Tell Ruth the Truth

This is a moderated blog is a project of the Ruth Institute. Have a story to share? We're listening.


Abused and rejected

I am a different victim of rejection from society due to being fired in 1986 after I was married and then assaulted in a women's restroom in the building I worked. I was fired again after I gave birth to my first child upon returning from maternity leave. I was assaulted again by my mentally disturbed brother right in front of my elderly mother and have struggled with mental illness since the assault in 1986. I've received medical help and understanding from my five homeschooled kids and my husband who has come a long way in understanding my fears.


It hasn't been a bed of roses during our 33 years of marriage even though our kids are devoted to the faith and are academically and socially successful. There have been 10 or more hospital stays of which my main fears have been experiencing further "psychological" (partly imaginary) rejection from normal daily activities and even my husband. There are police reports and trial records from the assaults and records from psychiatrists (some who've made minor mistakes) and a Catholic therapist (not enough of them) who I finally found to be of great help about 12 years ago.

I believe I was fired in 1987 because I was trying to get locks on the bathroom doors. I believe I was fired in 1991, after my first son was born, because I spoke up when things were astray at work, and they conveniently made my transition to another position when I returned from maternity leave.

These situations of rejection have psychologically distorted my every day experiences at times. I've been diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and later even psychosis. I've been on medicine my whole married life to help curtail my fears. I temped for a couple years until I realized my whole salary was going to pay for the daycare of my two younger sons. Afterwards, we happily homeschooled the kids during their elementary and middle school years. As a white married woman, I've been rejected by society in a big way.

Submitted by EM.

 



That was the “life” I knew.

Sexual abuse by a pornography-addicted family member, mistrust in men, toxic homosexual relationships filled with every form of abuse to the point of almost dying, promiscuity, codependency, drugs and alcohol use to numb the pain, depression, anxiety, suicide attempts to escape the empty existence I was trapped in. These catastrophic chain of events rippled on and left me lost, broken, hopeless, hating myself, hating the so called “God” for all that I had endured.

That was the “life” I knew.

Until one night, a vehicle crash left my truck filling with water at the bottom of a lake. Unable to escape, I cried out to the God I no longer believed in. There He met me, in the middle of my pain and brokenness. Face to face with my Savior. Filled with peace and feeling His love in that moment. He broke me free from the death I was staring at. That began the journey to truth, healing, and deliverance from decades of damage to my body, heart, and soul. And despite my hesitancy to relinquish complete control of my life to Him, from that night on, He pursued me patiently but persistently. Revealing to me slowly all the areas He wanted to heal with His love.


After that night, I let Him in but refused to change everything about my life or myself. Still not trusting men, I continued to hide in relationships with women but women who believed in God and went to church. Little did I know, He would never stop pursuing me and would use every person, circumstance, and even bad choice to continue to bring me to Him.

My second to last girlfriend, He used to bring me to the Catholic church where I would experience the peace and love I’d first felt a few years before at the bottom of that lake. My last girlfriend He used to reveal a heterosexual attraction. Every step of the way He removed another layer of brokenness and replaced it with healing, love, and truth.

Counseling, prayers, active involvement in the Sacraments continued to bring clarity and healing. Then one day a desire for marriage and family as God intended it, entered my soul. All the while, falling madly in love with my Creator who pursued me fervently and revealed His love for me. As He revealed His refusal to let go of me, I began to realize that I am not my past, my bad decisions, what happened to me, or what anyone else sees me as. I am His child, His daughter. I am a woman created by Him for a purpose, His purpose. I am loved, valued and have never felt more whole and complete as I do now in Him.

I am a survivor of the Sexual Revolution for many reasons, but am no longer a victim of Satan’s plan to destroy the world one person at a time by sexual sins. And now, I will be an advocate. What happened to me that started a downward spiral of self demise was not my fault, but I now make it my responsibility.

