Challenging Victim-Blaming: Understanding Spiritual Abuse Survivors

I drew this cartoon as a commission piece.  It’s a man trying to teach about abuse. His points are in black ink. But a woman is correcting what he’s saying with red ink.

we are survivors cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

(This was a commissioned piece. If you want a commission of your own, let me know. Click HERE!)

  1. He says, “Look at these poor people!” 
    She says, “We don’t need your pity. Just hear and believe us!”
  2. He says, “They’ve suffered abuse!”
    She says, “We’ve experienced abuse!”
  3. He says, “They are victims!”
    She says, “We are survivors!”
  4. He says, “Their lives are ruined!”
    She says, “Our trauma doesn’t define us!”
  5. He says, “What’s to be done?”
    She says, “Radical revolution!”

One of the biggest problems around spiritual abuse is it is either not believed, or it is dismissed, or it is minimized. 

A lot of victim-blaming occurs.

Like women who have been raped: “Why did you wear those clothes?”
Like women in an abusive marriage: “Why did you marry that man?”

People who’ve experienced spiritual abuse are often asked: “Well, why did you go to that church?”

Also, many people do not understand the gravity of harm spiritual abuse causes. 

Because it’s not visibly evident, it is often dismissed as not serious.
Because many devalue spirituality, they trivialize how powerful a weapon it is.
Because we aren’t forced to be members, they conclude we deserve it.

This is why I drew this cartoon. 

I want survivors of abuse to feel empowered to be in control of their own lives,
to be able to set healthy boundaries,
to say no to abuse,
and to bring down abusers
and the systems that harbor, support, and defend them.

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