. I mean really, my hair looks nice – um – must be something wrong with her eyesight! 

We’ve all probably heard that it takes 10 positives to outweigh one negative. I believe it.  If ten people complimented me on my appearance and one person looked straight into my eyes and said, “You look tired. Are you feeling okay?”,  I would run to the mirror to check out the tired eyes.

I don’t think I’m the only person in the world who looks for the flaws instead of the attributes when I’m evaluating myself. I’m trying to figure out how to stop it before it gets way too far out of hand.

The first step for me is to remember, “God didn’t make any junk.”  I’ve always known that’s true, especially when I look at my husband or my sons and their families. They are absolutely wonderful people and I’m so very proud of them. I need to remind myself that God created me, too. He loves me, even though I’m flawed.

The next step for me is to be as kind and gentle with my words to myself as I am to others. Have you ever tried to list five good qualities about yourself? I could list many more than that for the other people in my life, but to find five really good qualities about myself is a bit of a stretch. I’ll need to work on that.

The best step I can take is to trust that God has a plan for my life. He put me here for a reason or reasons that I may, or may not, get to know. If I stay focused on Him and His goodness, I won’t have too much time to worry about myself and my flaws.

The final step is to realize that the Bible is very plain about loving others as we love ourselves. Well, guess what? If I don’t have a healthy self-esteem, if I don’t value myself, how will I be able to value others? If I’m always looking inward at myself, how will I be able to hold my head high, look into the faces of the people God sends my way, and share with them all the love God has shared with me?

So, for today, my plan is to prayerfully focus on God and His mercy, treating each of His children, even myself, with the love He expects us to show.

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Filed under abuse, Depression, Guest Posts, Love of God, self-worth

A Sexually Predaceous Christmas Song

 “No!” Means “NO!”

A Winter Romance album coverI don’t know about you, but “Baby It’s Cold Outside” absolutely disgusts me. Every time I hear it sung on the radio (usually by Dean Martin), primarily during the Christmas season, it makes my blood boil! But what happens when I complain? Nothing. It’s “just an innocent song,” they say.

It’s just a “cat and mouse” thing, they say.

But seriously, would you just consider the lyrics? Have we not progressed to the point in society where we recognize red flags when we see them? Or, are we still in the age when it’s perfectly acceptable to coerce a woman, to interpret her “no” as a “yes”?

Is it acceptable these days to care nothing about a girl’s feelings and reputation all because your pride might get hurt if she says no to your advances? Well, that’s all “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is: an aroused sexual predator pressuring a reluctant date to stay the night, drugging her if necessary.

Red Flags

To make my point, I have included the lyrics to “Baby It’s Cold Outside” in this post, highlighting and commenting along the way.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside”

I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go away – Baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice – I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice

Up until this point, it’s not that bad. Asking someone to stay the night is not the problem (from a legal sense). But things start to progress from questionable to insensitive pressuring very quickly.

My mother will start to worry – Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
Father will be pacing the floor – Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry – Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Maybe just a half a drink more – Put some records on while I pour

So, the girl actually cares about the feelings of her parents – imagine that! But does that matter to the guy? No. He cares nothing for her fears or her parents feelings – sounds like a real “keeper.”

The neighbors might think – Baby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink?No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how – Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell – I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell

Yeah, who cares what the neighbors think? No biggie, right? But isn’t putting drugs in your date’s drink illegal? Isn’t denying your date safe transport home considered kidnapping? Isn’t drugging your date and keeping her against her will the precursors to rape? I guess it’s hard to break the “spell” of a drug once it’s already caused one’s eyes to sparkle like “starlight.”

I ought to say no, no, no – Mind if I move in closer?
At least I’m gonna say that I tried – What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can’t stay – Baby don’t hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside

Notice the “no, no, no” followed by the predator’s advancing moves (as a father, I wan’t to beat the crap out of this guy about now). She said “no,” but she also said she “ought” to say no. Well, what do you expect someone drugged to say??? Now you’ve got a girl who’s unable to decide for herself what to do and a guy who’s making her feel guilty for not putting out!! Whatever happened to the season of giving, not getting, hmmm?

I’ve got to get home – Oh, baby, you’ll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat – It’s up to your knees out there
You’ve really been grand – Thrill when you touch my hand
Why don’t you seeHow can you do this thing to me?

Don’t you just love this? It’s now around the fifth time this girl’s expressed her desire to leave her date’s house, but he won’t give up. Then she appeals to chivalry and asks for his coat, because by now she can’t remember why she doesn’t have one, even though it’s cold enough to be snowing. Does he give it to her like a gentleman should? No, he hides her coat (evidently) and continues to touch her! Finally, she begs him to recognize her reluctance, but all the animal can do is play mind games (a hallmark of predators).

There’s bound to be talk tomorrowThink of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied – If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can’t stayGet over that hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside

Once again, it’s all “poor me” from the predator, mixed in with a little twist of feigned caring (“Oh, you’ll get sick!”). Does he care about her reputation? Does he care about her at all? Evidently not. Even after she makes one last plea, all he can say is “get over your holding out on me!” Because, after all, it’s cold outside.

 – Lyrics written by: Frank Loesser, 1944

We say we hate sexual abuse, yet this song continues to be played every Christmas season. How long before we say, “Enough!”?

Am I overreacting? What if it was YOUR daughter? 

