I serve on a local coalition called Drug Free Jackson. About a month ago they asked for help running an online conference via Zoom called the Advancing Behavioral Health Summit. I agreed to help out and I’m so glad I did as I was asked be the zoom host for Danielle Crosby’s meeting, “Survivor Strong.”
What a horrifyingly important hour of my life that was. Danielle is a social worker and author based out of Hillsdale who has helped work with those in abuse. Her passion for this has come from her own abuse story, which was painful for her to relive (as she cried her way through telling it) and painful to hear about (as I cried my way through hearing it). The physical, sexual and emotional abuse done to her; the fear, manipulation, and deception tactics used on her; it’s hard to even restate them here—it makes me sick to even think about it.
This morning as I walked around Jackson, I paused to look at the James Francis Mentik Memorial at Cascades Park, which was erected on behalf of those who have been murdered in Jackson County. Among the faces there were three children, aged 7, 9 and 11, whose story comes out of Texas (but they have direct relatives here in Jackson). Tears came to my eyes as I read their story. Their father/stepfather shot and killed the three of them, and wounded a fourth child, aged 2, before killing himself. The articles online about the man have long-term abuse written all over them.
Abuse is disturbing, real, and often complicated as abusers are experts at what they do. If you are in an abusive relationship yourself, seek help as there are many who can serve you. Here in Jackson, a good place to start is with the Aware Shelter.
I pray that we can continue to have our eyes open to abuse and have the wisdom to know how to speak into the situations as we see them. No one should have to go through this kind of Hell, and we as Christians—whose job is to bring Heaven to earth—should be helping to dismantle any of this kind of Hell when we come across it.