Monday, January 3, 2011
That’s Sue and Tommy Gilmore in the photo. This is an update to yesterday’s post.
Take a good look at that woman: Sue Gilmore.
As a young church girl, I was made to apologize to her. And I did.
That’s right. Her husband, minister Tommy Gilmore, sexually abused me, repeatedly and severely, but in the end, I was the one who apologized. I stood there in front of Sue Gilmore in her husband’s office at the church, and I flat-out blubbered. I literally begged her to forgive me for what I had done.
“It was all my fault,” I said. That was what he had instructed me to say. And so I said it.
As a kid, I actually believed it.
But she was a grown adult. She was a mother. What in the world was she thinking?
She stood there stone cold. She glared at me and said only four words: “I’ll pray for you.”
And I just kept blubbering.
That pathetic image of my adolescent self is seared in my brain . . . along with so many other dreadful images. And all of them arrive with a soundtrack of Bible verses and religious chicanery.
That woman – Sue Gilmore – has a son and daughter of her own. If some minister had done to her own daughter what her husband did to me, what would Sue Gilmore have said then? I wonder.
Tommy Gilmore should have been criminally prosecuted. But because so many other so-called good Christians covered for him – other Baptist ministers and even his wife – he wasn’t. She herself was part of the cover-up.
The reason the two of them are spaced far apart in that photo is because I cropped out one of their grand-kids who was seated between them. So that raised another question in my mind. What if some minister sexually abused one of Sue Gilmore’s grand-kids in the way that her husband did me? What would Sue say then?
Thanks to the person who directed me to this more current photo; thanks to the person who provided the info about Gilmore being shown on TV at FBC-Orlando; and thanks to all of you for your thoughts. The psychic pit of rot that is the residue of clergy sex abuse never really totally goes away, does it? But we carry on. We survive. And sometimes we even thrive. Now if I can just claw myself back out of this pit, I know the sunshine will stifle the stench.
Posted by Christa Brown at 9:35 PM