Why the Jeffrey Epstein case matters to Christians

It may feel like voyeurism, reading about it, if you don’t know any of these people.

But as I’ve been saying for some time now, I can be pretty doggone certain that you do know or at least interact with a survivor of sex trafficking, even if you don’t think you do. Because they are all around you.

My primary work is with those who have been sex trafficked in the Christian world. And believe me, there are parallels.

One person or small group of people is/are the traffickers. They may be relatively obscure, as Epstein was.

Others, the wealthy and elites (in my experience, it’s primarily been the wealthy and elites in the Christian world) are the buyers who take advantage of the trafficker’s “services.” (Flying in to the trafficking location is not a problem for the Christian elite.)

There’s a lot to learn about how this all works by reading about the Jeffrey Epstein case.

Larry Nassar similarities

Though there’s a difference because Larry Nassar wasn’t a trafficker, still I’m reminded of similarities. Nassar was a respected doctor who assaulted many young girls through his entire career. Various efforts to speak up against him through the decades were all shut down.

The same happened with Epstein. Some have been speaking out against him for decades. When the Miami-Herald story broke last fall, Tim and I already knew about Epstein because he’d been in the news at least ten years prior, maybe more. But buried. Carried by “alternative news sources” only.

In the Larry Nassar case, the voice of one woman emboldened many others to speak, so that by the time his hearing came, 156 women spoke against him.

The same is happening with Epstein. The ones who spoke first are lending their boldness to the ones who are finding their voices.

Even after his death, their stories still matter. Because he was a trafficker and the buyers are still out there, the survivors are continuing to speak, more and more and more of them.

It’s happening in the Christian world too.

My introduction

Years ago, when I was very new in this work, I was added to a secret Facebook group of sexual abuse survivors (though I was not one). There I saw one person after another telling her story of having been trafficked and in some cases also used for child pornography. That was perhaps my first exposure to the “ordinary-people-with-regular-lives-who-have-unbelievably-terrifying-secrets” phenomenon. I backed away and remained silent and rarely looked at the group. I was overwhelmed.

But there came a time when the Holy Spirit prompted me to learn how to help. My desire to learn how to help was kindled in earnest before the Lord brought me anyone to help, simply because I knew the phenomenon was real.

It’s real

I watch on Twitter as people speak out against Christian leaders who assaulted them. I watch the shunning, the dismissal, the silence, the blaming, the shunning.

Some of their stories will sound outlandish at first, yes. But a lone woman telling you a story of how she, as an ordinary teenager, was flown to a private island to be trafficked to millionaires and world leaders—do you think that might have sounded outlandish too?

Similar things are happening, my friends, in the Christian world. The people who have suffered these things are under our noses.

As Rachael Denhollander said, “Women and girls have banded together to fight for themselves because no one else would do it.”

How dare we as a church refuse to listen to the ones all around us who are speaking, or who are longing to speak. Even the ones whose stories sound outlandish. Even the ones who are implicating speakers and writers we love.

Who’s being persecuted?

I’ve been working on a blog post, most likely going up next week, that mentions persecution. When I wrote about that, I shuddered, thinking of the leaders in the Christian world who claim persecution when suvivors of abuse find their voices and speak up against them.

That most assuredly is not the “persecution” Jesus Christ was talking about. In fact, in a weirdness that feels like Opposite Land, what do you know, the ones who are being persecuted are the ones speaking out.

That sickness in the corporate/government/military elite? There is a sickness in the body of Christ that looks eerily similar.

I am a Christian. I believe Jesus Christ has the power to deliver those who have been deeply harmed by evil ones.

I also believe He calls on the body of Christ to turn their ears to those who are crying out, to listen to them and get educated about phenomena (such as trauma and dissociation) that we might not know anything about, to bind their wounds, to show them love . . .

. . . and to repent of idolatry of Christian leaders.

Be willing

There is no better way for you to be a Christian than for you to listen and love and stand against the evil in the Name of Jesus Christ. No matter who it involves.

I pray that many of God’s people will rise up from ignorance and complacency, putting idolatry and partisanship aside, and care. Even if it means initially being flattened by the stories.

You can look to the Holy Spirit for strength. That would be living from the heart Jesus gave you. There is great Hope in Him.

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Rachel Nichols
8 months ago

Judgment begins with the Household of God.

The Church must work harder on self monitoring. Kicking these hypocrites who cause little ones to stumble out even as the secular authorities deal with them.

People calling this persecution need to read 1 Peter 2:20 again.

Brian
Brian
8 months ago

TV shows like “Law and Order SVU” were putting out the word in their own way. It was about a decade ago that they had an episode built around an Epstein like character who flew underage girls in from Europe to NY for parties.

Lynn Searl
Lynn Searl
Reply to  Brian
8 months ago

SVU had a season cliff hanger on last night that closely resembled the Epstein case. Watch it on demand. It was great.

