Greetings once again, faithful readers.
While I left work with a few ideas and every intention of converting them into posts for your reading pleasure, I made the mistake of listening to the new episode of Reasonable Doubts while taking Princess on her morning critter chase. The current episode, Episode 118 – Quivering (part 1), features a talk by Vyckie Garrison that is both fascinating and disturbing.
If you are not familiar with Vyckie Garrison, she runs the No Longer Quivering website, which is, as Reasonable Doubts puts it, “a blog devoted to exposing the hidden struggles of quiverful families and to support those trying to escape.”
A disturbing trend is catching on among Christian fundamentalists across the nation. Couples are abandoning birth control and encouraging women to view their “wombs as weapons” in America’s culture wars. Dubbed the “quiverful” movement, these families come from different denominational backgrounds but are united in the hope that by out breeding the competition they might stem the tide of secularism. Vyckie Garrison once made her living promoting this extreme patriarchal view of the family. But as the arrows in her quiver multiplied the quiverful lifestyle began to take its toll on her mental and physical health.
While you may believe you have never heard of this movement before, if you have ever seen the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting then you have been exposed to the Quiverful movement, although TLC is careful to edit most if not all of the religious content out of the show. The Quiverful movement fascinates me. Hell, fundamentalism fascinates me. For some reason I am incredibly interested in sociological effects of radical religious beliefs and the lifestyles that such beliefs result in. (I have no interest in watching 19 and Counting, or any of the Amish quasi-reality shows that clog the cable lines nowadays, but I love watching stuff like Jesus Camp.)
Anyway, listening to her talk on Reasonable Doubts caused me to stop over at No Longer Quivering, which ended up being a rabbit hole that I can not extract myself from, at least for the next few hours. (I think I got 17 tabs open with articles I want to read right now?) So thanks to me falling down a rabbit hole, this will be the only post for the day. I do suggest that you take a few minutes and check out No Longer Quivering and download the latest Reasonable Doubts and listen to her talk.
If you are interested, this is the post that started my fall down the rabbit hole today: Happily Abused
After stumbling across yet another piece of alarmingly dangerous advice for abused women of faith titled, Surviving Emotional Abuse Six Steps by Christian author, Darcy Ingraham, I am wishing I had more middle fingers with which to express my extreme irritation. Ack!
I will try to calm down long enough to use my words rather than profane gestures to talk about spiritual abuse.
To begin with the author assumes that only those husbands who abandon their faith become angry, bitter, and abusive – and she offers no help for women whose abusive husbands are fully committed Christians acting in accordance with patriarchal teachings derived from the bible; she quotes random bible verses out of context to convince abused women that they are safe from actual violent abuse so long as they remain close to God; she appears to believe a woman’s display of piety (praying out loud for her abuser and telling him that she is giving him over to the Lord, for example) is the way to truly intimidate her abusive husband and get him to back off; she advises victims not to “make the abuse worse” by reacting to their abusers’ anger (followed by the whiplash-inducing about-face when she admonishes victims to never allow anyone to convince you that the abuse is your fault); and to top it all off, the author encourages abuse victims to take charge of their lives by finding a hobby.
When we write about “surviving” abuse at No Longer Quivering, we mean living through it, getting help, getting away, processing, healing, and moving on with our lives.
To the “Six Steps” writer, “Surviving Emotional Abuse” means living with the abuser and “finding contentment” in a situation which, in fact, should not be tolerated.
If you are constantly exposed to emotional abuse, then you are probably humiliated and and criticized often. You may not be able to change the abuser, but you can make positive changes in and for yourself. Emotional abuse can only hurt you and hold you back if you allow it to. The Lord has a way of using the most difficult times of our lives as the greatest time of growth.
When I was experiencing some struggles of my own, a dear friend reminded me of that truth. She said, “When you have nowhere to turn, but to the Lord, it is then that you experience a great strengthening of your faith and untold spiritual growth.” These words were just what I needed to hear.
“Emotional abuse can only hurt you and hold you back if you allow it to.” Really?
I understand that not every abused woman is in a position to immediately leave her abuser – however, the advice in this article goes beyond merely offering trapped women coping strategies – it is encouraging women to believe God has a good purpose for their suffering; an idea which often results in confused and desperate women embracing the abuse and even cooperating in their own oppression.
Now go and finish the article. All apologies if the only thing productive you get done today is educating yourself on Quiverful. It kinda sucks you in….
Other possible rabbit holes to fall into:
Brew a pot of coffee and get reading….