The victims are silenced. And when one starts speaking up and refusing to be silenced, it causes waves in the forms of accusations, blame, distance, shunning, loss, etc.
We all need to be more open about our lives...esp. the parts that are destructive and need reform. Otherwise nothing ever gets changed. And we become enablers.
While I'm not defensive or irritated, I am firm. There are so many women who live without speaking out about these things...and they are grateful for the women who can speak out. People need to stop blaming and accusing the whistleblowers. What are the whistles being blown on? The wrong in the world. Sin. Corruption. And blowing the whistle on those things?...that is a good and honorable thing!
As I went back over some of what has been written by others to me encouraging me in this fight, I stumbled across these words again from a friend...the quotes she uses here were from a blog post I wrote...
"This is just reality right now. Don't be so scared of reality, folks. Just sit there in it for a while...admit the reality, accept it...and then maybe eventually you can move forward. Faith doesn't mean that we don't acknowledge reality. Faith doesn't only sound like name it and claim it statements or 'It'll all be alright.'
"Faith involves knowing just where you are, trusting God in that, and leaning on Him no matter what happens...because so often in our lives, it is not up to us what happens. But He's there...always."
This is me. All me. I so often remain silent in my trials because I don't want to hear all the cliche phrases. I can't and won't be fake so I typically close everyone out anytime I am going through life's crap.Oh how common this is!! I wrote the following in reply...
yes(!)...i think that's so common. it's so rare for people to talk about their problems because instead of getting help and love and compassion from others, they are *beat down* by cliches, and many times other things too (accusations, blame, "if you would just do this..."). it's a horrible cycle.
without personally having the combo of 1) being so sure about right and wrong and root issues at play here in all of this mess for the past few years + 2) being stubborn (which i now see as a complete asset, praise God for it!!), i would have been silenced and completely shut down in this situation years ago. and we would definitely be divorced. because that is all i heard were cliches, accusations, blame, and "if you would just do this..." directed only at me. and i heard those things from 'sweet, loving Christians.' yet in reality, and in practice...these 'sweet, loving' people were beating me down and being horrible to me...not being sweet and loving at all.
as is the case *most* of the time in situations like this. but also just no matter what the circumstance or situation. because we use cliches like artillery. and jump to conclusions even when there aren't any conclusions.
*so many* remain silent. that is the norm. they are SHUT DOWN by the people who should care for them most. therefore, we have a *lot* of lonely people in the world going through trials *all alone*...and, nobody benefits from learning from these people and their trials, because they have been silenced...therefore the same things just keep happening to us all.
(i'm just a tad bit passionate, read: incredibly angry + incredibly sad, about this subject and how things are handled, can you tell? ha. it truly is infuriating and heartbreaking.)
that's why i grabbed onto the song 'in the end' by natalie grant a couple of years ago. it was my anthem for a while. the first verse said it all. it "had me at 'cliches.'"
Can't catch a breakPeople...we have to do better.
You've had your fill of old cliches
Like "life is hard but God is good"
And even though it's true
It won't stop what you're going through
I wish that I could say it would
And so I write. I write and tell my story. Because as you read in the 1st part and the 2nd part, and as you will continue to read below (and there is more to come in this series within a series)...this happens all the time. And there is a need here. A need for acknowledgement that it happens, a need for repentance about that, and a need for 100% change concerning these things.
And now more words from more women who have lived this too and from others who see it and know this needs to change...
--"We have been invited into the fellowship of the suffering so God can grow our mercy and compassion and help us grow brave about speaking up against injustice on the behalf of others."
--"My heart breaks every time I read your posts. I wish I had words to encourage you! I can relate to almost everything u have shared. Which I think is why your story is so dear to my heart. My love and prayers are with u."
--"Michawn, i love you friend. you have so much strength. i appreciate you have always been one who is amazing at writing and communicating. your blogs....that could be a book one day. just know i love you and i am praying for you and joel."
--"I love you dear Michawn! Never forget that you have a praying support sistem right here in the brazilian northeast. You are brave, and through your pain you are helping others... So, SO PROUD of you."
--"This gave me the same anxiety I felt the first time I tried counseling with my husband. We decided to go because of things he had done that broke my trust. Yet we walked in there and when the counselor asked my husband why we were there, I kid you not, he said something to the effect of, 'I'm just here for her. She is broken and depressed and I just want her better.' The male counselor never once asked me why we were there. He simply started badgering me about my past and concluded that all of my trust issues were because of that. My husband would chime in on occasion like he was some saint trying to help me through my past issues. I walked out of there so flustered and angry. I could not believe he threw me under the bus like that. We did two more single sessions with that guy and I was done. It only further broke my trust. Maybe one day I'll just tell you our whole story and not just bits and pieces, lol. We have since come a very long way. : ) But seriously, I feel the heart palpitations just reading this! So maddening!"
--"I'm just so sorry for you. These things need to stop and thank you for bringing light to deep issues, it just really stinks that you have to speak out of experience. I have a friend who experienced something very similar and because of all the horrible counseling and blaming of her for her husband's bad choices, she left the church and turned her back on God altogether. The whole way of thinking and blaming the victim is truly tragic. Praying for you and your whole situation."