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Filed under abuse, General Observations, Parenting

Perfection Not Required

Jesus Said…

“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”

“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” – Luke 18:11, 13

The Perfect Candidate

Imagine that instead of the temple, a Pharisee and a publican walked into a pastoral search committee meeting.  They walk in, introduce themselves, and compare resumes.

pharisee and publicanWhich one do you think would be offered the position? I believe it would be the one who meets the average preconception of what every Christian fit for service should be. I believe the Pharisee, the one with the perfect resume and appearance, would be the first considered.

But God doesn’t use perfect people; He uses REAL people. Unfortunately, there are many men and women in the church who feel inferior and useless because of their sinful and broken pasts. They are the people who sit on the pews, week after week, doing all they can to be faithful in life, but are forbidden to hold positions in the church.  They are much like the Publican, men and women who know they have failed in the past, but want to be forgiven and start new.  

Genesis of Dysfunction

A while back I read through the book of Genesis in a couple of sittings.  Reading a book of the Bible that way, especially in a different translation, can help you see the story from a new perspective.  This time I was just astounded at how messed up these people really were!  There was so much “stuff” going on that if it were today, it would make an episode of Jerry Springer look tame!

Consider, if nothing else, the sad story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel. This was a seriously messed up family with real marital problems.  At one point, Leah and Rachel get into a jealous argument over a son’s mandrakes.  Just imagine you were a marriage counselor and listened in to the following story…

Reuben went out during the wheat harvest and found some mandrakes in the field.  When he brought them to his mother, Leah, Rachel asked, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”  But Leah replied to her, “Isn’t it enough that you have taken my husband?  Now you also want my son’s mandrakes?

Well,” Rachel said, “you can sleep with him tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.”  When Jacob came in from the field that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come with me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.”  So Jacob slept with her that night. – Geneses 30:14:16 HCSB

Check this out…

  • Twice Abraham told other people that his wife, Sarah, was his sister so that he would not be harmed.
  • Joseph’s brothers hated him and sold him to traveling salesmen.
  • Jacob and Esau were seriously at odds.
  • Leah, poor thing, kept trying to have children so that her husband, Jacob would love her.

And there’s more!

  • Jacob’s father-in-law, Laban, got him drunk on his wedding night and gave him the wrong wife – on purpose.
  • The son’s of Jacob (founders of ten of the tribes of Israel) lied to a bunch of men about making a covenant, then proceeded to slaughter all of them after they had convinced them to be circumcised.

It just goes on and on.  Messed up, I am telling you! MESSED UP!

Nevertheless,

God told Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”  How is this even possible?  

If God can use Abraham and his family – with all their problems – to bless the nations, then He can use ANYBODY!


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Filed under Abortion, abuse, Christian Living, Do not judge, Faith, General Observations, legalism, Relationships and Family, Struggles and Trials, World View

Nauseous Hosts

Proverbs 23:6-8

“Eat thou not the bread of [him that hath] an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart [is] not with thee. The morsel [which] thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.” – KJV

“Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies. They are always thinking about how much it costs. “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it. You will throw up what little you’ve eaten, and your compliments will be wasted.” – NLT

Puzzling 

I have been struggling with this proverb. You must admit, it’s a little odd. I mean, what’s the deal with “dainty meats” and throwing up?

The best I can figure, the meaning of this proverbs is pretty simple once you get past the language. For one thing, don’t eat with a hypocrite. Secondly, if you do, you’ll regret anything nice you ever said.

It does seem a little strange, though. Why would someone feed you and say, “Go ahead, dear, eat all you want,” while at the same time regret you ever came to dinner?

Better to Eat Herbs

Solomon must have had an experience or two with people who wanted to entertain him with a meal. But evidently there were people who offered the best on the menu while wincing every time he took a nibble. Have you ever known anyone like that?

What makes a person sick after eating all the nice, expensive food is the guilt one is made to feel. There are some people who want to make you think they care, but then they make you feel guilty for taking advantage of their hospitality. The great Matthew Henry said,

Do not sponge upon those that are bountiful, nor make thyself burdensome to any; but especially scorn to be beholden to those that are paltry and not sincere. Better have a dinner of herbs, and true welcome, than dainty meats without it.*

Gag Reflex

Here’s the point that must be taken: don’t desire the things that belong to the wealthy, nor ask them for a free meal. Sure, there are kindly millionaires who love to give. The problem it that there are many others who love money more than people, but don’t want to seem greedy on the surface. That is why they will say, “Eat and drink,” but gag you in the end.

One commentary says that “Cultivating the friendship of the wealthy is a waste of effort,” and then goes on to say…

“For like a hair in the throat, so he is.” Just as getting a hair in the throat while eating causes a gag reflex and sometimes vomiting (v. 8), even so the wealthy man’s hospitality will leave one feeling disgusted.**

I sure hope the next rich person that takes me to dinner keeps his hair off my food.

Sources:

*Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), Pr 23:6–8.

**Duane A. Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, vol. 14, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 195-196.

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Another Day In Court

“I See the Offender”

 

The offender stands within my sight,

Bound with the chains of judicial might.

I cannot reach him – I wouldn’t try,

But it’s crossed my mind – I wouldn’t lie.

 

Forgive me.

 

My little girl so young and sweet!

How can I stay here in my seat?

The rule of law will be my guide;

Within Thy Fortress I will hide.

 

Hold me.

 

Vengeance is not mine, I know;

It’s in Your hand where this will go.

But somehow wrongs will be made right,

If not now, then in Your sight.

 

Avenge me!

by: Anthony Baker

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Filed under abuse, poetry