I want to spend the rest of my life fighting against the evil of the Sexual Revolution by sharing what happened to me and letting others know that healing and redemption is possible. The love, mercy, and goodness of the Lord brought healing and gave me a new, adventurous, joy filled life! I will advocate by sharing God’s goodness, encouraging chastity and purity in knowing your worth as a child of God, fighting for marriage between man and woman as God intended, for holy families who will go on to wage war against the evil in this broken world, fighting for the protection of children from sexual abuse, and spreading hope to those who are in the depths of despair. The cycle of pain and brokenness will continue and will worsen unless we do something! The evil one’s quiet whispers have been wreaking havoc long enough. Now is the time we as survivors must shout out and expose the lies, and lead others to see the truth.

Submitted by C.

 


"Why I March"--I regret my abortion.

 

 

I had a saline abortion in 1975. This is my witness in front of the Supreme Court.

This is the truth. Abortion is a terrible option to offer someone in a crisis pregnancy. I have lived it first hand.

 

Submitted by Susan.



A Lesson On Judging

I was praying and sidewalk counseling outside of Planned Parenthood. A couple pulled into the parking lot and stayed in their car. We prayed they’d leave. They got out and started loudly arguing. I made all kinds of judgments on the man. He had long dreadlocks, a macramé cap, baggy, drooping pants, and tattoos. All I could think was, "What a thug this guy is for pushing her to kill their child." I was happy she was yelling . . . until she angrily strode over and slammed into the building. Imagine my surprise when he came over and asked me if I would pray for him and their child.

Dwayne told me he'd been trying to talk his girlfriend out of killing their baby for weeks but her mother said she had to kill the child. He said he'd agreed to drive, hoping he could still change her mind on the way. He said he'd succeeded, until her mother called and told her he was never going to be able to support a child and she needed to "get rid of it." He asked me, tears streaming down his cheeks, "How do they know I won't ever be able to support a child? They don't know that. I could be rich someday. I could own my own business. How do they know I won't be able to take care of my own baby?"


It was heartbreaking and the  opposite of what I’d thought. We held hands, bowed our heads and prayed. Then he agreed to try one more time. He said he’d tell her he loved her and would take care of them. We hugged and said we'd cover him in prayer. He went in, then came out, alone, looked over, shook his head too choked up to speak, tears falling again. He looked down, walked to his car, got in and waited. I told him we loved him, were so sorry and were praying for them.

I worried about what he’d do later that night and was angry with the mother, grandmother and others. They not only didn’t believe in him but weren't giving him a chance. The low expectations and verbal abuse could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I thought, “I bet that same grandmother blames society for holding young black men down.”

I thought of my own son, around the same age. He’d left college and was working while trying to find a new path. When people asked me about him, I'd say, "He's not sure what he’s going to do but he's a great guy, smart and a hard worker. We know whatever he decides to do he'll be successful at." Juxtapose those two. One being told he was worthless and would never be able to support a child and one being told whatever he did, his family knew he'd do well and succeed.

I thought, “If this happened to my son or his friends, they’d be expected to step up.” People thrive when challenged especially when it's for their children, not just themselves. It's sad to see young men raised around people who don't believe in them. How hard that must be to be told you’re not good enough. I made the decision to never again judge like I did Dwayne or assume fathers were driving the killing.

It's wrong to demonize men at abortion clinics. Yes, some do drive the decision to abort, but many feel, and are often told, they have no say. The mothers and others expect them to not stay around or have lasting relationships as husbands and fathers.

Many people hope I'll say the mother changed her mind but she didn't that day. Thankfully, there are ones who do walk out. Three saved baby girls turned a year this year. The parents are so happy. Those moments of joy make the hard moments like this tolerable.

Since that day, many of my saves have been through fathers. You talk and pray, and they find out they have a say. They want their child and the opportunity to step up. Often, it’s as simple as the father telling the mother he loves her and will support her. The families I’ve kept in touch with are thriving and thankful for their living children.

Lost fatherhood needs more discussion. Many are not expected or allowed to take roles in families. The disrespect and disregard for men, of all colors, has hit a crisis point.

Couples who marry and have families make more money and are happier. Why is our society pushing them to kill their children, destroy their relationships and live as childless singles? What can we do to get the message out that they will be better if they trust their hearts and do not listen to those who set limits on them, hold them down and keep them from thriving?

Submitted by JH.


