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#464128 - 04/15/14 06:01 PM Forgiveness & the toughest 16 inches *trigger*
I Want 2 Thrive Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/04/14
Posts: 81
Loc: Florida, U.S.A
I have been in therapy for over 20 years now. I almost slugged a therapist who told me I needed to "forgive" my abuser back in 99. Four years ago, when my preacher asked if I would step forward as a deacon candidate, I initially said no. He pressed me for a reason why. I told him about my journey in CSA. He told me my journey, was not a negative, it gave our small church a knowledge base that he could not provide. When my candidacy went before the congregation I told them of the abuse in broad strokes. I received nothing but love and support.

I recently made the "mistake" of telling my preacher, I wish I came forward in 74 instead of 88, and I felt responsible for every single one of Thomas's subsequent victims. If I only had the courage to stand up and speak. My preacher told me my therapist had been correct in 1999, that I needed to forgive Thomas, not for him but for me. He went one step further by telling me I needed to forgive one other person, myself. I asked him forgive myself for WHAT! He replied feeling guilty about surviving. He told me I was a good man, if wasn't I would not be hurting so badly for the other victims (I hate that word). He reminded me evil existed long before I entered this mortal coil, and will survive my eventual departure from it.

How do I forgive the man who sold me as a whore, to so many? What kind of hypocrite am I? My head knows my preacher is right, but my heart... It is the longest sixteen inches in creation, the distance from the head to the heart.
_________________________
Izzy

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind" C.S. Lewis
My Story: Short / Long version. *TRIGGERS*

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#464142 - 04/16/14 01:22 AM Re: Forgiveness & the toughest 16 inches *trigger* [Re: I Want 2 Thrive]
TheBobcatAgain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 507
Loc: AZ, U.S.A.
This is just my opinion. I'm no expert, just another survivor.

I've heard some survivors say that forgiving their abuser(s) gave them a little peace of mind. I've also heard other survivors say the opposite - allowing themselves to hate what their abuser(s) did gave them some relief.

Which is the right choice? I think that's for each one of us to decide for ourselves.

I would like to add something: you said that your recovery was a "journey". I agree. But I think your journey should be at your pace, not someone else's. If you want to get to the point where you forgive your abuser(s) - and I agree you should do it for YOU, not for them - then it should be when YOU feel ready, not when others feel you are ready.

Again, just my opinion. Hope it helps you, bro.

Take care, and welcome to MS.

Bobcat
_________________________
You don't have to be perfect to be wonderful.

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#464146 - 04/16/14 07:14 AM Re: Forgiveness & the toughest 16 inches *trigger* [Re: I Want 2 Thrive]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1714
Izzy

Many talk about forgiveness. I believe the first person you need to forgive is yourself--the guilt and shame the abuse left me with created this secret, and silence can be controlling and destructive. With much pain and hurt, I began to forgive myself. It was a slow process, my first public disclosure was accidental, I thought I was posting to a private site on Facebook. The outpouring of love and support was overwhelming, quite the opposite treatment I received from a few I initially told--their treatment and reactions set me back and served to silence me. But the accidental posting, after I recovered from the shock of my "mistake" made me realize there are more good and loving people in this world. I continued to tell others and the reactions were the same except for a few who judged without knowing facts. I did not let the reactions of a few set me back. I forgave myself for my silence, it nearly destroyed me.

As for forgiving the abuser, I believe it is quite difficult. Once I overcame the shame and forgave myself I had a neutral feeling towards my abuser and abuse. I learned revenge and hate only eats at a person, making the individual incapable to truly live instead they are held captive to the past. Will I ever forgive I do not know, but I no longer let him or the abuse control my life--this puts the abuser and abuse in a neutral place--void of negative emotions.

It took time, pain and talking to many from doctors, therapists, Jesuit priest, wise regular people, people in the Diocese where the abuse occurred and finally myself. This is how I have learned to live with the past and not let the past keep me in the past.

