Social Issues

Living in the Loopholes: Home Education and Abuse

As y’all know, I spent this past weekend in Raleigh, NC presenting at The Courage Conference with my friend and colleague Carmen Green. Preparing for that took a lot more out of me than I thought it would– we both wanted to emphasize story telling instead of getting deep into the weeds on the facts and legalities, so I spent the bulk of last week digging through the Homeschooling’s Invisible Children database looking for stories that illustrated each type of abuse we wanted to talk about. That took a toll, and then the conference was also emotionally draining. It was a good experience and I’m very glad I went, but the focus was on abuse and two days of that is just going to be hard.

I was looking forward to meeting Boz Tchividjian, who founded Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) and whose work I’ve talked a lot about. He was as incredible in person as I thought he’d be, and it was comforting to meet an older white man who actually gives a shit and is actively doing something to fight abuse in Christian culture. I also got to meet Linda Kay Klein, who is as impressive in person as she sounds on paper. She has a book on purity culture coming out next year (Man-Made Girls) and I’m now desperate to read it. The second I have a copy, I will be posting a review. Her talk on the modesty doctrine was funny and insightful and tender and beautiful, and I was definitely impressed with her.

You can still actually “attend” The Courage Conference if you’d like to– you can buy online tickets to see video recordings of the main speakers, and I think it’s worth the $20. Also, in coordination with The Courage Conference, I’ve made it possible for you to see the workshop Carmen and I did. If you make at least a $5 donation to my Patreon this month, I will contact you with a password to view the video after Patreon processes everyone’s transactions.

Also, here’s the PowerPoint presentation if you’d like to take a look at it.

Many thanks to everyone here who made presenting at this conference possible. Your readership and support over the years is why I continue doing this sort of work. The workshop we gave seemed to make a really big impact with the people who came– many said they’d learned a ton that they could instantly put to practical use to fight abuse. You made it possible for us to do that, so thank you.

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  • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

    I think about writing a book about living as a woman in evangelical culture, and then I start policing myself, because I don’t want to sound angry. Except that i am angry, and for very reasonable reasons. Men get away with stuff in the church they could never get away with in the rest of the culture, and the rest of the culture is toxic enough for women. I write notes on 3 x5 cards. I’ve started keeping them in a shoebox. Maybe something is shifting for women. Maybe I can write about what really happened.
    Anyway, i am venting. Are you still writing your book Samantha? Or is it on hold for seminary?

    • I’m planning on re-writing my thesis for my book — two birds with one heavy duty research stone.

  • Alice

    I appreciate your blog a lot because you helped me understand how churches and families are emotionally abusive. It was hard for me to figure out what was wrong because they seem so nice and “reasonable” on the surface. When I visited my hometown last year, I kept feeling like I was going to cry and it was hard to explain why. It is hard because there are many evangelicals who really do care about me but they hurt me a lot. It’s hard to talk to them because there is so much gas-lighting!!! They keep telling me, “That’s not what we taught you.” or “That is not what we meant.”

    I really appreciate your series on Redeeming Love. When I was a teenager, a woman told me to read Christian romance novels because I was “addicted” to fan fiction. But I understand now that I enjoyed the fan fiction so much because I was extremely isolated and lonely, and it taught me a lot about healthy relationships. Obviously, not all fan fiction is good and healthy, but I mostly read the ones that were good for me.

  • Dave W.

    Hi, Samantha. I sent you a couple of emails about trying to support you via Patreon to view the workshop. I don’t think the November payment went through, though – I’ll leave it in place for December.

  • Ysolde

    I read three articles from that database and had to stop. It was just too painful, how you managed to get through more than that I don;t know, but more power to you and everyone at this conference.

  • Ysolde

    So this is probably entirely off topic and yet at the same time somewhat in tune with it. Again and again we see people of the Evangelical faith protecting and defending Roy Moore. I’ve seen other opinions on it ( but I just wondered if you had any thoughts or ideas as to whhy this is so acceptable?

    Heck there are even people who have said the are more likely to vote for him now? What sort of sickness is it that people will look at an accused pedophile and say they are more likely to vote for them? Is this all part of the eveangelical faith?

    • I’ve been interviewed about this a few times, like here:

      The CBC interviewed me, too, although I haven’t seen the article go live yet.

      They’re not looking at an accused pedophile– they’re looking at a man who’s always been a champion to them because of how he’s “persecuted” for his faith.” To them, this is just another example of Satan coming after him for doing what’s right.

      • Ysolde