Frequently Asked Questions

Often, abusive behaviors are also criminal and need to be addressed on a legal level. Do you have a legal question or concern that is not answered in the FAQ section? Please send us your question at [email protected]

What is spiritual abuse?

The mistreatment of a person who is in need of help, support, or greater spiritual empowerment, with the result of weakening, undermining, or decreasing that person’s spiritual empowerment.

A leader who uses others to meet their own needs instead of serving the needs of others. The twisting of scriptures and using God to control and manipulate others.

What are signs of spiritual abuse?
(From Jill Monaco Ministries)
  1. Spiritually abusive leaders twist the truth to make themselves look better. And you end up questioning if you heard them correctly or were misinterpreting something.
  2. Spiritually abusive leaders demand respect instead of earning it.
  3. Spiritually abusive leaders betray your confidence and share your information with others.
  4. Spiritually abusive leaders say you need to give up your free time for Jesus sake. And shame you if you don’t agree.
  5. Spiritually abusive leaders don’t allow themselves to be held accountable or corrected. And bully anyone who disagrees.
  6. Spiritually abusive leaders avoid your request for conflict resolution but are quick to confront you. If you try to bring up things they are twisting, you are seen as unteachable or blame shifting.
  7. Spiritually abusive leaders make you feel you can’t change churches or you’ll miss what God has for you.
  8. Spiritually abusive leaders demand their way over your free will. And scare you with threats to your reputation if you don’t comply. Or shame you by bringing up your past failures.
  9. Spiritually abusive leaders demand to be served instead of serving.
  10. Spiritually abusive leaders silence their critics by making them the bad guy.
  11. Spiritually abusive leaders don’t give you credit for your ideas and successes but take the credit for themselves.
  12. Spiritually abusive leaders bully, shame or tease you into breaking your communicated boundaries.
  13. Spiritually abusive leaders dismiss you when you no longer serve their need.
  14. Spiritually abusive leaders accuse you of stealing their message when you grow beyond them.
  15. Spiritually abusive leaders gaslight you into thinking you are crazy.
  16. Spiritually abusive leaders can’t admit fault but use the knowledge of others fault to cause fear and intimidation.
  17. Spiritually abusive leaders have their minions do their dirty work and isolate, intimidate or manipulate those who don’t comply.
  18. Spiritually abusive leaders surround themselves with the elite and don’t interact with the sheep.
  19. Spiritually abusive leaders use their charisma to create a cult-like following that would defend them when they are questioned.
  20. Spiritually abusive leaders create a culture of a popular inner circle. If someone raises a concern they are put out of the clique and other inner circle people are afraid to speak up.
  21. Spiritually abusive leaders surround themselves with only people who praise them, fear them or submit to them.
  22. Spiritually abusive leaders convince people they can’t understand the deep things of God and need their help.
  23. Spiritually abusive leaders don’t help you overcome sin in your life but discard you if you make them look like a bad leader.
  24. Spiritually abusive “leaders and churches view those who bring up legitimate issues as enemies. Those who were once friends/allies swiftly become enemies once a concern is raised. Sometimes these folks are banished, told to be silent, or shamed into submission.” Mary DeMuth
  25. Spiritually abusive leaders lie without a conscience. They see their platform as worth protecting for the sake of the gospel.
What is sexual assault?
While legal definitions vary depending on your state, generally speaking, sexual assault is any type of sexual activity or contact, including rape, that happens without your consent. Sexual assault can include non-contact activities, such as someone “flashing” you (exposing themselves to you) or forcing you to look at sexual images; sending someone unwanted texts or “sexts” (texting sexual photos or messages); sexual harassment or threats.
Should I report my abuse to the police?

If you’ve been assaulted you can report it to the police. Many states offer programs that provide advocates that will support you, go with you, provide counseling, and help you through the process. If you aren’t sure what to do you can call the National Sexual Abuse Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673).

What will police do if I report my abuse?

The police are trained to be on your side so although it can be difficult to report abuse, they do their best to make you comfortable. You can always ask for a supervisor if you don’t feel heard or believed. They will ask for some basic information and draft an initial report. To ensure your safety, they will determine if you are still in danger or the possibility of abuse happening again. They may ask you to write out your statement. A supervisor will review it and typically assigns a detective to review your case and gather more information. You should leave with a written explanation of the next steps. Sometimes they may have you come back to make a recorded statement. If you were sexually assaulted it is wise to go to a hospital to be checked out as well. You can always do this as a first step, and they will inform the police. By law, there is no charge for rape kit examinations.

What if I didn’t report what happened right away?

Many women don’t report abuse or assault right away. Each state has a different statute of limitations (window of time) for criminal and civil prosecution. The time allowed to prosecute also varies depending on if you were a child or adult at the time of the assault or abuse, type of crime, age of the victim, and various other factors. As of 2020, NY, NJ, and CA have eliminated the statute of limitations for a couple of years.

How long is the legal process?

The legal process for criminal or civil prosecution varies based on the evidence, investigation, and complexity of the case. It is not unusual for it to take years.

How do I find an attorney? Do I need one?

You can consult with an attorney to determine if you have a case. Finding an attorney you feel comfortable with is important. You may want to ask for referrals for attorneys in your area. You may want to ask for referrals from Jeff Anderson And Associates at https://www.andersonadvocates.com/ or Net Grace at https://www.netgrace.org/.

Support Voice4Victims

Please help us help victims of sexual, spiritual, domestic and physical abuse in the church through the following services:

 

  1. Helpline
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  3. Intercession for Victims and Families
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  6. Victim Resources
  7. Legal Counsel
  8. Awareness
  9. Production and Distribution of Media
  10. Resource Development

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