A Response to the Offended

This past week, I wrote and posted a story I thought was about forgiveness and redemption. The story told the tale of a fictional good girl who gave in to the pressures of a boy and because the resulting guilt was too much for her to handle, she became a person she wasn’t proud of.
Through telling of this tale, it was my intention to show that no matter what you’ve done or how far you feel you’ve fallen, God is there to offer His forgiveness; all you have to do is ask. The act of consent to that boy’s abuse was simply a catalyst for the person the good girl became.
And yet, as I read through the comments of the post, I found that the responses were split; some readers enjoyed a story of redemption and forgiveness because they themselves had been where that good girl had been, while others decided to focus their energy on the part of the story where the boy pressures the girl into giving up her purity. This angered them and boy, did they let me know it.

Throughout the afternoon on Friday, I read comments and tweets accusing me of placing the blame on victims of abuse, supporting men who pressure women into sex, and even believing in the abuse of women as a whole.
At first, I wanted to fight (literally) every person (mostly females) who would accuse me of such despicable beliefs. I began to argue that my story (or the story I had written) wasn’t about the abuse, but about the grace and redemption available to us. But these passionate few wouldn’t hear it. They chose to focus their anger and resentment on the part of the story they most closely related with; the part of the story where a boy gets what he wants from a girl by abusing her emotionally and mentally. And you know what? I get what they were trying to say. I understand now (Just to be clear, I don’t expect this post to change anyone’s opinion of me. That is a lost cause).

But I won’t apologize for what I wrote in that piece. I believe that each of us needs to be reminded that God forgives and redeems us regardless of the sins we commit. No, I’m not suggestion that giving in to abuse of any sort is a sin; I’m suggesting that when we’ve sinned, we are able to be forgiven should we simply ask. If you can’t see the goodness in a story like that, then it’s possible that your focus is only slightly off-center.

Lastly, I want to make sure that it’s understood that I, in no way, support the type of men who would abuse a woman to get what he wants out of her. Those types of males aren’t men at all, but cowards who prey on women for their own benefit. That both angers and upsets me.

Ladies, if you’ve previously given in to the abuse (of any kind) of a man, please know that you are not at fault in any way. You are worth more than some pathetic excuse for a man would allow you to believe. Your relenting doesn’t make you a horrible person or even a sinner; it only (hopefully) makes you wiser and more courageous.

Thank you for allowing me to speak my mind.

Follow me on Twitter here. Thank you for reading.


About these ads
78 comments
  1. liza said:

    Not once did it cross my mind that the story had ANYTHING to do with abuse. The story was in black and white, a girl had sex before she was ready and she felt far from God because of her decision. I got exactly what you were saying about the story. Though I understand their standpoint, we also have to realize that though in this FICTIONAL story you never once made a comment condoning his activity…I don’t know why they would ASSUME you agreed with abuse. Writing about it doesn’t mean you agree with it. Their attacks were very rude and uncalled for. Maybe if they took the story for what it was they would understand the moral of the story.

  2. Cynthia said:

    Dear Cory,

    For the past few weeks, I have read many of your posts and have enjoyed reading them, and getting to know you as you express yourself through your writing. This said, the previous post about the young woman resonated with me because it was a story I know all to well. I’m only 18 and I know this girl to be me. A girl I wasn’t proud to be. It didn’t seem to me that you were blaming the girl to be at fault. But I think that’s because I know where you stand (sort of) in your faith and what your beliefs are from reading all you’ve written. I admire you for posting up a story that has offended many, though, I wish they saw in light what you intended for it to portray. I just want to applaude you, I guess, for being humble enough to not speak badly to those who’ve said what they’ve said about the story in a mean way. It was admirable. You are an excellent writer and I know God has blessed you with a talent of knowing how to put words together beautifully. God bless :)

  3. well I read exactly what you wanted us to read, I did read the comments and I was like: whoa! some people need to read carefully before judging. I mean, english isnt my first language and even I got what you wanted to say!

  4. Sara said:

    Well said, Cory.
    I enjoyed your story a lot. I shared something similar a while ago but it was not fictional. In response, I received loads of support and even developed some friendships out of it. It was overwhelming how kind everyone was to me. I’m not trying to rattle any cages but I honestly don’t think it’s fair that I was praised for it and you were ripped to pieces even though we were both making the same point from slightly different angles.
    I can’t help but wonder why. I have plenty of assumptions and fallacies built up in my mind about it. Mostly that perhaps some people didn’t feel you had a right to explore that particular pain. I get that, abuse is serious (especially when it’s sexual) and it leaves a horrible wound but your example was not offensive.
    I know you’ve had your own share of battles. Pain is pain just as sin is sin and redemption is redemption no matter what happened. I feel your story was full of compassion. It felt like I was reading something from someone that had been through it. It was beautiful and tastefully written. So why should compassion for broken hearts only be reserved for those that were hurt in the exact same way?
    I guess I’m starting to ramble and the real reason for the offence taken doesn’t matter now (since it’s obvious you didn’t mean for it to offend.) By all means, speak your mind. People will draw what conclusions they want from it anyway.
    Thank you for sharing a story of redemption and the Love of God.

