What a wild ride the last few months have been. Our little team has been working hard- together and individually to reclaim what we lost, to heal, to grow and figure out who and what we are truly called to be. We’d like to use this space to share our journeys- collective and respective- with you. xoxo
When we first re-launched this blog as a collective and launched a new page together, we were all reeling. We’d lost our tribe. Our trust had been damaged, we didn’t really know who our “community” consisted of and we were clinging to the Lord, one another and to every flicker of hope that came our way. We were fully comfortable letting go of a platform of over 50k because we knew that the pro-life community was no longer a space we believed we were at home in. We didn’t belong there anymore. We had no idea what was in store for us. I have never believed that God causes us trauma, but I am confident that when we experience awful things, God allows them to be used to make the world a better place; to bring Heaven to Earth.
I watched as someone I loved dearly was berated, defamed, de-platformed and ripped apart. Brutally revictimized by people who claimed they were acting under the authority of the Lord, one of my own was pulled under because she had responded to significant trauma in the most natural, normal and reasonable ways. Every single attack hurled at her was consistent with research on trauma memory, PTSD and the other diagnoses that she had and yet like a dog with a bone, they wouldn’t let go. They tore into her, over and over again. They refused to see reason, they ignored research, claimed expertise and some even impersonated mental health professionals and harassed medical professionals in their harassment. It was relentless.
In the midst of trauma, we all have a tendency to react a certain way. Our nonprofit was thriving, despite what you may hear. While survivors were not commonly reaching out via the hotline, they WERE reaching out. Constantly. We were talking to survivors and their significant others via all sorts of platforms- tiktok, instagram, and FB messenger being the most common. I was personally carrying multiple clients. We were actually in a position where we really needed to bring on additional volunteers. We were in the early stages of building a few special programs, including an educational track and an intensive track. I was so excited about where we were going. Deb and I were both looking into furthering our education to build out the ministry.
And then, out of seemingly nowhere, a bomb dropped. I won’t recap everything that happened- you can read through my previous account and check out the social media to see how it all went down, but it ripped through our team. And I watched, in real time, as each member of our little team engaged in our reactions to trauma- patterns our brains had adopted years before…patterns we had even discussed as a team.
Fight, Flight, Freeze or Fawn.
We had two team members who fawned. They defaulted to people-pleasing, turning all of their negative emotions away from the abuser and inward- on themselves for being “so stupid” and “so naive” and on the team. This response is one that develops after having been chronically exposed to controlling, withholding and even abusive behaviors. Perhaps the way fundamentalism treats women? When fawning, people will shapeshift in order to appease the abuser- who likely offers both care/opportunity AND a threat. They bypass their own identity, their own needs and often, disregard their own experiences in an effort to validate others.
Don’t get it twisted. She didn’t abandon US. She never left our side. But as soon as she realized that she was being attacked AND that she was being used as a weapon to attack others, she got out of dodge. QUICK. She retreated to a place where she felt safe and she cut off every line that she could that would allow an abuser to reach her.
Jen froze. To me, this just underscored the veracity of her testimony of horrific abuse, as freeze is the most common response to horrific trauma- like torture and rape. She was… immobile. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t think. She couldn’t process. Nothing made sense. How was this even happening? Even when it looked like she “fled,” (as the accusations claimed) she did not. She was not in a position to flee because she was frozen. The re-traumatization was too great. WE got her out. Her husband, her family and her friends. WE shut down the pages, WE got her away, WE checked on her night and day. She was frozen. It took weeks for the fog to lift. For months, she fought to “just keep being here.” After months, she is finally finding her fight again. Reclaiming her roar.
And me? I fought. Why? Because that’s my trauma response. It always has been.
I’m the oldest child and I grew up in a house full of violence. I routinely shut other kids in bedrooms and took the hits.I jumped between my parent and abusive partners.
I fight because long ago I came to believe that the lives of myself and others depended upon my ability to do so.
Over the course of the last few months, we threw a page together because we realized that survivors were still reaching out. You still needed the community too. We gave it the first name that came to mind just so we could do SOMETHING, but over the last month or so we have realized some things.
Jen kept being here. Deb found her fight. I have never stopped being bold.
And now here we are. This is it. It’s time to draw a boundary. There is no FBI investigation. There have been no calls from the CIA. The non-profit is being closed, and there has been no fraud investigation. CPS essentially laughed at the anonymous call. They knew a harrassment call when they saw it, thank God. We will no longer be entertaining the conversation discussing these absurd accusations. The questions have been asked and answered. We refuse to entertain the threats. We’re moving forward. We hope you can too.
If you can’t? Well, that’s no longer our problem.
We are not one another’s voices. And we don’t want to remain yours.
We want to walk with you while you reclaim it.
We want you to find yours, and then use it.
We aren’t the heroes. We aren’t the saviors.
You, my dear, are a badass. And we will rally with you, We will stand beside you and we will not stop until you are ready.
Find your Roar.
Be Bold. Live out Loud.
Katz, C., & Nicolet, R. (2020). “If Only I Could Have Stopped It”: Reflections of Adult Child Sexual Abuse Survivors on Their Responses During the Abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1. https://doi-org.proxy1.library.eiu.edu/10.1177/0886260520935485