Rape Victim: Who Me?

I simply couldn’t believe the seven years of my life I’d devoted to God was actually devoted to a destructive group–a cult.

I sat on the couch across from my therapist during one session in 2005. She worked out of the California State University, Bakersfield campus Counseling Center and she was free, which was in my budget at the time.

I’d decided to see her after being referred to her by two professors: one professor witnessed me break down in front of a lecture class of over 100 students during my Freshman year when he asked me why I was attending college. He had no idea that for me, I was attending college fresh from a cult where I was brainwashed and taught that I was less of a human being because I was a woman. After my sob-fest in Freshman Shakespeare class, my professor kindly suggested I see a therapist. I took him up on his suggestion, and am happy I did.

I met with her once a week, on Thursdays. I went through about half her box of Kleenex and left with a runny nose and puffy, red eyes. One hour a week was enough to bring up enough pain to bring me into hysterical fits of crying. Sometimes I couldn’t even talk about my memories or pain.

Sitting across from her one day, she went to her desk and she pulled up the Counseling Center website. She gave me links to the resources to Cults that I have listed on this website. It was only the second time I’d ever heard anyone tell me that they thought my ministry experience sounded like a cult. I was shocked. I was horrified. I felt cheated. If this was true, then how could I have been so stupid? What about those people I loved? There was no way they’d run a cult!

I simply couldn’t believe the seven years of my life I’d devoted to God was actually devoted to a destructive group–a cult.

Years prior, a good friend of the family from our home church in Taft, CA had come to visit me on a motorcycle road trip through Texas. He stopped in our church in Austin and took me to lunch. He visited the offices of Master’s Commission there. When he went home, he told my parents, “I think the place Lisa is in is a cult.” This coming from a life-long church member and deacon shocked my parents and me.

The next thing my therapist told me was even more shocking, though. As if notifying me that she thought I’d been in a cult wasn’t shocking enough, she then told me, “I’ve counseled many, many rape victims and you sound exactly like a rape victim. You have many of the same symptoms. I don’t know if it’s possible to get spiritually or mentally raped, but that’s exactly what I think has happened.”

3 thoughts on “Rape Victim: Who Me?”

  1. Lisa,

    It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you or even talked with you. I have to admit that I have been one of “those people” who have read your blog but haven’t commented. Partly because I just didn’t know what to say. I think you’re an amazing writer and I appreciate you’re flat out honesty about stuff, you truly don’t hold back.

    I hate that you and others have been hurt by Master’s. I’m sorry that you were never given an answer to your letters. When you “serve” someone for that long you owe them a response regardless of whether or not the other parties involved agree with you. First of all let me say that I don’t really have a dog in this fight. Although I was in Master’s for a couple of years I didn’t experience the pain that you did. That being said I don’t agree with everything that was done in the program. I can only speak about what happened in Austin, things may have totally changed when you guys left to go to Louisiana. Truthfully my concern is for you, not for what you have written. When I read your blog postings there is always a part of me that says, “man that girl has guts” and “that’s true” but then there’s also another part of me that feels like you haven’t really forgiven these people and that you are still a victim.

    First you have said in you blog that you have forgiven these people yet you still bring up instances that you are hurt and offended. We are Christ followers and we are called to forgive like Christ forgives us. Mark 11:25 says: And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop. When we forgive and truly let our offenses go they loose their power over us. We don’t forget the experience we had but the hurt we feeling can go away. I’m not saying that it is easy, it’s freaking hard but that is what Christ wants us to experience. I have been walking through this myself this past year and to be honest your blog has help me realize that I still have offenses that I need to let go of. It’s a different situation but the same principles apply.

    The other thing I would say is that we, people in general, have to take responsibility for the decisions we make. I know the pressure of staying in the program or “bubble” is real. It isn’t easy to walk away, but bottom line like you said your a strong woman and you could have walked away. Just like you said in one of you posts “a 24 year old woman should be able to decide who she wants to date.” which is TOTALLY TRUE, but in that same vain that 24 year old woman should be able to make a hard call and walk away. Lisa I don’t fault you one bit for staying, it was hard, that was you’re whole world. But you could have walked away, you chose to stay in the bubble. We have to take ownership of our decisions in life. When I look back I wish I would have gone to college and gotten a degree and not just worked for the ministry. I had people telling me that I didn’t really need a degree and you should minister now, because life is short. So that’s what I did, but I made that decision I chose to not go to college and pursue other things. At the time I thought that was God’s will, maybe is was maybe it wasn’t. I’m pretty sure it was but when I look at where I’m at now maybe I missed it. But at the same time I wouldn’t have some of the relationships that I do now. I don’t know if I would have ever gotten married to Alanna and then I wouldn’t have had my two boys, Aiden and Ryan. So maybe that was God’s will and I just don’t have the full picture.

    Lisa you are far smarter than I am and you have researched the crap out of this subject. I am not a doctor or a professional counselor but I am a Christ follower like you and I know that His word is true. I kept fighting myself on whether I should share this because I don’t want to hurt you or make you feel like your feelings aren’t real. Truthfully I just want to be a friend and say, “I’m sorry that you have experienced this.” I think it is awesome that you haven’t walked away from God because of this. I’m praying or you and others that have been hurt by this. I will continue to read your blog and comment when I can.

    Living outside the Bubble,

    Justin
    justincathcart@me.com

    1. Justin,
      Thanks for reading. Thank you also for the honest response. Please keep reading–it seems like I haven’t made my point clear enough yet that things were really that bad. My story isn’t finished. Also check out Jana Bishop and Mike and Lynde Ross’ blogs for more information on what happened in Louisiana.

      Yes, I’ve taken responsibility for being there. I wrestle with that day after day, year after year. How could I be so stupid to be manipulated and brainwashed for so many years? Thanks for refreshing my mind of what haunts me daily. I would like to admit that I feel like I carry myself with a lot of integrity, honesty, and humility since I left and I in no way have pointed the finger at people and not looked at myself introspectively. I think if you knew me well enough, you’d know me well enough to know that. 🙂 Ask Ms. Yvonne.

      Next, I feel it’s unjust to let young people continue to get brainwashed. Don’t you agree? Even if you don’t, it’s my burden to bear and my conscious that I have to live with–not yours. So, I’ll tell my story, not because I’m blaming someone but because it’s responsible, informative and educational.

      Lastly, I leave you with what my mom commented, “My comment is that I have no comment because after reading all this I have to be excused to visit the restroom and vomit in the toilet. Yes, it makes me sick to read what happened to innocent people.”

  2. Justin, its not fair to put the responsibility on impressionable, young people to realize they are being brainwashed and to leave. Especially when they feel that the abuse they are suffering is God’s will.

    In response to your comment: “another part of me that feels like you haven’t really forgiven these people and that you are still a victim.” This just shows me that you don’t understand the depths of pain that cult survivors have been through. She WAS a victim. Its tiring when people are always quick to point out how unforgiving we are when speaking truth and telling our story…God isn’t threatened by that, but I wonder who is? Oh yeah, the cult leaders.

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