"Real Marriage" review: 3-18, "New Marriage, Same Spouse"

[content note: sexual violence, emotional abuse]

I’m doing something different with Real Marriage than how I reviewed Fascinating Womanhood and Captivating; with the last two books, I’ve read the entire thing before I started and then did one chapter at a time, trying to keep the message of the whole book in mind. After reading the first few chapters of this book, I realized I couldn’t handle that– not spiritually, not emotionally, not psychologically. So, for this review, what you’ll be reading from me will lean in the direction of gut reaction and instinct, since I don’t know where Mark and Grace are taking this.

The first chapter is Mark and Grace telling their story, starting from before they met each other, through dating, engagement, and what seems to be the bulk of their marriage. This chapter is mostly written from Mark’s perspective, as he wrote 46 paragraphs and Grace wrote 11. What I found the most disturbing, however, is what Grace says about her side of the story. It is … well, it reminded me of this:

bad dobby

Most of Mark’s paragraphs are him patting himself on the back for living such a good, moral life even though he was surrounded by “brazen prostitutes” and “manipulative women”– he even left his own fraternity, guys, because of the drinking! Wow, isn’t he just great? But Grace’s sections are full of self-flagellation; her teenage and young adult years are summed up by her as “living a lie,” and the few things she says about her marriage are full of “oh, how much I sinned against my husband! I did not feel that I was worthy of his love!”

And this is where I get incredibly fuzzy on the details, as both Mark and Grace are deliberately vague: apparently during the early days of their dating relationship, Grace “sexually sinned” with another man. There is no distinct timeline given, and I’m left wondering things like if they’d both verbally committed to a monogamous relationship at the time, or if their perspective on dating relationships now is coloring their dating relationship then, and what the “sexual sin” was; but what has me the most concerned is that they mention several times that Grace was sexually assaulted, and her assault caused some significant trauma for her. I can’t tell whether or not this “sexual sin” was actually being assaulted, especially because of things like this:

I felt God had conned me by telling me to marry Grace, and allowed Grace to rule over me since she was controlling our sex life. (10)

When I discovered her sin against me and that she had punished me with resulting years of sexual and emotional denial . . . (13)

Then, after more than a decade of marriage, a root issue was finally revealed. Grace’s problem was that she was an assault victim who had never told me or anyone else of the physical, spiritual, emotional, and sexual abuse she had suffered … In forgiving and walking with Grace  . . . (16)

And if you have unconfessed sin and/or a past of sexual sin, including pornography, fornication, sexual abuse, bitterness, and the like, we pray this book leads to the healing of your soul and your marriage. (18)

There’s a pattern through this entire chapter, and it is victim blaming. Both acknowledge that Grace was sexually abused, and that this abuse affected their sex life. She experienced pain and discomfort during intercourse, and Mark describes her as “checked out”– this is known as disassociation, and is common with sexual violence survivors.

However, all of that is framed as Grace’s fault. She “punished” him because she was traumatized– her needs as a sexual violence survivor was her “ruling over him.” He had to “forgive her.” In the last paragraph of the chapter, being sexually abused is listed as a form of “unconfessed sexual sin.” So, even if the “sexual sin” that they’re talking about back when they were dating was consensual, it’s clear that even if she’d been assaulted, Mark’s reaction would have been exactly the same: it’s a sin, her trauma and pain was her “punishing him,” and he needed to forgive her for her “sexual past” of being sexually abused.

What is just as horrifying to me is how Mark and Grace describe at least the first decade of their marriage: Mark says his actions were “overbearing and boorish, so angry and harsh, that I had not been the kind of husband who she could trust and confide in with the most painful and shameful parts of her past.” He said he used his words to “tear her down,” that he “condemned” her, and he links this with Grace “shutting down.” Grace describes it– in the scant few paragraphs where she’s allowed a voice– as him being “angry” and “harsh.” She describes her own reaction as “distant” and that she reacted to his diatribes and “harsh words” with silence.

I do not know Mark and Grace personally. I have never met them, and I did not observe them during this time. However, what they’ve spent fifteen pages describing sounds an awful lot like Mark being an emotional and verbal abuser. Apparently finding out that Grace had been sexually abused caused Mark to do some heavy re-thinking, but that just breaks my heart even more.

My partner and I had been dating for a couple months when we initiated any sort of physical romance, and it took me a long time to finally open up to him about what I’d been through. Before that, all he knew was that my last boyfriend had been a “jerk.” He didn’t push me, he didn’t question me. He waited for me to talk about it when I was ready, and was willing for that to be never. However, he didn’t need to know that I’d been raped in order for him to pay attention to my boundaries and to not just respect but love my physical needs.

He was so incredibly careful and gentle about making sure I was ok with anything we were doing. When I mentioned one day how much I loved his way with me– that he was respectful and loving– he looked at me like he didn’t know what I was talking about. For him, it was of course he would respect what I wanted, what I needed. Of course he wouldn’t cross my boundaries. Of course he thought of my enjoyment, my fun, my laughter and pleasure as paramount. This is normal, he told me, and it took me a very long time before I believed him.

American culture accepts violence against women as normal. Of course a penis will tear a vagina the first time they have penetrative sex. Of course men are sex-fueled robots. Of course women should expect reactions and behavior like Mark Driscoll’s. He had every right to feel bitter and tormented and angry because he’d had the bad luck to marry a traumatized sexual violence survivor who displays some symptoms of PTSD and couldn’t be his own personal porn star in bed.

That Mark Driscoll needed to know that his wife is a survivor in order to respect her needs during sex tells me everything I need to know about him.

Update 9/16/14 12:57a: for readers who have engaged in the comment section, please read my new comment here. My deepest apologies for letting that go on so long. I should never have let it begin.

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  • Margaret N

    Do you really need to go any further with this book? Isn’t this enough? I can’t imagine anything worthwhile coming from this man or his book.

    • The one worthwhile thing is that I know it will stop at least some vulnerable people from reading it, and it will be a resource for people to share with family and friends– I’ve gotten a lot of e-mails and comments from people about Fascinating Womanhood and Captivating saying that the reviews were helpful in those ways.

      It’s also a good idea to talk about this book because it isn’t just this book. The ideas in this book are the same ones that are widely held and accepted in Christian culture, and talking about those things are what this blog is for. 🙂

      • I agree with you, Samantha. No matter how predictably repulsive we think that the ideas in this book are, we need to understand that they are more widely held than we’d like to think. Libby-Anne, who writes the “Love, Joy, Feminism” blog is currently reviewing Debi Pearl’s Created to Be His Helpmeet. Debi pearl is pushing essentially the same crap as the Driscolls, possibly worse. And Libby-Anne has also referenced a blog titled “The Forgiven Wife” by a woman named Chris Taylor which definitely crosses the line from revoltingly retrograde to self-flagellatingly misogynistic. Honestly, if I weren’t actually reading this stuff I simply would not believe it.

      • Margaret N

        I really do appreciate what you are doing. I just hate what you have to go through.

  • Unfortunately, I don’t think Mark Driscoll is the only person who lists abuse with other sins.
    I was part of a Bible study group with people who were very kind and supportive. However, one night, during an a study on “purity,” their attempts to show compassion and forgiveness and openness involved referencing “abuse” in a list of what many Christians would consider sexual sins. As someone who was verbally and emotionally abused, I remember feeling completely cold. And very angry.
    I know their intent was not to say being abused is sin (not sure what Mark’s intent was, however). Rather, I think their thoughts were “oh abuse is something we want to hide, just like sin!” But listing abuse with sins is so. darn. problematic.