  5. Lauren said:

    Nice comeback; coming from someone who treats women as disposable (by the information you’ve shared about your personal life). You can say whatever words you want, but your actions speak volumes.

    • I can’t help but wonder at how much energy you placed in this comment. Have you nothing better to do with your life? Here goes to you and all that write after you. Stop reading if you don’t agree or believe the author is a shmuck! Badabingbadaboom. Life’s too short to go around finding reasons to pick Internet fights. Stop reading and all will be well with your soul.

      • Sarah Faith, you are way out of line. I’m calling you out on this. Your post is childish, puerile, and completely lacking in a Christlike spirit. And your name is Faith. How sad.

        It takes an incredible amount of energy for someone who has experienced abuse to write or talk about it. Ever. It also takes an incredible amount of courage. Sometimes it’s not done in the right way. But there’s no excuse for your words, no excuse for throwing the bitter card at people whose circumstances you can’t begin to understand.

        “Here goes to you and all that write after you.” How Christlike. How about, “I’ll pray for you and understand what you write after.”

        “Stop reading if you don’t agree…stop reading and all will be well with your souls.” How Christlike. You clearly show that you care nothing for those souls who you accuse of “picking Internet fights”. YOU could have stopped reading. YOU could have walked away.

        You showed what’s in your heart, Sarah Faith. And it’s not pretty. If you don’t like what I said here, tough. Write me a personal email, and I’ll give you my phone number. Go ahead. Although I doubt you have the courage. Bullies have big words but little courage.

  6. Karolyn said:

    Don’t apologize for expressing your opinions and letting god inspire them. Your thoughts are encouraging and brilliant. And the fact that you glorify god through your words make you very admirable. So many people need to know that god cares about them.

  7. Morgan said:

    I read the story and was neutral. I didn’t do any heavy duty analyzing or rereading, but what left a bitter taste in my mouth was that the story kind of skipped from good virgin, to a pitful non-virgin who had her whole life spiral down hill simply because of sex. It seemed a bit melodramatic, but reading this post clarifies for me that it wasn’t necessarily sex that ruined her life but rather than giving in to his desires was the beginning of her loss of self and caused her to give in in other areas of her life as well.

    Still a fan of yours, I just didn’t care for this story because it was a bit unclear in that aspect.

  8. L said:

    Since I know you value your readers’ opinions, I would just like to say something here… when did you decide that TMFS would become a place where you could put your opinions on love and link constantly to your blog? It really seems obnoxious to me that you would, at the start, create a place where love letters to future spouses could be shared, and then convert it into your own bachelor’s blog. Sure you say some nice things, but isn’t it self-centered?

    • Lexie said:

      I wish he would just post his blogs on his own tumblr, because I go on to TMFS to read certain kinds of posts and I go to Cory’s blog to read other kinds of posts, his links are like an advertisement I can never avoid on TMFS.

  9. devdas said:

    FYI, I’m a guy who interpreted the story as being about rape/ abuse, even if you hadn’t intended it to be taken that way. Other women here will do a better job than I can explaining why this is so, but I’ll just leave it at the fact that you could have written a story about a young couple who mutually gave in to temptation and had little or no pushback, and instead you wrote about a “good girl” dating an abusive guy who physically and emotionally pressured her into doing something she clearly did not want to do.

    Ultimately I’d like to address two other issues with the story that fell by the wayside. First is that the theology behind it is misguided. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the Good Girl represents just one woman’s story. The fact is that, Biblically speaking, it is false to say that the Good Girl was a shining “angel;” she was just as much of sinner before she had sex as she was afterwards. The fact that it is SEX – even coerced sex – that makes her cease to be an angel implies an immature understanding of women. It’s the same kind of thinking that caused the Aztecs to seek out only virgins for ritual sacrifice: somehow, the story seems to say, women lose something beyond just their virginity when they have sex for the first time -they also lose their angelic goodness.

    Second, the Good Girl goes through her descent directly because she has been raised in a culture where losing one’s purity is an unforgivable sin. If she had been raised in a more forgiving culture where virginity was not held up as the greatest gift God gives to women, then all of the decadence that follows would not have happened. As I see it, she rejects her faith because any sin she commits beyond that first moment of getting raped pales in comparison. She lost her virginity to someone who was not her husband, and her church could care less how it happened. What matters more to her church is that it did happen.

    • THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS.

      This says most of what I want to say. I’ll comment further down, but this comment from devdas already captures many of my points.

    • Caris Adel said:

      This is perfect.

    • lynnred said:

      So perfect. This is exactly how I felt!

    • Sarah Moon said:

      woot, good sir.

    • jazzyflavors said:

      ^ this.

    • pyonpyon said:

      Exactly, 100% how I felt! This, I think, is the reason why the original post struck such a nerve.

  10. Lynn said:

    I am so upset that you even had to write this post. Anyone who has read your blog before knows that you believe that women deserve to be treated well, not treated like dirt or property or something of no worth. You’ve taken a lot of grief recently, and I hope and pray that you don’t let it get to you [which I know is easier said than done]. Your honesty is refreshing, and some people just can’t handle the truth [insert Tom Cruise meme here]. Just know that you have a fan for life right here, and I look forward to reading your future posts!