It never occurred to me that making porn was bad.

This post contains mature content. Read with caution.

I looked up and saw a man watching me. We made eye contact. He hurried away, as I frantically searched for my shirt and underwear. I was naked in the mountains, far from any trails. I was shaking so hard, I struggled to put my socks on. I grabbed my cell phone. It was still video recording. I stuffed it into my pocket and ran down the mountain, berating myself for being so stupid, but I knew when I uploaded the video, the man who requested it would love it.

I felt a thrill the first time I pressed the box that confirmed I was over eighteen. Small pictures of various sex acts filled the page. I left the site after a few seconds, worried I might get a computer virus.

The next day it was all I could think about.


As soon as I had time alone, I typed Pornhub into the search bar of my computer, my heart pounding. I’ve heard of people becoming alcoholics after one drink, or addicted to opioids after one oxycodone. The effect porn had on me was similar.

A few days after I visited Pornhub for the first time, I uploaded a video, partly out of curiosity, partly out of a sense of wanting to be a contributing member, part of the community. Within hours someone sent me a message telling me they liked it. By the end of the week, I’d gotten a number of messages thanking me for the video and asking me if I could make another. These messages filled an emptiness that gnawed inside me. I felt wanted. I felt loved.

Almost every video I made was inspired by a request. Slapping or hitting myself in specific places were common requests, as were hot candle wax and needles. They liked to see how much pain I would inflict upon myself. When I was making videos, I didn’t feel pain. Only afterwards would I realize how much I hurt. I tore myself many times trying to force something into my body that was too big in order to fulfill a request. The requesters would respond with effusive praise. I began to feel like I wasn’t a loser.

Most of those who sent me messages were in sexually unsatisfying marriages and felt rejected by their wife. They didn’t want to have an affair or hire a prostitute; they were just looking for connection or sexual release. Sometimes they were men who had an unusual sexual fantasy or fetish. Occasionally I’d get a creepy message that bothered me, but, for the most part, I developed a number of “friends” with whom I exchanged messages regularly. One sent a link showing that I’d been named one of Pornhub’s top twenty amateur performers. Within a few months, I had over a million views. Then two million, then five million. Making porn, I discovered what it feels like to be really good at something. For the first time in my life, I felt talented.

I told my therapist that porn gave me purpose in life, describing how I enjoyed going to thrift shops and garage sales looking for props. I’d get giddy as I planned out a video. He seemed happy that I’d found something that I was good at. We talked about how I was performing a community service of sorts, acting out fantasies for lonely guys. We talked about how “some people” don’t approve of porn, but he wasn’t one of them.He said there were all kinds of sexual fetishes that are not socially acceptable, but, as a therapist, he doesn’t judge.

It never occurred to me that making porn was bad. It gave people pleasure. It was far safer than prostitution. But then I noticed the requests I was getting were becoming more extreme. I started doing things I never thought I’d do, things that could cause permanent damage to my body. In my hunger for approval, I pushed past lines I’d promised myself I would not cross. For instance, after fulfilling a request to insert a mascara brush into my urethra, it burned to urinate; there was blood on the toilet paper. To have a bowel movement, I have to put on a glove and manually remove stool.

Yet, I convinced myself that Pornhub was liberating for women. There were women of all body types, skin colors, hairy or shaved, even women with amputations. I found it empowering that women like me, not considered attractive by mainstream culture, were validated. I was told I was beautiful, a goddess, the sexiest woman alive, the hottest babe on Pornhub. This, I thought, is a place where all women are beautiful.

There wasn’t one “ah ha” moment when I realized that I needed to stop making videos. It was just a sick feeling that wouldn’t go away. These men didn’t like me, they liked what I did for them, just like men who paid me to have sex when I was in high school. I no longer felt special and valued. I felt used. I felt scared. I felt ashamed. And most of all, I felt replaceable.

I finally came to realize that all my life I'd been searching for the love I missed so much from my father after my parents were divorced. My mother moved me away from him, and within a year, I was sexually assaulted. It seems like I have spent my life trying to heal from these two events.

