Childhood Sexual Abuse: Symptoms Part 3

This is the last post of a three-part series on childhood victimization including:

Part 1: How Sexual Predators Choose Child Victims

Part 2: Protecting Children from Predators

I write to bring child sexual abuse to the attention of anyone who will read, and to answer nagging questions of parents who are concerned about their children’s safety.

I especially write to the wife who is caught in an unspeakable circumstance. One where she suddenly finds out her husband is addicted to pornography, has a personality disorder, is mentally ill without medical or psychological intervention, or a combination of these issues; and the realization of who he is or what he is doing is unimaginable. You may see with your eyes, but are unable to process with your heart the evidence that your husband is crossing healthy emotional and sexual boundaries with you; or worse, with your children. (Sometimes it isn’t the husband but rather a sibling, cousin, friend, or neighbor).

If you suspect your child is being abused keep your eyes and ears open. Keep your heart set to ‘facts only’ with the possible perpetrator, and keep your heart, soul, mind and strength turned toward God. Pray scriptures out loud over the situation. *I have included scriptures at the end of this post. Immediately make an appointment for your child to see a child psychologist.

Spend time with your children. Study them. No one cares for their needs or loves them as much as their parents. If your spouse is the abuser then you may be the only parent who can advocate for and protect your child.

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE SYMPTOMS

Emotional/Behavioral signs:

  • Changes in behavior or personality; sudden mood changes or aggressive behavior. You notice it or other adults notice it.
  • Changes in academic performance at school.
  • New sudden fears of usual occurrences. Examples: fear of the dark, fear of going to bed, fear of a person, fear of going home, fear of going to school, fear of a place, fear of separating from you. Abused children may show anxiety or express apprehension about going somewhere with the person who is abusing them. They may hide from the person who is abusing them when they see them.
  • Loss of acquired language or memory problems. New inappropriate language which you did not teach them.
  • Changes in what they eat, or gagging on foods they normally eat. Loss of appetite.
  • Withdraws from family and/or friends.
  • Changes in sleep. They may begin having nightmares, night terrors, difficulty falling asleep or attempting to place borders/protection around their bed. Insomnia.
  • May find areas of their life they can control and become obsessive about it. Clothing, food, habits, body hygiene.
  • May begin high-risk activities; drugs, alcohol, self-abuse, sex.
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviors or language for their age; if they say or do something to you that they should now know about.
  • Becomes unusually secretive.
  • Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts.
  • Becomes depressed or suicidal.
  • Complaints of headaches, stomach-aches or chest pain that accompany any other signs.
  • Afraid of undressing, or wearing extra layers of clothing.
  • A new fear of going to the bathroom. This could be psychological or due to pain.
  • Difficulty making friends.
  • Arriving to school early and staying late; to avoid being in their home.

Physical signs:

  • Unexplained injuries such as visible signs which your child has no explanation for or has an unconvincing explanation for.
  • Difference in their underwear; torn, stained or bloody.
  • Difficulty walking or sitting.
  • Redness, bleeding or rash in the external genital/bottom area.
  • Frequent, unexplained urinary tract infections or sore throats.
  • Sexually transmitted infections.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Trust your instincts. Suspected abuse is enough reason to make an appointment with a child psychologist. You can also call the victim coordinator at your local prosecuting attorney’s office and ask them where to go for help.

If you suspect abuse; do not ask your child questions. Allow a trained professional to interview them. Asking questions is considered leading the witness and the issue will most likely be thrown out in a court of law.

In the right margin of my blog I have listed several Christian resources to aid in the event of childhood victimization.

Also see: 

How Sexual Predators Choose Victims—Part 1

Protecting Children from Predators: Part 2

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*Scriptures to pray: (NIV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, II Corinthians 4:13

“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14b

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Peter 5:6-7

No weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord. Isaiah 54:17

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:28-29

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Isaiah 43:2-3

If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18:6

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. Psalm 28:7

You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. Psalm 103: 1-6

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you. You, Lord, are forgiving and good,  abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me. Psalm 86:1-7

Do not hide your face from me
when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
when I call, answer me quickly. Psalm 102:2

Pour out your heart like water
    in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
    for the lives of your children, Lamentations 2:19

Protecting Children from Predators: Childhood Sexual Abuse Part 2

First, let us clear up misconceptions I have heard from people regarding how to identify a child predator:

Myth: “You’ll know because the hair will stand up on the back of your neck when you see or hear them.”

Truth: Most predators are someone you know; and most often, someone you trust.

Myth: “They give off vibes; you’ll know!”

Truth: Most predators are someone you know; and most often, someone you trust.

Myth: “I’ve taught my kids about ‘Stranger Danger,’ we are prepared.”

Truth: Most predators are someone the child knows; and most often, someone the child trusts.

Myth: “I know my child and I know my child would tell me if anyone tried to do something to them.”

Truth: Estimates suggest that only 3% of all cases of child sexual abuse (Finkelhor & Dziuba-Leatherman, 1994; Timnick, 1985) and only 12% of rapes involving children are ever reported to police (Hanson et al., 1999).

Boys tend to have a more difficult time with abuse than girls and are less likely to report sexual abuse than girls. Lyon, T.D. (2002). Scientific Support for Expert Testimony on Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation. In J.R. Conte (Ed.), Critical issues in child sexual abuse (pp. 107-138). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Myth: “If they are normal looking, well-educated and/or a well-known leader they do not fit the description of a predator.”

Truth: Predators love the general public’s assumptions. This makes their attack all the easier. Child abusers come from all classes, racial and religious backgrounds and may be homosexual or heterosexual.

 Myth: “I can’t believe he is a molester, after all, he has been alone with my children several times and never touched them or made them uncomfortable.”

Truth: Predators are very careful in their selection so as not to get caught. They do not molest all children they come in contact with; contrary, they select few and the victimization is usually a gradual process, or a moment of oppurtunity.

Here is an admission from a convicted molester: When a person like myself wants to obtain access to a child, you don’t just go up and get the child and sexually molest the child. There’s a process of obtaining the child’s friendship and, in my case, also obtaining the family’s friendship and their trust.  When you get their trust, that’s when the child becomes vulnerable and you can molest the child.” (Salter, 2003, p. 42)

Myth: “Once an abuser is arrested everyone will know their guilt.”

Truth: People are too quick to believe that the accused is innocent, even if there is plenty of supporting evidence. According to Dr. Salter, “Normal, healthy people distort reality to create a kinder, gentler world than actually exists” (p. 177). Salter, A. C. (2003). Predators: Pedophiles, rapists and other sex offenders: Who they are, how they operate, and how we can protect ourselves and our children. New York: Basic Books.

Myth: Molesters are usually unmarried men in need of sexual release.

Truth: They are often married; sometimes for the purpose of throwing people off their tracks. Sexual gratification is not necessarily the primary motivation for victimizing children.  Power, control and anger are often the primary motivators. Again, studies show that most predators are married or in consenting relationships.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The signs that an adult is using their relationship with a child for sexual reasons may not be obvious. We may feel uncomfortable about the way they play with the child, or seem always to be favoring them and creating reasons for them to be alone. There may be cause for concern about the behavior of an adult or young person if they:

  • Refuse to allow a child sufficient privacy or to make their own decisions on personal matters.
  • Insist on physical affection such as kissing, hugging or wrestling even when the child clearly does not want it.
  • Are overly interested in the sexual development of a child or teenager.
  • Insist on time alone with a child with no interruptions.
  • Spend most of their spare time with children and have little interest in spending time with people their own age.
  • Regularly offer to babysit children for free or take children on overnight outings alone.
  • Buy children expensive gifts or give them money for no apparent reason.
  • Frequently walk in on children/teenagers in the bathroom.
  • Treat a particular child as a favorite, making them feel ‘special’ compared with others in the family.
  • Pick on a particular child.

Other warning signs:

  • They enjoy watching their children play naked.
  • They bathe with their children of the opposite sex past age two (This is open for debate as a matter of a difference in parenting. If you have a adult who is attracted to same sex children you have to be careful with all young children. Trust your instincts).
  • Play seemingly ‘innocent’ games involving bondage where the children become frightened and have to beg to be released.
  • Takes pictures of children who are not their own; at the park, at parties, in the neighborhood.
  • View child pornography. Child pornography viewing/possession is punishable by law. TURN THEM IN TO THE AUTHORITIES.

Be Alert:

  • Be alert to people, especially men, who work with youth but do not themselves have youth in the activity. If they have a strong desire to be with youth and you notice they seek affection from the youth; there is great reason for concern.
  • Watch who your children hang out with in the neighborhood, park, church or youth club. Get to know the leaders. Offer to assist with the activities.
  • Internet safety is paramount. Consider a ‘No technology’ policy in your home when guests are visiting; or keeping all technology in the kitchen within everyone’s sight. Just like a coat rack, shoe rack or bench; you could have a tech bench where all guests’ electronics are placed.
  • Consider having an ‘Open door’ policy when your children’s friends are visiting. Bedroom, office, family room doors stay open for safety purposes. You should never assume you know what goes on in another person’s home. You never know what has been said or done by a family member, relative or neighbor that a child may unknowingly act out or repeat.

Most Importantly:

Pray for and with your children. Keep avenues of discussion open and let them know how much you love them. We cannot protect them from everything by micromanaging their lives, but we can watch, listen and be proactive.

If your child tells you of abuse inflicted on them…

  • Keep calm.
  • Tell the child you believe them.
  • Show interest, care, and concern. (Don’t become hysterical. It could make the child feel responsible for your response causing them to take responsibility for their victimization).
  • Reassure and support the child.
  • Take action – it could save a child’s life. Report child abuse to your local or state child protective service agency AND to local law enforcement.
  • Seek professional help from a pediatrician and a licensed child psychologist.


This is not a complete list. I will continue to post more on child abuse and child safety during the month of April.

How Sexual Predators Choose Child Victims: Part 1

Phone Calls Needed to Stop MO HB229

I need help making phone calls today (Phone #s at the bottom of list).

OFTEN, men ask for 50/50 custody in divorce court so they can get out of paying child and spousal support. The problem is, most of the dads don’t show up and take the children 50% of the time leaving the mom to foot the bill. Rarely do women have the money to modify the arrangement in court. Also, the women are glad to have the children; especially since many of them were trying to get their children away from a physically, sexually, or verbally abusive father. This bill does not take into account abusive fathers. It starts with the assumption all fathers are safe. Women will have to spend months or years proving abuse while the children continue spending time alone with their abuser; often times against the child’s wishes and safety.

