Courage Conference 2016

Over this weekend I was blessed to be able to “attend” the Courage Conference online via web streaming. I went a little crazy on Twitter as I watched, so I’ve condensed my musings into a post for those of you who are not on Twitter.

I’m super excited to be watching the Courage Conference online this weekend. Will be live tweeting it here!

I’m just about to start watching !!!

First speaker is Rachel Williams-Jordan,Victim Advocate at the Sexual Assault Response Program in Lynchburg

Visit for more information about Rachel’s work. It’s fixing to start any minute now.
Just started!

“We firmly believe that victims should be in full control of their own story”

“Sometimes abusers are in charge of the finances and their victims are financially unable to go home’

“Consent cannot be assumed.”

“Sexual assault is an act of violence.”

“While women have a lot of trouble coming forward men have even more trouble” (about sexual assault)

“[most assaults] are performed by an intimate partner, an acquaintance or a family member.”

“What can the church be doing? There are just as many victims in the church than in the world.”

“Child predators purposely target schools and churches … there’s easy access to kids.”

Churches – get in touch with local agencies to address sexual abuse and assault. Protect those in your congregation

“Churches can help parents [address sexual matters] with their children [to prevent abuse]”

“The more education children have about their bodies, about sex, the longer they wait to have sex”

That runs entirely counter-intuitive to what we were always taught in the conservative church.

“Abusers in the church are often very charming, very well liked, and often in leadership”

“Abusers can look like anybody. Victims can look like anybody. There is no perfect victim”

“Churches, do background checks on your nursery workers.”

“Churches can empathize with victims … STOP VICTIM BLAMING! … that doesn’t help”

“Sympathy can sound a lot like victim blaming. Empathize instead.”

RT @BozT: “We don’t have the right to minimize and sanitize someone else’s trauma.”

“Respect victims that do tell their story”

“Thank a victim for telling their story. that means they trust you.”

“A victim’s healing can jumpstart when they are believed. Take allegations seriously.”

RT @jorymicah: “What can the Church do for victims of abuse?” First and foremost, learn to empathize.

“If we can make the church a safe space…” I weep that that’s a conditional, not a declarative. 😦

“Give victims space. Give victims time. To tell THEIR story on THEIR terms.”

Next up is Monica Daye from @SUSONC

Hitting the ground running! “I’m not here to entertain you. I’m here to speak for victims.” @SUSONC

“She’s looking through black eyes and she can’t see her way out of this” @SUSONC

“There is a strong impact when children have been exposed to abuse in the home”

“Just a couple floors down they were praising God, preaching etc, while my innocence was being robbed from me”

RT @ashleymeaster: Monica Daye, founder of Stand Up Speak Out.

“At 11, i didn’t want to talk about it. I just wanted to forget it happened and get back to my childhood”

“But when you’ve been sexually assaulted as a child, your childhood is gone. You won’t get it back”

“When you haven’t gotten the help that you need, you start to reach out in the oddest ways”

“‘At 13, what were your parents doing?’ They were trying to get me home, but I was running away.”

“If I can’t leave for myself, I had to leave for my daughter”

“Once I shared, people came forward and told me ‘that is my story too!'”

“Every time I told my story, I was healing a piece of me. I was releasing a piece of me”

RT @ashleymeaster: “Every time I would share my story, I was healing a piece of me.” Monica Daye, founder of SUSO.

Phase 1 is suppression. A victim wants it all to go away, isolates themselves. don’t want to deal with it.

Phase II is acting out or using aggressive behaviors. Whether at home or at school. Whether physical or sexual

Phase III is flashbacks and dreams. It could be several years after the abuse.

RT @jorymicah: “Every time I spoke out and shared my story, I was healing a piece of me.” @SUSONC #EndAbuse #StandUpSpeakOut

Phase IV is mental illness, the most common form is depression or PTSD.

Phase V is reliving the abuse in the midst of healthy relationship. There will be trust issues.

“Triggers can come even in the middle of healthy relationships, and you won’t ever see them coming”

“When you’ve been sexually abused, you can experience triggers even in healthy sexual relationships”

“Even though you love someone you know would never hurt you, there is still that trust issue [and PTSD]”

“Your job is not to judge a victim, but to believe them when they tell their story. Don’t judge.”

“It takes a lot of courage to come to someone finally and say ‘I was sexually assaulted’.”

“The words that come out of your mouth when a victim tells their story can heal or send back to oppression”

“If you are not mindful how you respond, you can chase victims away from your church and send them back to darkness”

“The best thing you can do as a church for victims is have resources available or at least know what to suggest”

“Mental health providers know what to look for and can ask the tough questions”

“A lot of times when you’re in an abusive relationship, they’ve taken your control. They’ve taken your freedom.”

“Men who are abused are often not physically abused, but verbal.”

“EMBRACE VICTIMS WITH LOVE! They have lost power. They have lost love. They have lost the ability to trust.”
Watching @NatalieGfield now!

