Lesley Butterfield is a registered nurse and survivor advocate who works with victims of abuse. She’s passionate about increasing literacy about abuse and trauma in particular for women survivors of spiritual and ecclesiastical abuse in the Church.
Lesley has certifications and training in Trauma-Informed Care, Community Advocacy, Faith and Spiritual Development, Familial Mental Health, Domestic Abuse, and Resiliency. Today we discuss the role that women play in the revictimization of female trauma victims in the Church and the lack of protection and safety for women who find themselves in abusive situations.
To answer your qeustion, Lesley, (at 16 minutes) about having to accept to being abused (at 12-13 minutes) I remember the following:
I geuss it was way back around 1985 that one of the Apostles or Seventies visited the Netherlands and gave a speech. He was translated by the stake president and he came to teach us special information: from than on women who were abused, illtrieated by their spouses, in marriage, were to stay with their husbands and not leave them, but try a little harder when it was difficult. I remember being shocked, My father illtreated and beaten up my mum and the ever best thing my mum had done was a divorce, so home could be a safe place. I looked backward at a sister I really had high regards to, but like she had not heard the alarming words, she gently smiled at me. This message from Salt Lake City is one of the stepping stones that led me out of the church. Preaching such abusing dangerous rules made the church an incredibly unsafe place to be for a married woman and thank God I wasn’t married yet !!!!!
I remember, while translating, the stake-president agreed with what the SLC-leader was stating, by saying, that at first he didn’t agree with this message, but after talking about it with this man, he was convinced it was right. Since I lost my interest hearing the words after he told this rule I don’t know what the explanation was that could convince me like the stake-conference. I really whished I knew the lies that turned the stake-president around to believe this nonsense. I knew out of experience how harmful it is to be raised in a violent family, even though a very small child, I have memories of my mum being beaten up, trying to run away from the slamming hand and hearing her screams and cries, but the kitschen was too small to find a place to hide. And even though the glass in the kitchendoor was misty, as a child I could still see the moves ! How the hell could a man of God say that a woman should endure this and stay with a man that does it to her ? And how the hell could a stake-president agree with such a fool ?
When I left the church I asked Jesus, pointing at all the abused, misused and ruined lives of women, something like: ‘Is this what is done to women something You want ?’ and He answered: ‘It was never meant it to be that way!’.
Ever since, it has been a great comfort to me that Jesus never wanted women to be treated this way. It’s faillure of men. And the words of that man from SLC could have never come from Jesus Christ ! I left a church that had become a machine/tool to ruin women lives and churchmen were acting out some childisch game of power at the costs of the lives from the Daughters of our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, when will men start realising this ?????
Thank you so much, Lesley, for this wonderful podcast and the 5 principles to ponder about ! Hope to hear more from you !
Thank you so much, Gina !
Also for sharing the song: ‘Aue te Aroha’ by St Joseph’s Maori Girls’ College) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1_o8HjZTAY
I am still practising singing along, and can’t get the song out of my mind. I don’t dare to promise, after I have learned all the words, that I will be able to learn the hand-moves as-well, but sure will give it a try ! You have made my days so much happier with this song ! :o)
Adrie de Jong