  11. cory, i’d let it go. sadly, many of the women who came at you have probably been victims and it has caused them to filter everything through that. they won’t be able to see anything other than what reflects through their own pain. i have real sympathy for them.

    for those that are just bitter and argumentative nags, not so much.

    i’ve read enough of what you write to know the accusations aren’t true and i think my reputation is such that i would be the first to call you out if it were true.

    do what you do.

    • Bradley Rose said:

      Hello,

      I am a man, and I haven’t been the victim of abuse. I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that the story painted by Cory contributes towards a negative phenomenon.

      However, let me clear something up: I am not saying Cory has bad intentions. He most likely has good intentions. And I’m not saying that he supports rape or abuse. He was trying to get the point across that God forgives, which He does. But Cory should have told a different story.

      While he may have accidentally did so, Cory created a terrible narrative for women to model themselves after. There is no consent anywhere in this story since the boy abused the girl. So, there are no sins committed by the girl to forgive. Anyone who has consented to sex should not identify with this story. Those who have been abused or raped should identify with this. However, the moral of the story actually belongs to a different story that actually does have consent.

      And I realize that there is also the purity value that is going on here that contributes toward this mess as some people don’t agree with how purity is valued and conceptualized with those that are in the same boat as Cory. So, I’m not going to touch this aspect, because that would be tangential to my point.

      Lastly, I write this not to pick fights or bicker. Even though it can feel frustrating for all parties involved. What I’m doing is trying to do people some good. Pointing out something that actually does harm with its good intentions.

      Thanks, guys. :)

      • Kristin said:

        “Anyone who has consented to sex should not identify with this story.”

        Exactly.

    • Sarah Moon said:

      Wow. I’m really hurt by this comment because I’ve always respected you and your blog. Bitter and argumentative nags? Worthy of sympathy, but not capable of reasonable opinions?

      Your response to this is seriously dehumanizing. I am a survivor of abuse, but that does not make me incapable of logical, objective analysis. It does not make my options any less valid. It does not mean that I am unable to see anything other than what reflects my own pain. I am not a helpless, hopeless victim but an intelligent, educated, analytical, and logical thinker who, because of my experiences has an insight as to the harm that the story Cory told can cause.

      And those who become allies for the abused are ANYTHING but bitter nags. I’m thankful for them, and after reading the responses to this article, that gratitude only grows, because I’m starting to realize that the people who will stand up for abuse survivors without dehumanizing them are rare.

      Wow. Just. Wow. Seriously shocked right now.

      • sarah, i posted my response below. since you’ve read my blog, i hope you understand that this statement wasn’t as insensitive as it appears. and it does appear that way, no doubt. not my best work.

    • sharideth, this is an extraordinarily ungracious response. cory had good intentions, and i absolutely give him that. i see his desire to tell a story of redemption and believe he meant well–even if the narrative perpetuated damaging ideas (common within the Church–this is not isolated) about gender [women are angels/damaged goods], sexual consent, purity theology, and abuse.

      the story was problematic. we disagree about that, but this conversation is important. yet you diminish and disparage not only the conversation but the people with whom you disagree.

      women who’ve been abused should not be listened to? their experience negates their opinion, really? or maybe, we should listen a little more closely to voices that have been marginalized and hurt.

      we who thought the story perpetuated destructive stereotypes and glossed over abuse are not bitter, argumentative nags. you are entitled to a different opinion about cory’s story [and this criticism is about the *story*, not the person], but you are the one hurling accusations.

      • hope nobody minds if i respond to everyone in one post.

        there were those who responded to what cory wrote with passionate reasons why they didn’t like how he said what he said. they were gracious and thoughtful, but clearly disagreed. good for them. open dialogue is what blog posts are for.

        my issue was with those who went directly for the jugular and did an unwarranted hatchet job on his character and them only.

        i am the first to admit wisdom comes from pain and those can be lessons the rest of us can never fully grasp. hearing from victims is critical to moving forward with any subject abuse touches.

        i will apologize if my comment hurt anyone, but it was really only intended for cory to encourage him to look past those who’s first response was to rage at him without any desire for grace or understanding. i see that as a one of the greatest forms hypocrisy in this situation, but it was by no means intended to be a blanket assessment of everyone who disagreed with him.

      • Who raged at him and did a hatchet job, Sharideth? I spent hours on each comment I left, carefully making sure I was stating my reasons for disagreeing carefully. Everyone else I know who commented did similarly. I’m going to need to see some proof of us “going for the jugular.”

      • like cory said in this response post, there were people accusing him of all sorts of things. promoting the culture of blaming the victim was very popular. one commenter even calls him “Herr Cory” in her response; which is left-handed way of comparing him to Hitler. if that was not her intent, it was a seriously misplaced moniker taken in context with the rest of her post. toward the top of the comments in this thread he’s accuse of seeing women as disposable. the vast majority of people were simply debating without disparaging cory. good, that’s how it should be done.

        there was some serious insensitivity towards those who had been abused in the comments, too. it would have smarter of me lead with that, yeah?

        what’s funny (or not funny) is that i even agree with a lot of the dissenting conversation. clearly my comment made people think the opposite. the issue of sex in the church has been seriously bent from all sides for far too long. the emotional response to cory’s original post was more than understandable.

