For Freedom

The Christian Homeless Shelter.
*******
(begin Google review)
During my time as both an employee and volunteer, the directors husband made inappropriate comments about my body, as well as the bodies of other female staff members.
As the company’s private photographer, he also asked me to pose in an inappropriate way (different than that of other female staff members).
After resigning from my paid position and requesting to remain as a volunteer, I shared this information with the director herself.
In retaliation, she blocked me from continuing to volunteer in the class I was currently engaged in.
I shared this information with the CEO. He made excuses for the directors behavior and expressed zero concern about the safety of women (staff, volunteers, or residents) in his shelter as well as the retaliatory actions of the director.
He did, however, send me a copy of their conflict resolution procedures suggesting I submit to their processes even though his director did not follow them in any way. 
No one at this organization made a single attempt to apologize, express remorse, or claim culpability in this matter.
{Side Note: seeking counsel from my pastor’s wife brough no resolution, either. She joined in the dismissing and devaluing of the situation and remained closely supportive of the director. Perhaps she did not want to jeopardize her regularly scheduled speaking engagements at the shelter or chance the interruption of their business collaborations? }
Good intentions of patriarchal Christian organizations do not overrule the harmful experiences they cause.
If your intent is to help, but you end up harming those you invite to partner with your efforts, how helpful to a community are you, really? 
(end Google review)
*******
This is what breaking away from oppression sounds like.
These are the kinds of scathing stories that find their own freedom. These are the words that escape from a weathered heart when healing floods a wound.
I have whispered this experience many times in my head, over and over again in my mind, while living in fear of speaking it aloud.
“I am compelled to combat the distortions of twisted religion, misused power and entrenched and evil patriarchal systems”
  As this story leaves my bones and travels to this page, I feel a rush of peace within. A completion to my pain. There is warmth and belonging, right now – right here – even in my solitude.
This is the birth of Hope.
I see her more clearly, having shed these cleansing tears; I feel her joy more presently, having laid this burden down.
Silence has been a weapon formed against me, killing quietly my crushed spirit.
This is breaking those agreements. This is refusing the invitation.
This is my life as a Matriarch.
Whatever could I preach, without having first done it, myself? Whatever could I advocate, without having first led the way?
How can one speak of freedom, while silently living in fear?
Not in my house. Not on my watch.
Freedom has made her home in my heart, she kisses my lips and holds my hand. Freedom compels me to action and relieves me of shame. Freedom is now my true friend and trusted ally.
Whatever comes about from having shared this story of mine, is no longer in my hands. These hands are occupied with raising fists of solidarity and waving a welcome to peace.
And this is enough.

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