Franklin Graham: Saeed is Freed. Free Naghmeh too!

"His Problem Not Her Fault" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“His Problem Not Her Fault” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

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I’ve had the great pleasure of being friends with Naghmeh. She contacted me after she saw this first cartoon I did in her honor and in her defense. We’ve been communicating since. I’m also glad she became a member of The Lasting Supper where she’s getting really good support and advocacy.

I predicted… (and I’m not boasting about this because any person with a lick of sense could have predicted this because this is what usually happens to women who expose their male abusers)… that she wouldn’t be believed, she would be made to look like a liar, it would somehow become her fault, her leaving the relationship would be her refusal to help repair it, and her exposing Saeed’s abusiveness would not only cast a shadow on a modern Christian hero of the faith, but The Faith itself. Every attempt will be made to discredit her.

Then, the other day, when Franklin Graham posted his announcement on Facebook, the prediction came true.

Then Saeed came out with a statement denying her allegations, also fulfilling the predictable.

As always, people silence the woman, mostly by shaming her into turning something that is private into a public issue. Basically, when a man abuses a woman and we try to intervene or advocate, we are told to leave and mind our own business.

Hello? It’s not a relationship issue! As this cartoon hopefully illustrates… it’s his problem, not her fault!

I like The Onion for its crazy humor, but this piece about reporting rape is powerful. I wanted to share it.

I’m always shocked when a woman tells her story and isn’t believed. But I’m never shocked.

Naghmeh is strong and wise. The truth is, she is free and she knows it. Now she just has to pay for it with her resilience and resoluteness. But she does have support. There are people who believe her story. She will be okay.

SHOP

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22 Responses

  1. Sarah says:

    I only joined TLS recently but I have been battling with a similar situation except my husband did take my children because of my ‘allegations’ against him and the ‘church’. It was the last bit of control he had left. Two years and me and my kids nearly free. I stand with you #freenaghmeh

  2. Thanks for sharing this Sarah!

  3. Adam Julians says:

    Yes, people do try to shame women by making something private a public issue. Hopefully Naghmeh can heal and be secure, protected from any such shaming from now on and from anyone who would exploit and/or sensationalise her story for selfish gain.

    It’s good to hear she has good support and will be OK.

    I would echo what has been said previously. May she receive good spiritual counsel, be afforded time to rest & restore and have sincere prayers on her behalf.

  4. Caryn LeMur says:

    Amen to this cartoon!

    The cycle of abuse can be ended by either partner – but most often the woman must leave her husband, or he will simply apologize/repent, then build up more control and tension, and then explode again.

    And, I believe the cycle has an addictive component to it for the man… and sadly, a societal component that places a heavy ‘burden of proof’ upon the woman, thus allowing and even luring the man to stay addicted.

    My great hope is that Saeed will simply admit his participation in the cycle of abuse, seek counseling and remain in counseling for a few years, and work towards healing himself. To me, this is a good and mature response. His children will be proud of him in the years to come – for ‘blessed is he that overcomes’.

  5. Caryn… I like what you say and appreciate it. When you say “admit his participation in the cycle of abuse”, I worry that this could be interpreted to mean that she’s as responsible as he is for the abuse. Some might think you mean that she should share the responsibility for her abuse. I know what you mean but worry some may not.

  6. Adam Julians says:

    David,

    I understand you are worried that some might think Caryn means that Naghemeh is as responsible for the abuse as Saeed is.

    What I see in what Caryn has commented is an echo of your apology last year for having “inadvertently participated in the cycle of abuse”.

    In the context of nakedpastor I think there can be an assurance of there not needing to be concerned about perception of Caryn’s comment.

    Rather, that her comment engenders respect for her as it did for you in your apology last year in taking the courage to shine a light on this issue and foster healing and healthy community.

    I wish you both well in TLS with caring for Naghemeh.