    • No, he is absolutely not alone. It happened regularly at the church my partner and I just left– and that was one of the primary reasons why.

      • Is that the church you were talking before about having problems with?

      • I’m sorry to hear you ended up leaving. I remember reading about your hopes to bring about change but putting abuse in the sin category is inexcusable. I hope you are able to find a better place.

    • KrazyKatLady

      The whole disgusting purity obsession only serves to re-victimize the victims of sexual abuse. Can someone who has been raped still sport a purity ring, or is an intact hymen required? If your only value comes from giving the “gift” of your sexual naiveté to your future husband it follows that survivors of abuse are less valuable.

      • Crystal

        I’m with you there, KrazyKatLady. I remember seeing the Courageous movie and watching the father give a purity ring to his daughter. (shakes head). She was crying tears of gratitude that her father was “caring” about her and “listening” to her needs at long last. The worst thing was in the special features, where another lady overhearing thought it was “a sweet thing her father did.” No, it wasn’t. It was a power thing, but definitely not sweet. I think it was like the little book in Revelation that John had to eat that tasted sweet in the mouth but was bitter in the belly once he had digested it.

        Unfortunately, this nonsense carries right through to other countries like you’d never dream of.

        Ironically enough, they were showing him as an obsessively controlled man, wanting to know who his daughter was with. He was being quite the helicopter parent. But when he became a patriarch! Well, things changed; there was a transformation in the relationship between the father and daughter that took place in the twinkling of an eye, and it was “so much more respectful” and “treating her like the young lady she was”; why couldn’t they have just left her alone? Honestly.
        The horror of such a relationship was that it was actually shown as more FREEING than the other way. Granted, the other way wasn’t good at all either, but this patriarchal thing is just as bad. Now I’m wondering what would have happened if the daughter had broken down and told the father a boy had raped her. Well, not quite so good, says dear little Alex. We WON’T have THAT in the script.

        Sorry to pull it of onto Courageous, but I wish someone could do a critique of the movie. I truly do. It’s a very popular movie and it’s going to cause a lot of harm to a lot of families. True, we do need fathers, but not in that way. The way they do it in Cuba is MUCH BETTER. The government has the father spend half the day with the children, and the mother spends the other half of the day with the children. The only thing I don’t like about that is that the government requires it. If people chose to do that of their own free will, we would be in NO NEED of trashy movies like Courageous.

        And you’re right, virginity IS sexual naiveté. Very much so. How ironic that some parents want their children to NOT be naive in every area of life but well, true consensual sex between adults!!!!

  • It would be different if he said, “My initial reaction was X, but then I realized I was wrong because of Y.” I would venture to say that a not insignificant number of normal people would have a first reaction of “Do I really have to deal with this?” But then those same normal people would be able to look back and say, “WOW I was such an asshole – I was more worried about my discomfort than the pain my SO was going through.” And that’s part of how marriage is supposed to make us grow as people – realizing how self-centered we are and working to change that.

    But I rarely, if ever, see someone of Mr. Driscoll’s ideological persuasion ever admit to being wrong. Ironic, since Christianity is supposed to be all about the continuous work of becoming more Christ-like, which includes being repentant when you realize you were an asshole.

    “This is normal, he told me, and it took me a very long time before I believed him.”

    Everyone I’ve been with after my first husband was the same way. Even though I’ve finally internalized what “normal” is (I think), I still remain grateful for “normal.”

  • When they list sexual abuse among sins, could they mean not being abused, but abusing others? (The chapter’s content certainly would still be problematic. I’m just curious.)

    • It is possible. I considered that, but 1) in my personal experience, no one has ever, ever, ever, ever meant it that way, and I’ve heard this list from the mouth of dozens of preachers hundreds of times, and 2) considering the rest of the chapter puts “being sexually abused” squarely into the “sin” camp, I don’t think so.

  • Mark Driscoll is not representative of anything orthodox. He has been removed from his position and was denounced by many, including me even before. NO historically orthodox reformed person in the history of the world has ever counted being abused as sin. Neither even does Driscoll. This is a galactic straw man festival going on here. If you want to critique someone who actually represents reformed orthodoxy in the areas of marriage, sex and family, read THIS book.

    THEN you’ll actually be talking about somebody with a 50 year career as professor and counselor who faithfully represents the biblical witness. Not some foul mouthed, self obsessed punk who has paid no dues of credibility at all. You can go on with this if you want to, but you are NOT touching the true traditional biblical views on these topics. You are pounding an easy target.

    People in my own camp have denounced this man and this book. Why don’t you take on something a little tougher Samantha? Here’s a tip from someone whose children are older than you are. NEVER misrepresent someone in the internet age under the delusion that nobody will find out. You shouldn’t do that anyway. It’s wrong. However, if you leave any loose end whatsoever in a debate, review or position piece, somebody WILL find it and you WILL be made to look dishonest and your credibility damaged.

    • Hi Trib,

      I’m super-confused by your comment.

      I fall into the reformed camp and while I was never a fan of Driscoll, but a LOT of people were. A lot of people read his book and looked to him for advice. His entire church, everything he was a member of (until recently)

      Maybe I missed her picking on the “reformed” group. I just see her going after the horrible ideologies spouted in Real Marriage-which is needed. Especially since when I looked up analysis of the book, they were mostly positive except for his one “can we do___?” Chapter which seemed to make everybody uncomfortable.

      I couldn’t find a chapter by chapter explanation of why he’s promoting unhealthy views, OR anyone addressing his views towards his wife.

      After all that rambling, what I mean to say is I appreciate her review because it’s another perspective, and I don’t know where you are getting an attack on reformed believes from. Can you point me to it?


    • Crystal

      Tiribulus, I do not find your accusations considerate to Samantha. She is reading the book to critique it, and she does not take pleasure in attacking just anyone on the Internet, as I do not. She may be young, but she is growing, as I am, and as you are.

      I’m sure Samantha would be delighted to speak on the “true traditional biblical views on these topics” positively, as she calls herself a Christian. She is not trying to tear down Driscoll because she disagrees with him on minor issues. She is writing the review because many people in the Christian community read this tripe and consider it to be God’s truth. People tend to believe what their pastors say on these issues rather than research what the Bible says for itself.

      I’m sorry you feel this way, but you have conveniently forgotten that Samantha is a survivor of rape. I have never been raped, but I can imagine what it is – an experience of such utter horror and trauma I don’t want EVER TO BE RAPED. EVER. I can empathise with her struggles as she tries to read a book that brings back horrific memories.

      If you have no pity on her, man, it’s time you took a look at what YOU went through in your life, and saw for yourself that everyone has their struggles and no one is perfect.

      I don’t want to be harsh on you. I do want to understand where you are coming from. If you could explain this to me I would be very much obliged.

    • He was removed from his position after how long being a pastor, and founder of Acts 29? How many books did he write that were widely read– including books where he collaborated with people like John Piper? How many people have listened to his sermons online? How many mainline Christian conferences has he spoken at?

