They took the post down.

I’m grateful for the staff at Leadership Journal who took down the sexual predator post yesterday. I’m humbled that I could lend a voice to this conversation, helping others see a victim’s perspective, and the mindset of some sexual offenders (that tend toward sociopathy and narcissism).

I’m grateful for their appropriate apology.

I’m grateful that many, many lent their voices to this conversation.

And yet, in some ways, I’m discouraged. Because this amplified just how little we talk about sexual abuse and its sheer and steep damage it enacts on a life.

Folks, hear me when I say that this issue should no longer be silenced. We need to dialog. We need to stand up and call it what it is: evil. We need to dignify victims with their terrible stories, listen intently, pray fervently, and advocate for a freer world where children do not need to fear youth pastors or pastors or priests or uncles or aunts or __________.

I understand well why Jesus said these words: “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).
Jesus advocated for the innocence of children. He admonished us to become wide eyed like them. He gave the stern warning above to those who harm them.

Today, honestly, I’m just tired. I thought of children swinging on the swings of our neighborhood park, and I thought, When have I played? When, if ever, have I been a child? I have been an adult since way before when. Some days I just want to run into a field and twirl all around, Fraulein Maria style, and finally, finally feel free of the scourge of sexual abuse.

Perhaps someday. Perhaps tomorrow. Perhaps next weekend.

Or perhaps I will walk with this limp, never a child, always an adult, to remind me of the pain, to keep me empathetic with those who have experienced this trauma. So I can stand up, put a holy stake in the ground and loudly declare, “THIS IS ENOUGH. NO MORE. SEXUAL ABUSE IS EVIL AND WE WILL DO EVERYTHING TO STOP IT IN OUR GENERATION.”

I yell those words, but I feel small. My voice cracks. The evil cackles loud. But one small light (mine) mixed with your light and your story and your bravery and your outrage–all these lights permeate and pierce the darkness. And this light WINS. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:5, NLT)

So, Leadership Journal, be one of those beacons of light. What has been done in the darkness has the potential to be spotlighted by your platform. I’ll hold my candle.

Who will join me?

For those of you wanting to help sexual abuse victims, or if you are one, here’s a resource page that might help get you started. Some of you may know that I wrote, crowdfunded, and published a sexual abuse recovery book this year entitled Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing after Sexual Abuse. Learn more about that here.

  • Desirae Burton

    Mary, thank you. I too am one who has experienced childhood sexual abuse at the hands of my father and 4 of his friends. There is more, but for now that is enough. My point in sharing is to say thank you!! something that i have struggles with for a long time is how perpetrators have no idea of the far reaching affects of their selfish actions. You spoke as if it came right from my heart. Thank you for your courage to be vulnerable.

    • Mary DeMuth

      I’m so sorry you have walked that path, Desirae. But I’m grateful for your voice.

  • joan

    Hi Mary, When I read the article I was appalled. I, too, have suffered the lifelong aftermath of childhood sexual abuse. I’m glad that Leadership Journal took the post down, but it doesn’t nullify that the article was posted in the first place. I may be biased and sound like a bitter cynic, but I believe it is indicative of the patriarchal mentality of female subjugation that has never really changed, even in our contemporary “to each his own, except all” society. Just my two cents. By the way, I was pleasantly surprised to see your name on the subsequent article a friends sent me, regarding the LJ article. We’ve met at three writer’s conferences. Keep up the great work. God bless you! Joan Phillips

    • Mary DeMuth

      I’m so sorry, Joan. And I do agree. This hatred and subjugation of women is a huge issue. And it’s also good to remember that boys have been hurt too.

  • Virginia

    I will.

  • Mary DeMuth

    Thank you for all you do on behalf of victims. I’ve long admired your ministry.

  • John Knipp

    Mary –
    Thank you so much for your response letter to LJ. My wife was a victim of sexual abuse and rape. We’ve been together since I was 14 and she was 15 and it has been the specter in our relationship the entire time. I appreciate so much you pointing me toward a different perspective on the original letter they published. Even after all of these years and all the love and dedication I have for my wife, I still struggle to see the perspective she comes from. I didn’t see it in that article either, even though it left me unsettled for other reasons.
    My wife helps other women heal in any way she can, even though helping them always opens her wounds and reminds her of all the ways, she too, was disallowed her childhood. I will look at your resources and pass them on to her.

    Thank you again and God bless you –

    John Knipp

  • Mary DeMuth

    So good to know we’re not alone in this.

  • Mary DeMuth


  • Susan G.

    Thanks for your boldness to show people the error of what they did, and that it was wrong. I appreciate the LJ being ‘big enough’ to apologize to you. May you be blessed with strength, peace and grace as you continue to fight for all victims of this terrible scourge. Thanks for taking the lead… we stand behind you in prayer.
    I’ve got my candle…

    • Mary DeMuth

      I appreciate that too.

  • Barbie

    I’m joining you Mary.

    • Mary DeMuth

      Awesome, Barbie.

  • Kelly@TheNourishingHome

    You are an amazing woman of God, Mary! And I continue to be humbly and gratefully in awe of how God uses you for His glory as a healing balm for hurting hearts and a voice of strength in Him to shout again the evils of sexual abuse. May God continue to bless you and your ministry! Thank you for servant heart! You are truly a blessing!

    • Mary DeMuth

      I pray the same, though often I feel a bit tired!

  • Carolyn

    I’m grateful they took the post down. I do hope LJ has better discernment in the future; for sin issues and for seeing through narcissitic and/or sociopathic personalities. These personalities are almost impossible to see through; especially when they hold leadership positions in the church. Thank you for pouring your heart and time into the LJ post.

    • Mary DeMuth

      I am thankful too.

  • Monica Benton

    Yes, to using this as a platform to open dialogue, to get resources out there so no one has to suffer in silence.

    • Mary DeMuth

      I agree and thank you.

  • Anita

    Amen. Let’s keep the dialogue open. Any sexual relationship between a person in power and a minor is NOT an affair.

    • Mary DeMuth

      So well said.

  • Mary Tullila

    I join you Mary in the struggle, the battle, the awareness of this EVIL. I am one of its victims as well. Bless you sister! We will not lie dormant. #TestifyofHisGrace&Healing

    • Mary DeMuth

      Thanks for joining me, Mary,