Donna O’Scolaigh Lange
8 months ago

And John MacArthur says the Me Too movement is a sign the culture is taking over the church and “feminists” don’t want equality, but power…he’d be laughable if he didn’t influence so many people…

Brian
Brian
8 months ago

The TV show, “Law and Order SVU”, just about a decade ago, did a program with an Epstein like character in it. The Epstein like character was flying underage girls from Europe into NY. They also an ex-girlfriend character who procured the girls.

Carolyn Weaver
Carolyn Weaver
8 months ago

I am so honored to call you my friend. Thank you so much for giving voice to those who can’t speak up and validating their stories.

Lynn Searl
Lynn Searl
Reply to  Carolyn Weaver
8 months ago

I agree!

Barbara Roberts
8 months ago

Rebecca wrote:
“That sickness in the corporate/government/military elite? There is a sickness in the body of Christ that looks eerily similar. …I believe Jesus Christ has the power to deliver those who have been deeply harmed by evil ones.
I also believe He calls on the body of Christ to turn their ears to those who are crying out, to listen to them and get educated about phenomena (such as trauma and dissociation) that we might not know anything about, to bind their wounds, to show them love . . .
. . . and to repent of idolatry of Christian leaders.”

I agree with all of ^ that.

Let me restate what I think is the most important point:
Those who truly belong to the Lord Jesus Christ need to repent of idolatry of Christian leaders.

That takes work. Effort. Willingness to dig into the evidence that is being presented by researchers who have done their homework.

And it takes courage. Courage to risk being shunned and mocked by those who you thought were your friends.

In my view, most professing Christians — including most people in the pews —have succumbed to the strong delusion mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2.

Tony Fluerty
Tony Fluerty
8 months ago

what is the difference between trafficking and being a pimp?
I’m confused

Tony Fluerty
Tony Fluerty
Reply to  Rebecca Davis
8 months ago

so then Epstein was not breaking the law then?
I have always understood that its ok to be a pimp just so long as the girls are willing to work for them.
its not like the girls were sold into the trade as slaves, they wanted the money and got out when the reward was not worth it any more?
Same as Prince Andrew, what law has he broken?
these girls are not in the same situation as many girls who have been sold into the trade and are nothing more than sex slaves.
Im not touching on the subject of Epstein getting the dirt on powerful people who are pedophiles, and blackmailing them, that’s another ball game entirely.
I just don’t understand how these girls can work willingly for an agreed pay and then go after Epstein’s estate as though they were forced into doing sexual work.
So many young women who end up as prostitutes could claim the exact same thing.
I didn’t want to be a prostitute but I needed the money. Could they sue their customers?

Tony Fluerty
Tony Fluerty
Reply to  Rebecca Davis
8 months ago

I certainly hope that there is evidence of these girls being underage and the clients knew this.
In the case of Prince Andrew, apparently the girl was 17 years old.
I’m concerned that while the spotlight is firmly on people like prince Andrew the real criminals will get away scot-free.

Patti
Patti
Reply to  Tony Fluerty
8 months ago

Have you listened to Virginia’s ordeal?

Disgusted with rapist men
Disgusted with rapist men
Reply to  Tony Fluerty
8 months ago

You apparently believe that it is perfectly acceptable for one human being, in a position of power (financial power, male, etc) purchasing the sexual organs or another human being, to abuse, degrade, defile, and treat as a toilet, or a dumpster, in you sickos’ vernacular.

NOBODY has the right to be buying prostituted women. They are not selling sexual services. They are being pimped out to be preyed upon by violent perverts. Prostitution is paid rape. It is commercial rape. There is no true consent. Prostitutes are owned slaves. Pimps are easily some of the most vile creatures to walk the planet. They are violent, slave masters, who turn actual human beings into slaves, be it by violence, coercion, trickery, manipulation, or a combination of all such things.

Prostituted women are slaves. Girls are slaves and because they are minors, the law actually has a tiny bit of care for them, but once those traumatized, abused girls hit 18, then they are free prey for the perverts to do whatever they want to do.

There is no agreement (freely, voluntarily given, with full comprehension of the inherent risks, dangers, harms, etc.) with sexual slavery and paid rape. None. I don’t care what drivel you will offer in claiming ‘she consented! she agreed!’

Why not sue their ‘customers’? Wouldn’t that be excellent if such perverts, rapists, and violent, depraved, abusers could be sued for what they do to the prostituted. Personally, I’d rather see them shot. Taken out back and disposed of. There is no actual humanity and decency in any man who purchases another human being, let alone a woman or girl, for the ‘pleasure’ of raping, beating, defiling, degrading, traumatizing, and sometimes killing. Why should johns (rapists) be allowed to live? They are children of the devil, as are you, since you cannot obviously comprehend that women’s bodies are not for sale. You do not rent a vagina and remain a human being in my mind. You are a creature, a vile, perverted, deviant, creature who should be expelled from society.