      His fall from Christian favor is an event of the last couple of months, and it’s only been recent because of the wide support he’s held from some of evangelical Christianity’s most respected figures. If you don’t respect them, fine, neither do I, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hold an extreme amount of power and influence in American Christian culture.

    • “NO historically orthodox reformed person in the history of the world has ever counted being abused as sin.”

      You’ve talked to each and every historically orthodox reformed person in the history of the world and found out what their stance on abuse is? That’s impressive.

  • Guest 1

    The guy makes me want to tell everyone how awesome my man is. And then tell them that my man’s behavior should be considered normal and nothing to brag about.

    • Crystal

      I disagree. I think his behaviour is everything to brag about. It is the epitome of true manliness and we need to teach this as the manly and gentlemanly and chivalrous way to treat ladies to our young men of the future so they know how to behave with respect to ladies.

      • Lukewarm Laodicea

        Oh, no, that’s not what I meant 🙂
        It’s TOTALLY something to brag about, I just wish he was the rule and not the exception.

        • Crystal

          You do think this is a sign of manliness though don’t you?

          • I’m confused.
            Driscoll’s advice is scary and horrible and it makes me want to brag on how awesome my husband is because he’s not like that at all. And I wish that he (my hind) was the rule and not the exception.
            Are we on the same page?

          • Crystal

            I mean, the way your husband treats you is manly. Driscoll is not. I apologise for the confusion.

          • Sorry, dunno why my name changed. I’m both Lukewarm Laodicea and Guest 1.

            And (my hind) should be (my hubs)

  • Samantha says: “I’ve heard “being sexually abused” put squarely into the “sin” camp, from the mouth of dozens of preachers hundreds of times,”
    Can you document just one please? After all, there’s dozens whom you’ve heard it from “hundreds” of times. I’d like to hear just one. Because I’ve been a Christian longer than you’ve been alive and I’ve never heard it once. If I’ve missed where actually traditional Christian preachers have said that BEING abused is sinful, I’d really love to know about it. Not some nutcase in the middle of nowhere with 10 members. IF you can do so, I do hereby declare before all your people that I will repent, hat in hand right here for doubting you.

    I have myself been the victim of utterly false allegations and am somewhat prickly in that regard. I have learned that folks can say literally anything on the internet. Establishing it as fact is sometimes, (but not always) quite another thing. This is a request that has not yet turned into an accusation.

    I’ll be waiting.

    • It happened at the conservative college I went to. In their counseling.
      If a girl was older when she was abused they would address her sin in her assault. (What did you do that brought it on yourself etc)

      There’s one if that helps.


      • [Comment removed]

        • Tribulus: if you continue to attack my other readers, I’m going to have to remove you. I don’t care if you come after me, but if you continue insulting my readers I’m going to ban you.

          • Attack? I’m defending you. But ok. I see how it works 😉

            Don’t worry about if they attack me. It doesn’t bother me.

          • Oops, Sorry. My mistake. I wasn’t defending with Guest1. And I’ll leave you alone now.

    • Tribulus,

      You can keep waiting. There’s no point in giving you a list, and links to the sermon audio for the last three preachers I’ve heard do this in just the last year, because all that will happen is that you’ll dismiss them as not “actually traditional Christian preachers”– you’re setting yourself up to shout “NO TRUE SCOTSMAN!” which is a logical fallacy and one you’ve committed here before.

      I don’t want to debate with you, and will not debate with you. If you’ve never heard this before, I’m very thankful you’ve been so fortunate.

      • Actually “no true Scotsman” is not always a fallacy and is in fact many times true.
        If I told a Muslim that my cousin is one and he believes in the trinity, the response would be that: “he is NO true Muslim” and he’d be right.

        Try me. You will find that I am honest and I keep my word. I can find “preachers” that say literally anything anybody can dream of. (I have)

        You are what? 25 or so? You said “dozens of preachers, hundreds of times”. That would be a big claim for me and I’ll be 51 in March. I’m asking for one.This is how it works when you’re public. For me too. If you make claims, assume somebody will call you on them and be prepared to name your sources and have your arguments locked and loaded. IF you wish to taken seriously. If not you will eventually find yourself surrounded by mindless sycophantic lemmings with no intellectual integrity.

        I WANT people to challenge everything I say. I have absolute and utter confidence in the truth of my views and God’s having equipped me to defend them to His glory. I serve an eternally immutable Creator who’s truth never changes. I am going to keep politely nagging you from time to time in the other thread about epistemology Samantha. Until you throw me outta here because you have no answers. That WILL be the reason. Unless you have some. If you don’t and were to simply say that, my respect for you would skyrocket, not you should necessarily care.

        • I just don’t want to debate with you, and I don’t care if you take me seriously. I want to be challenged. I frequently am, and if you’ll look over the comments on other posts, you’ll see that I very frequently engage with people who have challenged me. I just don’t waste my time on comments like yours.

          • Samantha says: “comments like yours.”
            For my own edification. What kind are they?

          • Crystal

            I think, perhaps, you might care to read the comment beginning with “Tiribulus, I have a long list of things to say to you” to try to understand what we are trying to say.

            Also, I think that it’s not what you’re saying so much, but how you say it that’s important. You need to let Samantha know you believe her story before asking your questions respectfully. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind answering if you tried to be more humble in your approach towards her. She is sensitive, and you are as tough as Sergeant Telford Winter in The Trench, I take it – if I’ve hurt or offended you with that remark, I apologise.

          • Beroli

            Samantha’s been dealing with “challenges” like this one for as long I’ve been reading her blog–like every feminist blogger I know, Christian or not. She deals with them with grace and aplomb…and with at least as much patience as they deserve.

        • Beroli

          You are what? 25 or so? You said “dozens of preachers, hundreds of times”. That would be a big claim for me and I’ll be 51 in March.

          You can spend a thousand years with your eyes clenched and your fingers in your ears, and still not see what it would take someone who was looking less than a minute to see.

          I do believe that you want people to challenge everything you say. That is, after all, the definition of trolling, to post inflammatory things just to get people to engage with you. But if you wanted, truly wanted, to see and hear a Christian preacher blaming a sexual assault victim, it would take you less than a minute with a search engine. But then, you wouldn’t have anything to challenge, anyone to tell that he hadn’t actually said what he’d said or that he didn’t count as a Christian.

    • Oh my, is that an axe I see next to your grinding wheel?

    • Since you keep making an issue of your age, Tiribulus, I will preface my remarks by saying that I am a grandmother; most of my children are adults over age 21, and I did not marry young. I have grown up in the church, literally from birth. My father is a pastor, as are other members of our extended family. I count among my friends several clergy members and wives of clergy. All this is to say that I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

      It would seem to me that the subject of rape and sexual abuse is not one that regularly finds its way into sermons. Perhaps your experience differs. If so, can you document how pastors have handled the subject of sexual trauma from the pulpit in sermons you have either heard or read?

      However, despite the fact that I think the topic is rarely dealt with, I do know — as a rape survivor who is somewhat active in the survivor “community” — that pastors and churches are not always safe places for us to seek healing because of the victim-blaming we encounter all too often from pastors and church leaders outside of the pulpit.

