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Anne Miller's Trauma Therapy Fund

$13,378 of $28,000 goal

Raised by 132 people in 15 days
Since brevity is not my gift, if you prefer the "just the facts, ma'am, here they are. The full story is below the bullet list.

To sum this request up:

• One of the stories I've shared through my years in writing and speaking was of my sexual abuse when I was sixteen. The man who abused me was a 25-year-old youth pastor.

• I learned on March 20, 2018, that this man was not appropriately reported to law enforcement by the organization who investigated him internally (in 2007) and found him to have abused me. This man was also given a chance to resign instead of being terminated.

• Within days of me learning he was not reported, I reported him to both CPS and law enforcement. I have been working with them over the last six weeks as they conduct this man's criminal investigation. I have been asked by law enforcement to not publicly reveal this person's name to protect the integrity of this investigation.


• This amount of "re-hashing" what happened has caused the trauma to resurface in my life, hitting my mental health very hard. In the last few months, I have been extremely anxious, depressed, and at times, wishing I was not alive.

• I need very specific help that my general counseling and psychiatry appointments cannot provide.

• My family and mentors and treatment team (including me) have determined Onsite's Milestones Trauma Program is the best place for me to get this help. I start treatment on Tuesday 5/15.

• This help costs $28,000, of which we have $2,000 (we just put a downpayment on a house before this happened which exhausted most of our savings).

• I cannot make the SBC or its ancillary organizations or the criminal who molested me for six months pay for this.

• I am afraid that if I do not receive this treatment, I will not be healed or be able to serve others in any capacity that is meaningful. I honestly fight to find the energy to leave my bed most days and it is getting worse and worse.

****

The Full Story:

If you read any of my books or my blog, you know that I was sexually abused in 1996, when I was just 16 years old. The man who did this was a 25-year-old seminary student and youth pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention. You also did know I did not recognize it as abuse until I was his age in 2005. The day after I recognized it as abuse, I went to a church counselor within my SBC church where I worked who told me to work on my forgiveness and that to do anything about it would do more harm than good to the body of Christ, the church. I followed that counsel and that is what I did. 

A year later, in 2006, at the suggestion of my counselor, I wrote my abuser a letter saying I forgave him for what happened. He never responded. I felt somewhat free but constantly haunted by flashbacks of the experience triggered by things that reminded me of him. 

I began writing more about the experience of forgiving him for my local church newsletter and as a result, I had a friend come to me with her own story in 2007. Since we both were in the same denomination, I told my friend where my abuser worked–in a position of leadership within one of the many autonomous organizations in the SBC. I did not know her father worked with the same organization. She told her father who in turn told the organization.

That organization confronted my abuser with this and he denied it. They conducted an investigation that lasted months. I had to tell them every detail of what happened. I did not know then, but what I experienced was revictimization. At one point, my body went into shock during the investigation. 

The internal investigation within the SBC concluded that this man DID sexually abuse me, a child, when he was 25. 

Even though I knew this man was still working at a large church, I was under the impression he was terminated from the position with this organization.

On March 20, 2018, when I asked this organization directly, I learned he was not terminated and was given a chance to resign. I then asked the legal counsel for this investigation if they reported it to law enforcement, as is mandatory in Texas. They did not because they did not believe that is what I wanted. What I wanted doesn’t matter.

It is and was required by law for them to report it. The law says this is a felony: indecency with a child of at least five counts. I remember five times specifically, but I am sure there are more. Yet they did not report it.

This man presently serves in a position of leadership with more stature and responsibility than before. When, over the course of the last decade since the internal investigation, I asked how it was possible, I was told to “let it go” because to dwell on it or to desire what the SBC termed “reconciliation” (what the law and what I consider is justice) would cause me more harm than good.

In 2010, I was diagnosed with PTSD because of this abuse and was hospitalized at a trauma-specific psychiatric hospital for a month to work on healing from this and other issues that stemmed from it. This treatment was incredibly effective and allowed me to write and speak and engage as you know me. It allowed me to find healing and to find me again. It allowed me to share that hope and healing with others during my tenure as a religious writer and speaker.