HB229 is on the bullet train to the Senate Floor. It has been assigned to the Senate Committee for Seniors, Families and Children. The members of this committee need to hear opposition to this bill. It is likely there has been absolutely none up to this point. Often the elected in the capitol only consider the information that is put right in front of them and don’t look deeper.

https://house.mo.gov/billtracki…/…/hlrbillspdf/0808H.02C.pdf

This bill mandates that all custody arrangements begin with a 50/50 split between parents.

Missouri Statutes already give judges the ability to decide a 50/50 custody arrangement if the situation warrants. And judges already start at this point in deciding custody in most cases.

The reason judges have for so long started at this point in custody decisions is because they have been creating a scenario where they can reduce child support for women, giving the fathers a financial break. That is the catalyst behind this bill. It’s about money, not about custody or the best interests to children.

Mandating this arrangement in the statute is redundant and only furthers an agenda that is anti mother, anti traditional family values.

More than 25% of women/children across the country go on some type of welfare/government aid after divorce. Bills like this one and HB 194/SB 307 will further send divorced women on to government aid if these bills are passed.

Please contact the members of this senate committee and tell them to kill this bill. Share your stories. Ask them to focus on keeping judges interpreting existing statutes instead of creating more statutes.

Here is the quickest way to email all of them at once instead of filling out contact forms for each senator:

David.Sater@senate.mo.gov

Cindy.Olaughlin@senate.mo.gov

Andrew.Koenig@senate.mo.gov

Karla.May@senate.mo.gov

Gary.Romine@senate.mo.gov

Jill.Schupp@senate.mo.gov

OR contact them individually with the below phone numbers/web addresses:

Chairman David Sater: (573) 751-1480 https://www.senate.mo.gov/D29WebApps/webmail.aspx

Vice Chair Cindy O’Laughlin: (573) 751-7985 https://www.senate.mo.gov/D18WebApps/Contact.aspx

Andrew Koenig: (573) 751-5568 https://www.senate.mo.gov/D15WebApps/Contact.aspx

Karla May: (573) 751-3599 https://www.senate.mo.gov/D04WebApps/Contact.aspx

Jeanie Riddle: (573) 751-2757 https://www.senate.mo.gov/D10WebApps/Contact.aspx

Gary Romine (573) 751-4008 https://www.senate.mo.gov/D03WebApps/Contact.aspx

Jill Schupp (573) 751-9762 https://www.senate.mo.gov/D24WebApps/Contact.aspx

How Sexual Predators Choose Child Victims: Part 1

How do you identify a predator? (CAUTION: Graphic content)

You may live next door to one, car pool with one, work with one, attend family get-togethers with one; or even live with one. They could be your child’s teacher, doctor, coach, spiritual mentor, youth leader or club leader. We live among them.

If you are to unknowingly observe a predator you may see: A cheerful smile, a joyful attitude, compassionate care, a generous giver, a dynamic speaker, an innocent joker, a spiritual giant, a prayerful parent, or a concerned friend. Many predators have the ability to hide, blend or put on a good act. A predator is capable of separating their sexual deviance from all other aspects of their life. They can be all those good things most of the time and a predator occasionally.

We live in a world which is full of evil but even evil can have a nice side; an attractive side.

We must remember the entire issue regarding childhood sexual abuse is purely a spiritual battle and it isn’t entirely about sexual gratification; it’s about control.

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

John 3:19 (NIV) This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

John 8:12 (NIV) When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 12:46 (NIV) “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

How can parents protect against child predators? The sad fact remains; there is no full proof guarantee our children will never be abused no matter the measures we take to keep them safe. Statistics say 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will suffer sexual abuse before the age of 18. Even in the Christian community.

Since knowledge is power, and I know you as a parent want the power to protect, I am going to pass on to you the knowledge I have gained through life experience and prolonged study.

~ ~ ~ ~

There are clues to look for and safety guidelines to live by. There is the power of prayer and there is the importance of talking openly with your children. If you need help talking with your child about their God given gift of sexuality; I have two links to Reviving Our Hearts with, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, where she interviews Josh McDowell. I thank my friend, Debbie, for bringing this broadcast series to my attention. I found the podcasts to be life changing in how I talk with my two young boys about the culture around us.

Josh McDowell: “We cannot raise our children the way our parents raised us—not in the light of the Internet.”

“. . . develop a close relationship with them (your children).” He recommends that we begin the conversations when our children are young.

Josh McDowell says when we do become aware of an issue, “Here’s the key, as a parent, not to become judgmental, not to shame.

You may listen to the interview or quickly read the transcripts. The links are at the end of this post.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Due to the length of today’s topic I am breaking it in to three segments. The first part for today is, “How Sexual Predators Choose Victims”, Part 2 “Protecting Children from Predators”, Part 3 “Symptoms of Child Sexual Abuse”

How a predator chooses their victim. (Not a conclusive list and is somewhat dated. I believe with the rise of internet pornography, many predators will be younger and quicker. They will just do it.)

  • Looks for a child lacking close family relationships. Often preys upon children from split homes; especially children of single moms who are working multiple jobs while providing for their children. Lack of parental supervision provides opportunity.
  • Offers to provide free babysitting or fun outings for your child; without you present because it provides opportunity for victimization.
  • Often times molesters know the children are vulnerable because they know the family, or a parent has confided in this trusted person about the child’s mental state. They are very calculatingly deliberate in gaining the child’s trust. This is the most important aspect to help them accomplish their sexually gratifying goal.
  • They target victims who are undervalued by their community; the church, the school, the neighborhood.
  • They target victims in settings where they have authority or leadership over their victim.
  • Once the process has begun a predator can strike anywhere. It can be as simple as being left alone with the child for a moment, a few minutes or an hour. Molestations have happened in doctors’ offices with the parent present. Children have been molested underneath the dining room table while sitting on an unknown predator’s lap. A predator in the mood and who has a moment of opportunity can victimize by touch, fondling, showing a pornographic image or exposing their genitals. It’s quick and it’s over before you return to the room from retrieving food to serve to them or taking a phone call in the next room.

In January 2010, Oprah Winfrey sat down with four admitted child molesters and their therapist, Dawn Horwitz-Person, for a frank discussion about the cycle of abuse. Read more here:…

These predators admitted:

  • It is a high percentage (90%) of molesters who know the child/children they molest.
  • Molesters like to pick children of close friends or family members; especially children who rely on them.
  • Molesters target vulnerable children.
  • Molesters will tell the child they love him/her. They also look for children with a poor parental relationship and attempt to be the good trusting adult in the victim’s life.
  • If the molester can manipulate the victim and make the act feel good it confuses the child and makes them think it is their own fault.
  • According to these men, the “grooming” process starts early, and at first, it is subtle.

Taken from: Child Sexual Abuse: 6 Stages of Grooming, By Dr. Michael Welner

Read more here…

The typical offender is male, begins molesting by age 15, engages in a variety of deviant behavior, and molest an average of 117 youngsters, most of whom do not report the offense.

Predators will (look for a victim through these avenues; including via the internet):

  • Prey on teen’s desire for romance, adventure, and sexual information
  • Develop trust and secrecy: manipulate child by listening to and sympathizing with child’s problems and insecurities
  • Affirm feelings and choices of child
  • Exploit natural sexual curiosities of child
  • Ease inhibitions by gradually introducing sex into conversations or exposing them to pornography
  • Flatter and compliment the child excessively, sends gifts, and invests time, money, and energy to groom child
  • Develop an online relationship that is romantic, controlling, and upon which the child becomes dependent
  • Drive a wedge between the child and his or her parents and friends
  • Make promises of an exciting, stress-free life, tailored to the youth’s desire
  • Make threats, and often will use child pornography featuring their victims to blackmail them into silence

*Enough Is Enough, “How Do Predators Groom Kids?” Internet Safety 10

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One may add to the pedophile’s check-list, which does not necessarily mean a preference for girls or boys: A  particular eye color, hair color, physical build/body shape, age range, or type of clothing a child might wear. (See Toxic Tuesday: Pedophile or Molester?) 

Next time I will address: Protecting Children from Predators.

Lynn Messer’s note handwriting comparison

(Above: Handwriting analysis photo credit by Person Education, Inc.)


This is a continuation in a series of articles on the disappearance and death of Lynn Messer. I am sharing pictures of old notes I received from some of Lynn’s family members. These pictures include copies of notes allegedly written by Kerry Messer and Lynn Messer.

Lynn Messer, disappeared July 8, 2014. We now know that Lynn has been deceased the entire time and I have been told by law enforcement that Kerry Messer, her husband, has not been cleared in the investigation surrounding Lynn’s death.  Kerry is a Missouri state lobbyist who represents family, homeschooling, right-to-life, gun safety, and Christian/Biblical values.

Detective White, of the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s office, told me a few months ago that he would no longer talk about or answer questions surrounding the case and he has stayed true to his word. This does not frustrate me but encourages me to think that law enforcement is protecting the integrity of their case. I’ve seen similar cases take years to prosecute, even when they knew from the start the truth and had evidence to secure an arrest. Although interviews and an arrest are important, in many cases law enforcement has an end in mind. For the investigation I was familiar with, the end goal was a conviction and a conviction is what they achieved.

A portion of letter (below) is reprinted with permission.
Aarron and Abram Messer have cowritten public letters and posted them under notes on Aarron Messer’s Facebook page.
Aarron and Abram Messer, Wednesday, November 30, 2016.

“Week before last during an interview my father seemingly opened his wallet and showed the world a note that my mother allegedly left when she disappeared on July 8th, 2014. That’s it right up there. Of course that’s not all of it. As Kerry said in that interview he couldn’t share the other half because it wasn’t addressed to him. My daughter commented to me the other day almost nonchalantly ‘grandma didn’t write that.’

‘What do you mean?’ I asked and she said what I have thought and wouldn’t couldn’t say out loud, ‘grandma didn’t call grandpa, Pa… she called him Pop. Grandpa would get so frustrated and correct her because he wanted to be called Pa, but she called him Pop.’