There is no such thing as ‘sex work.’ It is not work like any other work. There is no such thing as selling one’s organs. And all of a pimp’s stable are coerced, controlled, forced, and not willingly agreeing to any price, or to be sold as meat to sickos, perverts, rapists, and violent predatory men who should be rounded up and disposed of and banished from society.

And just in case someone comes back, especially a man, and says, ‘but they choose to do it!’ why is it almost every single last woman being prostituted is desperate to get out, to exit it somehow? Why so many suicides? Why so much raging substance abuse? And finally, why don’t you, Tony Fluerty, do it yourself? Sell yourself for $20 on the street. See what a john (rapist) will do to you. See if there is a choice when you’re homeless, hungry, traumatized, and desperate. Men control something like 98 percent of the world’s resources. Women would never have anything to do with these pervert rapists if it were not for survival and trauma and societal institutitons, raging misogyny, conditioning and grooming of girls and women in such a pornified world and so forth.

Ever wonder why men hoard and control so much of the world’s resources? 98 percent (or thereabouts). To keep women subjugated, dependent. And then, of women, men, who hold practically all power on this wretched earth, create sub-strata of women. Women of color, women with disabilities, vulnerable women are that much more likely to be prostituted out, and why is that, Tony Fluerty? Because men want a sub-class of women and girls kept in such a vulnerable, dependent, subjugated, controlled, traumatized state that they can be made into (and kept as) living toilets for sicko rapists who ‘purchase them’ from pimps. And those pimps keep all the money. It is slavery. Pimps are slave owners, not businessmen. Slavery.

[RD note: I edited out some name-calling and accusations, since we don’t do that here, especially when we don’t know each other. Please see comment policy.]

disgusted with rapist men
disgusted with rapist men
Reply to  Disgusted with rapist men
8 months ago

You’re very right, Rebecca. I was foul. Sinful, actually. Not Christian-like at all. It was wrong of me. Sin separates us from God and is very serious indeed. Sin by thought, word, and deed. My words were foul. I’m so glad you did that editing. Shame on me. I’m sorry about that. I do need to adhere to your comment policy. I need to be a better person. Full stop.

So glad of the work you do, Rebecca. I don’t know about the predators and traffickers in the Christian communities, but johns (rapists) come from all walks of life.

And for those who have been trafficked, I’m so glad you made it out. You are worthy. You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are important. You are not what they did to you. You are not what was done to you. You deserve a life, on your terms.

disgusted with rapist men
disgusted with rapist men
Reply to  Rebecca Davis
8 months ago

And one last little note of clarity –

For the girls and women who have been trafficked, prostituted, used, abused, you are not ‘toilets’ or ‘dumpsters’. Not in the least bit. I only used such terms in my comment above because interviewed johns have used those words in referring to the prostituted.

I only repeat it because some people seem to think the ugly world of trafficking/pimping is not ugly. Some people seem to see it as this voluntary, transactional, sanitized thing, but it’s not. It’s not lonely, socially awkward men seeking a love connection. It’s nothing like that. It’s married men. It’s all sorts. And it’s depravity. It’s violence. It’s reprehensible. It’s johns (rapists) who refer to women and girls as ‘dumpsters’. Maybe not all use that particular term, but that same inhumanity is there regardless of whichever terminology is used.

It’s slavery.

And I’m so glad survivors have you, Rebecca. You have a way with words and this nice, lovely spirit, strong, wise, and it’s very educational to read your blog. 🙂

Anonymous Grandma
Anonymous Grandma
Reply to  Tony Fluerty
8 months ago

“I have always understood that its ok to be a pimp just so long as the girls are willing to work for them.”

I’m not sure I understand the mindset behind this statement. Pimping is part of prostitution, and prostitution can never be okay. For starters, in the US, prostitution is illegal (regardless of age) in every state but one. But more than being illegal, it’s wrong to treat other people that way. Turning sex into a commodity that can be bought and sold is dehumanizing and degrading.

Nadia
Nadia
8 months ago

Victims need to know that if they begin to speak, their churches will likely turn their backs on them completely. Once they are identified as victims, they become outsiders and will never be seen with the same value as before it was known. Victims are seen with skepticism as the experiences with trauma take away her credibility. The abuse is even somehow seen as biblical justification for divorcing a woman who has been victimized. Why should a husband have to deal with a wife who struggles at times with PTSD related symptoms?

There IS support, but I’ve not seen it in churches.

Tony Fluerty
Tony Fluerty
Reply to  Nadia
8 months ago

Please don’t paint all Churches with the same brush.
That is not to say that some Church leaderships need to be exposed for the evil they do under the banner of religious piety.

