After the shock and horror subsided in each of these
cases, there were gentle invitations to learn and grow as a mom
and member of a faith community. It was brutal yet critical that
I look in the mirror and seek my own role in letting evil run
rampant in a place that I loved. As a mom, I had to confess the
“things I had left undone.”13 This included times that people
pleasing and fear of rocking the boat trumped the small alarm
bells within me warning that things were not quite right. In
hindsight and in the process of giving voice to an entire
community, we were confronted with the truth that the red
flags were right in front of our collective face.
In response to the first revelation of danger for our
most vulnerable charges, I joined in with others to research,
write, and implement a comprehensive safety and security
policy. This was important work, but it did not bring to light
an ongoing abusive situation nor prevent the future dark and
underground abuse going on in the middle of our community.
Only God knows how deep and wide and far this community
cancer spread.
In 2008 when the second wave of abuse was revealed,
I was personally devastated and felt a deep terror about the
wellbeing of my own children, along with that of teenagers that
I had known and loved for years. I hope to never ever
experience that feeling again. I sunk into a black hole of anxiety
and depression and had to figure out a way to start slowly
clawing my way back up. The fact that all of this was happening
in the midst of my church made it all the more complex and
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