      A quick, cursory Google search turned up this article: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/current/what-christians-get-wrong-about-sexual-abuse

      I don’t expect you to find any of what I’ve written here remotely compelling and convincing, because you seem to place a great deal of confidence in assuming your own experience is normative. I can’t document the victim-blaming and calls for repentance I’ve encountered, because I didn’t have the foresight to tape record conversations, take notes, or insist upon signed affidavits. Neither did any of the sexual trauma survivors I know who were re-traumatized by their victim-blaming pastors. I’m sorry that I cannot establish any of this as fact for you.

      It does not surprise me that, in all the time you have been alive, you have never encountered this. I would venture to guess that either you are not a sexual trauma survivor, or you haven’t sought counseling for your trauma from too many clergy members, or you have been enormously blessed to encounter only compassionate, well-informed, wise clergy members when you disclosed your sexual trauma to them. Please at least attempt to consider the possibility that our experiences might differ from yours.

    • cm

      just FYI, there actually is/was a document. It was the MH demon trial document (dont remember what it was actually called) in which part of the demon trial was requiring the victim to REPENT of rape etc, because they were have been contaminated.

      • cm

        did a quick google search of christian euphemisms “taken advantage of, seduced, inappropriately touched etc” for sexual abuse and easily found christian sites with suggested prayers for healing of sexual sin, which include being victimized as a sexual sin. …..

        • CM says: ” being victimized as a sexual sin. …..”
          That’s what I’m talking about. Links please? For the record? I’m not afraid to find out this is true if it is. I’m not afraid of anything.

          • Ok, I’ve never done this before, but I’m doing it tonight.

            It is extremely important that my blog be a safe place for victims. Because of that, I have a comment policy that I’ve designed to skirt the edge between giving victims a safe space and giving people the opportunity to learn about their own bigotry. That is an extremely difficult balance to strike, and today I’ve erred far to much on the side of the unsafe, in the name of “open discussion.”

            I realized as I was trying to go to sleep that I was afraid: my integrity matters a great deal to me, and I never want someone to be able to accuse me of silencing those just because they disagree with me and have it stick, so I tolerate a lot of … things that I would never allow in my personal life. Because I was afraid of what silencing an unsafe person could do to my reputation (which is a rather silly fear, in retrospect), I allowed him to make my readers feel unsafe, to attack them, to disrespect them, to insult them, and to in general be an extremely triggering presence. I knew how triggering his behavior was being, as I have been triggered by him multiple times over the last several weeks. For that, readers, I am very sorry.

            As I have spelled out in my comment policy, if anyone is being made to feel uncomfortable by another commenter, they are encouraged to approach me with their concerns. For the first time in the year and 9 months that I’ve been blogging, I have been approached by many people all through today, privately, about Tiribulus’ comments. He has proven himself to be at the very least a very unpleasant troll.

            The only people I have ever banned from this blog before have been people who have attacked me or other readers personally (usually through sexist slurs), or have been bigoted after I have warned them, or have used blatant rape apologia. This is the first time I’ve banned someone for being a troll. Unfortunately, I don’t think he will be the last.

          • Thank you, Samantha.
            The fact that Tiribulus came out of the gate insisting it’s your job to convince him (and he will be the judge of whether it’s worth believing even then) is narcissistic and inappropriate.
            Anybody with a desire to understand can do a google search to find out for themselves. And even if your experience were some strange preacher not in line with approved church doctrine, who cares? It’s what you were told and it’s hateful and destructive.
            Good job banning him. There’s no need to pander to someone’s ego.

          • Oh jeez. I know this is a couple months old now, but I only just realized that he was also one of the people who was sniping at you in your About Samantha thread. You would have been more than justified in banning him (from your blog or from Earth) the second he said that someone else who kept implying you hadn’t really been raped had “hit a nerve.”

            I’m sorry you have to deal with this crap. Your strength is inspiring, and you have more integrity in the nail of your littlest finger than all your detractors put together have in their entire bodies.

    • It happened right here on this blog with David Cuff.

      • I almost forgot about that man– but you’re right. He was… INSISTENT.

      • He’s my ex-father-in-law, and in the weeks following that incident, he kept telling me that he couldn’t understand why people kept misunderstanding him… at least I can laugh about now…

    • Rose

      The argument from age comes across as patronising, rather than convincing.
      Of course it’s possible for someone younger than you to have esxperienced event you have never experienced. Being old does not render you wise.

  • Crystal

    I cannot stand Mark Driscoll. His book is ugliness personified. I urge you again Samantha, if you treat yourself to your favourite fantasy books after each bout of this trash you will be doing yourself a favour.

  • It never ceases to amaze me how little confidence you liberals have in each other. I cannot get a word out without somebody stepping in and presuming that this young lady is incapable of speaking for herself.

    I continue to hold you in much higher regard than your friends do Samantha. That would worry me if I were you. As always, feel absolutely free to ask me absolutely anything about absolutely anything. I don’t have this problem of my friends stumbling over themselves to help me as soon as somebody challenges me on something.

    • You might want to use that axe to whittle your ego down to a more manageable size–it’s obviously taken over your entire persona.

    • No, you don’t, Tribulus. My readers supporting me by trying to point out how your tone is being received is not a sign of disrespect. You have never treated me with respect. Your tone in every single comment you have left on my blog has been full of barely disguised contempt and condescension, and I’m about tired of it.

      • I will not be the last person to challenge you Samantha. I have asked perfectly reasonable questions fully ON the topics at hand. There is no need for anger. Rather than my tone, (winch isn’t the problem anyway) why won’t you simply engage my questions? YOU have made claims. They may be true. I don’t know everything. I’m asking you simply to establish them beyond your word. That’s even biblical (generally), 2 or 3 witnesses.

        I would never say what you say without my very first blog post on the very first day, being full of unassailable proactively objection defeating documentation right from the start.

        I tell you before my God. I am not calling you a liar. I don’t know, and for the record, If you look around, you’ll find that I’m not treating you any different than I do men my own age for instance. I’m not singling you out because you’re a young woman.

        • Your questions themselves could possibly be considered reasonable, but actually, here, yes, your tone matters. And I don’t care if you treat everyone this way. The way you have treated me and my other readers has been distasteful, and I don’t engage with comments that do that. I am more than willing to have an honest debate with plenty of people– and have. But everything about the way you’ve treated me and others tells me that you’re not here for a respectful, friendly debate.

          • As someone who’s had a recent run-in with Trib, no, he doesn’t know what tone is or how to not sound like a dick. He does not play well with others. And he no-true-Christians enough that I think he would cut St John out of the fold for yammering too much about love. Apparently he got banned from Mike Duran’s blog, and apparently he hasn’t learned from the experience.

          • I ask very politely that you leave Notleia’s comment as an example of gracious tone please Samantha. The irony is just too delicious and is also a priceless object lesson.
            Allow me simply to reiterate. I’m not denying that terrible abuse happens and that in conservative churches and institutions too. What I need help with is the allegation that there is a doctrine or even stated policy that pronounces sin upon the victims of such abuse for simply BEING abused. “Dozens of preachers, hundreds of sermons” is what has been said. I’ve asked only for one. NOT additional allegation or reports, but church documents from a denomination or longstanding respected conservative independent leader. This is being declared as routine normative belief and practice. It is not the least bit unreasonable to ask for evidence.

            Until this is forthcoming, I must believe that any such practice is in violation of and not compliance with stated church teaching. Except in some unhinged crackpot independent churches that I myself would reject as well.