      • Sarah Moon said:

        And calling people “nags” =/= grace or understanding…

        For us survivors, sympathy =/= grace or understanding either. We want you all to listen, not

      • Sarah Moon said:

        …paternalize toward us.

      • I’m the one who said “Herr Cory.” It wasn’t a Hitler reference. “Mister Cory” sounded weird, and since German is my second language, I replaced it with “Herr.” I almost put “senor” but I couldn’t figure out how to do the tilde above the “O.”

        Seriously, if I wanted it to be a Nazi reference, I would have said Fuhrer. German =/= Nazi reference. Literally, I used it and thought nothing of it other than that it was slightly snarky.

        And I don’t see how calling me an “argumentative nag” is at all different from the “hatchet job” you claim I did.

      • no, “nag” wasn’t gracious. and it was really only intended for one person. again, what i said was not directed at you and i have admitted it wasn’t well played on my part. i’m sorry you took it personally. also, sympathy doesn’t mean there is no grace or understanding. it should all be a part of the same package. if that hasn’t been your experience, you have been failed in a big way and i’m sorry for that.

  12. Ashley said:

    Being a girl who has gone through a situation like this, it is so comforting to have this reminder that I am forgiven. No, it was not rape…it was not abuse…it was a mutual decision that would effect the rest of my life. Every girl wants that princess/fairy-tale story where their prince sweeps them off their feet.

    Last year I fell into a pit when my father cheated on my mother. My father was everything I wanted in my future Christ-like husband…until then. I then fell for a guy that was nothing like my dad. He was the typical bad boy, he “swept me off my feet.” I searched to him for love…and with that…sex. I was soon able to forgive my father, but once I broke up with my boyfriend…I could not forgive myself. I had given the one thing that was so sacred away. How could my future husband forgive me for my mistakes when I expect him to be pure when I marry him? I could forgive my father, I could forgive my boyfriend, I could somewhat accept that God forgave me…but I really could not forgive myself. Christ swept me off my feet. He told me I was worth something. He had shown me love that no other person could give me…unconditional love.

    I have grown so much from this experience. There are somedays when I find it hard to forgive myself, but Christ reminds me to daily pick up my cross and follow Him…even when I do not feel worthy.

    Girls out there who have also fallen into this pit, you still have that opportunity to have that fairy-tale. The key is to fall in love with Christ first. He loves you and forgives you! Do not get down from your past mistakes. You are a new creation!

    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!” -2 Corinthians 5:17

    • Amanda said:
  13. As I have stated to you before, I found the article to be very compassionate and would like other young women to read it so they can know that whatever you do, God will forgive you. Not once did I think of abuse. I fact, I can’t even relate to the story from the point of view of “boy seduces girl to make her have sex”. Any sexual encounter I’ve had was consensual. What I read was a story of a person being faced with temptation. A person, whether boy or girl, who was faced with a looming temptation, whether sex, drugs, alcohol, etc, and gave in. A person who realized their wrong, from THEIR own perspective, not the fault of the persuader. And most importantly, I read the last part about redemption and forgiveness.
    When I read it, I see me a person who was optimistic, so optimistic that one guy I dated actually said that when he first met me, he didn’t like me because I was so happy all the time, who began to see the world as the enemy persuaded me to see it; believing that I was a failure and no one loved me and the only way to end this pain was to end my life. For me, when I read the blog, the boy represented me believing the enemy instead of God, who loves me unconditionally and has a great plan for me. I didn’t depend on God for my provisions, joy, or whatever. I didn’t trust God. I hated myself for not being as successful as I the next person, for being single, for not being as strong as used to be, etc. The thoughts that were plaguing my mind were so extreme, I would have to pull over if I was driving to cry or just scream!!! So, when I gave into the enemy and I was ashamed. And I couldn’t tell anyone because the last thing I wanted was people saying “Awww, you poor thing.” or “I feel so sorry for you that you are dealing with that…” UUUGGGHHH!!!
    I didn’t commit suicide (obviously…), but I was definitely at rock bottom. I had to keep up appearances for those who looked to me for “happiness” and encouragement; I had to make them believe that my life was “a-okay! and I don’t let things like being single or whatever get to me”. I felt so stupid and ashamed for having to deal with depression because I knew better than to believe what the enemy was telling me!!! I knew everything wasn’t going to be perfect, but I had just completely crumbled.
    I thank God all the time for bringing me from that pit, forgiving me, and making me stronger! He is my knot when I’ve reached the end of my rope! My ledge when I want to take that last step off the cliff! When I read the ending of the post, it reminded of where I came from, how great He is presently and great and wonderful He has for me!
    So, Corey I thank you for your post about a person, their looming temptation, and God’s unconditional love! Thank you for the reminder that God loves me in spite of me.