  7. Adam… I think it is careless and cruel to suggest that an abused wife participates in her cycle of abuse in the way you do. I think the language needs to be clearer to lay the blame for the abuse totally on the abuser and not let any of the responsibility fall on the victim. Yes, victims are involved because they’re there. But we need to be careful in how we articulate that, as I know Caryn’s aware of.

  8. Adam Julians says:

    Wow,

    I am astonished that you have taken my comment as you have. I don’t see what you allege being conveyed in my comment. At all.

    What you say is your interpretation of my comment. Like with Caryn, I think there need be no concern rather that it be shining a light as yours and Caryn’s comments as mentioned have and fostering healing and healthy community.

    Please think about how you have interpreted both Caryn and my comments. The sad thing is that talking like this distracts energy away here from what could be used in fostering caring for abused women.

    Of course if you have a problem with what Caryn or I have commented, then we can take this outside of nakedpastor.

    Again I hope all is going well in TLS and healing is being experienced there for Naghemeh.

  9. Adam: I find your comparison strange and unsettling. My “apology” was quite different than what Caryn wrote here. I do not see the comparison at all.

  10. Adam Julians says:

    The words used are virtually if not identical as I recall David between how Caryn described things and your “apology”. Are you suggesting I have that wrong? I am almost certain I can do some looking around and quote you.

    This does not distract from you yet again painting how I come across in a bad light. That, to me is disturbing.

    How you ” find ” anything is about you. Of course you will realise that.

    None of this is helping any women. And is a waste of my time.

    This will be my last comment to you on this thread. Again, Caryn and I have done nothing other than what is fostering healing and healthy community in my opinion of the truth.

    That is my opinion. I assert the right to have that opinion defended against any other, or any consensus at any time. If you or anyone else takes exception to that then with the greatest respect, you can take a ticket, join the line of people that have done me wrong answer kiss my arse.

    Kind regards.

  11. Esta Ann Ammerman says:

    I am not sure what happened, but let’s get back on topic here.

    I love that you did not tolerate letting this continue David and you spoke out publicly against the one responsible for the abuse. Men need to hold other men accountable for their actions that hurt women. On this topic, a man’s opinion verses a woman’s carries Power.

    Isn’t it all about Power and Position and Recognition? Many pastors have a need to control and I liken it to an authoritarian dictator. Challenge their power and position if they do not stop abusive behavior. No one should be a leader or plant a church if they are abusive.

    I found it quite hilarious having read Franklin Graham’s Facebook post. Everything he discussed was about himself. He said things like “I was there to help them as friends. I reached out.. I am the Minister… ” These are power hungry and positions seeking men trying to fulfill some inner need by “leading” for Jesus and his Church.

  12. Caryn LeMur says:

    Good evening, I am back late from working on projects today.

    It may be best to think of the cycle of abuse like a machine – similar to a motorcycle. In this case, a man drives the machine – he explodes, he apologizes/repents/says he has changed, he builds up more control and more tension, and then explodes again. Repeat… and again… repeat.

    Thus, when I was mentioning the man, Saeed, should “admit his participation in the cycle of abuse”, I was thinking in terms of admitting he drives the motorcycle, is thrilled with the power and control, and will need help learning to never drive it again.

    The analogy could be extended to the concept that a typical abuser is luring his wife to sit on the back seat of the motorcycle once again… and again… despite a history of speeding in order to upset her and get his way, stunt driving with her on the back seat even though she has begged him to not ‘pop’ the front wheel, and telling her that she will never be good enough to find another ‘ride’.

    He then lies about the speed he is cutting the corner… even though she can see the speedometer over his shoulder… and then tells her she is just imagining … and confused…. thus ‘gas lighting’ her until she no longer is certain what to believe.

    He demands sex or he won’t drive her back to their apartment… or she will have to walk home… but then he apologizes… and keeps her continuously mentally off-balance by demanding sex again (or he won’t drive her home, again)…. he apologizes again… then finally, drives her home… and then forces sex that night while she tries to sleep… and she is too mentally exhausted to resist.