It’s true and it’s just one of many questions and problems with the truth about this note that my dad has now shared.”

I received the below notes from some of Lynn’s family members who in hind-sight, came to the question…was the reason Kerry kept the note a secret and wouldn’t show the entire note because he knew family would see the differences in the penmanship and refute all of the handwriting belonging to Lynn? (I have not independently verified the authenticity of the notes, but I did receive them directly from family members. I do have copies of the entire notes/letters which support the accuracy of ownership).

#1: Note allegedly written by Kerry Messer
#2: Allegedly written by Kerry Messer

#3a: Allegedly written by Kerry Messer

#3b: Same as above with printed numbers for date. Allegedly written by Kerry Messer
#4: A copy of the note Kerry Messer turned over to law enforcement alleging it was written and left behind by Lynn.
Photo Credit: DailyJournal Online, Full Kerry Messer Interview
#5: Lynn’s alleged handwriting on the bottom of a family member’s slipper.
#6: Allegedly Lynn’s handwriting

#7: Note written by Lynn to Elizabeth

#8: Lynn’s cursive writing in a note to Abram.

Some of Lynn Messer’s family members think the note Kerry turned over to law enforcement is not entirely written by Lynn. The note has different parts written in different inks at different times. It leads to the question, are parts of the note written by different people?

I’ve never taken a hand writing analysis class so obviously my opinions are mine alone. In the note that Kerry says Lynn left behind, the ‘a’s all look different from one another. The ‘o’s and ‘0’s look more round where the ‘o’s in Lynn’s notes look more oblong. The ‘m’ in the note looks more like the ‘M’ in Kerry’s signature than Lynn’s writing. The ‘p’ in the note does not look like Lynn’s ‘P’ on the calendar and is formed more like the ‘P’ Kerry signed at the end of the letter.

Questions surrounding the note and the authenticity of the handwriting may someday be answered since the FBI had been involved with different aspects of Lynn Messer’s case.

*Disclaimer: There have been no arrests made in the disappearance of Lynn Messer. Kerry Messer remains innocent of any charges. I am not claiming guilt; but simply pointing out concerns which are of my opinion. See disclaimer in the margin.

Read more: The Lynn Messer case

or type ‘Lynn Messer’ into the search bar

Abusers, Denial, and 10 Tips From Their Playbook

I keep writing about abusers because once you know one, live with one, survive one…you can see patterns of abusive personalities in society.

This is one of the reasons I took on the Lynn Messer case which you can read about here. I thought I was possibly seeing glaring red flags of Lynn being the victim, not survivor, of domestic abuse.

Understanding abuse is like understanding a football playbook. Abusers have a built in playbook and if you know the signs you understand the lurking danger.

Abusers can be found in different settings: domestic, clergy, spiritual leadership, athletics, educational, family court, or anywhere in society. They follow the same playbook/guidelines regardless of where you witness them.

Today I’m comparing what I know to what I saw in
Gayle King’s CBS interview with R.Kelly last night. Singer/songwriter Robert Kelly (R.Kelly) is charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, with children and underage girls, dating back to 1998. He is also accused of holding women against their will in a so called sex-cult. Court documents show three of the victims were between the ages of 13 and 17. At the time of the alleged crimes, Kelly was at least five years older than these victims and there are other allegations that include a child.

R. Kelly’s reactions are typical among abusers, regardless of their background.

Play #1: It begins with denial, repeatedly reaffirms denial, and ends with…denial.

R. Kelly was explosive in his denial but denial can look different from abuser to abuser.

Here are some acts of denial I’ve seen:

  • Angry and hurt…becomes silent.
  • Angry and violent…hoping fear and wanting to maintain safety will stop the conversation/confrontation, or achieve agreement.
  • Calm and positive…they believe the victim has problems and they are willing to give said victim time to heal.
  • Befuddled….turns accusations against them into questions while placing the focus on victim/interviewer.
  • Reflectful and prayerful…toward the victim who is obviously emotionally unhealthy.
  • Angry but calm…spins the story.
  • Hang their head, shake their head, roll their eyes…because some people are just too stupid to understand the lies.
  • Condescending with a straight face…while explaining why they were justified to do what they did.
  • Sad and hurt…cries.

These are all forms of denial even though many do it with an air of believability.

Please understand that any emotion mixed with tears IS NOT because the abuser is sorry for what they did. It is from their frustration of their specialness being called into question; their sin or crime being brought into the light of truth. They believe they are above moral code and law and shouldn’t have to answer to anyone. (This is especially true of individuals with narcissistic personality disorder). The tears are not for the victim and not from remorse of doing wrong.

“When we do not understand an abuser’s capacity for deceit we make it is easy for the offender to continue in deception and sadly, often call it ‘grace’.  If it lacks truth then it is not grace.”  ~Diane Langberg

Here is a detailed list of denial from an abusers’ playbook:

  1. Select, groom, and brainwash your perfect victim.
  2. They (abusers) are the real victim.
  3. The person speaking truth is made to be the liar.
  4. The offender is the good, healthy, benevolent person.
  5. The victim is retaliating for vengeance, money, or notoriety.
  6. Believes the heart of their motive has been misunderstood.
  7. Judgement has fallen on them for conduct that was ‘private’ and should never be made public.
  8. They deny all private abuse or explain why it was necessary or beneficial.
  9. There is one way to do anything and everything and it’s their way. To them this is perfectly normal and logical.
  10. They hold power over the victim they claim is victimizing them.

How do we know if an abuser is rehabilitated? Conviction, repentance and change all have to take place. This is the only way you will know if your abuser is sincere.


Don Hennessey, relationship counselor and former director of the National Domestic Violence Intervention Agency, refers to abusers as psychephiles and lumps them in the same category as pedophiles when it comes to recovery. Statistics agree that abusers stand little to no chance of recovery because they don’t believe they have a problem, and “I’m sorry” isn’t in their vocabulary.

We all know that pedophiles target children for sexualized abuse.” Don Hennessy coined the word psychephile for the man who abuses his intimate female partner. “A psychephile targets the psyche of the woman he has selected as his target for a long term intimate relationship.”

Link to Gayle King interview here… (it has been broken into several shorter segments so you will need to scroll down to watch all of them).

Abuse of Faith part 3: 10 reasons abusers keep preying

This is my response to the Abuse of Faith series published by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express News. They did an exceptional job investigating and reporting on a job the church should have done. Although bloggers have been investigating and reporting abusers to church leadership for years; while repeatedly ignored or slandered; I’m grateful for someone who had access to a corporate bank account, the time, intellect and leg work of multiple journalists , the determination to go after this and see it through to the end, and a large enough audience to capture the nations attention with one publication.

How do these serial offenders continue on in ministry?

  1. They are master liars.
  2. People don’t want to be inconvenienced with the burden of time it requires to pass on information, go to interviews with law enforcement, or keep track of records.
  3. Not all victims tell of their abuse.
  4. People who have heard the truth continue to be character or professional references for the abuser/criminal.
  5. Their ordaining church refuses to revoke the abusers ordination certificate.
  6. In many cases denominational leadership lies to cover for their own.
  7. Christians are notorious for treating crime as sin. All crime is sin, but not all sin is criminal. Crimes must be reported to law enforcement.
  8. Churches misapply, “When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers!” I Corinthians 6:1 (NLT). This does not apply to domestic abuse and criminal actions.
  9. Churches and colleges are afraid of being sued for slander/liability
  10. When a new church calls an old ministry for employment verification the old ministry doesn’t tell about the allegations or charges; or references aren’t ever checked.

I get how some people find victimization hard to imagine. As time passes the human condition is to forget, minimize, or think we surely are remembering incorrectly.

If I had not journaled my history of abuse and journaled about my ex-husband, Steve’s, criminal issues I think I would believe I had over reacted. Much of this is due to what a fabulous job he did gas-lighting me; lying to me through the years. To this day, if you left me alone in a room with him for an hour I have no doubt that by the time he finished spinning his story of arrest, trial, conviction, and prison time; I would believe he is innocent and was set-up by an angry and vindictive individual or family from his church. Most likely, set-up over something as simple as they didn’t like the style of music he was using, they didn’t like that he had moved the communion table, they were mad that he didn’t take their side during a church business meeting, or they didn’t like his lesson on the plan of salvation.

Here is a response I received from a friend who was a willing accountability partner for my ex-husband when we were still married and I was trying to save my marriage. This man had flown to town to confront my husband about his mental state, sin issues, and need for professional help. He had asked to be kept updated on doctor appointments, progress and prayer needs but the pedophilia information I received from Steve’s psychiatrist proved to be, unbeknownst to  me, the last straw. I kept him updated through email. Here is the reply I received via email:

Carolyn-

I understand that life has been difficult for you. But please don’t make it more so by continually pleading your case in the court of public opinion. Whenever I hear from you it is a constant stream of bashing Steve. I’ve not said anything before, but now I must. Steve is my friend. I know he is not perfect, but then again neither are you or I. It’s almost as if you’ve been building a case against him ever since the first hint of problems last year. Your husband has always been different. Always. He was when we were in college. He was when you fell in love with him and married him. He is now. He could make us laugh like no one else. His nice guy looks and golden vocal cords along with his love for God and the church made him a joy to be around. All he ever wanted was to succeed for God. That dream appears to be a long shot now. But give him some dignity. Stop confessing his sins for him. You said in the email that you have been able to help some women whose husbands have left them, as if that is your situation.  Carolyn…he didn’t leave you.

If you made a mistake marrying Steve, say, “I made a mistake. I left him because I couldn’t take him.” Don’t write husband bashing emails. What good is that doing??? Are people lining ups saying, “Poor Carolyn,” and that’s helping you? If so, then something’s wrong there.

In love (for all three of you), Tim

I’m including this as an example of how offenders slip through the cracks. This friend, Tim Liston, is a pastor at a mega-church in Pearland, Texas. (I considered him a friend, and his wife was one of my dearest friends, but after the above email we never contacted each other again). I was told after my ex-husband was arrested that Tim continued to be a reference on Steve’s resume. Other friends with whom Steve attended Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri, including David Rutherford another mega-church pastor in Fresno, California, were also references listed on Steve’s most recent resumes. I understand that Tim didn’t believe me, but he knew Steve was seeing a psychiatrist for serious mental health problems. Tim should have disclosed this to prospective churches or told them to ask for full medical disclosures before hiring him.

