Alleged Hephzibah House Abuse Survivors “Must Be Silenced”?

Additional note 7/8/09 — just to be completely clear, I personally know the pastor who made this statement, but I am not the author of the letter I received. Because the writer of the letter specifically asked not to be identified, I cannot identify the pastor either. But, what matters even more is that this pastor’s sentiments are not unique. So his identity is virtually irrelevant. In fact, the pastor’s words were an extension of the actions, general verbiage, and attitude of Ron Williams, who has been invited to speak and generate financial support at that church multiple times.

[This was sent to me and the writer wishes to remain anonymous. The writer is not one of the alleged victims of abuse at Hephzibah House but is knowledgeable about the situation.]

They Must Be Silenced…
“The women must be silenced in one way or another.”

In a Sunday evening church service a discourse about the alleged victims of Hepzibah House troubled me greatly. There was no room given for the possibility that the victims were telling the truth. It was obvious that in the mind of the speaker Hepzibah House had been acquitted.

I grew more uneasy, then righteously angry, with every word spoken. When the discourse ended with the words, “the women must be silenced one way or the other” my heart wrenched for every victim of abuse who have broken their silence, taken a stand for justice and the protection of other children.

[Commentary by Danni]

This writer quotes a pastor’s words, “the women must be silenced one way or the other.” What kind of attitude is this? It is appalling!

First of all, the alleged victims are being assumed to be liars (another direct quote) without any research into the situation at all. The leadership of this church has assumptively taken the side of the leadership of Hephzibah House, which the church supports financially. While this same church says they have a “safe” policy regarding abuse allegations against church leadership, they are demonstrating that this policy would only be followed if they personally have not taken a “side” on the issue based on their own personal likes and dislikes. Since they have a personal relationship with the leadership of Hephzibah House, they will not consider that the allegations made just might be true.

This happens all the time in churches and is part of the reason the church is not a safe place for victims. The church leadership is almost always automatically believed and the alleged victims both disbelieved and condemned. Every situation is the “exception to the rule” because “we know these people and they would never do that.” But that’s what people always think — always! Abusers in church leadership didn’t get to that position by being stupid and obvious! They can play the game flawlessly.

Another horrifying thing about this is that a pastor would say these words from the pulpit — “the women must be silenced one way or the other.” I have no idea what that man meant by “or the other” but the words are an implied threat, even if he would never actually do anything tangible against one of the women involved. By making the threat, he has uttered a curse against these women.

And words are powerful. Death and life are in the power of the tongue — and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. That is a powerful indictment against a pastor who would express this attitude.

Further, by making these statements (and not just in one church service; the theme has been revisited multiple times from the pulpit) this pastor is clearly communicating to any and every victim of abuse in his church that they will be automatically judged and condemned unless their abuser is a blatant unbeliever. This pastor has made a public statement that anyone wounded by a “Christian” is not welcome here; they will be beaten and trampled by the leadership in this body.