    I wish to therefore clarify my statement: the (motor) cycle of abuse is driven by the man.

  13. Caryn LeMur says:

    What is the role of the woman, the wife, in this (motor) cycle of abuse?

    I have worked as a volunteer in a Adult Detention Center (a max security short term facility); and with the ex-felons living in the woods in tents. By analogy, some of these men were motorcycle drivers supreme.

    To visualize the two roles (his and hers), it helps to see two spirals: his going up, and hers spiraling down.

    Continuing with the analogy:

    By his speeding and ignoring her pleas, the woman learns that her ‘voice’ does not even matter… even to the one she loves. And the abusive ‘driver’ is thrilled all the more because now, he owns her ‘present’.

    By his telling her that she will never find another ‘ride’ (another lover or marriage), the woman learns that her hope of a better relationship is a vapor – not even worthy of a day dream. And the abusive driver is thrilled all the more, because now, he ‘owns’ her future.

    By his telling her that her observation of the speedometer is false (that is, gas lighting), the woman learns to not trust her own eyes or judgment. And the abusive driver is thrilled all the more, because now, he has become her eyes and her conscience.

    By his making threats…. apologizing… making threats again… and forcing sexual favors, the woman is mentally kept off-balance and does not trust her ability to end the relationship. And the abusive driver is thrilled all the more, because now, he owns when and how the relationship will end (if ever) and owns her body as well for his pleasure.

    Did the woman (the wife) participate in the beginning? Yes, at the beginning of the ride, she clung to him with trust and love on the back of that motorcycle.

    Did the woman continue to participate? Yes, she forgave him the first few times he abused, and she hoped for the best.

    Does she still participate? No. He has whittled her down to an expendable object he controls. He is thrilled. She is shattered.

    He is spiraling up higher and higher – how can this be wrong, he wonders, when he is experiencing a high of power and control…. He hears that some call him an ‘abuser’, but he feels like a god that can do no wrong.

    She is spiraling lower and lower – how can this be happening, she wonders…. I once owned my ‘voice’, but now I cannot use it. I once had dreams, but now I have no hope for a better future. I once trusted myself, but now I do not know what to believe. I once made love, now I am used. I once thought I could change or even end this relationship… but now I cannot do either.

  14. Caryn LeMur says:

    This then, is the horror: we have a demi-god and a shattered human being that is a sacrifice on a broken altar of stone.

    The demi-god will not stop until the sacrifice runs away… or crawls away… and leaves. Indeed, the demi-god may simply go and pursue grooming another ‘sacrifice’.

    Thus, I count it a miracle of God when a man wants his marriage so much, that he goes to counseling for the years it takes to change. After all, giving up the glories of being a demi-god demands incredible love for your bride…. and deep willingness to admit you were addicted to the power and control… and that you were ‘owned’ by your drug of choice.

    And… I count it a necessary miracle of God for the woman – the sacrifice – to leave the man. For only away from him, will she relearn her ‘voice’ – and own her present; relearn her hopes – and own her future; relearn to trust her judgment – and own her own conscience; and relearn her self-worth – and own her body and her relationship.

    But then again… it is all just my opinion.

    And an analogy, of motorcycles.

  15. LA says:

    I’m really glad you’re befriending her and putting these cartoons out there. I’ve been saying much of the same. My heart really goes out to her, and I *believe* her 1000 percent and I will have her back in any way that I can.

  16. Adam Julians says:

    Esta, you wrote, “Men need to hold other men accountable for their actions that hurt women…. Isn’t it all about Power and Position and Recognition? Many pastors have a need to control.”

    This is where I am in agreement with David about with you about that. I remember seeing a man verbally abusing a woman in a local park. In spite of her reasonable engagement with him he did not stop. I intervened told him in no uncertain terms to shut the **** up. And shut the **** up he did. Sometimes I think it takes another man to confront and abusive man for the abuse to stop. It shouldn’t be that way but I find sometime it is.