Steve’s ordaining church, mega-church, Johnson Country Christian Church, now known as Legacy Christian Church in Kansas never contacted me and never revoked Steve’s ordination certificate. Founding pastor Ronnie Epps and his wife Darlene were at the trial supporting Steve and were available as character witnesses should the defense need them. They also never attempted to contact me and ask why I left Steve or had his parental rights revoked.

Churches across the nation are failing to protect children.

Another friend from ministry who was also attempting to help Steve to recover his integrity and mental health, and to save our marriage called Ozark Christian College to disclose the psychiatric problems and the marital problems so they would keep Steve off of the listing of available pastors looking for jobs or weekend supply preaching opportunities. Again, Steve fell through the cracks and managed to find more weekend preaching jobs and two full time senior pastor staff positions through Ozark Christian College, both of which led to victimizations of young children.

Civil cases were recently won against Steve and Community Christian Church in Independence, Kansas, for the abuse that happened to 3 year old and 5 year old boys. Steve was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years, under the guidelines of Jessica’s Law. Law suits against Ozark Christian College are pending.

Here is a letter from White Fields Evangelistic organization who invited Steve to travel internationally as an evangelist working in orphanages. I knew Reggie Thomas and his wife Esther when I was in my early to mid-twenties and spent time with them at North American Christian Conventions. I was surprised they never looked into why Steve and I were divorced or why he never saw his own biological child. Here is a letter Reggie wrote to their supporters. I find it interesting that he didn’t disclose the type of charges for which Steve was arrested. He knew…but didn’t share…

In past years you have read of Evangelist Steve Butler in White Fields newsletters. Steve joined White Fields as an Overseas Evangelist several years back and served honorably and successfully winning many souls to Christ. Steve was not full time, he was part time. His full time service was as the Minister of the Christian Church in Independence , Kansas , where he preached and was loved by that congregation for over 6 years.

One year and a half ago Steve was suddenly arrested and jailed in Independence and he has remained in jail ever since. Many of us are grieved because we believe Steve is 100% innocent of the charge that has been made against him.

We are asking all Christians to pray for Evangelist Steve Butler. He is your brother in Christ. He was baptized as a boy by Ronnie Epps at the Johnson County Christian Church in Overland Park , Kansas , where his father and mother were among the founding members of that church. Steve was also ordained to the ministry by the Elders of the Johnson County Christian Church after graduating from Ozark Bible College in Joplin, Mo.

Steve’s trial will take place at the courthouse in Independence, Kansas, the first week of August. Several of us who live in Joplin and surrounding towns plan to be present for the trial and will be in constant prayer that God will lead the Defense Attorney to accurately present Steve’s side of the story. Please pray for Steve, pray for his wife Cheryl, pray for the Judge and for each member of the jury. Pray that Steve may be acquitted so he can continue his effective work as an overseas evangelist.

Thinking about the Apostle Paul.

During Steve’s incarceration I have often written to him and he has written many letters to me. Receiving a letter from Steve in jail is very similar to reading Paul’s Prison Epistles in the New Testament. I want to share with you one of Steve’s letters:

“Dear Reggie and Esther, Thank you for the wonderful and encouraging letter I received from you. I so much appreciate the news of our White Fields evangelists’ work around the world. I am keeping these in my thoughts and prayers—and hope to join you in the work again soon.

How could I possibly express how thankful I am to both of you for watching out for, comforting, and encouraging Cheryl through these terribly difficult times? May an abundance of grace be credited to your account. (Philippians 4:16-18).

Jail has exposed me to men who have engaged in the worst of all behaviors. Many brag about their addictions to drugs and sex—the most lewd descriptions I have been forced to hear. It is sickening to hear it day after day. The word to best describe it is TORTURE!

The good news is that one-by-one, they have come to me and asked questions about the Bible. There are moments of shame and despair. I pray throughout the day for all of them—for the Lord to reach their hearts.

One man, convinced that “all men are equal,” (not believing that anyone was better than him) _ he reacted violently toward me when I said, “Yes, I believe there are some who are better than others.” I used examples like Noah and Job and Enoch and Elijah. He nearly hit me he was so angry; he said that I was Satanic. Then after telling him that I loved him, I left the room. Later that day, I handed him a Bible reference…”Consider others more important than yourselves…” (Philippians 3:2). It amazes me how so many do not esteem others beyond themselves. Needless to say, there is little to no respect for authority.

I have always had “heroes in the faith”. These men refuse to consider anyone as being better than themselves. While I understand that “all have sinned” and “all need the Savior”, there are many who are “walking in a manner worthy of their calling.” We are to “Give honor to whom honor is due.” These are foreign concepts; they demand respect, but often forget to give it.

The hardships are discouraging, and sometimes I lose hope—but my faith is strong. I cannot deny the Lord’s word, nor can I deny His faithfulness.

Thank you again for all you are doing to help us in this difficult situation. I believe the Lord will deliver me home and restore my joy.

I love you both beyond words, Steve Butler, Psalm 103

OUR APPEAL IS THAT A LARGE ARMY OF PRAYER WARRIORS WILL SURROUND STEVE WITH YOUR PRAYERS TO GOD FOR STEVE’S ACQUITTAL.


In the case of the SBC; It will take years to know if there is sincerity. Their actions will tell; not words alone.

So, in the meantime, I appreciate the writings of men like SBC’s 62nd president J.D. Greear and Dr. Moore president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. I will remain hopeful yet it will take years to know if this is sincere. They are saying right things, but it doesn’t make up for the decades of cover-ups, lies, and inaction.

Will there be an apology to investigative blogger Dee from Wartburg Watch, or to Rachel Denhollander? The SBC assassinated their character when they brought up C.J. Mahaney and asked you to confront him and deal with the Sovereign Grace Ministries abuse cover-ups. It saddens me that it took the national media to force you to deal with all of this. Have you considered how your previous denial and inaction have retraumatized already victimized children and could contribute to them not coming to faith and keep them from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

I wish you well and I will pray for meaningful success for the SBC, which needs to include an international and inter-denominational sexual abuser and clergy discipline data base; as well as, mandatory training for all church, seminary, and parachurch organizations. I also pray for long-term healing for the survivors, which needs to include apologies and restitution from the church.

02/14/2019, 11:00 P.M. update. Click here…
SBTS President Albert Mohler Apologizes for Supporting C.J. Mahaney; church at center of sex abuse scandal.

Representatives of For Such A Time As This Rally will be in Birmingham for the 2019 SBC Annual Meeting, June 11-12, 2019.

Here is the 3rd part of Abuse of Faith: Preying on Teens

Abuse of Faith: The SBC part 1

Abuse of Faith: part 2

Abuse of Faith: Part 2

Offend, then repeat. (Part 2 of the Houston Chronicle report)

This is an age old story with new victims every day. I’ve seen it, lived it…as in been on the receiving end of it, and now I speak out against it and advocate for victims and survivors of it.

When I separated from my former husband, who was a senior pastor and had recently been fired from a ministry, he continued to supply preach on the weekends. I left him for multiple reasons; refusing help for his mental illness and personality disorder, sexually abusing me, crossing lines with our child, fearing for my life and the life of my child until the last night I spent with him. I knew if I spent one more night it was possible I wouldn’t live to tell about the next morning.

Enter his new ministry. On weekends he supply preached/filled empty pulpits, and one particular weekend it was for a small church in a rural community who didn’t have a pastor. They loved his dynamic preaching so after church the elders took him to lunch and discovered he was a nice guy…funny, personable and full of charisma. They saw earlier in the morning that he had a nice voice and could lead worship, and was a magnet to the young people…so they offered him the position of full time senior pastor…right then and there. He packed his belongings, said good-bye to professional psychological help as a means to reconcile his marriage and family, and never looked back.

Several months later he was run out of town from that ministry for grooming, touching, caressing, and making out with/kissing a five year old; actions that were not crimes, at the time, in the state in which we were living, but are crimes today. He was investigated and there are two reports for two different children filed with the county sheriff, but he was not brought up on charges. Here is where it became tricky for me: Our divorce judge didn’t believe my husband had problems other than a wife whom he saw as lying to the court about her husband. I wasn’t. The judge didn’t want to mandate supervised visitation because he didn’t like me. Yes, this is true. I knew two of the court stenographers who worked my divorce case proceedings; I went to church with them and they verified that the judge didn’t like me. However, the judge would have had to go against the in court testimony of a child psychologist, psychologist, neuro-psychologist, family doctor, and a psychiatrist to rule otherwise. Plus, the grooming and sexual appetite my husband was showing for children wasn’t against the law in that state so I couldn’t use that information in court. In the end, the judge told me in clear words with stipulated consequences that I was not to follow my soon to be ex-husband around the country, telling people what I knew about him or thought about him and ruin his means of employment. My goals were to keep my child safe and stay out of jail so I obeyed the judge’s ruling.

Afterward, but not before, a leader from the church had questions for me about why I had left my husband and why he was only allowed supervised visits with our child. This leader told me that when my then husband was offered the job he told the elders, with whom he ate lunch that first day after church, that he suffered from narcissistic personality disorder, schizophrenia, and had supervised visitation with his preschool age child.

So, here you had a man telling them about the demons he fought, and they totally missed the red flags.

The elder told me that they thought, “Wow, what an honest guy. So upfront with his problems. What a tough life he’s had. We want to help him. Maybe we can help him save his marriage. He’s so talented and his gift needs to be put to good use.”

On that first day they decided they wouldn’t tell the church about his problems. They saw no need to do so. The elder who was leading this became my ex’s closest friend at the church, or so the man thought, until my ex decided to groom and violate this man’s grandchild. He led the decision that ultimately brought harm to his beloved grandchild; whom he allowed to be alone for hours with the pastor. He lived to deeply mourn his choice. When the harm came to his grandchild some of the church members didn’t believe the allegations.

You see, during this time the leaders, the elderly, and other church members grew to adore him as he spent time calling on them in their homes and doing the work of the ministry. He was grooming them…finding out insider information about their families so he could decide whose children were the most vulnerable and the least likely to be believed should an allegation arise. He found prey; a young child whose single parent was busy working to bring in enough money to support herself and her three children. This child suffered from separation anxiety and didn’t have a father figure in their life.

