What I Wish I'd Told Riley
When Pastors Are the Sexual Abuse Victims
A fair warning up front: this isn’t going to be a happy story, because Riley’s life isn’t happy.
When Riley was 8 years old his parents checked him and his younger brother into a hotel room in Florida, walked out the door, and never came back. He now lives with his grandma and uncle in California. He hasn’t seen his mom since.
Bill Gothard's Fundamentalist Trap
It took me 20 years to acknowledge I’d been molested in sixth grade.
I’d always had a memory of the molestation, but it was fuzzy, distant, and I had no category to place it in. Thank God it wasn’t worse, I thought, or that could have really messed me up.
Eleven years into ministry, I emotionally imploded. My newborn son wasn’t sleeping or breastfeeding. My wife had postpartum anxiety, and we fought constantly. My home felt like a scary, overwhelming place, where more was demanded of me than I could provide. I distanced myself from a wife who only wanted a husband who would say, “It’ll all be okay.” That’s typical of sexual abuse survivors: we’re terrified of emotional threats, and we hide from feelings that overwhelm us. How could I tell her everything would be okay when I was barely keeping the panic in my heart at bay?
10 Years Later: ‘The Dark Knight’ Is Still the Most Important Superhero Movie Ever
Julie was 16 years old when Bill Gothard, the founder of the fundamentalist Christian organization the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), pulled her aside at an IBLP event in 1996 in Dallas, Texas, to compliment her “bright, shining countenance.” She was 18 when Gothard, then 64 years old, invited her to work at IBLP’s sprawling headquarters near Chicago. Julie spent her days in a greeting lobby, often alone. Every time she began to connect with her on-campus roommates, Gothard moved her to a new room. Despite being a conscientious rule follower, Julie was immediately considered “rebellious” by the other staff, one of the worst labels possible within IBLP’s world of unquestioning obedience. She was called into her supervisor’s office and yelled at almost every day, despite being on her best behavior.
The sin of silence: the epidemic denial of sexual abuse in the evangelical church
“It’s not about money, it’s about sending a message. Everything burns.”
The first glimpse of The Dark Knight’s cultural impact came during the teaser trailer. As Michael Caine’s now-iconic “watch the world burn” speech fades out, the Joker’s voice fades in, followed by the signature deranged laugh. The cackle is pure anarchy, the final blow to an already disintegrating Batman logo, and fans were left chilled, excited and unnerved. Batman Begins was good, but this teaser promised something more, something darker. We had no idea.
Rachael Denhollander’s college-aged abuser began grooming her when she was 7. Each week, as Denhollander left Sunday school at Westwood Baptist Church in Kalamazoo, Mich., he was there to walk her to her parents’ Bible-study classroom on the other side of the building. He brought Denhollander gifts and asked her parents for her clothing size so he could buy her dresses. He was always a little too eager with a hug. The Denhollanders led one of the church’s ministries out of their home, which meant the man would visit their house regularly, often encouraging Rachael to sit on his lap, they recalled.