Abuse and Silence

"Abuse Policy" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Abuse Policy” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward



I Skyped with a new friend of mine yesterday, Ashley Schnarr Easter. I received an email from her the other day asking for help. Here’s part of it:

“I’ve read your blog for a while and have been so encouraged with the way you stand up for abuse victims.

“I am working on a conference for the fall on abuse in the church (it’s my first ever). It will be for the purpose of encouraging survivors and educating pastors and church leaders.

“I’m working on a promotional video where survivors, advocates and pastors say two sentences about abuse and video themselves holding a sign.

“I’m having trouble finding male pastors (and survivors) to be willing to do this. Some were nervous about talking about abuse publicly like this.

“Would you by chance be able to help me? Would you know anyone else who could?”

So we agreed to Skype and come up with a solution. We talked about why this is the case. Why do church and church leaders who do care about abuse, don’t want it to happen under their watch, and would advocate for victims… why are they reluctant to put themselves out there, talk about it, and actually do something about it?

  • Is it because it is shameful to them and to their church?
  • Are they afraid they will be identified with the feminist movement?
  • Do they not wish to cast a shadow on the body of Christ that they love?
  • Do they refuse to admit it is happening?
  • Are they under the impression that if you don’t bring it to the light it will go away?
  • Is it risky to talk about it because it might open a Pandora’s box of incidents and reports?

Are you willing to help Ashley? Especially if you are a male pastor. Are you willing to contribute to her important project?

This is what she needs: We need male pastors to take a few minutes to stand up for abuse victims in the church by helping with a promotional video. Can you help? All she needs is some male pastors to take a couple of seconds to help contribute to her video. Contact her and she will give you instructions. It won’t take much of your time at all and it will help a critical cause.


Email Ashley!
Her twitter account!
Her Facebook business account and her personal Facebook account!

Please gentlemen, lend a hand!

Thanks for your help.


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7 Responses

  1. Brigitte says:

    Here are male pastors talking about abuse. This may not help Ashley, but nobody else has posted anything, here. The world has shrunk and we live in a multicultural world and in multicultural societies. We need to look at abuse in all areas and not permit them and not make excuses and turn blind eyes, as this happens near and far and also in our backyards. In relation to Islam, it is where people have lost their moral courage, altogether, too often.

  2. Seriously Brigitte? I’m talking about the very serious allegation that there is a lot of abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual assault… never mind sexism, misogyny, and discrimination against women, and you have to bring up ISLAM??? Seriously?


  3. Brigitte says:

    As I said, we don’t allow discussion of that abuse.

  4. No Brigitte: The point of THIS post is that MOST churches don’t allow discussion on the abuse of women, but you can find PLENTY that discuss Muslims and Islam.

  5. Caryn LeMur says:

    I think the subject itself is difficult, because the scriptures tend to support forms of abuse…. and the hierarchy of a male-dominated church further the abuse systemically.

    Consider the “Mark” character in this article on FOTF: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/lifechallenges/abuse-and-addiction/understanding-emotional-abuse/emotional-abuse-in-the-local-church

    An interesting statement from the same article: “”Many times in a Church world, submission is held over the heads of women by men who are emotionally manipulative or abusive in order to get their way and maintain power and control.”

    However, imo, it is not just individuals (such as the “Mark” in the article) – it is also systemic within the power of the hierarchy. Churches that teach ‘only men are god’s leaders’ set a tone that creates a cycle of self-condemnation within a female that is a leader…. and the emotional abuse of the men can be overwhelming.

    Given that I lean towards the Book of Galatians as the goal of a mature church, then I see male-oriented church hierarchy as a throw-back to immature times. After all, “there is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus” would mean that all spiritual blessings and giftings and callings are given out as God decrees.

    Gender or sex mean nothing. God’s gifting and calling mean everything.

    Again, the abuse basis is the man that wishes to bully his wife; and the church hierarchy that will not move steadily towards the goal of ‘neither male nor female’.

  6. I agree Caryn. That’s a major weakness with that view… that it is just the problem of a few individuals. I think it is MOSTLY systemic where even good pastors and leaders become complicit unconsciously.

  7. Brigitte says:

    “It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” Jesus.