Episode #23: When sexual abuse and sexual assault are mishandled and covered up by church leaders
TRIGGER WARNING – This podcast episode contains stories of sexual abuse and sexual assault.
Naomi shares her courageous story of survival and healing from growing up in a sexually abusive home and later becoming a victim of sexual assault. When Naomi’s mother found out about the sexual abuse happening, the abuser was taken out of the home briefly to receive help and healing. However, religious leaders pressured her mother to stay married and to quickly let the abuser back in the home, and the abuse continued. Later, when Naomi’s mother filed for divorce, the family was kicked out and ex-communicated from the church.
As a young adult, Naomi was a victim of a sexual assault by the son of a church leader. She tells the unbelievable story of being blamed for the assault by church leaders because there was alcohol involved and she “shouldn’t have been drinking”. Church leaders bullied her to drop the charges and harassed her when she refused. It’s by God’s grace that Naomi today is healed and still in love with Christ and the church.
She eventually learned to trust church leaders again and found some amazing men and women of God who walked along side her as she went on her healing journey and who had encouraged her to seek professional (along with spiritual) help. Naomi helps people recognize spiritual abuse, and offers hope to those who have experienced abuse and encourages them to: GET OUT. GET SAFE. SEEK HELP. (Develop a safety plan if this is a domestic relationship and you feel unsafe.)
If you feel you are in an unsafe domestic relationship, in the U.S. contact www.thehotline.org or call 800.799.SAFE (7233) for help making a safety plan.
If you are in Australia, you can call or online chat with counsellors at 1800RESPECT (1.800.737.732) or chat online via the website www.1800respect.org.au
Today, Naomi is a qualified teacher, wife, mother, prophetic voice and author/blogger. Her passion lies in awakening individuals to their identity in Christ, unlocking destinies and encouraging others to live a purpose-filled life. She lives in Brisbane, Australia with her beautiful family. With a heart for speaking the truth in love, Naomi runs an online prophetic and teaching ministry, Naomi Byers Ministries. She has a deep love and reverence for scripture and a heart that burns to represent Christ to a broken world.
To learn more about her ministry, visit her website here: www.naomibyersministries.com
If you would like to book an appointment with Anna Harris for a coaching/inner healing session, you can do so here: www.definedbygod.com/bookings/