New Users’ Information
Our Resources page, found on the top menu, has an abundance of information regarding multiple aspects of abuse. If you do not know where to begin we suggest the following four resources (affiliate links*). They will give you a solid start in understanding the dynamics of domestic abuse whether you are a victim of domestic abuse or a supporter of a victim.
*A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church by Ps Jeff Crippen
*Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion by Barbara Roberts
*21 Sermon Series entitled Domestic Violence and Abuse by Ps Jeff Crippen
*Why Does He DO That? by Lundy Bancroft
Commenting on this Blog
Be mindful when making comments that this is a public blog so your children or family members may see your comments either now or in years to come. This blog is not a like a forum where passwords are required. For those who want a password protected forum, we have some links to FORUMS which you find by scrolling down and looking at the right hand side bar.
The blog is in some ways like a support group for survivors but without the promise of mutual confidentiality that you have in support groups where everyone promises “What is said here, stays here.” We encourage readers to be aware of balancing risks and benefits when using a blog like this.
Also, bear in mind that on the web there is no such thing as complete immunity from hackers. We wish there were!
Tips for staying safe when making comments
Duty of care for our readers is important to us at ACFJ. We try to keep the blog a safe place for survivors of domestic abuse. A place where they won’t be bombarded with comments from abusers or abusers’ allies. And a place where survivors can share without putting themselves at increased risk from their abusers. That is why we moderate every comment before it goes public.
We know that anonymity is important for many of our readers, especially when they are under continuing abuse from their abuser and his allies. As moderators of the blog, we will sometimes edit a comment that we think could pose a safety issue for the commenter. When we edit comments for safety reasons, we remove details that could identify the survivor to her family, friends, church network, etc. We call this ‘disidentifying’ the comment.
We want to share some thoughts and tips about how to remain anonymous and protect your safety when you are submitting comments at ACFJ or at other internet sites. For convenience’s sake, we shall refer to the commenter as female in this post.
Fields in the comment box
This is what the comment box looks like:
You must fill out the first field (Email) under the comment box, but your email address will not be visible on the front of the blog when your comment is published. It is only visible to the members of the ACFJ team who can moderate comments.
The second field (Name) — whatever you write in this field will become the screen name that will show at the top of your comment when it gets published. If you are concerned about protecting your privacy, it is essential to choose a screen name that will not identify you. Sometimes a reader, especially when she first finds our blog, is inexperienced in blogging and cyberspace and because of this she might give a screen name that could give her true identity away.
If you wish to use a screen name that does not identify you:
- Do not use your real name or initials (first, middle, or last).
- Do not use part or all of your email address.
- Your screen name doesn’t have to be a real name. It can be any word, or a combination of letters, numbers, or symbols.
- In most circumstances we encourage readers to use the same screen name for all their comments, so that other commenters “know” who they are talking with. However, there’s nothing wrong with using multiple screen names (and multiple WordPress accounts) if you think your abuser is reading the blog. Multiple screen names may make it more difficult for your abuser to identify you if he is following the blog.
The third field (Website) does not have to be filled out. If you do put a website address in this field and we decide to allow it, when other readers click on your gravatar at that comment they will be taken over to your own website. This may be risky for some of our commenters. When a gravatar is linked to the commenter’s own website, this tends to drive traffic to that person’s website. We decide whether to allow or remove the link to the commenter’s own website on a case by case basis, taking into account the commmenter’s safety risks as we can best guesstimate them, and whether or not we feel okay about giving publicity to the other website.
Your may like to read our Publishing Policy to learn about how we moderate comments.
Following Comments on a Particular Post
To be informed about new comments that come in on a post, you have to comment yourself at that post and then tick the little box that says “notify me of follow up comments via email”.
It’s quite okay to just write as your comment “I’m ticking the box” if that’s all you want to say. You don’t have to wax lyrical!
Commenting on Older Posts
Feel free to submit a comment to any post, no matter how old the post is.
Nesting of Comments
The blog is set to nest up to three levels of comment within a thread. Visually it looks a little like this.
THE POST ITSELF
Person A’s comment is set to the left margin (a level one comment)
Person B comments on A’s (a level two comment)
Person C comments on B’s comment (a level three comment)
There is no ‘reply’ option after a level three comment.
Handy tip: If you have commented on the thread and ticked the ”notify me of follow up comments via email” box, you will get an email for each new comment that comes in on that thread. If you click on the REPLY box in the email notification, your comment will be published underneath the comment you are replying to.
If you comment at the bottom of the thread in the box where it says “Leave a Reply” your comment will be a level one comment. It will not be nested inside previous comments.
It doesn’t matter much if your comment ends up in the wrong place in a thread. But to clarify things, it’s helpful to refer to another comment by the person’s name or by quoting some of what they wrote. Readers can usually make sense of things and put two and two together.
We try to stay on topic in a thread, but we don’t always manage it.
The gravatar in the screen shot above is the little square box with a green design in it. Every WordPress account is given a different gravatar. On A Cry For Justice we have set the default so that gravatars have coloured symetrical patterns. The patterns are generated automatically by WordPress, we have no say in that.
Occasionally one of our commenters has chosen to use their own photo (e.g. Barbara Roberts) or a photo of something other than their own face (e.g. Ida Mae) as their gravatar image. But if you haven’t specifically set your WordPress account so it diplays your chosen image, your comments on this blog will show whatever symetrical coloured pattern that WordPress assigns to you. This gravatar will appear each time a comment of yours is published on this blog. If you use multiple WordPress accounts, each account will have its own gravatar.