“Our relationship was founded on the basis that nobody could understand what we had together”

“I knew nobody would want me after everything that had happened, and that thought terrified me”

“The thought of telling somebody was much more frightening than just dealing with what was going on”

“The last person you’d expect to rape your daughter is the guy who’d been vetted for seminary”

“After I told my mom, she first hid the guns, and then she told my Dad”

“He ‘repented’ and without merit, was trusted. My Pastor downplayed his behavior. People wrote character letters.”

@NatalieGfield’s story is infuriating me. I am enraged. I am sorrowful.

“My abuser was dealt mercy by a judge who had very little understanding of child sexual abuse”

“I was faced with the new challenge of processing what happened and healing. It’s been messy, sad, beautiful and full”

“It wasn’t until I left the church that I found a man who was Christlike and who treated me with respect”

I’ve seen so much courage already tonight. These brave, brave women at WOW

“What victims and survivors need are tools to help them deal with what they’ve experienced”

RT @ashleymeaster: It wasn’t until I left the church that I found a man who was actually Christlike. @NatalieGfield

I’m going to have to call it a night, everyone! I hope to start back up at 8:30 EST tomorrow morning!

Listening to Thomas Edward talk about make sexual abuse

“I feel like I have this big mark on my forehead that says I have been abused”

“If you tell anybody, I’ll kill you” “Boys are supposed to like this” #malesexualabuse

“Up through my teens I never had a smile on my face”

“A lot of the trouble for male survivors is that we don’t have the vocabulary to explain what’s going on inside me

“The only emotion we’re allowed is anger”

“We’ve been told our whole lives we’re supposed to be strong. We’re supposed to be the dominator.”

“Male survivors don’t understand why they’re emotionally tied to their abuser”

“I thought you were my care giver and I trusted you. Now I can’t connect with anybody”

“If you could reclaim your life, what would it look like?”

RT @ashleymeaster: Thomas “T-bone” Edward at

“As soon as I walk into a room I feel inferior. I have a mark”

“If you don’t focus on working on sexual abuse issues, they will focus on willing on you”

“If I work all the time I don’t have to think about it”

“Discount and deny the abuse and you will only prolong recovery”

RT @BozT: “If you don’t focus working on the sexual abuse issues, they will focus on you.” @Healbrokenmen

“To gain control, you must let yourself feel out of control”

“We cling to control because that’s what was taken from us through sexual abuse”

“To control my world I tended to deny my story”

“Black and white thinking and routine are ways to maintain control”

“If you try to recover alone, you will wind up alone.”

“Just because it’s help doesn’t mean it’s the right help for you.”

“Find someone who can horod a space of non-judgement for you”

“High functioning surviving is NOT functional thriving.”

“There’s two sides to the cross. There’s the sin side, and there’s the victim side.”

“The children of Israel were so focused on the destination they didn’t learn the lessons”

Now it’s time for @jorymicah. Been looking forward to this one 🙂

RT @NatalieGfield: @jorymicah talks about safe theology. #StrongWoman

RT @SUSONC: @jorymicah is up now discussing How Theology Can Lead to Abuse.

It amazes me how tenacious women in ministry are. They deal with way too much crap in their journey.

Shout out to @ashleymeaster! has been a huge success. Blessing after blessing already. Such great speakers!

RT @ashleymeaster: @jorymicah speaking on gender equality at

“Women felt that was the only place in the kingdom for them. Children ministry out make coffee. Some chose coffee.”

“I thought I was fighting for equality only four women in ministry. I discovered this is a deeper issue”

RT @ashleymeaster: So many women in extreme patriarchal communities have been abused. @jorymicah

“Our power and authority is in the Spirit, not our gender”

The book @jorymicah is reading now: Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife –

“His rule was absolute and final.” And we wonder why abuse is so rife.

This quote from John Piper is just disgusting. What a repulsive belief system.

“If you’re one of the guys on top, you’re ok.”

“Husbands are not pardoned from mutual submission” amen! @jorymicah
A head submits to its body. What a concept! @jorymicah

“A head must listen to its body just as the body listens to the head. Otherwise they both will break down”

“We hear the word helper, and we immediately think of an assistant or sidekick”

My post on the subject of “Ezer” helping: What is a “Helpmeet”? – Christian Feminist Daddy –

RT @ashleymeaster: Egalitarians believe Jesus changed everything for women. He reversed the curse. @jorymicah

“The church is not submitting/listening to women, and the body is breaking down”

“Our task is not to change the scriptures but to change our emphasis. We are commanded to submit to EACH OTHER”

RT @HeatherTuba: “I needed to rise up. I needed to be a leader” @jorymicah I became my husband’s voice b/c his taken by #sexualabuse

RT @HeatherTuba: @jorymicah “We have hyper-focused on female submission That is sin nature Much of church continues to oppress women”

RT @HeatherTuba: @jorymicah “We are meant to submit to one another.” I put you first.