--"You've been on my heart for a couple days now... not sure why exactly, but I can only assume it's a God thing. I just wanted to encourage you and let you know that you are being prayed for. Praying specifically for there to be real life, in person, support for you and accountability for Joel. Praying for someone to be 'the church' for your family... the way we are supposed to be... even in the hard stuff like accountability for husbands. Praying for your kiddos. Praying for discernment and wisdom for you. Thank you again for your openness and willingness to be real... the church really needs to get better at that... better at doing it and better at responding when others do it. Praying!!"
--"Keep your head high and walk proud my friend - you are fighting the good fight. May the Lord continue to walk your marriage through a complete restoration."
--"I have been silently following along since the first of your blogs on this issue and have to say I am SOOO incredibly proud of you for sticking to this fight. I believe this is a battle the enemy has been dreading for many, many years. His worst nightmares are now coming true. The proverbial 'cat is out of the bag' . I have been struggling with some of these same lies for over forty years, (as well as, I'm sure, many other women have). This road you have been on for these 3 and 1/2 years (and more, really) have been a real enlightenment for many, I believe, as you have been used to bring it out into the light. Thank you, for not staying silent, even though you, yourself, were in pain. I believe the Spirit of God has been all over this battle and that it will help others, if they are willing to be honest and read through the whole thing with truly 'listening ears'. I WILL continue to pray for you guys, as the Lord leads (and I'm SURE He will). May He continue to bless you both with more victories and blessings as you continue living as light in this mixed up crazy world."
--"Warning: I'm 'bout to preach! LOL. Reading about your counselor led me to read Galatians 6. Because he reminded me of 1-2: "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Of course, I was only remembering the "you who are spiritual" and "restore" parts, rejoicing that you found someone particularly gifted in this. But when I looked up the scripture in context, it did make me kind of sad. All regenerate believers who have the SPIRIT of the Living Christ should be able to spiritually discern...to SEE each other and see truth and prayerfully and carefully restore those who need restoration (instead of blaming and beating down someone who does not). Because it is the very law of Christ to see the fallen state, see the truth, offer love and grace to the one in peril, and not stop there but bear the burden and restore the spirit. As you kept restating in your post...how very wonderful that you found someone to do this...how very sad that it is so rare. Praying for you guys and rejoicing in this hope."
--"'You want to know them.... You want to love them'.... So so so true!!!!! More people need to get this. To know someone is knowing the good, bad, and ugly and being there thru it all... So sad it's rare nowadays!!! Be u Michawn Madden Ebersole cause as Taylor Swift says, 'haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate' but just shake it off , shake it off and you - brave, sincere, vulnerable, thoughtful Michawn will prevail and everyone else too being healed thru this process of honesty and brave truth too."
--"Wow my friend once again your transparency almost leaves me speechless. As u said Joel has always had a heart willing to change. I hope he can continue to fight for you and your family. I am so proud of u! Sounds stupid to say that but I am. Thank God for this amazing Godly counselor and Joel finally being unblinded. I hope restoration can come! My ex is still so blind and his family. One day I hope I'll be vindicated."
--"Praying you get the rest you have needed and deserve... praying for healing for you, Joel, and the kids... praying for restoration in your marriage, but also for restoration in your friendship with Joel... praying his eyes continue to be opened... praying you can all fully enter the grieving process and come out on the other side fully healed... just praying for you all. Be encouraged that no matter what happens going forward, you are a strong woman with a lot of wisdom who has encouraged so many through your sharing your story. You are loved and appreciated!"
--"Funny... Your list of what to do is almost a carbon copy from a bystander training I just did on how to help rape victims. They also pointed out that the most hurtful thing was that, even in court, people tend to not believe the victim if she is a female and instead 'victim blame.' 'Well, she was asking for it being alone in a bar like that.' 'Of course she got raped, look at the skirt she was wearing.' Etc. Why do we, as a people, think that little details like clothing choices or working of words is justification for a male to be abusive, in any way, to a female. Why do we trivialize female wellbeing so much???"
--"As iron sharpens iron could probably be your mantra, Michawn Madden Ebersole! Personally I love it because I don't really have a filter AT ALL! I get that it isn't everyone's cup of tea and it is more fun to read between the lines and invent than take things at face value in our hyper sensitized world, but spoken or not TRUTH is TRUTH! I don't want rocks and stones doing the job I should be doing. Sometimes the greatest love there is is speaking the truth in love, sanding down those rough spots, and getting to the heart of a matter! After all, the me Jesus died for is the real me, not the glossed over version that others are comfortable with. love ya!"
--"Love, keep speaking truth! You are an ambassador speaking against the lies of women's roles and the lies that her voice should be silenced."
And for this blog post, a closing quote:
~The truth is that women will never be equally respected in the Church, home, or society until we demand to be respected equally. Women have been taught that offering ultimatums is manipulative, but the truth is that if we don't offer ultimatums we get paid less, treated as less, committed to less and such. We must learn to demand more or walk away and truly mean it. This boils down to knowing our value and identity in God. If God is king/queen and he/she is our father/mother, then we are royalty and deserve the very best. People will call us arrogant, but knowing our worth and being unwilling to settle for less is called confidence. #HowToBeAGirlBoss #GirlOnFire #NeverSettle~