  14. Kristin said:

    “The act of consent to that boy’s abuse…”
    “Ladies, if you’ve previously given in to the abuse (of any kind) of a man…”

    If anything else, please word things differently. How about instead of the above quoted phrases:

    “The abuse this woman suffered…”
    “Ladies, if a man abuses you in any way…”

    No one EVER consents to abuse. You may SUBMIT, but submitting ≠ consenting. And using “giving in” sounds like the woman DID something that resulted in her abuse.
    Even if unintentional, you are removing blame from the man and placing it on the woman.

    And dear women,
    I’m so incredibly sad that so many of you did NOT see abuse in this story. If a man EVER lays a hand on your body* without your permission or after you say no, it is sexual abuse. Nothing else. Don’t you EVER feel like it was your fault or that you are to blame and don’t you EVER think that it is normal. I want to cry knowing that some of these commenters have probably suffered abuse but are sluffing it off as “no big deal” because not enough people are calling it out as it is. :(

    *I’m obviously talking about in a sexual way.

    • Dani said:

      “No one EVER consent to abuse.” Thank you. It’s language like “consent to abuse” that sets my teeth on edge and reminds me that there are still people who would still use the metaphor that it’s 99% the abuser’s fault, but the victim shares 1% fault for being involved. (Yes, I’ve heard this – leveled at a girl who was raped as a child.)

      • Kristin said:

        Yes, it is so sad.

        And oh my goodness, that poor girl.
        WHAT is the deal with the percentages people throw around?

        On the original post, a commenter wrote that the guy was 90% responsible, while the girl was 10%. My abuser told me he was only responsible for 50-60% of my abuse, and I was the other 40-50%.

        HOW DID THEY FIGURE THIS?! Abuse is not a math problem!

    • Lucient said:

      Again, it is sin. Abuse is sin. Sexual abuse, sin. Rape, sin. All this sin and everyone wants to label it so there could “blame” put on the “right” person… Jesus took that. He did that. It’s the boy’s fault. It’s all his fault. There was only one sin. The boy flashed his peacock feathers and this girl was “hooked” She loved him and there was no lust. “The girl held strong at first, tossing away her boy’s hands as they searched her body, seeking satisfaction.” She was a good girl with no desires of her own. She loved what? He made her stay after he made her love him? She did not choose to stay. She “soon fell in the deepest of love.” What was there to love of him? He scaled rooftops? There is only one sin here. Abuse. That’s the cry? So it’s understood that she didn’t know and it’s okay to just “fall in love” but as soon as he “touches you without your permission” it’s abuse and there’s the sin. The sin started earlier… infatuation and lust on both sides. I’m sorry. If we are using this story or any other story I’ve read on here as the mold then you have to admit that there were choices on both sides made that were not the opposite of sin.

  15. Emmy said:

    I thought your story was great – because it’s about grace. I didn’t get anything about abuse and such out of it. Especially knowing your writing style and your beliefs, there really isn’t any evidence that you support abuse and such. Also- apparently you view women as disposable now simply because you’ve made mistakes? wow.

  16. Dani said:

    There’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed that is particularly prevalent in Christianity – those who mean well don’t always do well.

    In other words, I wholeheartedly believe that your intentions were pure in your original post. Unfortunately, that doesn’t magically reverse all the pain you’ve caused – in my own life, and in the lives of others who were fed this “good girl gone bad” garbage and left to suffer the mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and often sexual consequences of such teaching and belief.

    • Kristin said:

      Yes! I do not think the author is a bad person or is trying to be malicious.
      I just don’t think he understands the repercussions of the story he told…

  17. Hi, Cory. “Argumentative nag” here.

    I want what you want: to be understood.

    I want you to understand that I objected to this story as a 26 year old virgin who is tired of being told that the fact that I’m still a virgin is more honorable than my writing career, or my Master’s degree, or my time teaching English abroad. I want your commenters to understand that I’m not coming at this from a place of bitterness, or attempting to justify my own regretful decisions or even attempting to work through abuse (I’m not). I want it understood by any passive, non-commenting readers of this space that I am not an “argumentative nag” who simply can’t read things correctly, which is how you have maligned myself and my friends (and those who are complete strangers to me).

    I critiqued this story because metaphors matter. The stories we choose to tell about redemption are more than just a means to an end. They have a way of reinforcing ideologies, of reinforcing worldviews. And sometimes, those stories contain overarching ideologies that are harmful to myself and my fellow women, regardless of whether or not those ideologies were part of the original intent of the story. This is where criticism comes into play. This is where it is necessary.

    I’m sad that you’d rather accuse us of misreading, of putting the focus on the wrong part, rather than genuinely attempting to see things from our perspective. I do not think you’re a sexist. I do not think you’re a bad person. In fact, I think you’re a pretty decent writer who made a mistake with one post, who didn’t think fully about the implications of the story he wanted to tell. And I think you were blindsided when people took your story in a direction that was different from what you intended – I get that. I totally, totally get that. We can’t really control how readers react after we’ve hit that publish button. However, it then behooves us (speaking as writer to writer) to think about that criticism rather than lashing out at the critic for “misreading” or “for looking for offense.”

    I’m sorry that you felt attacked, but criticism of a metaphor within a story is not the same as casting shade on the author himself. I hope that you can, eventually, learn from this experience.