Next on the docket is @BozT! I’m really looking forward to this talk!!!

Thanks to all the pastors attending That’s leadership.

The story of the Good Samaritan is an excellent illustration of our interaction with sexual abuse survivors

“Victims are hoping someone will help, and are instead told to trust and obey the adults who victimized them”

“Tragically the [road to Jericho] exists inside our churches” @BozT

“I keep thinking that the purpose of the church was to reflect hope, joy, peace life, to reflect Jesus”

“Instead no reflection of Jesus can be found [by victims]”

“Too many people in the church are defending the unborn, then walking away from the born”

“Abusers are often well known and respected in their communities”

“Abusers are intentional in spite of boundaries”

“Often times in churches we give abusers what they want. We’re not intentional and they are”

“Abusers are given access to their victims by others”

RT @HeatherTuba: @netgrace_org “Churches are deceived & manipulated by offenders”

“Abusers treat their victims like disposable objects. … How often do we do the same as Christian leaders?”

“What has impacted me more than anything was the failed response from church leadership”

“We minimize abuse in the church by excusing it or redefining it”

“Churches marginalize victims while uplifting abusers”

He’s one of my heroes too!

RT @HeatherTuba: “We often minimize abuse by redefining it or we dismiss it”

“Any time we talk about sexual abuse, replace it with murder and suddenly we take it seriously”

RT @HeatherTuba: “It’s a crime.”

“David mourns the death of Amnon, but never the victimization of Tamar.” That should piss us off but we do the same.

“Let the little children…” “giant millstone” “Jesus was the greatest child advocate in human history.”

RT @ashleymeaster: Jesus was one of the greatest child advocates of all time. @BozT,

“Vulnerable people always received emphasis from Jesus”

RT @HeatherTuba: “Jesus identifies with children” Jesus is God Jesus is a child advocate

“Jesus had 3 yrs of ministry. Where did he spend most time? Not with religious leaders, but with the marginalized.”

RT @ashleymeaster: Jesus in the gospels is always, always, always on the side of the vulnerable. @BozT

RT @HeatherTuba: “It’s not just about words with Jesus. Jesus is always on the side of vulnerable”

“Jesus was the descendent of two victimized women and almost the victim of infanticide. He related to the vulnerable”

“Jesus gets it. Why doesn’t the church?”
How can we make the church safe for survivors and unsafe for abusers?

“How do we respond when the wounded have been kicked to the side of the road by the church?”

My hero @BozT is laying it down at this morning. Preach, my friend!

“Jesus was not silent when confronting evil”

“Jesus didn’t remain silent, and the consequences were death.”

“God promises judgement on those who [ignore] the oppressed, even if that means kidding His own people”

“Churches step over victims because they have ‘church things’ to do”


“Where was this Jesus of yours when I was being raped by my father every night? In the corner watching?”

“Reconciling with an abuser is a bad idea”

RT @SUSONC: We need to remember words matter.@BozT

RT @HeatherTuba: @BozT church leader told my husband to reconcile with abusive father. Used guilt. Bad counsel

RT @HeatherTuba: @BozT So grateful for your talk. Giving voice for so many of us around the world

“[Churches need to] grieve over failures”

RT @ashleymeaster: It frees churches to acknowledge their own failures. @BozT

I’m so grateful that my wife is watching the girls while I watch She is my biggest hero and I’m her biggest fan.

RT @HeatherTuba: @BozT “When you notice the wounded, you are a flash of light”

“I still have great hope that one day light will overcome darkness”

RT @SUSONC: The visionary @ashleymeaster of is up now speaking sharing her story.

RT @NatalieGfield: Listening to Thomas Edward @Healbrokenmen talk about male sexual abuse. Powerful and needed.

Getting ready to hear @ashleymeaster!

“It wasn’t until I got married and had sexual experiences that I realized [What had happened to me]” @ashleymeaster

“A common response when I came it was ‘I’ve experienced this too'”

RT @NatalieGfield: The amazing woman behind @ashleymeaster shares some of her own story. ❤️#RealLifeHero

“People see this finished story, a brave women, but you don’t see the days [Where I break down]”

“Abuse of the vulnerable has always been with us. We are only beginning to see the stories that have always been here”

RT @HeatherTuba: “Your abuse does not limit you. It does not limit how God can use you” @ashleymeaster

“For the first time in history we have the opportunity to see this in real time, in real emotion.”

As a borderline Gen Xer, I am so proud of this next generation of justice seekers

RT @SUSONC: Change is coming! Yesss @ashleymeaster

Applause for the justice generation!!! @ashleymeaster

“We are the justice generation, and we will stand up with COURAGE!!!” @ashleymeaster

RT @HeatherTuba: @ashleymeaster “We are the justice generation” We r all a part of it. Love it!

“Sometimes justice is merely telling your story” @healbrokenmen

Thus concludes my live tweeting of Please everyone consider purchasing tickets to view these sessions yourself!
Contact @ashleymeaster for more info


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