Eventually I realized that God is there for me and have found great comfort learning that He can forgive me and love me despite all my mistakes. He is my Heavenly Father and will give me all the love I need and more. I knew that if I followed his guidance, my life would be healthier and happier.

I spent a tearful morning deleting all the 400+ videos I’d posted as I reflected on the dangerous things I’d done, all in an attempt to find what was missing in my life. I then uploaded one last video about how porn is like trying to fill a strainer with sand. No matter how many times it is filled, the sand pours out. I told them that God’s love can fill them to overflowing, but to feel that love, they need to open their hearts to Him. . . and stop watching porn.

A lot of people think that those who watch porn are bad, but I think most of them are just lost like I was. They are looking for acceptance and love and don't realize God will give them everything they need. All they have to do is ask.

Submitted by E. H.

 


I Chose Career over Children

When I reached adulthood in the Sixties with a college degree, I was determined to pursue my career and didn’t really desire to have children. Although I hoped someday to marry, my priorities involved other pursuits, in particular, travel and continued education. A husband might, and children definitely, would interfere with my goals, take up my free time, clutter up my lovely home, and damage the beautiful objects in it.

Today in retirement, I’m sitting alone with my material treasures and my memories while my siblings and many of my friends are busy with their children and grandchildren. I worry about my failing health and wonder who will be here for me when I can no longer take care of myself. What will I do with all my “stuff” if I have to move to assisted living? Who will visit me there? Even making a will is a dilemma. I have no relationships close enough to designate as my executor if my husband dies before I do.

 


I never anticipated the loneliness in my senior years when I opted out of having a family. So what am I doing to alleviate it? For a number of years I taught adult classes in my church and participated in musical groups there. I’ve joined a few women’s philanthropic groups. Now that my physical activities are limited, I keep in contact with friends by phone and email. I make a point of reaching out to others who are alone as I am. I’ve even written a couple of books to share my memories and my insights into the Christian life.

As my contemporaries pass on, my circle of friendships grows smaller. I accept that this consequence was my self-centered choice. But if some young woman can learn from my experience and take stock of the long-term results of her choice between singleness, marriage, and/or family, sharing this is worth it. Looking back, it seems that God’s plan is really for us to grow up in loving families and then to create new ones for the next generation.

Submitted by A. D.

 


I had an abortion but told my boyfriend that I miscarried.​

Yesterday my boyfriend said to me, "I wish I had a chance to just hold my child as he cried."

And he made it worse by saying, "Before you miscarried when I slept I always heard a baby cry. My child was trying to tell me something, maybe we could have done something to save his life."
Oh God I think my child was crying for help to his/her father!
How do I face him crying and continue lying knowing I didn't have a miscarriage?
How do I let him pray for me to find comfort?
How do I listen to him telling me that I will be ok?
How do I spend time with him when I couldn't give his child a chance to feel the love of his father?
How do I watch him hurting?
When he said let's pray together, I couldn't as he said may my precious baby's soul rest in peace as tears rolled down.
What kind of a Monster am I?
I took my baby's life for my own selfish reasons.
I can't cope.
I feel I don't deserve to live.
I cry every night thinking about my baby.
I can't pray.
How do I ask for forgiveness?
Oh God it hurts.
Its hurts so much. I wouldn't even wish someone I hate to experience this hurt.
It's too much.
Planning it is easy.
But after you have done it! Oh God the pain is too much!

 


Abuse victim: "Most nights, I have at least stressful, if not outright terrifying dreams."

