This past weekend a survivor friend and I took to the highway and traveled out to Somerset, PA to see Jimmy Hinton. I first heard about Jimmy after Dee Parsons from the Wartburg Watch wrote about my story of sexual abuse. http://thewartburgwatch.com/2018/10/10/john-longaker-a-convicted-predator-is-now-a-pastor-and-his-brave-victim-kelly-haines-wants-to-know-why/As I begin digging into the world of Church abuse, I realized that there was a world of advocates, survivors and bloggers that were taking on this issue. They were in the trenches. I soon met some amazing people. I will not even begin to list them all because I will forget someone and there are so many who have come into my world and locked arms with me in my journey to healing. Not just Church abuse people but abuse survivors of all kinds with very different stories and backgrounds. I soon realized the amazing power of survivors and the bond that is made when you begin to talk to them. Twitter has been my means of connection and let me tell you, there are some amazing people in this world and I have the privilege to call them friends. We unite on the common ground of abuse. We encourage each other. We reach out to each other. We are a growing army of voices to stop abuse of all kinds. It’s amazing.
So as we approached Somerset we had plans to meet at a restaurant. It just so happened that the weekend we chose was the same weekend that Christine Parker from PorchSwing ministries was meeting with Jimmy also. So there in the restaurant stood 5 people 2 of us had meet for the first time 3 hours before. The same two met 3 people that we only ever conversed with online and three were friends already. We sat down and began talking as if we had known each other for years. The conversation started and 4 hours later we still had heaps of things we could talk about, but we needed to get some sleep.
It was in that conversation that I realized that I think I may have found a piece that God would like to use me. You see, as we began to talk and share I asked Jimmy a question. I said, “Jimmy, 2018 has started a #churchtoo movement that is growing by leaps and bounds, How do we make sure that everyone’s stories are being heard?” Jimmy relayed to me the huge amounts of emails coming in day after day. That many people are reaching out for help and guidance. People want to share their story and I realized that there is no way just a few good men and women in the trenches could possibly reach out to all these people. My initial thought was as the movement grows that people like Jimmy, Boz, Dee and others who reached out to me and my small town story were one day going to be part of something bigger and while I know that every story big or small is immensely important to them they are going to need support and help.
This got me thinking. I have had the privilege that many may never get and that is to have an amazing blogger with influence and credibility to take my story and share it. In turn, I have a circle of “avengers” who wrote more about my story, exposed the lies and the hiding of my perpetrator, John Longaker. It is a gift no words will ever express a thank you good enough to these amazing people.
This brought me to the question, Where is my place in this movement? My answer is going to surprise you. I don’t know? I have some ideas, opportunities and hopes, but I still have some healing that needs to be done. What I am going to do as I wait for God’s leading is to make a place for those, who like me, have a small town story. Of course, anyone can reach out to me and I will lock arms with you, but I am making a call out to those who feel their story is insignificant. Let me tell you, anything that has hurt, broken or traumatized you is not insignificant.
Of course, just like anything else, the popular the Pastor, clergy, priest or person the more attention it will get. Mega church Pastors who commit sexual abuse are going to get more air time. Their survivors will be able to impact a larger crowd of people in a positive way. This doesn’t make your story any less significant. The pain, brokenness and aftermath are the same. That is where I’d like to come in. I’m not a popular blogger or big name in the #churchtoo world, but I am a survivor in the #churchtoo world.
It is my deepest desire to open the door for anyone and everyone who has a story to tell whether big or small, significant or insignificant to you to have a place to be heard and believed and supported. I’ve had the opportunity to tell my story and I’d love to guide you and come along side you to tell your story in any way you feel most comfortable. Sometimes that means blasting it on social media, maybe it is sharing with just one person or maybe it’s sharing with a group of people. However you feel most comfortable is how I will come along side of you. Someone did it for me and now I do it for you. There are different ways to reach out to me. You can DM me on twitter or Facebook, you can send me a message by email or just comment here and I will reach out to you with a number you can reach me.
This is a growing epidemic in every church, denomination and in the world. We can’t expect a few to do all the work. We must grow and build a network that helps each other.
Below you will find contact information. Please feel free to reach out no matter what you’d like to share. We are all stronger together. We all matter and we all deserve to be heard.