When I learned this crime was not reported, I reported it. I reported what happened to CPS on March 23, 2018 and made a police report on April 4, 2018. On both occasions, within 24 hours, the authorities followed up with me and are pursuing this man for a criminal investigation. They said they don’t care if it happened 22 seconds, 22 months, or 22 years ago. It’s a felony and justice needs to be served. I have been working diligently with the crimes against children (CAC) unit task force of this police department over the last six weeks. I had no idea the trauma would resurface as it has. I even joked with some of the detectives about how much counseling I had; I thought I would be okay.

I have never been so wrong in my life.

This experience has shaken me to my core. I am eternally grateful for my the CAC unit, the DA, and others involved and am grateful for all they have done and continue to do. However, in working with them, I have had to re-live many moments of my abuse. I knew this was a risk but one that I am willing to take. I’ve also suffered from the shame and guilt for NOT reporting this sooner because I realize there are likely other victims that I could have saved if I would have gone to the authorities first and not the church.

The courage it took to come forward to law enforcement may be admirable, but I now understand why more victims do not come forward. My anxiety has rendered me a shell of who I was. There have been many days in the last month where I cannot leave my bed, where I am medicated to the max just so I don’t return to the level of shock and dissociation I have previously experienced. I went to a short-term psychiatric hospital. I explored a partial hospitalization program locally. I have been faithfully seeing a psychiatrist since even before I went to the police. I thought I was prepared to handle this, but my level of re-experience trauma is beyond stable.

It breaks my heart beyond words to hear our 21-month old daughter playing in our living room with her dad or her grandma while I stay in our bedroom unable to move. Every time I hear “Mama?” and the response, “Mama’s sleeping” makes me not want to continue living. Please know I am safe. I am not suicidal although I have had suicidal ideations and that is why I am seeking this help urgently. I am afraid if I do not get the help I need soon, I will never get me back again. My daughter will never have her whole mama and my husband will never have the woman he married back.

After talking at length with counselors, my family, my spiritual family and law enforcement, we have concluded that I need to be stabilized in an inpatient trauma facility. Instead of going to the hospital I went to in 2010, we have decided that Onsite’s Residential 30-day Trauma Program in Tennessee is the right place for me to find this healing my heart and mind so desperately need. I will start treatment on Tuesday, May 15, 2018.

Before this all happened, Tim and I were saving to buy a house so that we can give our daughter a safe neighborhood to live and learn and love in. We had just paid our down payment on our house which now only leaves us with a little bit of savings when all of this happened. We will be using what money we have to help pay for treatment, but the total cost for the 30 days is $28,000. They are willing to work with me on this cost, and I want to let them know I am fully invested in my treatment and they deserve to be paid for the necessary and exceptional work they do.

I am asking for help. For any support you can provide.  That doesn't necessarily mean money, but money is needed.

I think the SBC and the organizations for which this man worked, and the man personally should be held responsible for paying for this treatment and any other treatment I need for the rest of my life. However, the statute of limitations for the civil part of my abuse is long gone. I can not sue them for treatment costs.

I have pushed Tim, my best friends, and my advocacy group so far back against asking for help publicly. It seems opportunistic and wrong to me, but I have been assured this is the right thing to do and so I trust those that are thinking with a clearer mind than mine.

We can contribute $2,000 to this out of our own money. I need to raise $26,000 to cover the cost of the treatment. The cost of transportation, the cost of childcare, the cost of my husband having to take off from work, the cost of me losing work...these are all costs we can absorb, although they are a sacrifice.

The cost of treatment for me is beyond reach for us, and so I ask your help. So that you know your money is going to pay for this treatment and that alone, I will provide every donor with my final statement from the hospital when my treatment is complete. You can donate through this page, through personal check, or even directly to Onsite.

You all have given so much of yourselves to me and my family through the years and I pray this does not feel as if I am taking advantage of you.