1. Have you ever had flashbacks? PTSD symptoms?

Definitely; in fact, I have been diagnosed with PTSD. The most constant symptoms are hypervigilance and self-hate. I also have internalized panic attacks sometimes, especially triggered by my social anxiety. On my worst days, I attribute the worst motives to people or imagine that others dislike or even hate me because I see myself as essentially unlovable. I have also struggled with suicidal ideation in the past. I cannot sit with my back to a door or large window without extreme discomfort. I am intensely afraid of the dark, even to the point of not going out at night if not absolutely necessary, keeping bright night lights in every room throughout the house, sleeping with the lights on in my bedroom, and asking my husband to turn on the light in a room so that I might not have to touch the darkness. Anything that reminds me of my abuser, the location of the abuse, or that time period in my life can trigger panic attacks or nightmares for days or weeks after. If I hear a song from the 90s or walk into a spider-infested outdoor structure like a barn or storage shed or even hear certain names in conversation, I often will have nightmares afterward. These nightmares can usually be categorized as either memories of the abuse reworked in my imagination (dream flashbacks?), images of demons or demonic activity, or a recurrent nightmare in which I float on top of dark, murky, deep water with the strong sensation that something unspeakably horrific is beneath me, but I cannot move. I would venture to say that most nights, I have at least stressful, if not outright terrifying dreams.


2. How does the public discussion of clergy sex abuse affect you emotionally?

I mostly try to distance myself emotionally from it and not expose myself to anything too incendiary. When I do allow myself to become too emotionally involved or accidentally read something disturbing, I almost always have PTSD nightmares after and have had some periods of depression triggered by reading some articles that were too detailed in their descriptions of the abuse.

3. How does the cover-up of clergy sex abuse affect you emotionally?

Again, I mostly distance myself emotionally, but my main reaction to cover-up is disbelief that someone could be capable of such a thing. Maybe I have too much faith left in humanity!

4. Do you have anything specific you would like to say to Cardinal Mahony, or the LAREC organizers?

I know it is a little late to address the LAREC crowd, but I would simply encourage complicit clergy to take a moment and honestly think about what they have done or not done. Are you comfortable with having caused the loss of peace, sense of dignity and self-worth, and even the salvation of an eternal soul (in cases where the victim commits suicide or turns to some addiction that involves habitual mortal sin like drugs, alcohol, or masturbation, all of which are very common)? If your answer is yes, how can you be called a father or a shepherd to those souls? To use a popular turn of phrase, how is that pastoral accompaniment?

5. Any of this information that you are willing to share, would give people the context that would help them understand:

5a. Your age when the abuse took place,

My earliest memories are trauma memories, and it ended when I was 12.

5b. Were you abused by someone you knew and trusted? Clergy? Coach? Relative?

My eldest brother

5c. whether people believed you,

My parents, eldest sister, and other brother did, but my two other sisters did not.

5d. how long it took for you to reveal what happened

I told my eldest sister in very generic terms sometime in high school, but besides that I couldn’t speak of it until I started therapy the summer after undergrad.

5e. whether the Church treated you appropriately (if relevant to your story)

Yes, though I will add that I often have the sensation that people (priests, spiritual directors, even my therapist, who was a Vatican II nun) don’t know what to do with me. I’ve grown used to my spiritual mentors commenting that some issue (with forgiveness, distrust, or self-hate, for example) is out of their realm, which leaves me rather on my own. Catholic literature on the subject is also lacking; I’ve never read a Catholic book on the subjects of abuse or healing that was helpful, as they almost as a whole pander to the more dubious aspects of modern psychology (i.e. I’ve yet to meet one that does not accept the faulty anthropology of modern psychology indiscriminately).

Submitted by "Claire."


I still carry the emotional scars

1. Have you ever had flash backs?

Yes. Had the same nightmare for many years until I met my hubby. Suddenly they stopped. However, occasionally my husband will touch me or ask me to touch him as my grandfather told me to. I have to fight the vision and it was 40 years ago.

2. How does the public discussion of clergy sex abuse and the cover up affect you emotionally?

It makes me very angry because my mother knew of the four family members who hurt me and she did nothing. When I complained to her sister that her husband grabbed me, she said if I wrestled with him I should expect it. I will carry the emotional scars the rest of my life.


3. Do you have anything specific to say to Mahony or the organizers?

Do you have any idea the damage you have done to victims by not reporting abusers?

4. This happened ages 2-10 by my paternal grandfather…around 10 by my uncle by marriage, 12 by my maternal Uncle, 10 or 11 by my brother.

My maternal uncle was the hardest one to tell my mom because I loved him so much. But when I did she blew it off. It was about 10 years afterwards when I was married. He had come into the Catholic Church and in going to confession, realized what he did and apologized. It was easy to forgive him. My mom caught my brother the first time but he continued. I never spoke to her again about it. I told her about my paternal grandfather when I was 16. Again she blew it off. As an adult I told my dad, but I don’t think he believed me because he allowed my half sister to spend summer breaks with my grandfather..