            I am open to documentation and will humbly and happily stand corrected it it’s brought. I don’t know what tone would bring me answers to these questions Samantha. I really am trying. More than this though, epistemology is my thing. You have studied that at the graduate level. THAT sounds to me like a profitable exchange. If you read anything else into this, I simply am unequipped to more charitably express myself.

          • Crystal

            Tiribulus, if Samantha wouldn’t mind, I think I’ll jump in here for a little while.

            First off, I think your tone is a little more respectful. Thank you for that.

            Your request for a stated document is something that is going to be hard to find. People don’t like to say these things aloud for fear of making others angry. What you’re wanting is an actual document from a mainline conservative church similar to the Westminster Confession, I think; the idea that it is engraved in a document of a church like John MacArthur’s (I mention it because of its size and how popular it is in the conservative community). I think that’s the sort of thing you’re asking for, isn’t it?

            Such a document, I repeat, will be hard to find. Most church leaders are too clever for that. However, I think if you’d like to search, try the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which is endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention. You might find something there. These sorts of statements, however, are not the kind of thing you will find engraved in official documents quite the same as the doctrine of the atonement or the virgin birth, as it is not a doctrinal statement but rather a statement of practice.Church leaders tend to be more subtle than that. They will tend to say on paper that they do not blame, but practice something quite different in real life.

            These experiences are real for us. They go on all the time. However, they don’t tend to be engraved in official documents like the Westminster Confession so they are harder to find on that level.

            Try going to the Old Testament and the laws on rape there. That might help you.

            Hoping this helps,

          • It happened to me and many people at my church. I know I am one person however when I went to a counselor at my church and tried to tell them about my parents abuse they pointed out that I was sinning by struggling with bitterness towards them rather than trying to figure out if I should be removed from my home… is that the kind of info you are asking for? I can give more detail if needed.

          • Let me clarify, our church adopted nouthetic counseling NANC now called ACBC which only focuses on sin which is supported by the church who adopts NANC counselors within the church, which is a lot. Here is an ex of a session:

        • Her word, stated under oath, is sufficient in a court of law to establish the guilt of an defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no legal requirement of corroboration, or of witnesses. If there were, then of course, no one would ever be convicted of rape or child molestation because those are not acts that occur in public, and they are rarely witnessed by any one other than the victim.

          This notion of “Biblical” proof requiring two or three witnesses, is, actually, very much anti-victim. It is anti-child. It is anti-woman. It is nothing more than a way to dismiss the claims of true victims as “unproveable” because they are abused privately. There is a reason that we don’t demand this kind of proof in the criminal law. If it would be unnecessary for Samantha to provide two witnesses for a jury to convict her rapist of raping her, a crime that could result in the loss of the rapists liberty for many years, then it is surely unnecessary for Samantha to provide you – an internet nobody – such proof.

    • I suspect many of us readers like Samantha and value her word and opinion, and it upsets us when someone continues to post unfair comments on her blog. That’s not a lack of confidence; rather, it’s caring about someone.

  • Karen Kalweit

    A 700 club counselor told me I needed to ask Jesus to forgive me for being repeatedly sexually abused when I was a young teen. Go ahead and call me a liar if it makes you feel better. It won’t change the truth.

    It’s very telling that Samantha shared her experience, never claiming it as anything else and commenters are having anger management problems while declaring that since they haven’t had the same experience hers cannot be true.

    The sputtering rage, and then finishing up with a threat detracts from your credibility. I long for the day when people stop trying to tell women they are wrong about their own experiences.

    Quit hatin’

    • Karen, I believe you, and my heart breaks that someone would tell you something so outrageous, in Jesus name. Truly. But that is an individual and not one who represents any view but their own though that organization (which I am also not a fan of) should have known better in their hiring practices.

      I have had not said her experiences can’t be true even once. I have simply asked for documentation for such horrendous allegations of the mutilation of the word of almighty God, as any reasonable person would. I want to know what mainstream representative of protestantism has said that being the victim of abuse is sinful. Because if that’s true? I will make whatever meager influence the Lord has honored me with, expose and denounce those persons in no uncertain terms.

      I don’t hate anybody. I would risk my life to save Samantha’s or her husband’s and I would give them my last dime. This has nothing to do with hate.

      • Crystal

        Tiribulus, I have a long list of things to say to you. I am however, supposed to be working at present.

        Short and sweet: Please be gentle with others and listen rather than trying to push your opinion on what is going on. Please try to treat people with respect even when you disagree. People are feeling attacked at the moment. Also, I do think that it’s a good thing to ask for proof. That is good in and of itself. However, I think if you want proof, there are a couple things you need to do.

        First, listen carefully to what goes on in your environment. Trauma victims often don’t tell until much later.

        Second, read the books like Real Marriage, and you will see what Samantha is trying to say. As well, ask the pastor his opinion on rape, etc. It might shock you.

        Third, study what victim blaming and rape apologism are so you know what it looks like and you can identify it.

        Christians are not the only religion with this problem, if I may be bold enough to say it without upsetting anyone. However, we are discussing Christians, and trying to clean house here. We are not discussing this to attack Christians, but we are trying to get these matters sorted out. Also, as for data, which I think you asked for, I think you might need to check around for that.

      • I hesitate to say anything that will extend this discussion, but I think that maybe it would be helpful to point out that this response is exactly what Samantha predicted. You said, “Give one example.” Someone gave a specific example of a person and place. They did not name the person or have documentation, but asked you to trust their testimony which you say you did. However, you discredit the person who said it and claim that they are not representative of “true” or good Christians. Also you claim that it’s not an official teaching. This is why Samantha and others have not jumped in with examples. Claiming that the remarks don’t matter because they don’t come from someone who has received your specific blessing makes it impossible to satisfy your demands.

        • Sorry, just saw this one.
          But Rachael, individuals can be found saying absolutely anything and everything. This is why I ask for a counseling paper, prayer directive list, training document etc. Or a sermon by somebody anybody’s ever heard of, where this is being taught. I am perfectly willing to believe there is. I just need to see it. That’s all. Please. I just can’t believe that is so unreasonable. Suppose I came in here and said that I had heard dozens of feminists, hundreds of times calling it sin for a man to be assaulted and beaten by his wife. Wouldn’t the first thing anybody said be: “links please?’

          I sure hope so. Seriously.

          • Crystal

            No problem with links. If it’s links you’re after, we’ll try to help you. I promise.

          • There’s a post here dedicated to it, with a book title and page numbers and everything. That Mark doesn’t meet your definition of “mainline Protestant representative” is your personal opinion which sort of flies in the face of reality.

        • I have a migraine, so I hope I’m making sense. I see some discussion of Gothard below, but here is a link that displays some of the teaching material his organization has used along with explanation. http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2013/04/how-counseling-sexual-abuse-blames-and-shames-survivors/

          I still think that the fact that a counselor with a para-church organization with huge resources and reach said something like this is more significant than just a one time miss. Organizations that employ counselors have a responsibility to make sure that they have proper training. Even if they “simply” failed to make sure their counselors knew how to avoid fostering feelings of blame in sexual abuse victims that’s huge. You don’t have to read, study or even think about it much to realize that the tendency to blame ones self is strong enough without someone else enforcing it.