Looking back through my years of being married to him I can now see that he used the same grooming techniques for young children, teens, and adults in every ministry we held.

My point is…oh, the lengths some rural churches will go to for acquiring a warm body to fill the pulpit on Sundays. Large churches and mega churches have done the same to obtain a dynamic speaker or worship leader, or to secure a youth leader who is known for packing the youth group with oodles of kids.

Through the years it grew to the point that when law enforcement would find me, I knew what it was about. I would say, “I’ve known this day would come again. What did he do this time? How old is the child?” The only thing that changed was during the last investigation when the known abuse changed to include boys and girls…preschool age.

The first ever sex crimes investigator to contact me, Eric Quillin with the Osage County Sheriff’s office, me told me they thought this man had over a hundred victims, but they were too young to remember, understand or tell, or they weren’t believed when the did tell.

This sickened me. I knew that he had spent most of his youth and adult life attending or leading at summer youth camps for churches. He slept in dorms with young boys, shared open showers with these boys, used the same restrooms, and spent one-on-one time sharing the gospel with them.

Criminal back ground checks aren’t enough. Most offenders are never caught so their name won’t be found on a registry of any sort. My ex-husband had two reports on him. He admitted to what he had done, but it wasn’t criminal at the time so these reports were not findable on a background check. Maintaining an international data base for ministry allegations, church discipline, divorce with a statement from the spouse if there is evidence to be filed, and a sex offender registry is essential to safe-guarding the church. My former husband had a history of being fired from multiple churches for being angry, controlling and deceitful to leadership, grooming and molesting very young children without charges ever being filed, allegations of unfaithfulness, and again being investigated for grooming and crimes against children; all while attending summer church camps where he slept next to young boys in the dorms and traveled as an international evangelist working in orphanages, yet he still landed another ministry before finally being arrested. A 30 year history and no one ever called before hiring him to ask me why I left him or why I had his parental rights revoked. I kept psychological and psychiatric test results, doctors’ notes on their official letterhead, and prescription receipts for anti-psychotic, psycho-tropic, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety medications; all for serious and some dark psychiatric disorders; database worthy documents. Most people live a normal life with their mental illnesses; with pedophilia thrown in the mix; it was a recipe for crime. I would like to see a tracking system that keeps track of these types of documents. I would have gladly turned them over to a registry.

I was a team member and speaker for the ‘For Such a Time as This Rally’ outside the SBC national convention for the following reasons: The time has come for women to be respected and honored within the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention—as Scripture teaches. The time has come for a clergy sex offender database for the Southern Baptist Convention. The time has come for mandatory training of all pastors and SBC seminaries on the issues of domestic abuse and sexual assault. The time has come to raise awareness about the sexual abuse cover-ups within the SBC. (I am not a Southern Baptist and I would like to see these issues dealt with in all churches.) We were there to come alongside the church and help protect, respond to, and minister to adult and child abuse survivors in Christ honoring ways.

Allow me to tell you how we were received. We consisted of our team members, a few SBC women, survivors who drove hours to stand in solidarity against abuse, a pastor who had never attended an annual meeting but heard about the rally and decided to attend, and a man who worked with the SBC natural disaster team who happened to be walking by while I was speaking and kindly fixed the generator for us. We had lost power to the mics and recording equipment right as I was preparing to speak. I was relegated to yelling at the top of my voice to be heard outside over the city noise. No one in leadership came near the rally. The attendees who walked by on their lunch break had a variety of reactions. With a smile I asked, “Would you like a resource page to keep on file for ministering to victims of abuse?” A handful said thank you for the free resource page. Many wouldn’t look at me, I saw many thumbs down gestures, some rolled their eyes at me, one person told me there’s no such thing, I was asked why I was trying to create problems, many men and women walked to the other side of the sidewalk or road when I offered them a resource page. One woman threw her arms in the air, jumped back as if I were dirty or trying to hurt her, and stridently made a sound of disgust. Others replied a no thank you, not interested, or I don’t want one.

As some of them walked away, I thought to myself, “I hope they don’t have a child who is ever abused or a daughter who ends up in an abusive, destructive marriage.” In their attempt to act in a way they thought was Christian, many didn’t show Christ-likeness.

The SBC has a long and difficult road ahead of them.


A small group of activists engaged passers-by in June outside the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas. Photo Credit Rodger Mallison/Star-Telegram, via Associated Press

I’m grateful for the statements we’re currently reading coming out of the SBC at this time. Intentions look to be good. Only time will tell.

With my background of domestic abuse I’ve learned never to take an abuser at their word when they have a history of denial, justification, minimization, blame shifting and spiritualization of their behavior. It’s sad to have to type this, but the SBC has acted as a secondary abuser to victims. Like abusers, they need serious, professional, long-term help if they are going to change…and even then, I’ll believe it when I see it, but I’m hopeful.

Churches must take into account that the ministry attracts people with narcissistic personality disorder, and molesters and pedophilic offenders. I was told by law enforcement that they are seeing increasingly higher numbers of these types of offenders who specifically go to school to gain access to prey through the fields of ministry, coaching, and teaching. More alarming, is the fact that law enforcement says they are beginning to see some women entering these professions for the same reason.

Click her for the free resource page on addressing domestic and sexual abuse.

I understand creating and keeping a database will not be easy and could invite lawsuits not only on the local church, but also on the SBC. It still must to be done. I have my hopes set on an interdenominational /international data base since many offenders change affiliation to keep from being caught.

Here is the full article:

Abuse of Faith | Part 2

Offend, then repeat

Southern Baptist churches hired dozens of leaders previously accused of sex offenses

By John Tedesco, Robert Downen, and Lise Olsen

Multimedia by Jon Shapley

Abuse of Faith: The SBC

1.      Please don’t look away in disgust that I wrote this article pointing out some failings of the SBC.

2.      I have lost friends and had others mad at me for writing about the SBC. Please  don’t allow the article to make you uncomfortable.

3.      If you think perhaps the Houston Chronicle overstated its case and made up facts; I assure you that what they reported isn’t even close to accounting for all the cases of abuse within the SBC, or other churches for that matter.

4.      I want to be clear; it is not just the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) that has problems with predators. Child predators, teen predators, and adult predators plague every denomination, non-denominational, non-profit, and para-church organization.

5.      This article mentions 220 abusers with more than 700 victims. These are the 700 known victims. Statistically, if you add in abuse by pedophilic offenders who held places of authority over children you will find a victim rate of over 100 children per abuser. Most victims never report their abuse. (Stat: according to Osage County, Oklahoma, sex crimes investigator, Montgomery County Sheriff, Kansas, and the Kansas State Attorney Generals’ Office when they interviewed me for the investigations against my former husband).

6.      Lest you think that the below mentioned abusers worked at one church, were caught, and then subsequently removed from ministry; that is not the case. More often than not, they leave one church and move around the country. Some of these men are still in positions of leadership within the SBC while some have switched affiliation to stay under the radar. Also, this is no small problem in mainly rural locations by pastors from small churches. This issue spans all ages, geographical locations and sizes of churches.

7.      Educating the church about such predators is a passion of mine because my first husband was one of these people. He was affiliated with the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ and is now in prison for the rest of his life.

8.      Ask your church if they have policies in place to prepare for abuse allegations, to discourage abusers preying upon church members, and to train staff , leadership and volunteers. The best place for help in this area is GRACE – Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.

  DISCLAIMER: I’ve been having significant formatting problems with my writing platform; as you will see (nothing I do fixes it). It has a mind of its own. For this reason, I haven’t been publishing and I’m in the process of setting up a new website under a different platform. It will have a new name, new look, and better formatting capabilities. As soon as it’s finished I’ll publish the link on this website so you can follow at my new address. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE. I’ve been waiting for this article in the Houston Chronicle by Robert Downen, Lise Olsen, and John Tedesco with multimedia by Jon Shapley to publish. These writers did an excellent job researching, investigating and interviewing for this piece. Here are a few quotes from the Houston Chronicle’s article: “It’s a perfect profession for a con artist, because all he has to do is talk a good talk and convince people that he’s been called by God, and bingo, he gets to be a Southern Baptist minister,” said Brown, who lives in Colorado. “Then he can infiltrate the entirety of the SBC, move from church to church, from state to state, go to bigger churches and more prominent churches where he has more influence and power, and it all starts in some small church.” Wade Burleson, a former president of Oklahoma’s Southern Baptist convention, says it has long been clear that Southern Baptist churches face a crisis. In 2007 and 2018, he asked SBC leaders to study sexual abuse in churches and bring prevention measures to a vote at the SBC’s annual meeting.   Offenders return to preach:   The SBC Executive Committee also wrote in 2008 that it “would certainly be justified” to end affiliations with churches that “intentionally employed a known sexual offender or knowingly placed one in a position of leadership over children or other vulnerable participants in its ministries.” Current SBC President J.D. Greear reaffirmed that stance in an email to the Chronicle, writing that any church that “proves a pattern of sinful neglect — regarding abuse or any other matter — should absolutely be removed from fellowship from the broader denomination.” But Greear said in an email that he is limited by local church autonomy. “Change has to begin at the ground level with churches and organizations,” he wrote. “Our churches must start standing together with a commitment to take this issue much more seriously than ever before.” “The election last year of Greear, the 45-year-old pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, N.C., was seen as a signal that the SBC was moving away from more rigid conservative leaders such as Patterson. Greear has launched a group that is studying sexual abuse at the request of Burleson and others.” As far as I know, and someone feel free to correct me if you know differently; a limited study is as far as this project has gone at this time. I hope the Houston Chronicle’s article will push the study into implementation of a registry. Here is a troubling line from the article: Some registered sex offenders returned to the pulpit. Others remain there, including a Houston preacher who sexually assaulted a teenager and now is the principal officer of a Houston nonprofit that works with student organizations, federal records show. Its name: Touching the Future Today Inc.   Some offenders are twisted, are psychopaths, and others suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. Please understand, any of these aforementioned personalities would get a kick out of naming their nonprofit “Touching the Future Today” and laugh themselves silly over the fact that they are telling everyone, upfront, exactly what they hope to do to future victims while believing no one will ever catch on to the sick truth in the title pointing to their sexual sins.  There are churches that claim no responsibility for abuse in their buildings on the grounds that they have no written procedure for how to handle sexual abuse allegations. Seriously. The sad and frustrating part of this truth is that some of their reasoning falls under scriptural precedence: Forgive. Don’t take a brother to court…but using such scriptures is taking God’s words out of context. Christa Brown, several years ago said, “For the safety of kids and the sanctity of congregations, Southern Baptist leaders should take action now, without waiting until they are finally pressured into it by investigative journalists, brave victims and outraged congregants.” Unlike in 2008, Burleson last year directed his request for a sex offender registry to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which does moral advocacy on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention. For the first time, the study of his proposal has been funded. I wish all churches would set up a centralized reporting system to track these abusers. If we do not it will continue to worsen because abusers know there is easy prey within the church community and that Christians have a difficult time believing such duplicitous individuals exist within their ranks. For SBC members who are disappointed or angry at me for ‘jumping on the band wagon’ and claim I’m harming the name of Christ by airing the church’s dirty laundry; I disagree. I believe Jesus can protect his own name and reputation and that he wants us to fight for the oppressed. Reporters and victims who speak the truth are not the problem. The abuse is the problem. This is why I spoke at the For Such A Time As This Rally about the need for a database for tracking abusers. I hope the SBC doesn’t complain about Robert Downen and the Houston Chronicle’s story. The SBC and other churches, should hold sexual predators in their midst accountable. When we don’t…someone else will do it for us.  As a side note, to add insult to injury, a large publishing company has asked a Baptist pastor, Ed Stetzer, to write a book about abused victims of the church. Why is this an insult? Because abuse advocates allege they have attempted to be heard by Mr. Stetzer in past years but did not gain an audience with him.

