What Christian Leaders Tell the Sexually Abused

What Christian Leaders Tell the Sexually Abused February 7, 2017
Gothard no victim
From Bill Gothard

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Redeeming Dinah

All images by Cindy Kunsman from Redeeming Dinah and used with permission. This is a summary of some of the teachings of prominent Christian leaders on sexual abuse that Cindy has used in her presentations on abuse. It is a compilation more than an article.


    • NEARLY COMPREHENSIVE DOCUMENTATION OF BILL GOTHARD’S MATERIAL CONCERNING SEX (AND DOMESTIC) ABUSE  There are no victims. The post reviews pertinent teachings and materials that discuss sex abuse, magical ways of warding it off, and victim blaming excuses for why it occurs. Some of this is predicated on Gothard’s doctrine that Christians have no personal rights but are wholly dependent on God’s magical intervention to protect them.
    • Gothard’s Power of Crying Out (book) 2001  The Biblical character, Dinah, would not have been raped if she had cried out and if she had remained at home and holy.
(Gothard and the IFB Teach the Same Things)

                                  (A Series of Posts)


               Link to specific segments on the ABC Website (full show in video above)

  • Ron Williams on Strange Women
    • A transcribed sermon of his beliefs that attractive women have poor character, and that any woman or child who is sexually assaulted has merited such because they have the soul of a prostitute. (the King James Version of the Bible transliterates “prostitute” as “strange woman”)
    • audio on archive
  • Samantha Field’s personal experience at Pensacola Christian College: required to repent for her own rape by a fellow student
  • Patrick Henry College in The New Republic Feb 2014
    • “God’s Harvard” (a college “theologically Baptistic” specifically founded with homeschooled students in mind) uses their infrastructure to suppress reporting of sexual assault while shaming and vilifying the abused.
  • John Piper’s advice and confusing “clarification” about statement when asked how women should respond to domestic violence
    • Original Video (2009)
      A wife should take a couple of beatings first and shouldn’t be sensitive to “verbal unkindness.” Seek pastoral counseling.

      • Critical Review at UnderMuchGrace March 2011
        • Piper’s obsession with sex, mentions “group sex” as comparison to domestic violence (???), and points out very different advice regarding abuse of a child at the hands of a parent
    • Piper’s Clarification Statement (several years later) Dec 2012
      • Piper appears to retract his statement several years after colleagues noticed all of the criticisms of his position. PLEASE take note that Piper makes a veiled threat that by reporting abuse to authorities, a wife and her children lose her meal ticket and their father because of the consequences the husband faces for committing violence.
    • NOTE: John Piper does not affiliate with the IFB, but he grew up across the street from BJU where his father built a Southern Baptist church. His father was close friends with both Bob Jones and John R. Rice, and he carried many of their beliefs over into the tenets of the Southern Baptist concept of patriarchy called “Complementarianism.” He is listed here with the IFB because of the significant influences that I believe shaped his belief system.
OTHER BAPTISTS (Includes general physical abuse)



moreRead more by Cindy Kunsman:

Distinguishing Doctrine From Behavior


Cindy is a member of the Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network.

Cynthia Mullen Kunsman is a nurse (BSN), naturopath (ND) and seminary graduate (MMin) with a wide variety of training and over 20 years of clinical experience. She has used her training in Complementary and Alternative Medicine as a lecturer and liaison to professional scientific and medical groups, in both academic and traditional clinical healthcare settings. She also completed additional studies in the field of thought reform, hypnotherapy for pain management, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that is often associated with cultic group involvement. Her nursing experience ranges from intensive care, the training of critical care nurses, hospice care, case management and quality management, though she currently limits her practice to forensic medical record review and evaluation. Most of her current professional efforts concern the study of manipulative and coercive evangelical Christian groups and the recovery process from both thought reform and PTSD.

She blogs at Under Much Grace and Redeeming Dinah.

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  • Mirlo

    Whether chapel or Sunday school, I don’t know, but we were taught that if confronted by a rapist with a gun/weapon, it was better to be murdered than to give up our virginity.

  • Sandpirate

    I had also heard that said by some people in my church and other churches I attended in my youth. That kind of thinking adds a whole new layer of the horror a girl would have to suffer through if a) they were raped and b) survived it. So much shame and guilt laid on consensual sex, and making them think they shouldn’t see themselves as a victim when is was not consensual is just too much. It was one of the big factors that led me away from Christianity.

  • Anonyme

    Ick. This is why I hate the glorification of the story of Maria Goretti (Catholic chick here). There was always the implication that Maria was somehow more “pure” from allowing* her attacker to kill her, vs. submit to rape. Never was has it been explicitly said that it’s better to die than be “impure”, but there was always an implication that Mari made a noble choice.

    *I realize “allowing” isn’t the most accurate word here, since Maria was a child being abused by an adult, but there doesn’t seem to be a more articulate word.

  • AFo

    When are these lunatics going to accept that rape is not about sex? And this idea that a woman who is being raped would have the presence of mind to “cry out” for God’s help is ludicrous as well – trauma does weird things to the brain and thought processes, so trying to Monday morning quarterback a woman’s rape is both insulting and idiotic.

  • Julia Childress

    Not to mention women who are unconscious, women who have a gun or other weapon in their face, women whose children are being threatened, or children who are too young or too sheltered to even know what’s going on.

  • SAO

    Rape used to be called ‘a fate worse than death’ as a euphemism.

  • Anonyme

    I think the implication from these toxic nutjobs is that if a rape victim doesn’t “cry out” (s)he wanted it or enjoyed it. *pulls out industrial size bottle of brain bleach*

  • Melody

    What’s also interesting is that this sentiment – slightly different as it was about honor suicide – was part of Roman culture and one of the early church fathers, Augustine, spoke out against that. He says things like the following about rape in the City of God: ” and know that you did not consent to the sins of those who were permitted to commit this sinful outrage against you.” and ” “[they] sinlessly suffered the violence of their captors.” They remain pure and chaste, despite the heinous offenses committed against them.”

    Isn’t it both positive – and also disgraceful and disheartening – that a 4th century church father is more feminist – not to mention much more empatic – on this particular issue than some nasty preacher nowadays? These kind of things makes me feel that some discussions and arguments are never-ending and will sadly always exist….

  • Julia Childress

    When Elizabeth Smart was finally freed from her captors, the Mormon Church declared her pure and innocent, and in no way responsible, despite the fact that she was raped daily for months. What kind of evil mind does it take to claim that a victim of rape is somehow guilty of sin?