15 December, 2006

Telling it like it is

OK, here is the synopsis of the story as I currently understand it.

Mom was ill and left her daughter in the care of a Deacon from her church. The
daughter finally let her mother know that the Deacon began molesting
her at the age of seven and continued molesting her for four years. Mom went to
the Pastor. Pastor said let me handle this, and that he'd keep Deacon away from
other children. As time goes by, Mom sees that Pastor has not kept his word so
she goes to the police.

Got that.

Where do I begin?

Well, the Deacon is a piece of crap child rapist. The Pastor is enabling the Deacon by giving him free reign of the church.

But, the Mom is really the most puzzling piece.

Let me try to work this out.

Your baby came to you and told you that she had been violated by someone you trusted and rather than get her to the doctor, call the police, and get her some counseling; you go to the Pastor?!?

Is there a jail under the church? An electric chair?

When you get to Pastor, you buy his song and dance and don't go any further.

You trusted the Pastor to resolve internally within the church what was a criminal issue?

You brushed aside the trauma your daughter had endured for four years in deference to what your Pastor said he would do.

I wonder if she dared to ask if any other children had been molested at the church? I wonder if she even thought she should do anything further? Sought reliable counsel?

It is not until you see that the Deacon can get to other children that you decide you should go to the police about the matter.



Oh, really now. The well-being of your child took a back seat to the reputation of the Church, Pastor and Deacon.

I wonder how long she went back to church after she talked to Pastor.

Did she tithe?

Did she sit and offer her prayers and follow the leadership of this Pastor while looking at her baby EVERYDAY?

How could she still see this man as her spiritual leader?

Did she subject her baby to returning to that church to see her molester every week?

The way I see it, this woman was more concerned for the other children than she was her own.

Why not go straight to the police? She could have dropped by to give Pastor a heads up after the fact, if she thought it appropriate.

What is wrong with our people being brainwashed by these churches?

Where is the public outrage?

I want to know why the African-American community is not protesting at this church the same way they would protest at a school if you substituted Principal and Teacher, for Pastor and Deacon, and if they were white.

No, really. I have to tell it like it is.

You know there would be so much outrage if this were a white molester.

Deacon has been indicted, but what about Pastor?

And what the hell about Mom? Oh, really, I want a minute of her time.

I have something to put on her mind.

Imagine you are that 11 year old child. You have had to process for yourself what is inappropriate behavior from an adult.

You finally get the courage to tell your mother that someone you are supposed to trust really is not a good man.

Imagine being eleven and trying to find words for the unspeakable.

Most of you would not know this so I will share from my personal experience, molesters frighten their victims into silence with several different 'tools', some of the more common: they threaten to hurt the child or someone the child loves, they tell the child that no one will believe them, they convince the child victim that it is happening because of the child's actions, and/or they make the child feel guilty because the child may feel some pleasure at their stimulation and there again blaming the victim.

So, at eleven after enduring four years of abuse you get the courage to tell even though you are terrified that you will be called a liar, blamed, or are afraid that it's your fault. You tell even though you are afraid that he will kill you or someone you love.

Bravo to that baby for, apparently, having more sense than any of the adults around her.

And, after mustering up your courage what happens. Mom goes to church tells Pastor and says it's all taken care of.

But it isn't.

Mom is still at church and Deacon is moving around, business as usual.

Mom did not go to the police for you.

Mom went to the police because Pastor did not do what he said and keep Deacon from the other children.

How many other mothers from that church will talk to their children, girls AND boys, and try to find out if their children have also been molested?

I wish I could talk to that baby the way I wish someone would have talked to me.

I wish I could hug her and reassure her that she did not deserve this. She did not cause this. It is not her fault.

I wish I could make this go away for all young girls.

I wish we lived in a society that valued young African-American girls.

African-American women period.

I wish people would get away from the secretive bullshit that blames the victim for telling.

I wish people did not value the reputations of men and churches above the lives of children.

I wish we lived in a society where we could all just tell it like it is.

I wish we could all speak our truths, even to power, like that eleven year old did.

I wish I could let her know how proud I am of her for having the courage to tell the truth even though she was terrified to do so.

I wish I could let her know that she is an example for others who may be going through the same thing.

I wish I could let her know that by being brave and breaking her silence she will encourage others to do the same.

Lord, bless her for being able to say it. Lord, keep her and always help her find her way.

So, to encourage us all to speak our truth to power, I offer the lyrics to Tracy Chapman's Tell It Like It Is

"Tell It Like It Is"

Say it, say it, say it, tell it like it is
Say it, say it, say it, tell it like it is
What breaks your heart
What keeps you awake at night
What makes you want to breakdown and cry
But say you’ll never turn your back
Say you’ll never harden to the world
Say you’ll never try to still the rhythms in your breast
Say you’ll never look at the evil among us and try to forget
Say you’ll tell it like it is

Say it say it say it so everyone can hear
Say it say it say it tell it like it is
What breaks your heart
What keeps you awake at night
How your anger and grief
Make you want to cry out
And tell it like it is
But say you’ll never close your eyes
Or pretend that it’s a rosy world
Say you’ll never try to paint
What is rotten with a sugarcoat
Say you’ll talk about the horrors you’ve seen and the torment you know
And tell it like it is

Say it say it say it
So no one can forget
Say it say it say it tell it like it is
What breaks your heart
What keeps you awake at night
What makes you want to break the ties that silence and bind
And tell it like it is
Say you’ll never cover your ears and close your mouth
And live in a silent world
Say you’ll only run as far or as fast as you need to be secure
Say that then you’ll tell the truth
When a lie could cross your lips
And tell it like it is

Say it, say it, say it - say it, say it, say it
Say it, say it, say it - say it, say it, say it
Say it, say it, say it - say it, say it, say it
Say it, say it, say it - say it, say it, say it

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