The best experts on the subject are those who have lived through abuse and those who specialize in counseling the abuse survivors.  There are numerous well-known and strong voices in this field; some of whom are published. Why were they not asked? With the world at the tip of their fingers why didn’t the publisher check out the internet for those already in the trenches who know the subject, are passionate about the survivors, and could sit town and turn out such a book within weeks?

Click here to read the full article: Houston Chronicle “Abuse of Faith” (includes several short video clips).

Here is a link to the database of known abusers that the Houston Chronicle uncovered.

Emotional abuse checklist


Here is a checklist to help us determine if we might be in an emotionally abusive relationship. This is by no means a complete list, but merely questions I ask based on what I’ve survived, observed and studied.

It’s easy to brush problems aside, believe we’re over reacting or are especially sensitive, or wondering if we are the problem. We can deny the abuse just as much as the abuser denies their abusive behavior.

These are some of the less obvious signs of emotional abuse that no one outside our home will likely see. A few of the below items done with love, concern, and gentleness for the sake of understanding and being understood do not constitute abuse.

If we read this checklist and feel an ache in our heart because a few, several, or all of these negatively apply then we have elements of a toxic, destructive relationship. Please know there is help and we can find healing.

If this list applies to you, please find help so you can take good care of yourself.  Learn ways to interact with and set healthy boundaries with your angry and controlling person.

Often times when someone else names the problem or writes a list of symptoms, it’s easier to see reality.

Disclaimer: These questions can apply to men or women. I minister to abused women so I frame my questions from this basis. There are men who are abused by women. Not all men are abusers. There are many wonderful men in this world, but again, I minister to women who are being, or have been, abused.

Checklist/Questions:

  1. Is there a climate of fear of disappointing him?
  2. Do you, or the children, dread when you know he’s coming home?
  3. Does he make it clear what behavior is unacceptable, and the list is getting longer and longer?
  4. Does he make it clear how he wants the house, food, and laundry cleaned and organized?
  5. Is he consistently condescending in his tone of voice when he disagrees with you or doesn’t like something about you?
  6. Is there a sense that you have to check with him to make sure you are doing the right thing and in the right way?
  7. Do you constantly feel like an outsider in your own home?
  8. Do you feel a sense of shame around him for being different than him?
  9. Does he justify, minimize, spiritualize, or deny hurtful words or behaviors when you attempt to talk to him about them?
  10. When you try to speak logically does he treat you as if you’re unbalanced?
  11. Do you sense that he delights in (feeds off) disagreements?
  12. Does he turn love ‘off’ when he disagrees with you, is disappointed with you, or gets mad at you?
  13. Have you noticed that he never apologizes for angry outbursts or hurtful words?
  14. When you try to explain your feelings or needs does he habitually stare blankly at you, or walk away?
  15. Does he consider the house, the money, and belongings his and/or take your pay checks/earnings from you?
  16. Do you find that he has no interest in you as a person other than needing you as a wife/mother to take care of the house?
  17. Have you realized that he has no interest in your work, hobbies, talents, or outside activities?
  18. Does he want to make all the decisions for you regardless of your needs?
  19. Are your experiences, thoughts, or feelings automatically discounted and considered wrong?
  20. Do you find that you keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself because you know they won’t be considered, or that he will mock you?
  21. Does he control the family money by keeping you on a restrictive budget while he spends as much as he wants to spend?
  22. Do you find when he wants his way about something that he will keep bringing the subject up in hopes of getting you to change your mind?
  23. Does he treat you more like a child than like an adult who is equal with him?
  24. Do you feel like you’ve lost your personality, drive, talents, likes, and joy being married to him?
  25. Is your health deteriorating due to the stress in your marriage?
  26. Does he often give you the silent treatment when he’s in a bad mood or when he disagrees with you?
  27. Does he withhold words of affirmation, affection, and/or sex when he’s mad at you or disagrees with you?
  28. Does he come across as charming to people outside of your house; especially at church?
  29. Do you find extended family consistently express concern about his treatment of you?
  30. Does it seem he has unspoken rules that you’re supposed to know and obey?

If this leaves you feeling overwhelmed or sad, please find help in the margin of my website. I assure you that you can make healthy changes to protect yourself and your children while in an emotionally destructive /abusive relationship.

Click here for article: Biblical permission to leave a toxic spouse?

Look for these categories in the margin:

Articles/Videos: Other sources

Safety concerns in destructive marriages

Solutions – Hotlines – Help

Training Christian Leaders to Recognize Abusive Behaviors

I know that I don’t bring a lot to the table
Just little pieces of a broken heart
There’s days I wonder if You’ll still be faithful
Hold me together when I fall apart?
Would You remind me now of who You are?

That Your love will never change,
that there’s healing in your name
That You can take broken things,
and make them beautiful
You took my shame
And You walked out of the grave
So Your love can take broken things
and make them beautiful

I’m better off when I begin to remember
How You have met me in my deepest pain
So give me glimpses now of how You have covered
All of my heart ache, oh with all Your grace
Remind me now that You can make a way

You say that You’ll turn my weeping into dancing
Remove my sadness & cover me with joy
You say your scars are the evidence of healing
That You can make the broken beautiful

You make us beautiful, oh oh
You make us beautiful




Happy New Year: You can do this!

I know many women who have walked a long and lonely road in a difficult, unhealthy, unfaithful, abusive, destructive and/or dangerous relationship. Some of you decided to leave and have been re-traumatized by your church who insisted you forgive, forget, pray for, and stay with your abuser while you wait on God to change his heart. This happens due to misapplication of scriptures and because of deceptive tactics used by abusers. See: Do You Have Biblical Permission to Leave a Toxic Spouse?(Please remember: God does not make anyone change if they do not want to change. Rarely will an abuser want to change). I applaud you for your courage to stand strong, shining a light on the evil around you; for darkness cannot overcome the light.

You have made it through another year! As Samuel did in the Old Testament, raise your Ebenezer stone and repeat, “The Lord has helped us this far.” (I Samuel 7) You can do this! You’re learning how to care for yourself, set boundaries, and protect your children. You may be limping into the New Year with a tear stained face, Bible pages wet from those tears, barely breath to speak at certain moments, but you have your sanity and are actively exercising your faith. God knows! He sees, He hears, and He has counted every tear (Psalm 56:8). God’s grace will again be sufficient this new year.

“Abuse, adultery, and addictions are not marital problems. They cause problems in a marriage for sure. But they are first and foremost character issues, personal issues, sin issues and are best treated working individually with the person who has damaged the marriage. It is only when that part is done can you attempt to do the work to repair the relationship.

So many therapists and pastors treat these issues as marital issues and the victim starts to feel as if she or he is the bad guy for “causing” someone to act out in such a destructive way. That is not true.

Each person is responsible for his or her own reactions and behaviors. If you’re living with a guilt trip or are taking responsibility for someone else’s ways of managing their frustrations or problems, stop it. You are not at fault. Yes, there may be mutual marital problems for you to work on once the destructive behaviors have stopped but until safety is maintained, there can be no close marital or any other kind of relationship.”  ~Leslie Vernick


(This applies to a few men I know too, but my ministry is for women surviving destructive marriages or leaving them.)

Child sexual abuse rampant during the holidays

“Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go.”  We all know the song but have we ever stopped to think about the implications attached to family gatherings?

It’s rare I hear of a healthy functioning family so if you are from one…congrats and may it ever be so! Most families have a lineage of dysfunction somewhere in their background or in current relationships.

For people looking to offend; holiday gatherings provide a bountiful, unsuspecting selection.

Please don’t ever think you know a person well enough to know they would NEVER harm a child. I lived with a man who was a senior pastor/evangelist and I had NO idea he was a pedophilic offender.

If you think: “My son…My husband… My brother… or…My friend would never do that.” You don’t know it! Not unless you live inside their mind or are with them every second of their entire life. (For the record there are female offenders, but the majority are male).

During this season we are busy with shopping, food preparations, and packing. Once the family gatherings commence we enjoy spending time catching up with loved ones while the kids play. Are we remembering that the children still need us to look out for them and protect them? I’m including children from infant to 18 years old because we have no way of knowing what age or sex a molester or a pedophilic offender prefers.

Definitions:

Child molester –an individual who sexually molests children.

Pedophile  – has a sexual preference for children and fantasizes about having sex with them, but if he does not act on that preference or those fantasies with a child, he is not a child molester.

Pedophilic offender – has a sexual preference for children and acts on his preferences and fantasies by victimizing children.

I don’t mean to be negative. I mean to be helpful. I want you and your children to have a safe and happy holiday celebration. My background and studying reminds me that children are targets for molesters and pedophilic offenders. I’ve taken the approach, when in a crowd; regardless of size, that there is likely an abuser in our midst and unfortunately, statistics our on my side. Depending on which stats were looking at; 1 out of 4 girls are sexually abused and 1 out of 6 boys are sexually abused. These stats are from reported abuse. Most abuse doesn’t get reported which likely makes the rates higher. With the rise of internet pornography I believe we are only beginning to see the tip of the sexual abuse iceberg.


With over 90% of abuse being perpetrated by someone the child knows, it is often a family member or close family friend. And surprisingly as much as 40% of abuse is perpetrated by juveniles – yes, often siblings and cousins. A family gathering can and does create opportunity for abuse – while we’re thinking of what’s in the oven or keeping heated family debates to a simmer, we’re often not thinking of what our children are up to. A house full of family and friends should be the safest place for our children, but in reality that is not always the case. ~The Mama Bear Effect

Are you aware that children can be ‘groomed’ or molested right in front of your eyes without you being wise to it?

  • Abusers can be touching a young child’s genitalia while the child sits on their lap at the dining table (you can’t see what’s taking place under the table-top), or while snuggling under a blanket next to them on the sofa.
  • I knew a man who, every time he picked up a 4 or 5 year old, would hold the child in his arms with his hand under/on the child’s crotch. What preschooler needs to be held that way? I later learned, he was doing it to clearly show what he was doing to the child when the parent wasn’t around.
  • Bathroom stalls are a favorite place for abusers to target children in public; including in church restrooms.
  • Relatives who insist all the kids bathe together (boys & girls), or dress in front of all the relatives. This can be seen as different perspectives in parenting, but I’ve spoken to Focus on the Family about this and they encourage these practices to stop around age 2 to 3.
  • Playing tag or other games. Parents have to be vigilant to see this take place. Often kids don’t know what took place and it can take them years, into adulthood, to realize what happened. Touching that takes place on the genitals, butt, or breasts is exhilarating to a sexual abuser who enjoys a sick and twisted thrill of touching kids and not getting caught by anyone.

The Larry Nassar case has been in the news for months. He was molesting hundreds of gymnasts, including Olympic gold medalists.  He abused children in the confines of a small room in front of the parents and the parents didn’t know. The couple of parents who wondered if he was doing something inappropriate thought there was no way this nice guy could be doing what they thought perhaps they saw. It was what they saw…and more.

Is there anything we can do to prepare our kids to stand against abuse?

Yes.

Have conversations before the gathering takes place. Several short conversations will help cement the safety precautions in their mind.

  • They can respect and be kind to everyone without compromising their boundaries. 
  • Don’t force them to be affectionate with extended family members if they aren’t comfortable with it. Allow kids to set their own body boundaries.
  • No closed doors while playing; not even if an adult is in the room with them. Any adult should know better than to do this with children who are not their own. If an adult discreetly wonders off while everyone else is talking, playing a game, or watching T.V.  and closes the door to hang out with the children; kindly open the door and explain your no closed door policy. (This can be a textbook clue of a child predator).
  • You cannot make any one respect your open door policy. If they won’t respect it, you can politely remove yourself and your children from the gathering. You are not being rude. You are being thoughtful and protective while teaching your kids how to set boundaries.
  • Explain to your kids no touching or showing body parts, or showing pictures of people’s nakedness. Name the parts. They are a fact of life and we need not be embarrassed about it. The more comfortable we are talking to them about sex and anatomy, the easier it will be for our kids to approach us with concerns and questions. It’s our responsibility and privilege to teach our children and answer their questions.
  • If cell phones become a problem at a family gathering you can request that children use technology at the kitchen table (not during the meal) while an adult is present. Cell phones with internet access, apps, and/ or stored photographs/videos are almost guaranteed to have inappropriate content on them. You don’t want children having opportunities to act out what they’ve inadvertently seen on the internet.
  • After the day, or weekend, is over ask open ended questions to give your kids an opportunity to process their answers. Examples: Did you have fun? Did anything make you uncomfortable? Did anyone try to do anything inappropriate to you or to someone else? Is there anything else you want me to know about?


Those who may sexually abuse children often try to break down a child’s personal boundaries regarding touch, and they’ll do this in front of other people. A family member that touches, tickles, or wrestles children even when they don’t like it. A teen or adult that is way more interested in spending time with younger kids than their peers should send up a few red flags that we need to pay more attention, not less.  If we witness someone that is not respecting a child’s bodily autonomy we have a right to speak up for that child and tell the person in question to stop. Everyone has a right to not be touched in a way that makes them uncomfortable. That’s not to say that we can’t have tickle fights or become a human jungle gym, but set an example for proper consent, ask permission before picking a child up and checking to make sure they’re still having fun, especially if they’re not talking.

~The Mama Bear Effect

Many child molesters use tactics like those above to break down the defenses of their victims. After all, when they invade a child’s personal space to touch, tickle, or wrestle in front of the parents, they are showing the victim that the parents know they are touching their child. This works to the abusers advantage when they have the child behind closed doors. This conveys to the kids that the parents already know the adult oversteps boundaries by annoyingly touching their body. This can cause the child to believe there is nothing wrong with the annoying sexual touching taking place behind closed doors.

How to respond if something bad did happen:

  • Don’t get upset, cry, or ask you child questions about why they allowed that to happen to them. This causes the child (regardless of age) to feel responsible for what happened to them and for your reaction.
  • Sit down and write out what you child told you after you finish the conversation with them.
  • DO NOT CALL OR TALK TO THE PERSON. They WILL explain their way out of it and you WILL believe them.
  • Do not call the host home, church, or event location where it happened and do not call other parents to compare accounts or to ask questions. This can cause major problems for law enforcement’s investigation.
  • CALL LAW ENFORCMENT. (Even if it’s your relative or spouse). Allow the authorities to investigate. Do not worry about someone’s reputation. If they are innocent the investigators will come to that conclusion. It’s extremely difficult to prove allegations, but worth the time to pursue it. You may save your child or another child from future victimization.

And…for the relative who says, “How can you call yourself a Christian?” when you dare to set a difficult boundary. Don’t buy into it. It’s nothing more than emotional manipulation. The Bible is full of examples of boundary setting. We can speak gently, firmly, and kindly while being protective and proactive. Even Jesus set boundaries while on earth.

Jesus Said No to Inappropriate Behavior


“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:6

More tips on “Understanding Abusers”

Et Cetera…New hospitality bar

In December of 2013 I wrote about my in-home hospitality bar. It was a solution born out of a need for saving prep time when entertaining in my home.  {Original article here} I decided to pin it on Pinterest since there weren’t any such pins for coffee, tea, cocoa, or hospitality bars/stations. Not one! Five years later there are hundreds of these pins for adding creativity and beauty to you home.

Our family has since moved and our new house didn’t have a built in nook for a hospitality station, so I built one. It coordinates with the other rustic and primitive tables and shelves we have in our home. Above is the finished product. We had a new home built so left over lumber was  abundant.

  1. I bought the unfinished base at Lowes, distressed it, added bead board on the sides and toe kick, gave it two feet, and painted it with a flat black primer/paint. The countertop on the bar is made from a leftover piece of cedar deck lumber that was too warped to use for its original purpose. It was exactly what I wanted for the countertop so I claimed it before my husband could use it for something else. I decided not to polyurethane it after discovering it’s a fantastic place for hot dishes and baked good straight out of the oven. Top 28″ X 41″
  2. The cubbies were created mainly from left over wood in our garage with the exception of some specialty trim pieces. Measures 6″ X 22″ X 30″. 
  3. Open box for decorations 6″ X 9″ X 18″.
  4. Side view 6″ depth. Popcorn cubby 6 3/4″ X 7″. 6 identical cubbies are 4 1/2″ X 5 1/2″ and hold 2 types of oatmeal, apple cider packets, cocoa packets, and Folgers singles packets. Popcorn bag cubby 4″ X 11″.
  5. Cubbies for decorations and framed art work.
  6. Serving accessories.
  7. Flavored syrups for Italian iced drinks; an idea I gleaned from my friend Gina. We use sparkling water or soda/pop, with a few shots of syrup, topped with whip cream, enjoyed with a drinking straw. Chrome/silver urn is a Berkey water filter and is the best filter on the market. It removes 200+ contaminants while leaving the minerals in the water. No other filter does this; including reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis removes the minerals causing health problems. Berkey is like having FIGI brand water available 24/7 from your own kitchen.
  8. Distressed bead board. I rubbed candle wax in some of the groves and on some of the tree knots (bead board, doors, drawers, and cubby shelving). After the flat black primer paint dried, I sanded with 320 grit sandpaper to remove paint from the candle waxed areas.
  9. Kraft Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits for topping off your favorite hot cocoa. Knowing I would want these, my friend Marcia texted me a picture when she spotted them in a grocery store a few months ago. I purchased these from Walmart but they are available at other grocery stores and from Amazon.
  10. William Sonoma no longer sells this 3 tier tray. If you type ‘3 tier wood serving tray‘ into Amazon you will find several other options.
  11. Christmas décor. I change decorations seasonally and for holidays. I keep small dishes on the 2nd tier for creamer, sugar, and sweetener packets.
  12. Extra supplies: Tea, coffee, Chai Tea Latte, Cocoa, Cappuccino, lemonade, mugs, hot and cold carafes, drink pitchers, and toppings/sprinkles for hot drinks.
  13. Pull out drawer with a variety of tea bags, loose tea, and loose tea utensils. I use a bamboo utensil holder turned sideways to organize tea bags.
  14. Pull out drawer for popcorn seasonings. Our home is often a hangout for groups of teen boys so having accessible snacks on hand is a must.


I hope you have fun inventing your own hospitality bar for the holiday season. If you don’t have space for a permanent bar, you can set up a temporary Christmas cocoa bar by using a hutch or buffet, desk, counter-top, bookshelf, small dresser, small table or other sturdy object.

Cheers!

I receive no monetary gain from the provided links. They are simply for your convenience. My site is a non-advertising, non-money making website.