Does the lack of negative emotions and feelings toward the abuse and abuser mean I have forgiven-I really do not know the answer because I do not believe my emotions toward the abuse and abuser were voluntary or intentional but rather evolved over time and self discovery.

Kevin

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#464155 - 04/16/14 12:55 PM Re: Forgiveness & the toughest 16 inches *trigger* [Re: I Want 2 Thrive]
On The Fringe Offline


Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Southeast USA
Vengeance is mine says The Lord.

I have turned it over as any vengeance is for God to do. Not that I forgot....

It helps me not be bitter on a personal level a bit.
_________________________
I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

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#464179 - 04/16/14 07:17 PM Re: Forgiveness & the toughest 16 inches *trigger* [Re: I Want 2 Thrive]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3362
Loc: O Kanada
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#464187 - 04/16/14 08:41 PM Re: Forgiveness & the toughest 16 inches *trigger* [Re: I Want 2 Thrive]
I Want 2 Thrive Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/04/14
Posts: 81
Loc: Florida, U.S.A
Thank you Victor. Much to think / pray on.
_________________________
Izzy

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind" C.S. Lewis
My Story: Short / Long version. *TRIGGERS*

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#464610 - 04/26/14 06:19 PM Re: Forgiveness & the toughest 16 inches *trigger* [Re: I Want 2 Thrive]
OCN Offline


Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 270
Loc: Western Europe
It remains a great read with lots to think about! Thanks for sharing your story and insights Victor and all who have contributed!
_________________________
Trust me, you are worth it to love yourself!

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#468302 - 08/01/14 02:51 AM Re: Forgiveness & the toughest 16 inches *trigger* [Re: I Want 2 Thrive]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3362
Loc: O Kanada
Originally Posted By: I Want 2 Thrive
I wish I came forward in 74 instead of 88, and I felt responsible for every single one of Thomas's subsequent victims. If I only had the courage to stand up and speak. My preacher told me my therapist had been correct in 1999, that I needed to forgive Thomas, not for him but for me. He went one step further by telling me I needed to forgive one other person, myself. I asked him forgive myself for WHAT! He replied feeling guilty about surviving. He told me I was a good man, if wasn't I would not be hurting so badly for the other victims (I hate that word). He reminded me evil existed long before I entered this mortal coil, and will survive my eventual departure from it.


i just started a thread to explore this subject deeper.
i invite you to check it out.
http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468256#Post468256

this may interest church members.

Churches grapple with whether to welcome convicted sex offenders

"All are welcome" is a common phrase on many a church sign and Web site. But what happens when a convicted sex offender is at the door?

Church officials and legal advocates are grappling with how -- and whether -- people who have been convicted of sex crimes should be included in U.S. congregations, especially when children are present:

-- Last month, a lawyer argued in the New Hampshire Supreme Court for a convicted sex offender who wants to attend a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation with a chaperone.

"What we argued is that the right to worship is a fundamental right and the state can only burden it if it has compelling interest to do so, and then only in a way that is narrowly constructed," said Barbara Keshen, a New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union attorney for Jonathan Perfetto, who pleaded guilty in 2002 to 61 counts of possessing child pornography.

On Monday, the Seventh-day Adventist Church added language to its manual saying that sexual abuse perpetrators can be restored to members only if they do not have unsupervised contact with children and are not "in a position that would encourage vulnerable individuals to trust them implicitly." Garrett Caldwell, a spokesman for the denomination, said the new wording in the global guidelines tries to strike a balance between protecting congregants and supporting the religious freedom of abusers in "a manifestation of God's grace."

-- On Thursday, a law took effect in Georgia that permits convicted sex offenders to volunteer in churches if they are isolated from children. Permitted activities include singing in the choir and taking part in Bible studies and bake sales.

The Rev. Madison Shockley, pastor of Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad, Calif., which publicly grappled with whether to accept a convicted sex offender three years ago, said he hears from churches several times a month seeking advice on how to handle such situations.

"The key lesson for churches is this: The policy, however it winds up, must be a consensus of the congregation," Shockley said. "I talked to so many pastors who decided they're going to make the decision because they know what's theologically and spiritually right -- and that's absolutely the wrong thing to do."

