Shannon Leigh Stigmata Church
Title: The Church of the Stigmata
Author: Shannon Leigh
Those of us who have been abused by and in the church are a stigmata of Christ. We are St. Thomas touching the wounds of Christ. We are St. Francis of Assisi with bloodied hands and feet. When another in the Body is hurt, we bleed together.
You talk of salvation while you disown our inclusion in the Body. We are that unbecoming and unmentionable part of the Body. The hidden part. The part that defiles your purity laws. Because those who we had trusted, even our shepherds, took advantage of us. We tried to use our voices, but you didn’t listen. How much more do we need to bleed before you believe us? Instead, we bleed for each other.
Trauma and attachment injuries have brought us to the place where we no longer feel our own wounds. Instead we bleed tears of blood for our hurting siblings. Dissociation and freeze mode were our go-to coping techniques for protecting ourselves. You ask us to recount our traumas and often they come out jumbled. Or not at all. Conversely, we give a clear account, but it sounds like we witnessed the crime, rather than survived it. In a way we were witnesses. Do you know what it feels like to not feel your body while being raped? To feel like an observer in the midst of your own abuse. This distancing from ourselves kept us alive, but now makes it difficult to connect in normal relationships.
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