We cannot change your gravatar. If you believe your gravatar is putting you at risk, you will need to create a new WordPress account (or multiple accounts) for any future comments you make on the blog. If you desire, we can remove those comments made under your old gravatar and send you the text of them in an email (assuming you are confident your abuser does not have access to your email account), so that you can re-submit those comments, or paraphrases of them, using your new gravatar. But this might be risky if your abuser is a canny and attentive cyberstalker. If you want us to remove published comments of yours, email ‘the woman behind the curtain’ (twbtc) at email@example.com. The same applies if you want to change the screen name of your published comments. We can easily change screen names at the back of the blog.
Also, if you want a comment under a different gravatar you can also email the comment to TWBTC telling her which post you want it added to. She will publish the comment under her gravatar and will say, “This comment was sent to me privately and I’m submitting it here on behalf of the commenter who wished to remain anonymous.” Some of our readers have done this when commenting on sexual abuse matters because they didn’t want their normal gravatar to be like to such a personal disclosure.
The text of your comment
Yourself and your plans
In your comments, avoid mentioning details about yourself or your future plans that are too specific, i.e. occupation, hobbies, safety plans or plans to leave. What is ‘too specific’ will depend on each commenter’s situation. Some commenters are well and truly away from their abuser and no longer suffering post separation abuse — for them, it may be quite safe to reveal identifying details. Others are still living with their abusers or in the early separation stage and/or still working through the court system for child custody and divorce. Some are facing major persecution from their churches. For such readers, it’s usually better to disidentify.
History of your marriage
We encourage commenters to share their accounts of their marriages, but be careful to airbrush details that could be too identifying. For example, rather than saying “We have been married 32 years,” you could say “We’ve been married for about three decades.” Or rather than saying “We’ve been to five marriage counselors in the last 13 years,” you could say “We’ve been to several different marriage counselors over more than a decade.” And rather than saying, “I was 18 when I married him,” you could say “I married him when I was quite young.”
Information about your children, like ages and sexes, can be identifying. We encourage readers to not give exact ages, names, and how many children you have. For example, one could say “my older children” instead of “my three teenage boys”.
Disidentifying can also be important so that your children do not happen across the blog and realize that their mother is writing comments on it about them. Kids can have all sorts of different responses to abuse and to their mother’s needs for support and empathy — and not all those responses that kids have are favorable to the mother.
Family and Friends
Details of interactions your have had with church leaders, friends and family should be avoided because not only may your abuser recognize it, but it is common for leaders, friends and family and adult children of the victim to become the abuser’s allies and they may also read the blog.
Avoid giving details of the abuser’s behavior that might be non-generic. For example, your abuser having committed adultery is generic in that it’s a common feature of many abusers. But the detail about your X leaving the child at home alone, and dropping the child back to your place early after visitation might be a bit identifying, as those behaviors are not as common.
Language to avoid
Kindly refrain from using language that would be offensive to our readers — any word that people like school teachers would consider a swear word or a vulgar term, and use of the Lord’s name as an expletive or a simple expostulation.
Please give your email a descriptive subject line when emailing us.
“Please change my comment” is not very descriptive. Neither is “From Susan.” A descriptive subject line would be “Please change my comment on the ‘Gaslighting’ post.” A good subject line helps us sort through our inboxes and keep track of things. And if you can give us a link to the page or post you are referring to that helps even more.
While we have given broad guidlelines here, each person’s situation is different, so ultimately you know best what is safe to share and what is not. But when in doubt, ask yourself, “If my abuser or my abuser’s allies read this comment, would they know it was me? If they did know, how much could that put me at further risk of abuse? And is that a risk I am willing to take right now?”
Stay on topic with the post
We try to keep threads from becoming too much like private chats — like the kind of thing that often happens on internet forums. Hence, we are reluctant to let the chat flavor develop here. We prefer as far as possible that comments will stay on topic with the post.
Of course, that’s not a black and white thing, as sometimes commenters talk about their personal experiences or realizations that the post brought to their minds . . . and we usually publish such comments so long as the form flavor doesn’t develop. I hope this doesn’t come across as harsh or peremptory, but please kindly bear in mind our guidelines about the blog not being a chat forum.
Including Links or Resources in your Comments
If you want to recommend a resource, a book or a link, please do so by emailing TWBTC at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the only way we will consider them.
With some frequency many of you, our readers, include links or books titles or other resources that you have found to be helpful to you. These suggestions are appreciated in that we know you are trying to share with everyone the things that have aided you in your journey out of abuse.
However it has simply been taking us too much time to check out the links and books that have been recommended in comments. And it was tricky for us as moderators because we have usually wanted to publish the rest of the comment but couldn’t do so until we had checked out the link in the comment text.
At the same time, please remember that we already have an extensive compilation of Resources which you can always access from our top menu, and that while we are prepared to add excellent new resources to that list, we suspect that our Resources are being under-utilized by readers. For example, quite often when a reader asks a question, there are already items in our list of Resources which would help answer their question — Please don’t feel that we hare rapping any of you over the knuckles here! We know that many of our readers are more than exhausted and are battling on so many fronts that they don’t necessarily have time to look through the material on our site. But we do encourage readers to check out our resources more thoroughly, as you are able.