    • yep.

      cory, I don’t know if you were subjected to what I and others now call “purity culture”. I was, though, and for years stories with very similar plotlines to the one you had written insinuated that my body the property of a future husband, that I would have to confess to anything physically I ever did with someone before marriage. I would be damaged goods and sullied if I did anything sexually before marriage, I’d have to confess them to the future husband and he’d more than likely be disappointed. in fact, this may be a reason for him to call off our engagement, because not successfully upholding my purity would be an indication that I may have problems with fidelity in our marriage. oh, and I would be robbed of joy, morality, a good relationship with God, and all my hopes and dreams if I were to do anything sexually before marriage. kind of like how your good girl stopped being good after sex, because no other sin she committed before then could change her like that.

      I don’t know of any guy who was told that his body is property of a future wife. however, I do know a few who were told that by doing anything sexually before marriage, they were messing with another man’s property, as she belonged to her future husband.

      the worst part about this (double) standard is that abuse counts for things to confess to the future husband. if you were coerced, you should’ve known better before dating the guy. you shouldn’t have consented to the abuse.

      this is what dianna means when she says, “[stories] have a way of reinforcing ideologies, of reinforcing worldviews.” you may not be familiar with these ideologies because as females, it’s expected that we are to be the gatekeeper and guardian of our own purity and if anything happens, we’ve failed. we’ve failed God, our future husbands, our families, our church, and ourselves. I believe that it’s the guilt that comes from this that robs women of their joy and makes them feel distant from God. the underlying message is “don’t do it, or you’ve disappointed us all,” not, “you are worthy of God’s love and nothing you can do will ever change that.”

      I think you meant to portray the latter, but the imagery you used just ties in way to close with what was used to feed us that first damaging message. I don’t think noting that doesn’t make us bitter readers or argumentative.

      • Dani said:

        This exactly. Thank you. I “confessed” to my husband being sexually assaulted with the full expectation that he would break up with me because I wasn’t “pure.” At the time of the assault, all but 2 people in whom I confided told me that it was my fault – that God was punishing me, or perhaps testing me. When I recently made it publicly known, one of those women contacted me yet again and suggested that I confess my sin to God so I could move on.

        The best piece I have ever read about dealing with the pain of being abused (sexually, physically, emotionally, spiritually, verbally, what have you) was written by Sarah Moon, called “When I Can.” I highly recommend it to anyone who feels guilty because they are being told that it is their fault or that they are not letting go quickly enough. You can find it here: http://sarahoverthemoon.com/2012/03/20/when-i-can/

      • Lucient said:

        I have heard of it for both men and women. Men, save yourselves for your future wives. Women save yourselves for you future husband. “A.T.M.” Abstinence till Marriage… things like that… Believe me, it’s not just women…

  18. Diana said:

    Wow! Sorry about a lot of the feedback your getting! Most good authors are able to write one thing and allow for every reader to take a different meaning and understanding to heart, obviously you were successful! You were led to write what was in your heart and touch deeply with your readers. For what it’s worth, I took the meaning to be about responsibility. Only after you hold yourself accountable and responsible can you ask for forgiveness and move past your PAST. It was a reminding motivation, and I hope that some of your readers can take responsibility for the choices they have made!

    • Caris Adel said:

      Why do people do this? It seems like Christians are especially good at this. When someone says they’re hurt, why don’t we acknowledge, enter, and validate their pain? Why do so many people say ‘well they just didn’t get it’ or ‘it’s not my problem’? Why do they just dig in their heels, and say my way or the highway? This response is even worse than the original post. “But they wouldn’t hear it”. Maybe we’re hearing it, and just disagreeing tremendously with it. We’re not dumb. I understand the point of forgiveness that the story was about. I can still disagree with the story and how it went about portraying forgiveness. There are less offensive and painful ways of showing forgiveness. Why is it so hard for people to say, ‘wow, I didn’t think about that, but now I can see where you’re coming from, and I’m sorry that I hurt you.’ It is more painful and insulting for people to speak their mind, share their hurt feelings and why….and to be told ‘Not my problem that you don’t get it’.

  19. Amanda said:

    Un-forgiveness leads to bitterness, we are called to forgive as we are forgiven…which is unconditionally. Forgiveness is something that is a process, you have to wake up each day and forgive the person who has done unfathomable (or fathomable) things to cause hurt. Eventually it gets better and easier, but you have to let it go…you have a right to feel angry, hurt, sad and devastated. I would urge you to work on forgiveness for yourself, so that it doesn’t take the life from your eyes or hinder you from enjoying your life. Forgiving the person who hurt you doesn’t have to be something that you tell them, you can write a letter that you never send…It will help you, don’t let someone else sinning against you take more than it already has. You don’t have to forget, but if you can forgive…you will heal.

    Love, a fellow abuse survivor.

    • Ashley said:

      Agreed :)

    • Ah, the bitter card. It always comes out in these discussions. Remember that God told his people to eat the bitter herbs once a year, to remember the times of slavery and abuse in Egypt. Remembering and dealing with the pain of abuse are important steps to forgiveness.

      Numbers 9:11
      In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight, they shall observe it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

  20. Sarah Moon said:

    If you want to tell a story about redemption, find a different story.