Patti
Patti
Reply to  Tony Fluerty
8 months ago

I do not think anyone is saying all churches have the problem. But all churches are vulnerable. So the best defense against anyone’s favorite church becoming complicit in sex trafficking is to stay on guard, defend the victims, warn the public, and keep the accused on notice.

Joy Forrest
8 months ago

Thank you for continuing to be a voice for the oppressed Rebecca. I so appreciate you.

Amy
Amy
8 months ago

Again thank you Rebecca for being bold – using your pen as a sword and your voice to rally others toward hope!

Barbara Roberts
8 months ago

Rebecca, may I ask why you only mentioned female victims of sex trafficking?

I personally know males who were sex-trafficked as children and as teens.

And I know females who were sex trafficked as children and as teens.

Barbara Roberts
Reply to  Rebecca Davis
8 months ago

Hi Rebecca, I wasn’t referring to the quote from Rachael Denhollander. I was referring to these words of yours:

“I saw one person after another telling her story of having been trafficked and in some cases also used for child pornography. … Some of their stories will sound outlandish at first, yes. But a lone woman telling you a story of how she, as an ordinary teenager, was flown to a private island to be trafficked to millionaires and world leaders—do you think that might have sounded outlandish too?”

Barbara Roberts
Reply to  Rebecca Davis
8 months ago

Thanks for explaining, Rebecca.

Anonymous
Anonymous
Reply to  Barbara Roberts
8 months ago

It would be really nice if not every time (or almost every time) that women’s and girl’s experiences of predation and victimization, does someone have to pipe up with the ‘it happens to men, too!’

Doing so, muddies the waters. The vast majority of victims are women and girls. People realize that yes, indeed, there are males who are victimized, too, but why is it something cannot simply remain about girls and women, without someone piping in about ‘what about the men?’

Makes me think of the “not all men” comments when women and girls talk about what men and boys have done to them. Obviously, nobody said “all men”.

Same thing happens with violence. Women talk about safety concerns over men’s violence and someone will invariably say, ‘but men are victimized by men, too’.

Same thing happens when talking about homelessness experienced by women and children. Someone will invariably say, ‘but men suffer from homelessness, too, why aren’t they being included?’

Same thing happens with suicide. Talk about women who suicide and again, invariably, someone will say, ‘men die from suicide too, and at higher rates,’

essentially it boils down to someone invariably saying ‘what about the menz?’

Surely you must recognize the disparity at which women and girls are trafficked versus men and boys?

Women and girls can be talked about without having to forever include men and boys.

Come on ladies, let’s talk about women and girls and keep them in focus. No need to constantly be lobbying for men and boys. Look around, this entire world is highly male-dominated, male-centric, and men and boys derail enough discussions as it is. Let’s not lobby for them at the expense of the vast numbers of girls and women who are victims.

Makes me think of domestic violence and how on almost every single news article of another man beating or murdering a woman, there will be almost all the comments saying a variation of, ‘what about the menz?’ What about it?! Well over 90 percent of domestic violence is men victimizing women and yet if one paid attention to comments and those who say, ‘what about the men who are victims?’ then you might be misled into thinking it was more 50/50 or worse yet, more men as victims, instead of victimizers.

Rebecca doesn’t need to talk about men and boys who are trafficked. She was focusing on girls and women and females need all the focused attention, consciousness-raising, and help that they can get.

Same thing goes for domestic violence. Men who are victims, and I mean the truly rare male who is being abused, can easily switch pronouns around in articles to adapt such to themselves, and yet what do these supposed victims do? They go after the blogger and make comments like, ‘men are victims too’ and ‘why are the pronouns male for the abuser and female for the victim, that’s not fair’. Real victims wouldn’t do such. Real victims would simply swap out pronouns versus protest and seek to make the blog author change it all to reflect a very minor 1-9%, at the expense of 91-99 percent of the reality.

Just my thoughts. We women need to prioritize other women and girls. Men can vouch for their own. It is a highly misogynistic, highly male-centric, male-dominated world and all.

It may seem harsh of me to say all such things, but who is the oppressed class? Men? Of course not. So, when an article focuses on women and girls, let’s leave it that way. Especially since we our fellow women. Females need all the help they can get in this sexist, misogynistic world.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, Rebecca.

Lisa Meister
Lisa Meister
2 months ago

My heart sings as I read this. The more people who take the stand that you have, in that it’s not your own story but taking up the fight for others, the more the message gets out that it’s unacceptable. The more it’s unacceptable the more the silenced find the courage to speak. As one who took 47 years to find my voice, I applaud you. The next one will find her voice earlier. And the one after will find it earlier. Soon those who are being abused will be able to say it to stop the abuse and not just deal with it after. You are a hero to me, Rebecca. You are bringing joy in giving that voice to many.

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