where the writers are
Religiously Regimented Households
Marjorie McKinnon, Author of REPAIR Your Life and Founder of The Lamplighters


 This is my first blog entry for the RED ROOM so I best make it good if I want repeat business. 

 I've been busy emailing all of the Catholic Archdioceses in America (by my count around 184) with information about my REPAIR books and The Lamplighters.  As you know they've been having a lot of heartbreaking experiences with childhood sexual abuse and I'm hoping to be able to help.  I'm encouraging them to start a Lamplighter Chapter in each one of their parishes and/or have those who have been abused as well as their family members to start work on the REPAIR program.

 I am speaking of the enormous number of family members who live with the actual victim, the mothers whose guilt grinds them into a never ending wall of grief, the fathers who agonize over what they could have done differently, the siblings who were both grateful and ashamed for not having been targeted themselves.  Sometimes they are in more pain than the actual victim; it is less apparent.  It manifests itself in subtle ways.  After all, their answer to a therapist's or doctor's question, "Have you ever been sexually molested?" is probably "No."

What you may not know is that one of the most frequent common denominators of childhood sexual abuse victims is that of growing up in a religiously regimented household.  I'm not speaking of a spiritual environment. I'm talking about one that is built on a patriachal system that demands obedience, discourages free thinking, deprives children of the right to set their own boundaries and requires rigidity as its primary element.  When you grow up in an enviromnent that lacks flexibility, you have no opportunity for growth.  Those of you who have already read my REPAIR Your Life book have heard some of this before.

These problems are not limited to Catholics.  There are many other religiously regimented religions that are set up on the patriarchal system, the Mormon religion is one. I plan on emailing every single Mormon branch to see if I can't help them as well. Next I'll tackle the Baptists and the Methodists and the Lutherans.  I have my work cut out for me. 

Pandora's Box, a website dedicated to childhood sexual abuse has chilling data; it is estimated that there are 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in America today.  With all the news lately about sex offenders and child sexual abuse a solution for how to heal the survivors of this heinous crime is needed.  Victims of child sexual abuse come in all religions, all nationalities, all ages, and all backgrounds. Child sexual abuse has no color or religious prejudice, targets no special income group and plays favorite with neither male nor female. Child sexual abuse has no color or religious prejudice, targets no special income group, and plays favorite with neither male nor female.  

4 Comment count
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As you say...

...you've got your work cut out. I applaud for trying to make a difference with such a huge, huge problem.

Huntington Sharp, Red Room

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You bet!

Thanks for the comment.  Yes, I love a challenge.  After all my REPAIR program got me from being married to my 3rd abuser, suicidal, living part time in a women's shelter, consumed with despair to being the happiest person I know.  Once I finished recovery (which meant my REPAIR program) my motto was: "If I'd known life would turn out this good I would have started it sooner." Thanks again.

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I am so astounded by the magnitude of your task that I struggle to even write these few words of support. The fact that people who are also within a religiously dogmatic environment are at an even higher risk is sadly not a surprise and makes the task at hand exponentially more difficult to deal with.

Your own experiences are heartbreaking, even to a stranger who has only just read a few lines in a blog that represent a snapshot from a lifetime of pain. I am amazed at how you have turned things around for your own and other people's benefit. I wish you all the best and more, as well as every single person saved, one at a time.

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So many others

Hi Ryoma,

Thanks for your kind words.  Sometimes when I think of all that has happened to me (starting with my dad raping me when I was 13) I think that this must have happened to someone else.  It's too painful to think that it was me.  But then I hear stories of others (and I get a lot of email with people telling me their stories) I think of the saying, "I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet." I know it's a huge task but there's many others working on it as well.  I just think that one united group (the Lamplighters) will have more power - I think of the Promisekeepers and I know it can be done.  We need people to come out of hiding.  It's not their fault!! I check on the Internet and I see countless non-profits and blogs and websites who are addressing this problem and I think, why are the numbers rising?  So if you run across anyone willing to start a Lamplighter chapter or who needs help steer them to www.thelamplighters.org.  Thanks again and take care of yourself.