    That is all.

    • Lucient said:

      Sarah, I have a question. Out of all the misconceptions and underlying messages and all of that… why do you and most of the readers focus only on the abuse of the female?

      • because fiction reinforces ideas about the world and women’s stories matter. because challenging destructive gender stereotypes and bad theology matters. because identifying abusive behavior (and drawing distinctions between abuse and consent) matters. because women and others who have been hurt, abused, and oppressed have been silenced enough–and Jesus cares about righting those wrongs, too.

      • Sarah Moon said:

        I don’t think I really have to sit here and explain to you why abuse changes the entire moral of the story. If you don’t get that already, nothing I say is going to change your mind. I’ve read your other comments and there’s no convincing you.

        In fact, I’m calling “troll” on this one. I mean, you compared having to eat vegetables to rape. Yeah, you’re trolling.

      • Lucient said:

        No one mentioned rape till I said something about vegetables. I don’t blog much so I had to look up “troll” You say there’s no convincing me? You haven’t tried to convince ME you have written your blogs and responded to others but you haven’t once tried to convince ME where this and that connects for YOU. I am not you… I haven’t walked in your shoes and I am not trying to convince you or even argue with you. If you want me to understand you, talk to me. If you, or anyone else, is just gonna call me stupid and ignorant and not knowing what I’m talking about, because maybe just maybe I’m not the best with communicating through just words alone, I do not believe that is fair to me. I want to understand. When these words leave the edit box as I push “Post Comment” I’m not sitting back in my chair thinking, “I bet this will stump them.” No, I want to understand. Fiction stories, are just cute lies, if you will at least that’s how I’ve come to understand them. If lies reinforce ideas, it makes sense why abuse goes unnoticed most times. Rape is a form of abuse, right? When I said the comments earlier, I was referring to abuse in general. Rape is a specific abuse… I haven’t experienced that. I know a person, close to me, who was though and I can only see the world, in that sense, through their eyes not because they are close to me but because I trust them. Through their eyes, knowing their story, comparing this story Cory told as “rape” would be an insult to them. Again, I’m not dumb nor am I one to “troll” but I still post on here because I give you and everyone else the “benefit of the doubt” Sarah, you haven’t called me any names, at least not on here, so don’t think I’m directing that part to you. I just hate to be pushed to the side cause the text I type do not correctly reflect the thoughts in my head.

  21. Wow! “Giving into abuse” is what exactly? Abuse is something that is done to another individual.

    I suggest your first blog post showed that you may not understand the dynamics of abuse, or of redemption. This blog post confirms that you don’t understand the dynamics of abuse or redemption. It’s not that our view is slightly off center, as I see it, your view is very off center.

    If I could make an suggestion? Please take the time to read, “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft.

    There is a story of a woman named, Cathy on my blog. She was kidnapped, raped, beaten, starved. let’s just say abused in every way… http://chucklestravels.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/cathys-story-of-kidnapping-rape-abuse-and-cover-uppart-1/

    Once she was “rescued.” she was made to believe that she was soiled beyond repair. She was even told by a man who works with youth that if she were to find a Christian man who would marry her, she shouldn’t wear a white dress, because she wasn’t a virgin.

    Then she went to Bob Jones University. As a freshman at Bob Jones, she sat in a class taught by Walter Freemont. Walter Freemont taught to his students that those from a ‘good Christian background’ were dating someone and found out the person they were dating came from a ‘messed up background’ to stop dating, and what ever you do, to never consider marrying such a person if a man were planning to enter the ministry, because the other person from a ‘messed up background would “ruin” the good Christian, and ruin any chance for success in the ministry.

    Imagine how that teaching affected her view of God.

    If you’re interested, Cathy started her own blog a few months ago. I would suggest reading her words and reconsider the words you wrote “giving into abuse.” http://lostchildnowfound.wordpress.com/about/

  22. Lucient said:

    so the focus is only on the abuse?

  23. Fortuna Veritas said:

    Part of the problem is that your parable upholds the idea that having had sex is a terrible, terrible thing in and of itself, and far, far worse than it is, which, as much as we might wish it were not so, makes it a harder sell for your explanation of the parable about asking for forgiveness.

    There is enough ambiguity, and the law being what it is doesn’t help, to argue that, yeah, you made a parable about a woman who was a fallen woman because she was raped.

    Parable construction isn’t my strong suit, mind, as it’s a rather pedantic art form and the lesson is usually better served by going with the classics or refining a couple to be able to deliver them with just the right timing than to be something that one intends to write often enough to get in practice.

  24. Fortuna Veritas said:

    Still, it might be a good idea to remind many people, and at least some of your readers about that one story that deals with casting the first stone.

  25. Lucient said:

    Some one did in the original post… No one said anything about it…

  26. Andrea O. said:

    I’ve re-read the story now at least 15 times, and I still don’t see anything but a story of redemption and forgiveness. As someone who has been abused and lived throught all that, and still processing, I guess I keep reading to see that somewhere in the story, and I don’t. I thought it was a beautiful read truthfully.

  27. Hannah said:

    Loved the first post, loved this one too! Keep writing despite the ones who don’t fully hear you.