    I think safe powerful men that use their strength to severe women have an important role to play in rendering the evil of abuse towards women powerless and empowering women to heal and in providing security.

    Caryn, I am sorry you were in a position of needing to defend the term “”admit his participation in the cycle of abuse”. I think your intention was clear in your original comment and that it was clear that it was in reference to the need for a man to take responsibility for his abusive actions. It still is bewildering to me why David has not perceived what I have mentioned about this as a compliment to him. Not dissimilarity, I took responsibility recently for my timing no being good and being insensitive. When I aplogised for that, it got a number of likes, which appears to have been consistent with a compliment to me.

    I think your metaphor of a motorcycle is a good one. Motorcycles have got more and more powerful over the years. I once owned a Honda Blackbird, at the time the fastest production motorcycle in the world with 140 hp and a top speed of 189mph. I used to ride around at crazy speeds but then that wasn;t uncommon in the motorcylcle club I belonged to. I know the feeling of power. If not careful, it can be addictive. I had an epiphany which I do believe was of God, a miracle that turned up in that I came to my senses and realise that if I continued like that, it would only be a matter of time before I:

    1. Lost my driving licence
    2. Hurt myslef or worse
    3. Hurt someone else.

    So, I sold the bike, I now have a 65hp bike, ride within the speed limits and avoid any club that encourages the kind of riding I did before.

    Yes the woman should have her voice. No man should be any kind of “demi-god” and no woman should ever have to be a shattered human being, her dignity sacrificed for a man’s ego.

    Disgusting.

    And yes – I agree sometimes it does take a miracle of God, a sacrifice for her to leave the man for her to be free, to heal or at the least some strong boundaries. I would suggest it also take the power of God to confront the evil of the abuse that the man is doing.

    I think safe men have an important role in that in engaging in satirising the pretentious and demolising evil arguments that set themselves up to “participate in the cycle of abuse” and it is not only right that good men do this, it is their responsibility to step up and be men to serve women in this way.

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

  17. Adam Julians says:

    Just in case talking about bikes has got anyone scared.

    When I had a pillion passenger on the back of my bike, she was thrilled to do 130mph and it was her wanting sex with me, which I didn’t provide. There only has been one occasion where a woman has been on the back of the bike with be and felt anything like shattered. She had a mental illness, and while was fine doing 30mph in town, as soon as we got up to 50mph she got too scared. So I slowed right down, and we stopped and had a coffee until she relaxed enough for me to take her home.

    Just to say, motorcycling for the most part is fun, I find. I took a leader of a church for a ride on the back once, she called it “sanctified escapism”. The kids round where I live love the bike, and I take my little jack russell terrier on the back of it which is always fun for other road users :).

  18. Thanks Caryn for the elaboration of your analogy. It helps.

    Adam… I know you intended it as a compliment and I appreciate your effort. I am just super vigilant about making sure our language does not project the wrong meaning.

  19. Adam Julians says:

    David, your tone has changed so I will comment.

    Thank you for what you now affirm as being intended as a compliment and appreciation. I understand what you say about being vigilant and I hope your fear has been alleviated about this.

    At the same time, there is a recurring pattern in our conversations. It has happened here with you alleging that I have suggested “that an abused wife participates in her cycle of abuse in the way you do.” It was tedious, annoying irritating and inaccurate.

    You did me wrong. Nevertheless, I forgive you and have no hard feelings towards you.

    This kind of conduct towards decent honourable men that have done no wrong and women that support such men. Both need to be affirmed and empowered in serving the needs of abused women, releasing resources to confront the evil that is the abuse of women and to provide security and foster healing and healthy community for women.

  20. Adam Julians says:

    Apologies, I meant to say “this kind of conduct towards decent honourable men that have done no wrong and women that support such men needs to stop” above.

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