Thank you for reading this, and for your prayers, and if you can, your donation.

With love,

Anne Marie Miller

Author of Mad Church Disease (by Anne Jackson), Permission to Speak Freely (by Anne Jackson), Lean on Me, and 5 Things Every Parent Needs to Know About Their Kids and Sex

Former Blogger at FlowerDust.net, AnneMarieMiller.com

**I have been asked by law enforcement to not publicly reveal this person's name to protect the integrity of this investigation.
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Hi, everyone. I got a pass from my therapist to go online for a few minutes and I wanted to check in. I've been here a week now and it is remarkable. It's also truly scary to look into past traumatic events such as this sexual trauma and try to make peace with the past, so to speak. I have learned that the man who abused me is likely on administrative leave or will be soon. That's good, but it also means that there is still denial as what happened. If you're the praying sort, would you please pray that he can find healing too? I'm reminded about praying for our enemies and in no means do I consider him my enemy, but a hurt person who hurt me. Thank you all for your donations and sharing this. We still have a ways to go but I know what needs to happen will happen, and I believe this about everything in regard to this situation.

With so much love and gratitude,
Anne Miller
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Well my friends, I am heading to Onsite via lunch with a dear friend beforehand. I cannot thank you enough for your endless support and encouragement. I’m blown away by your generosity. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will not have access to the internet for a month, but I will check in as soon as I can. I love y’all.
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I wrote a letter to Charlotte last night, the night I said goodbye.

Dear Baby Girl,

First, you’re not really much of a baby now, are you? I can’t believe you’re almost two years old. So big, yet so small. So fiercely loving even though you don’t even know how big of a heart you have or how much this world needs it.

Even though we’ll talk about it when you’re older, I wanted to write a few things down while I was living them live, in real time.

Last night when I put you down in your bed, prayed our prayer, and stepped out of the room, I started weeping because it was the last time I will get to see your face for the next month. Those closest to me know the heartbreak that comes in saying goodbye, even when it’s for a good thing. I’m afraid my absence will damage your heart or your mind. I’m afraid you will think I am gone forever. Or that I left you and don’t love you. Or that you did something wrong to make me leave.

My girl, none of those things are true.

Ever since the moment I knew you existed inside me, since the day when your dad and I saw your jumping tadpole body on the ultrasound, I have loved you with a love that only grows stronger with each day. The amount of gratitude I have for you feels like taking a deep breath of the purest oxygen and I feel my chest rise with gladness, the molecules of thankfulness penetrating each one of my cells.

It seems you grow up every night we put you to bed and you’re impossibly more beautiful, more lovely, more smart, more curious, and more surprising than the day you were born. I don’t know how this is possible, but with close to 22 months under our belt, it’s safe to say the research has been consistent.

Fear consumes me when I think about what could happen to you out in the world, whether by accident or on purpose. Part of me (most of me) dreams of a world where you do not fight the mental demons your father and I fight. That you trust fully but wisely. That no harm falls on you. That your heart never breaks.

Even if, baby, even if…

If your brain tells you lies, you’ll know the truth.
If someone breaks your trust, it won’t break you.
If harm falls on you, it won’t bury you deep.
If your heart breaks, it won’t always bleed.

And should you feel like the lies, the breaking, the burying, and the bleeding become too much, look all around you because you are so loved. Ask for help when you need it and you’ll have an army already by your side.

So, my sweetest girl, I want you to know that it’s all worth fighting for.

That’s why I’m gone for now.

I’m out fighting for me, for you, and in a way, for others so that maybe I can be hope to them too.

My brain tells me lies, so I’m fighting for the truth.
Someone broke my trust I’m fighting to be made new.
Harm fell on me so I’m fighting out of the heap.
My heart is broken and I’m fighting to be free.

I love you, baby. I love you.

Mama
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Was reading a book and struck by this line. You are my fighters. “It takes monsters to steal souls and fighters to reclaim them.” - rupi kaur
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$13,378 of $28,000 goal

Raised by 132 people in 15 days
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