  28. Mark said:

    Corey,

    You haven’t given an adequate answer to your critics. Specifically, you haven’t explained why any women would need grace after enduring assault through coercion.

    When Jesus described the message behind his parables, his listeners first resisted it. Jesus’ teachings went against what they been brought up to believe. His ideas were too confronting. In their pride they called themselves good people, and thought they didn’t need others to point out their flaws. Like the Pharisees, you have closed your ears to criticism.

    Please reflect on wether God sent these critics to you to show you your pride and inconsiderateness. I think that what Jesus would tell you today is the same as what Sarah Moon and Diane Anderson have been telling you in their gracious and thoughtful comments. Jesus did not preach that being victimized was a sin. Instead he preached that we should stand together, and not denigrate each other, even through fiction.

    As a good Christian, I hope you wholeheartedly apologize to your readers, and rewrite your short story to remove it’s terrible message.

    Amen

    • John said:

      This story is, if we will be honest, one that has so many jumps in grammar and poor writing that no wonder can (and have) taken whatever out of it. For example, read the story. “This girl met a boy…” “He captured the good girl in his madness and she soon fell in the deepest of love.” “The girl held strong at first…” “…the girl could take no more…” “she stripped herself of the righteousness…” This is so vague… All of this… I guessed at some point this guy and girl dated or courted or were “just friends” but there’s nothing to suggest anything other than assumptions. Maybe this happened all in one day. Maybe over the course of years. How do you bombard someone with “lacking attention”? I don’t know if this was an attempt to be universal or what but it’s also sad that, as vague as this story is, only one group has really emerged from this… the abused. Why? Why is it that the abused relate to this story so much? It is not known whether this girl was okay with anything and loving someone outside yourself, in a romantic setting, does bring with it, whether right away or down the road, certain desires one would not simply had if not attracted to them. Again, maybe she already have desires. We only know she was “an angel.” Again, vague and totally not the kinda “angel” had in mind when I read this (shout out to Joss Whedon). Why hasn’t the “bad company corrupts good morals” spoken up in here? Where’s the “love at first sight” people? Even the “you can never lose forgiveness” is yet to speak up here. Why just the abused? Because of the vagueness of this story, I now have even more understanding, firsthand and secondhand, of the abused views and position yet what I don’t have, out of these blogs, is the reverse of that… This story was made into an story of abuse because this story was lacking any structure and direction to carry an “intended” message so now it’s made to carry whatever message can be “inserted” to fill in the blanks which the author has left void. I, have been abused and I can see where you can abuse out of this story if it went like my story. I had no response or time to be away. It happened sudden and it happened without delay. She got tired of saying “no”? That’s abuse? Does that make me “super abused” cause I didn’t even have that option? She got tired of saying no, she was abused. I couldn’t say no… I COULDN’T SAY NO!!! Please, don’t do this.

      • Kristin said:

        “She got tired of saying ‘no’? That’s abuse? Does that make me ‘super abused’ cause I didn’t even have that option?”

        No, that does not make you “super-abused.” That makes you abused.
        (That’s like some people asking about “rape rape” vs “rape.” Ugh. It’s still rape!)

        I would say the girl didn’t have the option of saying no anymore. When you are manipulated/coerced & abused, you get the point where what you say doesn’t matter to your abuser anymore. You get “tired.” (And you get scared.)
        Maybe you stop saying no because he’s gonna do it anyway. Maybe you stop saying no because he’ll hit you. Maybe you stop saying no because if you do, whatever he does will end up being worse.

        Perhaps your abuse was “worse” – whatever that means – but that in no way invalidates anyone else’s abuse. I saw people arguing on a blog when a woman talked about being in a abusive relationship for “only” 3 months. Someone who had been in an abusive relationship for 5 years tried to sluff off her abuse, because “it didn’t last that long.” Please don’t do that. Please don’t disregard our stories because they’re not yours.

        This story of the girl and boy IS our story. And it was abusive.

      • John said:

        “I would say the girl didn’t have the option of saying no anymore. When you are manipulated/coerced & abused, you get the point where what you say doesn’t matter to your abuser anymore.” I mean no disrespect or anything but why would you stay in that situation, whether it’s an abuser or not? Why would you “willing” be with someone who “willing” pushes things on you till it’s just basically them wanting or doing one thing that you have no intention or desire to do? Why does this girl, I’m assuming, dates this guy and continue to date this guy? Out of fear of what he’ll do if she doesn’t “go” to him? This particular girl did nothing that was “required” of her to be with him. Everything she did, she did cause she wanted to be there. Once she was there, then he wanted to do something she did not. That was the first time… if she keeps coming back to this… why are we focusing on her “fatigue”? I’m not disregarding anyone’s story here… I’m focusing on this story and my own… and the other “lack” of stories that are here. “This story of the girl and boy IS our story. And it was abusive.” Is it the overall story that IS your story or pieces of this story? Again, if this IS your story, it’s too vague to be any particular story. If you want to share your story, I’d be happy to hear it and share mine. Talking about it doesn’t make it any less real to me nor am I insensitive to it or anyone else’s. Yet, I am not like most…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,185 other followers

%d bloggers like this: