Yet another story:
Something really bad happened. And it has haunted me for the last 18 years. I am glad to say I am not alone in my haunting. The worship leader shared with me this summer that it also haunted him.
I was so glad to hear that! It was good to know, that I was not alone in my feelings.
OK, I am going to tell you what happened. But do not yell at me ok? We were young, and remember, I had been brainwashed taught to believe and trust the pastor.
For the record, I would not handle it the same way now…not by a long shot.
There was a little girl who had been raped by her father. At the time, we were told by the church hierarchy
( **note to blog readers it will not surprise you to know that they were all MEN, now, back to our regularity scheduled blog post **)
but,they said, it had stopped and the father was being held accountable by the board and pastor of the church.
They told us not to report him.
And I will take to my coffin the shame that I did not report the bastard.
I know now, that it does not just “stop” and most likely did not. Anyway, a year or so ago, I wrote the letter below to the youth pastor who is now the head pastor of a fairly large church here on the west coast.
It took a long time and two letters before he would respond to me. I will not post his letter. But I will tell you he did NOT take any responsibility for not doing the right thing. He has many excuses including but not limited to the fact the bastard was dead ( may he rot in hell) and the fact that little girl was married with three kids (like that is proof she is fine, really?) and of course she is a Christian and has forgiven her dad..yada yada yada
please do not slam me. I have done what I could to make amends
And it is over.
But what If it happened now Blue Berry?
If it happened now? I would shout it from the rooftop of the fucking church.
I would by all means REPORT IT.
And if anyone…ANY~FUCKING~ONE told me to keep quiet,
I would say:
“Hay you mother-fucking, rapist protecting, douche nozzle, woman hating, ass hole.
fuck you! I am calling the COPS!
TRY to STOP ME,
And if you do try to stop me…
I will call the media, and probably Gloria FUCKING Aldred”
and I would.
And yes I would use those words…
In the church building
To that rat pastors face!
Here is the letter..I have taken out names and stuff, not to protect the dead rapist, the pastors or even myself, but to protect the victim.
I don’t know if you remember me, my name is Blue Berry. We ministered together at such and so Church in the OC, some 18 years ago. I was active in worship and youth ministry. I have had something on my heart all these years . I can and will no longer hold this secret in.
One of the youth girls, I believe her name was *****, she was a stunning girl, tall and blond, i think she was about 14. she was being abused by her father, the abuse included but was not limited to rape/incest. I knew this, you knew this, the lead pastor knew this and yet we did not contact the authorities. I have a very clear memory of being in office with you and I think, the lead pastor, and you telling me to not call the authorizes, that this man, a predator was being “counseled” by the church.
I do not remember how you put it, but the jest was, that our church because it is a church, that the law did not count for us. And we did not have to report him. even though, I was a teacher and a mandated reporter, I was not to report him. That you all had it under control.
***, what we did was wrong, we did not protect that poor child. I will take that shame to my grave. We were all she had, we were the hands of Christ, and we abandoned her. I think about her all the time, how is she doing? is she safe? Did someone else have the balls to report him? Did he continued to rape her? What kind of men are in her life? Do they treat her with the love she deserves? Or has she continued the legacy of abuse? Is her father still raping and abusing her and or other children? Her children?
I know that you may not be able to answer these questions,or even want to. We should have asked, we should have shouted from the roof tops that we will stand for righteousness. That we will protect the children and not the predators , that we did not need or want his filthy money. We submitted to the pressure of the sacred cows of that church. but I believe with my whole heart and soul that we ( you, that head pastor, me and who ever else knew, but did nothing) will be held accountable for this grievous, filthy sin of omission. whether on this side of the kingdom or here on this earth, we will pay for this sin, and simply saying “i am sorry G*d” is not in any shape or form even close to true making amends to this poor child, and the many children that came after her. What ever the reasons were at the time, we were wrong.
I am a youth pastor now, although on maternity leave, and I promise you, that I will never ever again go against my better judgment , I will never, ever lie to protect anyone, ever again to protect a predator. I will never keep any secret that causes harm to another, most especially a child. I hate secrets, they are evil. I may never be able to make amends to that child, but she will forever be in my heart as a reminder that I answer to G*d and my own conscience, and this youth pastor will do all she can to protect the innocent.