      • the “documentation” of how this practice is a widespread Christian policy is in the clear demonstration that these Christian churches have not spoken up and spoken out–loudly and in communion with each other–to denounce such teachings. They remain silent until they absolutely have to and then they demand that the victims prove they’ve been victimized. If such a victim can demonstrate it, then they pull the “No True Christian” card. but they don’t pull it publicly. They are quiet and dismissive and underhanded and slick. They don’t address the issue boldly and with any real conviction, such that the world would know they don’t actually hold to the belief. They denounce the victim, but not the policy.

        And that is how we know that they don’t truly oppose the policy. if they did, they would cry out against it from the rooftops? And what are they crying out from the rooftops instead? They decry falsely that Christ has been banned from the classroom. (He has not). They decry falsely that in the US, Christianity is under attack and that they are a poor, pathetic minority, instead of the majority religion in the US. They decry falsely that there is a war on Christmas if someone wishes them “Happy Holidays” rather than Merry Christmas. They are so busy making themselves into faux victims, they cannot spare a single moment of true compassion for actual victims.

        They demand “documentation” of their unspoken practices and then declare those who cannot produce it “Liberals busy attacking us”.

        They are a disgrace.

  • Crystal

    Also, I think Mark Driscoll is self-centered AND CRUEL.

    • @ Crystal: Driscoll has been unfit for church office since the beginning. Of the big names, only MacArthur really called him out that I know of. Piper, who is unbelievably good in many areas, is also weak in dealing with heretics. Rick Warren left their talk with his wallet, keys to his car and his pants.

      Crystal says: “You need to let Samantha know you believe her story before asking your questions respectfully.”
      No maam, respectfully, I do not. I’m asking my questions to determine IF I should believe her. That’s how the world works. Evidence establishes credibility., Not allegation alone. She has made mortally serious accusations of people with so far, no name or standing beliefs. Just “trust me, this is how it is. Dozens of unnamed pastors have preached hundreds of sermons that I’ve personally heard”

      That may be absolutely true, but I am not wiling to take ANYbody’s word for that. Man, woman, old or young. I need some evidence. I would hope that any responsible adult would require such evidence of me if I were the one making such serious allegations.

      Christine says: “There is no legal requirement of corroboration, or of witnesses. If there were, then of course, no one would ever be convicted of rape or child molestation because those are not acts that occur in public, and they are rarely witnessed by any one other than the victim. “
      2 things. 1? This is not a court of law and I am not a judge or jury. I’m just a guy who’s saying: “Suppose I were to ask for some evidence of what you allege? What would you point me to?” That’s number 1.

      Number 2? In a court of law, allegations are considered false unless established by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. If we are going to talk about formal jurisprudence here, which I certainly have not. I also haven’t asked for that level of evidence. I’ve only asked for ANY evidence, that churches teach it’s sin to be abused. I doubt very seriously if even Driscoll is actually saying that.

      • Crystal

        Go to the remark that says: “Tiribulus, if Samantha wouldn’t mind, I think I’ll jump in here for a little while.” I hope it will be a help to you. Write back and let me know if it isn’t.

        By the way, I would appreciate it if you would address me as Crystal, not ma’am. I am a young woman and I find ma’am utterly offensive. Thank you.

        • Crystal says: “I would appreciate it if you would address me as Crystal, not ma’am. I am a young woman and I find ma’am utterly offensive.”
          In my generation, that term is one of respect and I assure you I meant nothing by it. I also didn’t know you were young until just now. I will call you whatever you prefer 🙂 Sorry about that.

          But I have to to wrap it up here for the night soon.

          Also Samantha, I want to thank you for removing that errant comment.

          • Crystal

            Well, in my generation (I am in my early twenties) and in my culture (Down Under and Below) we do not use sir and ma’am often. First names are preferred.

            Please read my remarks that I have pointed you to to try to help you, and others as well, and respond to them. I would appreciate it greatly if you could do that.


          • I am in your generation and “Ma’am” is not universally considered a term of respect. You are applying regional etiquette and claiming universality that cannot be supported by the facts.

  • Oh sweet Mother Mew… so many flashbacks to when I was first dating my husband… He was the one who told me that when my previous fiance ignored my No, that it was rape. He’s the one who helped me realize just how badly I’d been hurt by it. He actually *asked* me for permission the first time we had sex.

    He still, though, felt personally offended that I’d had *any* relationships before him. I can still remember convincing myself that I’d never *really* been in love before. I remember feeling ashamed for having kissed before, having touched before, when he hadn’t. I can remember feeling like I was so much *less* than him for not having the self-control to wait.

    And of course, the fact that I’d been talked into doing anything sexually with other guys before him meant that he felt personally offended if I didn’t want to do those things with him. I *still* get jabs about that. There’s a phrase that my ex-fiance used that still bothers the hell out of me, but when I tell my husband that I hate that phrase, his only response is that it’s not HIS fault that I don’t like the phrase, so why is *he* being punished for it?

    He actively *resents* the fact that I have things I simply don’t want to do that I used to do.

    It’s not right and I just… I can’t seem to explain that to him without him turning things around to where he’s not getting what he feels he’s *entitled* to, because Wife. Because apparently that piece of paper changes everything. *sigh*

    • Crystal

      That’s disgusting, Maracae Grizzley. These men make me angry. He is trying to manipulate you and you should not stand for it. He is not a gentleman and is not behaving with true chivalry towards you.

      I shall share my definitions of manliness, gentlemanliness, and chivalry with the class sometime if anyone’s interested in hearing them.

      • Crystal

        I also wish we could get back to the topic at hand: Mark Driscoll’s book.

  • cm

    sorry man. I cant do this. I couldnt even read past the first 3rd of your review. so triggered. Damn me! damn me to hell. CANT EVEN BELIEVE THIS SHIT EXISTS. but yet I can. I want to rip my head off. Aaaaarrrrrg!
    That is all.

    • 🙁 Do you like hugs? If so, here’s one. If not, here’s well wishes.
      You’re deeply and fully awesome.

    • Karen Kalweit

      cm, I’m feeling the same way. Triggers left, right and center. I need to stop reading these comments now. I want to say thanks for the kindness that has come my way in today’s comments. But most of all, please know how sorry I am that you are feeling so much pain right now.

      • Crystal

        And you too, Karen Kalweit. Best wishes to you too!!

    • Crystal

      I’m sorry too, cm – for your pain I mean. And I fully understand about triggers!!

  • Heather

    Please ban Tiribulus. I cannot stand his disrespectful, self absorbed, ramblings. They contribute absolutely nothing to the discussion. Thank you.

    • Crystal

      I think Tiribulus is trying to be better, but Samantha can feel free to disagree with the opinion if she wants to.

      • I would feel better if he would stop acting as if everything brought up must gain his Trib Stamp of Approval before it can be taken seriously. He seems to be making more effort than I’ve seen him do before, but I’m still in favor of not feeding the Tribble on the off chance he grows until he takes over the engine room.

  • (Forgive me Samantha. I blew one of the bold tags. If you could find it in your heart to delete the first messed up version of this comment directly above, I sure would appreciate it. This is what I get for being in a hurry.)

