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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Religion and Abuse, Guilt

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Author Topic: Religion and Abuse, Guilt
Member # 12611

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Hi. I was thinking maybe we could talk about how we were raised religiously, and how it has affected our sexuality, our lives, our emotional and physical health.

It is a very confusing topic for me. I am a daughter of Baptist clergy, a "PK." I have had two primary experiences that ruined a lot of religion for me, and the first was when i was 11-16, and a szichophrenic man from my church stalked me, threated me with a gun, and sent me letters day after day, sometimes with drawings of young naked girls, all written in the third person, with biblical quotes all messed up like "and god said the girl must be with Mr. X, because she is a virgin, blessed be the lord." at one point i was talking to the police about getting a restraining order but they advised against it. i hear from him still (i am 21) very randomly. i never respond, though my parents are very forgiving of him, which i hate, and is a very difficult thing for me.

when i was 12, there was a person who was my older sister's friend. and they "fell in love" with me, they were 19, and became obsessed, and told me angels would come visit them and tell them how much i loved them back, and told me that god had brought us together, and jesus. and so when things got worse, which i have blanked out a lot, so i am not even sure what happened, i didn't tell. and when i finally had a panic attack and started screaming at them in my house, because i would hide in my room and they would come up and find me in my closet, they sobbed and ran. and i slept in my mother's room that night, and i don't know what she knew, but we never really talked about it. i refused to see him, ever, i forbade entry to my house, though my sisters and their friends, who should have been protecting me, and it was pretty obvious what was going on, would not give up the friendship. so i had to learn to protect myself. and what happened was, this person began sending me letters, saying that i was going to go to hell, and i was cursed by god, and evil, because he was going to commit suicide and i would be a murderer. and i believed it. for years i thought i was inherently harmful and damaging, that i had some sort of evil in me that i would never shake. i cannot speak the name of the person, still, and i never told anybody for about 2 years, and my sister is still friends with this person, and i know that if i were not militant about it, my family would allow them in my house.

i learned a lot about how to be tough, then, because no one did it for me. it WAS religion that kept me in the second situation--i couldn't tell, i couldn't get out because of it, and then it made me feel cursed, evil. but it has instilled in me a fiercely protective nature, and i know that if someone did that to my daughter, i would probably kill them, or at least threaten to. i don't think that stuff goes under the umbrella of forgiveness, or turning the other cheek. and i have struggled with religion since then, a lot, because i have to separate the abuse of christianity from what it really is, which i am not sure of either.

I have gotten to a point, now, where I don't feel inherently evil, and it was a rough time for years of never, ever allowing myself to be close to someone who cared about me. i felt like i could only love people who didn't care, because they couldn't be damaged by me. and the idea of damaging was much worse than the thought of being damaged. see, I could take it. i'd been damaged and i could survive. but these men, they couldn't. i saw so many cry, and plead, and threaten, and all this crap, in my lifetime, and it was so weak, so much weaker than i was at that point. that was how i felt.

anyways, it's ironic that i am not supposed to have consensual sex before marriage, but i feel like when i was threatened or abused, they were not held accountable, and that me having consensual, healthy sex is a sin, while that is something "messed up people do" who should be pitied. it has taken a lot of work to get to this point and i'm glad i'm here, but i don't know how to deal with religion after it.

thanks for reading. i'd really be interested in any replies.

Posts: 29 | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Kelly, those are harrowing stories, and I'm glad you've pulled through -- and well enough to be able to voice them, no less.

I'd actually say that religion wasn't what enabled any of this to happen. Certainly, it was the second man's impetus and motivator in some regard, but someone who is that maladjusted can find provocation in nigh unto anything. It also sounds like -- and I know this isn't easy to face -- that whatever your parents religion, the truth of the matter was that they didn't offer you the safety and protection which they should have as parents. And that responsibility lies squarely with them.

For the record, have you had some counseling?

As far as dealing with religion goes, religion and spirituality is a big, BIG ball of wax. Concepts of evil and sin don't exist in all of them by any means, and even in those which it does, some are much better executed and conceptualized than others. And you know, you get to choose your own belief system and communities. If you don't want organized religion to have any part of that, it is not required of you, at all.

Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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