I well remember the 1990s when the sexual abuse scandals among Catholic priests were being broadcast all over the news. But whenever they aired, I turned them off. I didn’t want to know about them because they were horrible. And besides, my pea brain told me that was the Catholics, and of course horrible stuff like that is going to happen there, but it had nothing to do with me. It was very, very distant from my world. So I thought. (Even though I knew I had a close relative who had been sexually abused. And other girls in college had confided in me that they had been sexually abused. Those were all in a different compartment of my pea brain.)
Well, I’ve repented of that attitude, for sure.
Which brings me to . . . drum roll, please . . .
I’m delighted to let everyone know that Tear Down This Wall of Silence [Affiliate link] is now in its second edition (with Justice Keepers Publishing) and better than ever! Dale and Faith share a passion to help the oppressed that I’m privileged to be a part of.
What makes this book important? Well, like Unholy Charade [Affiliate link], it isn’t written so much to the survivor of abuse (though one chapter is specifically to the survivor) as it is to the churches. Wake up and see what’s happening in your midst! Don’t wait until there’s a crisis — get educated now! Don’t figure there are no abuse survivors in your congregation — we’re telling you, at least 25% of your congregation is sexual abuse survivors! That is an absolutely staggering number.
In the world of domestic abuse, sexual abuse is all too common. As Dale and Faith tell their own story in memoir form throughout this book, you’ll see that Faith’s pastor father fit the profile of a domestic abuser — throwing temper tantrums in the home, threatening suicide, requiring that his wife work to support the family while he earned next to no income. When he began sexually abusing Faith at the age of nine, as a child in this home of chaos and terror she believed she had nowhere to turn.
And in the past five or so years, I’ve met so many others who fit this same description. Even if the sexual abuse came from outside the home, the abuse and/or neglect within the home left the victim feeling as if he or she had nowhere to turn.
Tear Down This Wall of Silence can be helpful for sexual abuse survivors, to help them understand the dynamics of the abuse and enabling — the enabling that is the rotten support for the evil practices. But even more it will be helpful to the friends and family of abuse survivors to help them understand the mindset of one who commits these heinous crimes, to see the dynamics of the enablers and avoid being one (which, in my ignorance, I was). It will be helpful to people within the church who want to understand and help others.
There are a few differences in the second edition, but the one I’m most excited about is the addition of information about Bill and Pamela Ronzheimer’s Marriage Reconstruction Ministries [Internet Archive link] because their heart is specifically to help husbands and wives whose marriages have been affected by the wife’s childhood sexual abuse. I’ve gotten to hear them speak, and they’re awesome. (Bill is threatening to write a book, and I hope that will happen!)
Those of us who never experienced abuse, who grew up in safe and loving families and perhaps even have good marriages, we can ask the Lord to increase our capacity to receive and do the hard things He calls us to. Isn’t this how the New Testament tells us we are to live?
The ones needing that cup of cool water are right there at your door. Maybe they’re even right next to you in the chair or pew at church. Our churches desperately need more people who want to reach out to those who have been wounded.
Tear Down This Wall of Silence [Affiliate link] is an important step toward being the comers-alongside God has called us to be.
Some quotations from the book that I would love
to eventually make into posters:
How easy it is to appear righteous when the church system stresses outward appearance and religious activities as the evidence of holiness!
For many outside our churches, rather than seeing a beacon of light drawing them to Christ, they see only the hypocrisy eclipsing the light.
When the leader decides to cover abuse, any value his ministry may have had has been lost, and the ministry will become a hollow shell.
It is vital for abuse survivors to have the opportunity to share what they’ve been through with someone they can trust, because after such horrific trauma they need validation that they really do matter, and they need to know that someone cares enough to listen.
Enablers may have many reasons for protecting offenders, but none of them are about genuine love.
How can dealing with abuse and holding offenders accountable for their sins possibly hurt the name of Christ?
God’s will is that these works of darkness need to be exposed. It is the light of truth that exposes the evil. This is one of the very best ways possible to help the cause of Christ.
Protecting the offender while silencing the victim is actually injustice under the guise of mercy.
The truth is that justice must also stand alongside mercy or else you will have neither.
The best way to show grace to an offender is to call him to truth and righteousness, humility and repentance, by which, through the power of God, his life can be truly transformed.
Why would any Christian tell people who are trying to stop sexual abuse that they are being unloving? Are some Christians so blind to the most basic truths of Scripture?
Instead of viewing lament as a lack of faith, we would do well to view it as part of the process of faith.
Repentance is not simply shedding tears and saying a few words. It is a complete change of heart and behavior, going in a different direction, knowing that the old direction was wrong.