    I have to wind it up here, but these are interesting comments

    @Maracae: of course it is rape for a man you’re not even married to, to force himself on you. It would also be sin for your husband to force himself on you. EVER. It is however, barring reasonable circumstances, not appropriate for you to refuse him either, NOR him you, though consideration is in order. A loving husband will accept, “I had a very long day and would like to just relax”. In fact he should see if there’s anything he can do to help you.

    I will tell you this. On those days, if you sacrifice for him? It will go deep into his heart unless it is dead. On the other hand, his cheerful acceptance of your not being up to it should touch yours as well. This is a big complicated situation you have there and I hesitate to get too far into it with a woman not my wife, on the internet, but a couple other quick things.

    This business of him living in your past absolutely must stop. It is crippling your marriage.

    BUT THIS: “his only response is that it’s not HIS fault that I don’t like the phrase, so why is *he* being punished for it?”
    Is entirely unacceptable and betrays a selfish, hard heart that probably wouldn’t appreciate the above mentioned sacrifice anyway until God has broken it.

    I’ve only heard your side and oh my Lord Jesus have I learned that there are always 2, but I hear the hurt in your words and am quite inclined to believe that his actions and attitudes are being accurately reported by you. The fact that you would bring all this up here sure seems to say you want very badly for things to be better. They can be. Take it from one who knows. I am putting you on my whiteboard where I keep track of who to pray for.

    • Crystal

      That’s better, Tiribulus. I think you are trying to behave like a gentleman now.

    • Crystal

      I hope I haven’t caused you or Samantha or anyone else any offence with my remarks.

    • Bzzt! Wrong answer. Sorry, there’s no lovely parting gift. Unless a woman has given her open, eager consent to sex (and no marriage vows are NOT consent to any sexual act), then having sex with her is rape. Telling a woman she has no right to refuse her husband is telling her–in so many words–that her husband has the right to rape her.

      it’s really just that simple. if a woman can’t say No to sex, she cannot give consent to it. If she cannot consent, the sex is rape. Period.

      • ^So much this.

        Any manipulation that reduces a woman’s ability to say no to sex reduces her ability to consent.

        Besides, as my wonderful husband puts it, when he knows I’m willing and freely able to say no to sex, he knows I really, whole-heartedly mean it when I say yes. How could any sane person who cares about his or her partner dispute that?

  • No one knows better than I the desperate need to be “right.” But I am learning that sometimes it’s best to be silent.

  • Betta Splendens

    I don’t know why people with the most horrible marriages always write guides to marriage. Why would I want to emulate the slavery – I mean marriage – of Grace Driscoll or Debi Pearl? I feel sorry for every abused woman who reads books by authors like them, and learns to believe that any sexual abuse she has suffered is her own personal sin, or that she can get her husband to stop beating her by submitting “more.” (We haven’t gotten to a part where Driscoll mentions submission yet, but I fear it may be only a matter of time.)

    • Crystal

      Quite true, Betta Spendens!!!

    • Betta, people in horrible marriages write marriage advice manuals because the old adage does hold true–misery really does love company.

  • “And if you have unconfessed sin and/or a past of sexual sin, including pornography, fornication, sexual abuse, bitterness, and the like, we pray this book leads to the healing of your soul and your marriage.”

    Wait…did he…does that say…did he really just list sexual abuse…as a sexual sin? No….I can’t really have just read that, can I?

    • Tim

      This is really bizarre to me – I grew up in a fundamentalist church and I’ve been exposed to evangelical leaders. And I’ve heard “sexual abuse” referred to as a sin, but as far as I recall, it was in a context where I interpreted it to mean that the person who perpetrated the sexual abuse was the sinner, not the person who has been sexually abused. And I could read it that way in the Driscoll quote above (i.e. “If you have unconfessed sin… including pornography, fornication, being sexually abusive, …”). The way it is said there, it seems ambiguous to me. Which is not ok! If it’s not intended to victim-blame, Driscoll should have made the effort to be clear.

      It has always made me uncomfortable to hear a sexual abuser referred to as a sinner. Yes, it is a sin to sexually abuse someone (violating someone’s person by attacking them physically, verbally, sexually, all are an attack on the imago dei and violate the command: “do no murder” per Jesus). But sexual abuse is also a very serious crime, and in seeking both to protect the victim and also bring the offender to his senses so that he can really change, usually prosecution and incarceration is the wisest course. Simply labeling it “sin” may gloss over the need for that.

      In terms of evangelical documents that explicitly identify the victim of sexual abuse as blame-worthy, I think the Bill Gothard “counseling a sexual abuse victim” worksheet is unambiguously in that category. I know Bill Gothard is a disgraced “no true Christian” but he certainly influenced hundreds of thousands of evangelicals and helped shape the evangelical culture over many decades.

      • Crystal

        Yes, and it is greatly to the shame of all Christendom that Bill Gothard has gotten away with this dreadful baseness for so long. Thank you for sharing something of your background, Tim. You’ve been kind to me and I don’t forget that, so thanks for the kindness you showed me on the blog post “Return to Ferguson.”

        I do hope that Bill Gothard’s influence will die out, but it will take at least two generations to completely outwork its poison I fear. In the meantime, we should work and work hard to combat it as much as possible by speaking the truth at all times and standing for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

        • Tim

          You’re welcome, and thank you. I’m hopeful that Bill Gothard’s influence will wane, and that the exposure of his character will cause more people to reject his teaching. But in the history of Christianity, the same kinds of erroneous views get denounced in one century and brought back in another. Certainly the main thing we can do, as individuals, is to share our perspectives as honestly as we can, and encourage and support those who have been harmed in one way or another.

  • “I felt God had conned me by telling me to marry Grace, and allowed Grace to rule over me since she was controlling our sex life.”
    Read a book many years ago, can’t remember author or title, but the woman pointed out that men have control over everything in their lives, except sex. Men have to ask permission or pay for it; if they take it’s rape. Sounds to me like Driscol found that out the hard way. Notice how he thinks God conned him, but he can’t see just how much responsibility it places on the woman to exercise judgement in who to allow access to her body. Marriage does not change the equation.
    As much as Dr. Gray gives insights in his first Mars/Venus book, Mars and Venus in the Bedroom tries to convince women to let men have sex even if they’re not in the mood “because a man will start looking for a woman who says yes if they always say no.” If they allow “quickies” during the week when there’s little time, then on the weekends women are more receptive to the long pleasurable love sessions and men able to perform better. When reading this together my wife called bullshit. He leaves out the religious overtones, but the message is the same.

    • Karen Kalweit

      “but he can’t see just how much responsibility it places on the woman to exercise judgement in who to allow access to her body.”

      I was with you this point. Maybe I am misunderstanding your point here. I certainly hope so, otherwise it’s just victim blaming. It places responsibility on the victim and not the criminal, the rapist, violent abuser. It is another version of “if you hadn’t put herself in that position it never would’ve happened.” I did not allow my abuser access to my body. I denied him access. The truth is I did everything I could to deny it but was unable to.

      He manipulated me and threatened me using, by turns his greater physical strength, psychological manipulation, and in the end a weapon to impose his will upon me.

      Here is how he gained access to me. He and his wife were friends of my parents. They had two small children and his wife asked me to babysit. I proved reliable and became their go to babysitter. There was no problem at first so I never saw it coming. This was the guy who would drive me home after babysitting to keep me safe.