The 2 sides of abusive men

  1. Number of people per minute who experience intimate partner violence in the U.S.: 24
  2. Number of workplace violence incidents in the U.S. annually that are the result of current or past intimate partner assaults: 18,700
  3. Number of women in the U.S. who report intimate partner violence: 1 in 4
  4. Number of women who are killed daily in the U.S. by their intimate partner: approx. 3
  5. A history of domestic abuse is a common, disturbing thread connecting the majority of America’s mass shooters. Google: mass shootings and domestic violence for more articles on the subject

For friends and extended family of domestic abusers the possibility that the person they know could be capable of having a dark side seems impossible, so they reject the idea. This amounts to rejecting the abused survivor, accusing them of lying, or implying they are crazy.

When people find two different versions of a person incompatible, they often render the other person’s view point as false.

I want to submit that both sides can be telling the truth about what they witness. There can be two sides to the story because a duplicitous personality is involved.

Let’s start by inserting some names into this picture:

Laci Denise Peterson was an American woman who was the subject of a highly publicized murder case after she disappeared while eight months pregnant with her first child. She was reportedly last seen alive on December 24, 2002. Her husband, Scott Peterson, was later convicted of murder in the first degree for her death, and in the second degree for the death of their prenatal son, Conner. Peterson is on death row at San Quentin State Prison.

Drew Walter Peterson is a retired Bolingbrook, Illinois police sergeant who was convicted in 2012 for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, a few months after their 2003 divorce. Peterson first received national publicity in 2007 when his fourth wife, Stacy Ann Cales Peterson, disappeared. Although law enforcement and Stacy Ann’s family suspect foul play, she has never been found, and Peterson has not been charged in her case.

There are currently two cases near me which are unsolved:

One involves a missing woman, Amanda Jones, who was last seen with Bryan Westfall, the alleged father of her unborn child. Bryan Westfall phoned Amanda and made arrangements to meet her on a Sunday afternoon. They met, but Amanda never returned home. Her car never left the parking lot where they met. Amanda is presumed dead and has been missing since the summer of 2005.

The second involves a woman I’ve written about many times, Lynn Messer. Lynn disappeared July 8, 2014. We now know that Lynn has been deceased the entire time and I have been told by law enforcement multiple times through the years that Kerry Messer, her husband, has not been cleared in the investigation surrounding Lynn’s death.

Disgraced former Judge Lance Mason accused of fatally stabbing estranged wife in Shaker Heights, sources say.

Yesterday, an Ohio grand jury has indicted this former trial court judge accused of fatally stabbing his ex-wife, Aisha Fraser Mason, on aggravated murder and murder charges, according to prosecutors.

He had “spent nine months in prison for beating his then-wife in front of their children.” The system utterly failed this woman and her children; as it fails many women. This time he murdered her when he was returning the children to her.

There are so many things to say about the Judge Lance Mason case…such as the friend of the couple who says of the abuser/murderer, “He really loved those girls though.” No, no, no! Any man who loves his children will love or, at the very least, respect their mother. Abuse and murder bear no resemblance to love for anyone other than himself.

Chris Watts, a Colorado father accused of murdering his pregnant wife and two children in August pleaded guilty to nine related felony crimes Tuesday during a court appearance in Weld County. I previously wrote about Shanann Watts and this case here, here, and here.

A timeline can be found here…

Larry Nassar was a pedophilic offender the outside world refused to believe was an abuser. Despite numerous young girls telling countless adults, over two decades, in detail, how Larry Nassar was abusing them, the girls were not believed. Why? Because people at work and in the community thought Larry was such a nice guy…a terrific guy…a helpful neighbor, and that the girls were lucky to have him. “Nassar’s cumulative criminal acts of sexual assault were the basis of the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal, in which he was accused of molesting at least 250 girls and young women and 1 young man including a number of well-known Olympic gymnasts, dating as far back as 1992.”

November 20, 2018, Thomas Bruce, 53, entered a St. Louis, Missouri, Catholic Supply store where he ordered female customers to remove their clothing. He committed sexual assault and murdered a woman. He was charged with first-degree murder, eight counts of armed criminal action, three counts of first-degree sodomy or attempted sodomy, three counts of first-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary and tampering with physical evidence in felony prosecution. No prior arrest record. According to a church official at a St. Louis-area Calvary Chapel, Bruce was the minister of a Calvary Chapel in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, about a decade ago.

For the above men who were found guilty, I’m sure that friends and extended family members had a difficult time believing in their guilt.

“We would rather believe a reassuring lie than an utterly inconvenient and disturbing truth.” Diane Langberg, PhD

Women disappearing or being murdered by an intimate partner happens multiple times a day around the globe. Other times, men who commit crimes outside of the home are domestic abusers in their home.

I’m not saying with certainty that all the above mentioned men are guilty of wrong doing in the disappearance or death of these women; although I know family members of the missing or deceased women have strong opinions on the subject. The point I’m making is that people outside the family often know the nice side of a person and refuse to understand how a seemingly nice guy could be responsible for such dark acts of violence.

Of all the people I’ve talked with over the years a common thread runs through stories of abuse. The parents of the abuser usually refuse to believe the truth. And if they know the truth, many take it to the grave with them. It’s rare to find a parent of an adult child/abuser who admits to the faults or failures of their child.

The outsiders looking in want to know how a person could be so vile. Were all his good acts just a pretense? Was his ministry a farce? What about all the times he was kind, the times he was hysterically funny, the times he helped us, and the times he prayed for us? What about all the souls he led to the Lord? He seemed so professional. How can he be evil? So, they don’t believe there is a dark side to the alleged abuser or murderer.

To the family the abuser can be angry, controlling, rigid, isolating, with holding, and verbally, emotionally, sexually, reproductively, financially, and/or spiritually abusive.

Do not think, “Well, at least he didn’t hit her.” Yes, he did. He just didn’t use his fists. Diane Langberg, PhD

Please understand that abusers can be all these bad things and more to their loved one or their victim, while being kind and thoughtful to others. They can be both. Some people admire him while others are repulsed by him. Decency and depravity can exist in the same person. Conceding to one does not mean rejecting the other. It doesn’t mean everything we always thought about them was a lie. It means we weren’t with them every minute of their life. We never know what goes on in someone else’s home. We never know if an individual lives a double life.

Like Jesus, we need to come from a place of love; not a place of inconvenience or disbelief when considering accusations of abuse.

Remember: Abusers are word spinners who tell half-truths and justify their behavior. When the woman is divulging the abuse and the man explains, justifies, minimizes, spiritualizes, and denies the severity of what she is describing; you are looking at the number one sign of dealing with an abuser; denial. They are wolves in sheep’s’ clothing. They do not change for the better, but rather adjust their game so as to not get caught by outsiders; especially not caught by Christians or church members.

I learned from my experience and from women I minister to that men with personality disorders tend to gain energy supply from upping their game. It’s as if they are daring someone to catch them at the abuse; whatever from it may be. Many of these men tend to think they are more intelligent than those around them and they enjoy boldly doing something outrageous in front of others because they know no one will ever believe they are actually committing an act so mean or dark. Healthy people tend to think, “surely he didn’t just do or say that.” Believe your eyes and trust your instincts. Heed the intuition in your spirit.

When you sit with a griever, your work is to be with him where he is, not drag him out where you are more comfortable. Diane Langberg, PhD

“How to handle a marginalized person’s or abuse victim’s anger:

1. Sit quietly 2. Listen carefully 3. When they are done, say “You didn’t deserve that and I’m sorry.” 4. If they start talking again, refer to step 1.” Mandy Nicole, First of Her Name

All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in court. Arrests and charges are merely accusations by law enforcement until, and unless, a suspect is convicted of a crime.

Shanann Watts domestic violence murder update

Shanann Watts’ husband, Chris Watts, confessed to killing Shanann and their two daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, as part of a plea deal to avoid the death sentence. He also pled guilty to the unlawful termination of Shanann’s pregnancy; the death of their unborn son. Watts will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Chris Watts lied to law enforcement and placed the blame of the events that fateful night on Shanann, but investigators never believed Chris Watts’ story.

Shanaan Watts family - Copy

I truly expected Chris Watts to lie and place the blame on his wife. I hear countless abused women speak about how their husbands blame their abusive behaviors on the wife and/or children while denying any responsibility. I see this type of behavior play out over and over in court when domestic abuse is involved. I long for the day that the family court system understands abusers and their tactics; especially when cluster B personalities are involved. Cluster B’s are dramatic, emotional, and erratic.  They include:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder

If Chris Watts fell into one of these disorders, specifically narcissistic personality disorder, then it could be safe to assume that  when “Watts’ voice was shaking, and he could occasionally be heard sniffing after each of the nine times he said ‘guilty’ in response to Judge Marcelo Kopcow’s reading of each charge against him”  he wasn’t crying because he felt sorry for what he did. If he has narcissistic personality disorder his shaking voice and sniffles were because…”When a narcissist is exposed, their horror is about the damage it will do TO THEM to be accused and they believe that others are failing THEM by getting in the way of their ability to live out their specialness.” ~Diane Langberg, PhD

I bring up personality disorders because we need to understand there is more than one way to look at and understand a person. Usually no one other than the immediate family members knows something is not right with the person. Abusers can be kind, thoughtful, humorous, concerned and engaging in a setting such as work or church. When they are within the confines of their vehicle or home with family members they can turn to moody, mean-spirited, argumentative, demeaning and controlling individuals who enjoy picking a fight, or gas-lighting about any given subject.

Witnesses have come forward; two women and one man claiming to have had affairs with Chris Watts.

I stick by my original statement; he didn’t just snap, he was an angry and controlling husband, was unfaithful, and viewed his wife as an object. It also proves my point that abusers aren’t scary, dirty looking men; they look like your neighbor, friend, or co-worker. Abusers are often charismatic, well spoken, with a charming smile to the outside world while they secretly despise their wife and/or children.

I’m yet to hear or read of such an abuser who didn’t have a hidden sexual addiction.

Chris Watts looks like a text book abuser.

It took me 9 years to start cluing in that I was married to such an abuser. The last two nights I lived with him I thought I might not wake up alive. I stayed too long, but thankfully I made it out alive. He’s now in prison where he belongs…for sex crimes against very young children.

My heart breaks that Shanann and her children didn’t make it out alive.

If you question the safety of your living arrangements (or work place) please take the free Mosaic threat assessment found in the margin of this website.

For further reading on the Shanann Watts case:

The Shanann Watts case: My observations.

Shanann Watts case: 20 reasons abuse stays hidden and can lead to death