My parents divorced when I was 8. Mom brought many boyfriends home and was open with her sexuality. I grew up thinking sex wasn’t a big deal. I was very promiscuous. Thankfully I never got pregnant. God has been very good to me. I am disappointed in the Church and how it has let society influence it.

I am a Catholic Convert who works for my local parish. I have seen a lot on how things are run. Abuse is everywhere. Abuse doesn’t have to be sexual and the perp can be a volunteer, lay employee or clergy. People have taken their eyes off Christ and are looking into themselves for their own joy and fulfillment.

Submitted by Katerina.


Sadistic abuse at a young age

1. Have you ever had flashbacks?

Yes. They revolve around being trapped, running away from the house (my grandmother’s house) after some times of abuse, begging my grandmother for help as she held the door while I was being trapped and wouldn’t let me out. I also have flashbacks about bleeding at night and in the bathtub, stinging panic and crying myself to sleep.

PTSD symptoms?

Some, like losing track of time. I have memory blackouts for much of the the actual rape. I know an old-fashioned pointed can opener was used on me several times. I remember the sadistic nature of abuse escalated because I wouldn’t show emotion. It was the only choice I had.


2. How does the public discussion of clergy sex abuse affect you emotionally?

I feel betrayed by the clergy and especially enabler bishops. They could have stopped much abuse and they chose to shield the abuser rather than defend the innocent. I can only imagine the emotional pain of victims who weren’t believed or treated like they were the problem. That’s how my grandmother treated me. I was four or younger when it started and certainly didn’t enjoy or ask for the abuse that evolved into sadistic rape.

3. How does the cover-up of clergy sex abuse affect you emotionally?

Asking for silence and an end to gossip instead of being willing to be accountable and let investigations go forward after the Viganò testimony was a huge betrayal of Pope Francis. His actions and public statements since August have been completely inappropriate and reprehensible. I cannot defend the Pope and this troubles me greatly as a lifelong Catholic. American bishops who were implicated as enablers or worse by Viganò continue to embarrass themselves and lead me to believe the accusations against them. The silence now of even good bishops grieves me greatly. Investigations into those allegations are warranted and should be moving forward, as many bishops called for at the time. It’s no less important now. The message to victims and their families is simple- the Church simply doesn’t care that much.

There appears to be an overriding push to make sure the homosexual lifestyle doesn’t suffer any bad press... this against so much evidence of gay networks and predatory behavior. Why the obfuscation? Because it collides with the agenda of many bishops to change teaching on moral theology? Again, this is a horrible message to send to people who have suffered immensely. While all victims matter, my heart breaks for seminarians and other male victims especially, as they are statistically less likely to report crimes of this nature.

4. Do you have anything specific you would like to say to Cardinal Mahony, or the LAREC organizers?

Please, consider the vulnerable who have suffered and/or are suffering because of sexual abuse of clergy. Please accept accountability for enabling abusers through silence and hiding the problems.

How can the organizers claim to care about vulnerable immigrants and be so tone deaf to the pain of vulnerable sexual abuse victims? It’s like asking those with a wide track record of contempt for immigrants to offer presentations on addressing the suffering of sex abuse victims. It doesn’t make sense, and it’s deeply hurtful to people like me.

5. Any of this information that you are willing to share, would give people the context that would help them understand:

a. Your age when the abuse took place?

4 or earlier to 7

b. Were you abused by someone you knew and trusted? Clergy? Coach? Relative?

Step-grandfather, with the knowledge and assistance of my paternal grandmother

c. whether people believed you,

My mother did. My father didn’t want to, but the family pediatrician confirmed internal damage and scarring.

d. how long it took for you to reveal what happened

The pain was too much by the time I was seven. I was told by my father not to tell anyone or they’d hate me- so as to save my grandmother from embarrassment. I didn’t say anything to anyone until I was 15-16.

Submitted by "Lee Ann."