      I have gone over and over this in my mind. I have struggled with a false sense of shame and often I still do. If you see a fault in my judgment or some irresponsible action in this situation please enlighten me as to what it is.

      • Crystal

        I’m sorry to hear that your trust was so cruelly taken advantage of in such a vile manner Karen Kalweit. It was not your fault.

        • Karen Kalweit

          Crystal, thanks. I know it’s not my fault (most days). I can’t begin to tell you how great it feels to see someone put it in print. It brought tears of relief :-).

          • Crystal

            I’m glad I helped you to be happy today.

  • Sarah S

    I almost threw up reading your quotation from the book. I just. . . can’t. Wow. Was not expecting to be triggered like that.

    I/we have had so many issues in our marriage because the twisted view of sexuality taught by Christianity, including books like this one. Sixteen years into our journey together and we are finally coming out of a place where there was just as much bad as good. Recently the youth group our oldest son is involved in went to the silver ring thing. When we said he wasn’t going we got puzzled looks from grandma and friends. We sat down with our son and explained that we didn’t want him to learn the shame and rule-following and twisted view of sexuality (i.e. men want it, women don’t, girls are responsible for keeping boys from lustful thoughts, all sexual thoughts and emotions are sin etc) that we had learned and have spent our whole adult lives trying to unlearn and become healthy.

    Thank you for this review Samantha, for shining light on this nonsense.

  • Karen, that wasn’t my intent. Apologies if this triggered your trauma.

  • Karen Kalweit

    Patrick Prescott:

    Yesterday I withdrew from these comments because of how very triggering I found them and because I needed a break from that for my own well-being. I hope that I can move forward a bit today in my response to your post.

    I can’t read your mind but I can read what you wrote.

    1) I repeat. People, male or female, cannot prevent themselves from being victims of sexual violence by being careful about who they associate with. It’s victim blaming. It’s the same as saying don’t go there or don’t wear that or you deserve whatever happens to you because you put yourself in a dangerous situation. Horseshit Patrick. That’s horseshit. I was a 15-year-old girl who dressed modestly because I didn’t know how to handle the reactions grown men had to my maturing body. I had a bad “Poodle perm,” a unibrow, and zits. I didn’t wear make up except for clear lipgloss and I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16. My situation is not exceptional. Here is what made me attractive to this man. He knew my family. He knew that there were serious problems in my home and that made me an easy target.

    2) “…the woman pointed out that men have control over everything in their lives, except sex. Men have to ask permission or pay for it; if they take it it’s rape.” She pointed this out? Was this the same as someone pointing out that the sunrises every morning and sets in the evening, and furthermore it rises in the east? This is an example of The thinking behind Male Privilege, among other unsavory things too numerous to address here. I question the idea that anybody, male or not, controls everything in their lives, but that’s a discussion for another day. Let’s grant for the sake of argument that men do have control of everything except sex. The idea that this is a bad thing or some kind of injustice being perpetrated to the harm of men, is truly frightening.

    3) and poor Driscoll found this out the hard way. Goodness how did he ever cope? (apparently by taking it out on his wife.) And to think, he could’ve been spared this suffering had his wife only chosen her company better when she was younger! Now that’s a heavy burden. If you get the impression that I’m angry, you are correct. I’m more disgusted than I am angry. Not triggered though, at least not today, but truly angry and rightly so. You speak of this man with sympathy but you have none for his wife except insofar as she failed under some perceived burden of keeping the right company. She is put forward as the cause of his disappointment and anger. The whole damaged goods thing is another way that abusers control their victims. (See above: victim blaming, psychological manipulation.) In fact it’s one of the forms of psychological manipulation that my abuser was able to use against me very effectively. As an innocent teen! I tried to protecting myself from a cunning adult criminal because I knew he was right. if people found out, I would be blamed. I never stood a chance. Turns out I was right too. That’s exactly what happened. I wasn’t imagining it.

    I can’t even imagine what to say about, “God conned me.” God with a capital “g” … How powerful and important does a man have to believe himself to be in order to make a statement like that?

    I’m not sharing the details of my life here to gain your sympathy. Not yours. Not anyone else’s. My goal is to educate and to destroy myths about abuse and sexual violation. I’m sharing it for the sake of transparency in these discussions.

    Your apology is unnecessary.

    Sarah H., yeah, Wow. I just…can’t…either. I’m sorry for the pain you feel. Thank you for having the courage to protect your children from all the things you mentioned.

  • Karen, I was in no way siding with anyone who thinks God conned him, perhaps the stupidest statement ever made by someone who is supposedly a “Man of God.”
    Until I read the part about a man not having control over his sex life it hadn’t occurred to me and I’m sure that’s the case of lots of men. It may be obvious to women.
    The point I’m trying to make has nothing to do with prevention of abuse.
    A man needs the woman’s consent and she decides yes or no. That is a burden, a responsibility, a judgement that is hers alone and rightfully so because it is her body.
    Do not enter without permission.
    I am not siding with anyone who would coerce or force a woman against her will.
    If I’ve read from many of the posts and comments on the blog this is the central idea of asserting a woman’s right to be free from abuse and why Samantha is posting her thoughts.

  • Karen Kalweit

    Patrick, thank you for your thoughtful response. I’d like to reply and maybe even ask you some questions and maybe explore some ideas.

    I can’t do that right now though. I agree with you about what Samantha is trying to do here and I think she does a wonderful job. I’ve been reading the blog for a long time but I haven’t commented much. Nowhere outside of my therapist’s office have I ever shared the things that I wrote about my life in these past few days and taking it in is overwhelming.

    When I say I’m overwhelmed I mean I need to process what I’ve shared with people and how that makes me feel because it’s really pretty scary, and also what the entire comment section here brings to my mind. I have to process this experience.

    This feeling is part of the drill. It’s part of recovering. I do not mean that anything you said has done me harm. I want to make that very clear.

  • Karen feel free to ask when you have the time. There are others here that may be of more help as well.

    • Karen Kalweit


  • Wow, the quotes from the book are horrendous. All I can say is thank God Driscoll is on the decline.

    • Crystal

      Yea! Same here! Shame on Driscoll for not treating people like human beings! He’s one of those nutters who thinks that since women are controlled by their hormones, they shouldn’t be allowed in the ministry, I have no doubt of that.

  • I wonder if I could play the devil’s advocate for a moment. I haven’t read Driscoll’s book, so I’m not speculating on anything more than this post. Based on what has been written here, it doesn’t seem fair to accuse Driscoll of labeling sexual abuse victims as sinners. The way I read it, the quote you cited from p. 18 could quite plausibly be talking about perpetrators of abuse, not victims.
    Feel free to correct me if I am missing something.

    • It’s not just page 18, though. It’s the entire chapter, and when Grace talks about her assault later in the book, it gets worse.

      Even if this is not what he meant in that one line, it’s what he means everywhere else he talks about it.

      • Crystal

        Oh dear!!!!

  • Thanks Samantha so much for reviewing this book and the other ones! I absolutely love your blog and we need more voices like you. Literally have spent years blaming myself for being sexually abused bc the guy was a good Christian man and so I believed it was my fault and I should have tried harder to get him off me! You story and many others has helped teach me how untrue that is and I am working hard in counseling to deal with the abuse and the lack of support I received from the church!

  • Peter Hockley

    Wow.. just wow.