Shockley's church will soon commission a minister to address the prevention of child sex abuse; the church also distributes a 20-page policy on protecting children and dealing with sex offenders. He declined to say how the church handled its admission of a known abuser in 2007, citing the congregation's limited-disclosure policy.

Beyond the thorny legal questions, theologians also find that there are often no easy answers to the quandary of protecting children and providing worship to saints and sinners alike.

"My own theology of forgiveness is not that it's a blanket statement -- 'You are forgiven; go and sin no more,' " said the Rev. Joretta Marshall, professor of pastoral theology at Texas Christian University's Brite Divinity School. "Part of what we have to do is create accountability structures, because damage has been done."

Sometimes, legal and religious experts say, crimes are so severe that convicted offenders must lose their right to worship.

New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Cort argued in court documents that Perfetto should not be permitted to change the conditions of his probation to attend a Manchester congregation, because "restricting the defendant's access to minors was an appropriate means of advancing the goals of probation -- rehabilitation and public safety." Barbara Dorris, outreach director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said it may be possible for convicted offenders to attend services if "proper safeguards are in place" but that offenders "forfeit many rights when you commit this kind of a felony." In other cases, the wording of laws has made it difficult for offenders who want to worship to be able to attend church legally.

In North Carolina, lawyer Glenn Gerding is representing James Nichols, a convicted sex offender who is contesting a state statute that made it illegal for him to be within 300 feet of a church's nursery. He was arrested in a church parking lot after a service.

"Technically, a person could go to an empty church and violate the statute if that church has a nursery," said Gerding, whose client was convicted in 2003 of attempted second-degree rape and released from prison in 2008.

In Georgia, the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights successfully argued for the removal of a legal provision that would have prevented registered sex offenders from volunteering at church functions, said Sara Totonchi, executive director of the center.

Experts say churches need to abide by state laws and be prepared to handle the possible presence of sex offenders, which could mean ministering to them outside the church building.

Steve Vann, co-founder of Keeping Kids Safe Ministries in Ashland City, Tenn., said that children's safety must be paramount but that giving convicted abusers social support could help reduce additional offenses.

"We talk about covenant partners," he said, using his ministry's phrase for chaperones. "They're not just there to watch what the person does. They're there to assist the person in spiritual growth."

Andrew J. Schmutzer, a professor at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, is editing a book titled "The Long Journey Home," which includes essays from theologians and ethicists about how churches can both address sexual abuse and predators.

"The churches are on the cusp of trying to figure out what they can do," he said, " without scaring the public and without breach of confidentiality."

-- Religion News Service
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#469121 - 08/19/14 12:38 PM Re: Forgiveness & the toughest 16 inches *trigger* [Re: I Want 2 Thrive]
hans32 Offline


Registered: 04/22/14
Posts: 1
Loc: Oakland, California
On the topic of forgiving the perp, I have understood this to be a highly personal issue , one that takes a different shape for each person. I will only speak for myself on this topic. I have come to understand that forgiving the perp is not something I do for the perp, but something I do for me. Who really cares what happens to them, (clearly angry). It is me that deserves peace. I think if I truly accept that the past is exactly what it was and that I can't erase it or change it, then I have made a great step forward into my own process of letting go, which for me is an important aspect of forgiveness. i do see my perps as having a disease and a malady, one that they also likely couldn't shoulder or get help for, and though I regret all the abuse, physical and sexual mental verbal etc... I have finally realized its done, finished and unchangeable. What I do have power over id my moment, or at least I attempt to. I have my voice, I can speak, talk listen, cry, write, make art, reach out, get help, protect and advocate etc. But this is from a hard one position of having been working on my own grief and rage for 10 plus years since the memories flooded back. Forgiveness??? Its a process I'd say, a long one and a painful one for me, but it's not for the perp its for me. And I want to add that I completely understand if someone else is strengthened by Not forgiving the perps. Thats a valid path!


Edited by hans32 (08/19/14 12:40 PM)

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