The Curse of Silence
By Norma Miller
March 1, 2022
There is a silent monster in the room. It is so big and ominous, and holds such a horrid, almost palpable dread, that in order to cope we push it out of our minds. But it’s there, groping, clawing, scratching, and bringing a dreadful havoc into churches, schools, and homes. It is ever-growing, gaining momentum, gaining power—such a hidden, evil, abusive power.
This monster, as you may have already guessed, is not a literal monster, but a spiritual one. It thrives in religious groups, secret societies, and cults. It thrives anywhere it is permitted to grow. As long as we try to ignore it, it grows...silently...if you can ignore the muffled screams in hidden places, and in the dead of night, and in the souls of the abused.
This monster is not a single entity, but several who stealthily work together to build their hierarchy of deceit so devious that we miss it entirely.
Fear is a liar who gains control by causing us to believe that false evidence is real. We protect ourselves in various ways, one of which can be to hurt others before they get a chance at us, or to find a way to control them so as to minimize their perceived threat.
Silence is deafening. The lies of what is hidden, unsaid, roar in our ears. As long as we remain silent, what is hidden will grow, and grow, and grow.
Abuse. The shameful things of which we don’t speak are so powerful. We think that we do well to not speak of them because they are evil. However, evil has its power in secrets. Once brought to the light, it loses its power.
There is more than one form of abuse:
- Spiritual: scripture or religious beliefs used to control another or keep them under our power
- Physical: the actual hitting or causing bodily harm to another
- Sexual: the act of touching another sexually in ways they do not want to be touched
- Emotional: hurting someone in their emotions by using tricks, manipulation, etc.
- Verbal: goes along with emotional abuse, but primarily with unkind speech
- Psychological: the act of messing with someone’s mind. Making suggestions that cause them to question their own sense of reality. All forms of abuse are used for the purpose of controlling another human being against their will.
- Religious Beliefs: Not all religious beliefs are wrong, but religious beliefs can be used in a way to control others, and when that happens, the devil has a lot of fun wreaking all kinds of havoc.
You may be wondering how all these things work together to create a monster? Let’s get the elephant out in the open, shall we? One of the darkest, most evil, hidden issues in history has always involved hidden abuse in religious settings. Now, I fully understand the shame involved, both simply in the fact that the deeds are evil and we don’t want to speak of them, but also in the shame of what has happened to us as victims of abuse.
I want to give us a key area to address in overcoming this very real problem. Our silence. There are several reasons that silence holds so much power.
The first one is that if we, as victims, remain silent, nothing is ever done about the problem, and we don’t find healing. Abuse always gains power in silence and secrecy.
When we remain silent we are in actuality supporting the abuse and the abuser!!!! Think about it! When you were a child, if someone bullied you and no one said anything—didn’t you feel like they were taking the side of the bully? They were! Because they were afraid— back to my point of Fear.
When we are silent, the issue is never addressed. Issues addressed are issues taken care of. Issues we don’t address do not go away. They continue to grow behind the scenes.
Another major part of this entire issue we must address is what we are doing to victims of abuse. Consider what they have been through. Consider the shame and the intense pain which is only intensified by the silence. But what makes this even more evil, is the fact that victims are commonly told to keep silent, and even told they must be imagining it. It could not possibly be true. Now put yourself in their shoes for a minute. Would YOU make up in your head something so shameful and put it out there for the whole world to know about yourself if it WASN’T true? No! The only reason that we would consider to tell something so horrendous is to find closure and healing! I believe this is one of the most hurtful things associated with abuse of all time. To not only need to endure the abuse, but then to not be believed is excruciating. To have only one person believe....I cannot tell the immense relief the victim experiences in that moment. I say this from experience.
It is time for us to awaken from our stupor and from our sleep! It is a shameful thing that such things are not being taken care of in churches—which are supposed to be welcome havens for the hurting and the weary. We need to realize that we are bringing a curse upon ourselves that God cannot bless and prosper.
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