When God sees you, He doesn’t just see what has happened to you, but He sees you for who you are as a person, and He knows the plans that He has for you.
But the truth is the Shepherd of your soul is not ashamed of your wounds and scars. He loves every one of them. God loves to make beauty out of ashes, glory out of mourning, and wholeness out of brokenness, no matter what you have experienced.
I’m excited to see how God will use this book for the furtherance of His kingdom, to call Christians to ministry and to show people His love, His mercy, and His faithfulness.
Rebecca Davis is also the collaborating author of Unholy Charade [Affiliate link], and the author of Untwisting Scriptures [Affiliate link], which you can see at the Justice Keepers Publishing page. This post has also been posted [Internet Archive link here. Editors.] at her own website, Here’s the Joy.
Maybe some of our readers could turn those great quotes from the book into memes, and start sharing them on social media. If any of you do that, make sure you share them with Rebecca Davis. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can find her on Facebook here.
8 thoughts on ““Tear Down This Wall of Silence” now published with Justice Keepers Publishing! — by Rebecca Davis”
Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog [Internet Archive link].
Thank you so much for this book review. It sounds like an invaluable resource. I have just placed an order request.
From Rebecca’s list of quotes:
To all the ACFJ folks, past and present, posters and commenters:
I read this book when my walls started to crumble.
A wonderful book, but I still didn’t make the connection.
I read Unholy Charade, but I still didn’t make the connection.
I read In Sheep’s Clothing, but I still didn’t make the connection.
I read your precious stories, and I made the connection.
With the exception of the last less-than-one-year, my entire life – personal and professional – has been filled with abusive relationships.
With God’s grace, I am a survivor.
With God’s grace, I am regaining what has been lost as a result of complex trauma.
With God’s grace, I am regaining God.
Wow… Thanks for sharing this — that you only made the connection when you read the stories of other survivors.
Praise God! And thanks to all our readers and commenters! 🙂
Indeed. To God be the glory. And many blessings to the ACFJ community.
(And that connection, Barb, was about the time I sent you, Pastor Jeff, and TWBTC the “Thank You” email…why I felt the need to say thanks.)
I know when the walls came crumbling down.
Now I know when they went up, and the effects they have had on my life.
First, let me say that the walls were different than dissociative amnesia. Dissociation as an unconscious coping mechanism occurred when circumstances became too overwhelming with specific emotions. The walls were always present.
The walls prevented me from learning the meaning of the word “evil” when applied to relationships in my life.
The walls prevented me from learning the meaning of the word “cruelty”, There was a gaping hole in my lexicon, a place of nothingness.
I had the academic knowledge, the book learning, but lacked the heart learning. I could encounter evil and cruelty, see its effects on other peoples’ lives, but missed the connections in mine. I had no point of reference.
My entire lifetime, both personal and professional, was filled with abusive relationships. Until I was isolated, removed from all relationships, I was unable to recognize the abuse. Once I was isolated, the walls crumbled.
The walls went up when I was between one and two years old. (Omitting details for my protection.) I was assaulted in my crib by one of my siblings, my blanket placed over my face. In later years, the same sibling tried to drown me.
Behind the walls was fear.
Without a complete connection to fear, the ability to stay safe is inhibited. Until I was isolated, I was never safe.
The walls may have protected me, but they also crippled me. I missed red flags. I did not know the meaning of love, only gratitude. Gratitude for small kindnesses, for which I would have done anything (as long as it was legal and did not knowingly hurt anyone).
Abusers use kindness to groom. I was the perfect target.
I was susceptible. And I did not know it.
Reaching past the fear to re-integrate memories from a lifetime of abuse is a shifting of the kaleidoscope, realigning the prisms to create a colourful, undistorted picture.
Now I can complete learning the meaning of “evil” and “cruelty”.
As I read that I gasped!
You’ve talked about the drowning before….but assault in the crib!…..my heart was in my mouth reading that.
Words fail me.
Now I understand why I felt uneasy around this sibling. In later years, I assumed some behaviours were the results of poorly managed anger. The typical worldly misunderstanding.
I suspect this sibling was twisted from birth, rather than a result of an abusive family of origin or a purposely chosen pattern of responses. The rest of my family of origin are abusers. This sibling smells of evil, of the pits of hell. Abusers are evil, yes. The smell of evil is worse.
Your words touch my soul, Barb. I am coming back to life.
There are moments when I remember what I have written on the ACFJ blog and thought “Surely, I must be exaggerating.” There are many others on ACFJ who have written similar words. The father of lies doesn’t sleep, doesn’t stop.
And neither will I.