New Users’ Information
We prioritise the safety of victim-survivors of abuse.
Safety tips are in red lettering. If you could be at risk from your abuser or the abuser’s allies, please read this carefully and pay special attention to the red bits!
This is a public website so your abuser, your children and your family members may see your comments either now or in years to come.
At your request, we can delete any or all of your published comments. If you want us to do that, please email email@example.com .
Commenting on this blog
Tips for staying safe when commenting
This is what the comment form looks like:
Under the big box where you write your comment, there are three smaller boxes known as ‘fields’.
Email address field
You must fill out this field. Your email address will not be visible on the public side of the blog when your comment is published.
Your email address is only seen by the two people who moderate comments on this website — Barbara Roberts and her assistant Reaching Out. Both of us are survivors of abuse.
Whatever you write in the Name field will become the name that will show at your comment when it gets published. If you’re concerned about your safety we advise you to put something in the Name field that won’t identify you to your abuser or his allies. You don’t have to use your real name. You can use any word, or a combination of letters or numbers or symbols.
If you want to change the Name which is showing on your already published comments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
To guard your safety:
- Do not use your real name or part of you name or your initials.
- Do not use part or all of your email address.
In most circumstances we encourage you to use the same screen name / moniker / pseudonym for all your comments, so that other commenters know who they are interacting with. However, there’s nothing wrong with using multiple names (and multiple WordPress accounts) if you think your abuser is reading the blog. Multiple names may make it more difficult for your abuser to identify you if he is following the blog.
You don’t have to put anything in this field. If you put a website address in this field and we decide to allow leave it there, other readers who click on your gravatar at that comment they will be taken over to your own website. This may be risky for some of our commenters.
As Admins, we decide whether to allow or remove the link to the commenter’s own website on a case by case basis, taking into account the commenter’s safety risks as we can best guesstimate them, and whether or not we feel okay about giving publicity to the other website.
Following Comments on a Particular Post
At the bottom of the comments form, you’ll see this:
Before you hit the ‘Post Comment’ button, please take a moment to decide whether you want to be notified of other comments that might be published on that post.
If you want to be notified, tick the little box on the left of the ‘Post Comment’ button. If you tick that box you’ll be sent an email each time someone else comments on that post.
The text of your comment
Ask yourself: “If my abuser or my abuser’s allies read this comment, would they know it was me? If they did know, how much could that put me at further risk of abuse? And is that a risk I am willing to take right now?”
Avoid giving details of the abuser’s behavior that might identify you or him. Quoting the exact words your abuser has used on you recently is not a good idea! Many abusers commit adultery as well as abuse their wives, so if you say your husband committed adultery that wouldn’t identify him. But if, for example, you describe your ex-husband leaving your child at home alone or dropping the child back to your place early after visitation, that might be a bit identifying, because those behaviours are not as common as adultery.
Yourself and your plans
Avoid mentioning details about yourself or your future plans that are too specific, i.e. your occupation, educational qualifications, hobbies, safety plans or plans to leave. What is ‘too specific’ will depend on each commenter’s situation. Some readers are still living with their abusers or in the early separation stage and / or still working through the court system for child custody and divorce. Some are facing major persecution from their churches. For such readers, it’s usually better to disidentify. Some readers are well and truly away from their abuser and no longer suffering post-separation abuse — for them, it may be quite safe to reveal identifying details.
History of your marriage
We encourage you to share your account of your marriage, but be careful to airbrush details that could be too identifying. For example, rather than saying “We have been married 32 years,” you might say, “We’ve been married for about three decades.” And rather than saying “We’ve been to five marriage counselors in the last 13 years,” you might say, “We’ve been to several different marriage counselors over more than a decade.” And rather than saying, “I was 18 when I married him,” you might say, “I married him when I was quite young.”
Please do not give exact ages and genders of your children, nor how many children you have. Information about your children’s ages and sexes can be identifying. To airbrush these details, we suggest you say “my older children” instead of “my three teenage boys”.
Family and Friends
Details of interactions you’ve have had with church leaders, friends and family are best airbrushed (written in general terms only) if your abuser and his allies may recognize you from those details.
Language to avoid
Some survivors of abuse, in their zeal to help another survivor, start telling the other survivor what to do or how to feel or think. We ask you not to do that.
If you tell another survivor what to do, that can sound to her like you are issuing an order … so it’s not a good idea. It can trigger the abused person if you tell them what to do. It’s better to use phrases like:
- Have you considered such and such?
- Maybe you would like to think about …..
- I encourage you to respond to that person by ….
- I suggest you do so and so ….
Invitational suggestions are much easier for victims to hear than instructions and orders.
Kindly refrain from using language that would be offensive to our readers — any word that school teachers would consider a swear word or a vulgar term, and use of the Lord’s name as an expletive or a simple expostulation.
The gravatar is the little square box with a coloured design or image that appears to the left of each commenter’s name. Every WordPress account is given a different gravatar. On our site, gravatars usually look like coloured symmetrical patterns. But some people have set their WordPress account so it shows a photo as their gravatar, like Ps Sam Powell in the leftmost image above.
If you have a WordPress account and have not configured it to display your chosen image, your comments on this blog will show whatever symmetrical coloured pattern WordPress assigns to you. This same gravatar will appear each time a comment of yours is published on this blog. If you use multiple WordPress accounts, each of your accounts will have its own gravatar.
We cannot change your gravatar. If you think your WordPress account has a photo that is putting you at risk, you’ll need to go into the settings on your WordPress account and change those settings so that WordPress doesn’t display your photo when you comment on WordPress blogs. Alternatively, you can create a new WordPress account for you to use only when you are commenting on this blog. WordPress accounts only allow one email address per account, so if you set up an additional WordPress account you will need to use a new email address.
If you want a comment without even your symmetrical coloured box showing on that comment, you can email email@example.com — tell me which post you want your comment placed on. I will publish the comment under my gravatar and will say, “This comment was sent to me privately and I’m submitting it here on behalf of the commenter who wished to remain anonymous.” Some of our readers have done this when commenting on sexual abuse matters because they didn’t want their normal gravatar to be associated with such a personal disclosure.
We sometimes edit comments before we publish them
We read every comment before it gets published. We sometimes edit a comment that we think could pose a safety issue for the commenter or their children. When we edit comments for safety reasons, we remove details that could identify the survivor to her family, friends, church network, etc.
Is it okay to recommend a new book or website in a comment?
Please do not give a link in your comment or recommend a resource, unless it has already been recommended in our Resources or elsewhere on this blog. If you want to recommend a resource or book or website, please do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org — this is the only way we will consider such recommendations.
Please stay on topic with the post
We prefer that you stay on topic with the post when you are commenting. Of course, sometimes commenters talk about their personal experiences or articulate realizations that the post brought to their minds . . . but please bear in mind that the blog is not a chat forum.
Nesting of Comments
The blog is set to nest up to three levels of comment within a thread. Visually it looks a little like this.
THE POST ITSELF
Person A’s comment is set to the left margin (a level 1 comment)
reply is enabled on level 1 comments
Person B comments on A’s (a level 2 comment)
*reply* is enabled on level 2 comments
Person C comments on B’s comment (a level 3 comment)
There is no *reply* button below a level three comment.