WINGS administrators take no responsibility for the accuracy of these statements. The opinions expressed and testimonies received by WINGS are published in good faith of truth and accuracy. These statements, although published on this website, do not reflect the administrators views or opinions. Some of the people mentioned may have never been charged or found guilty of criminal offences.
WINGS is aware of numerous cases of CSA within the fellowship. Some of those survivors have provided us with a narrative of their story and given WINGS permission for publication. The reports are a harrowing record of evil and also in many of the older cases, of the church members’ failure to act properly and promptly when the abuse had been identified. Jean was one of these courageous people. Her story helped inspire several people to start the WINGS website so that victims could be supported better, CSA accusations could be taken seriously and dealt with properly, and the fellowship might be rid of the curse of CSA. Her story, and the ‘apology’ of ex-overseer of Texas Ira Hobbs, can be read at Jean’s Story on the WINGS Breaking the Silence forum.
More than 20 personal stories are posted on the survivor stories section of WINGS Breaking the Silence Forum.
Every word of every survivor’s story is precious to them and reflects the complex circumstances of their abuse. The stories involve immediate and distant family, close friends, friends and workers in the fellowship and authorities. Many times some or all of those parties have failed in their duty to prevent abuse and to react properly to allegations of abuse. Although some of these stories occurred many years ago in circumstances that we might think no longer exist, they should be used as a warning to guard against any possibility of future CSA criminal activity.
Some stories canvas a spectrum of family disorder including emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual abuse. It is not possible or necessary to determine the root cause of such disorder; it is just necessary to work to support survivors and to prevent further abuse. This web site is focused purely on child sexual abuse but recognizes the importance of also dealing with all types of abuse.
Without intending to detract from the full stories that survivors have written, the following brief extracts from various survivor stories illustrate some of the life-long anguish and harm that is caused by child sexual abuse. The extracts are meant to alert every reader to the need to be alert, to believe victims and show empathy to them.
- Nobody who has been sexually molested as a child will ever get well. They may get help but they won’t ever be completely healed. The things that you have done or do to get attention stay with you forever; memories of the people that you hurt stays with you forever. Your shame is always with you. You do things that you never would have done if the abuse never happened. It changes who you are. It confuses you and you do things without knowing why you do them or knowing what the damage could be to other people. Smells, thoughts, songs, even touch may trigger a bad memory and all at once consume you and leave you paralyzed both mentally and physically. Sometimes to the point where you can’t leave the house for days. I don’t care what anybody says—-a sexually abused child is never completely healed. The regrets almost consume me at times. There is always a part of you who hates who you are and wished you had lived differently. The guilt plagues you and you try to compensate for it by overdoing for others, just to make them like you. It’s so hard to trust anyone.
- My whole life has been affected by what this Perpetrator did to me. I have absolutely nothing to gain by lying, and I risk much to lose by telling the truth.
- I can honestly say that the abuse has affected me at all stages of my life. It is something that is always there and continually has an effect on the way I think about myself, my relationships to others, how I see myself as a parent, a person. The dynamics of this abuse are overwhelming. I wonder what my family – my relationships would have been like without its presence.
- I’ve kept this a secret until the past year, but it has affected me negatively in many ways throughout my life.
- I urge other parents to listen to their children and be aware that little children DO NOT make these allegations up!
- my study of abuse issues has convinced me that sympathy is not enough – abuse victims need empathy to give them the strength to heal. Hopefully what I can say here will encourage more people to show the needed empathy for victims.
- I didn’t know who to tell, and what to tell to whichever person I told. My instincts told me that the risks involved with telling someone were greater and less manageable than saying nothing and dealing with it myself, so that’s what I did.
- I began to think it was my fault. I am still working on that issue in my counseling sessions.
- I still feel some shame, I still have anger which I am working on through counseling, and at times I do get suicidal. So as I get free, I feel they have less control over me.
- God was and is everything to me. By the time I was 10 years old I put words to what I had always felt – I wish I was never born. By the time I was 12 I knew I could do something about it. At that point I always had a plan and always had access to the plan. The only reason I never committed suicide is because I believed in God and God was the only reason to live. Even today there are times when I deal with these feelings, and still the only reason I live is God.
My whole life was about surviving from one day to the next. And sometimes from one moment to the next. With rage running rampant and not knowing when it will be next – Always this state of fear – Always a state of torment.
- Growing up never once did I feel loved. I learned to hate myself and feel I was the worst horrible person there was. I began to believe that no matter what I did or any friends I had that I would make the situation bad. I felt that this hate and badness was an intrinsic part of me. I hated myself for being a strong person – my child reasoning was that if I wasn’t strong that I wouldn’t have to deal with the horrible things that happened.
I grew up feeling less than, inadequate, bad, hopeless. Always saying I am sorry to everyone for everything. Feeling that it is ALL my fault. I am to blame and I am responsible.
- Once I started therapy nearly 15 years ago, my therapist asked if I wanted to report the abuse. I didn’t at that time because of how emotionally fragile I was and I could not face the abusers. It was a horrendous deal just to begin to talk about what really happened as a child in the setting of a therapist’s office – Let alone facing those who hurt me so terribly and being raised in absolute fear.
- I still am in therapy and will be for a while yet. I wish it didn’t take so long – there have been twists and turns in my life some helpful to my healing and others not. I have come a long ways and I am not the person I was at the beginning – and yet I am not at the end of this journey. I know God will keep me through it and it is He who has brought the people in my life to help me when He has.
- In common with most victims of sexual assault, I suffered feelings of guilt. A number of questions bothered me – for example: Why did I allow it to happen? Why did I not immediately tell my parents? It has only been in the past few years that I have realised that I was in no way to blame and I now feel absolutely free to talk about the abuse, without any shame or guilt.
- I told her the whole story & they got help for me straight away with counseling. To Mom & Dad’s credit they never questioned my word…. the intuition of parents! They had seen changes in me in those three years & there were challenges with me that they couldn’t understand. I could not even begin to imagine how to explain to my parents at the age of 13 why I was lashing out at my family and so difficult to be around…
- There is uniqueness to the violation of a child’s sexuality. There is a subtle difference in the way that violation changes a child that is like nothing else.
- I had to express my thoughts to break these spiritual chains of bondage that has been affecting me over the past 25-30 years. I was hoping by just sharing this story it would help me heal and maybe someone else would step forward with their story as well? I feel a lot better since I shared this story with everyone.