Listening In: Mary DeMuth

WARREN SMITH, HOST: I’m Warren Smith, and today you’re listening in on my conversation with author, speaker, and sexual abuse survivor Mary DeMuth.

Mary DeMuth is a writer and speaker who, as she describes it, “loves to help people live re-storied lives.” What is a “re-storied life”?  She says it’s a life in which we allow God to use the sometimes dark stories of our lives and turn them into something beautiful. She’s the author of more than 30 books, and she’s the host of the popular daily podcast Pray Every Day, a podcast in which she prays through Scripture every day of the year. She’s also a wife and mother.

Mary DeMuth is with us today because of her recent book We Too: How The Church can Respond Redemptively to the Sexual Abuse Crisis.

I had this conversation with Mary DeMuth in Dallas, Texas, at the Caring Well conference hosted by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and I began by asking her what her overarching message was for those at the conference, and for those who read her book.

MARY DEMUTH, GUEST: I think we have viewed sexual abuse survivors as problems. And I actually believe that they are a pathway toward Jesus. And that if we want to understand the heart of Jesus, we’re going to interact with people and see them as benefits to us instead of a problem to be solved.

SMITH: Well, that’s a beautiful sentiment. But it’s also kind of a hard lesson. I mean, because people could—if they wanted to—could twist that to say, Oh, so it’s a good thing that sexual abuse exists. It’s a good thing that we live in a broken world. I don’t think that’s what you’re saying. 

DEMUTH: No, just that I think people who have learned their lack have learned how to marry their lack to Jesus’s strength. And so they have a unique ability to understand him in a way that maybe other people don’t. So there’s a benefit there in that sense, in that particular way.

SMITH: Yeah. You begin your book with a couple of sort of metaphors and stories that I’d like for you to share with our listeners today. One is a little section that you call a tale of two cats. Would you tell that story?

DEMUTH: Yes. So, I teach a writer’s intensive in Europe. And while I was there, I ran into this cat. And the cat was very mean and it was in this little medieval French village. And I went to go, I was like, Hey, kitty, kitty kitty. And it was like [meows] and tried to grab me and hit me with its paw. And then a couple of days later I took a walk and there was another kitty cat in the middle of the field. And I called it and it ran to me and it jumped up into my arms. And there’s just something to be said about how we look at sexual abuse victims that sometimes the church to them can be like me approaching the scared, angry cat. Like, they’re going to lash out because they have perceived their whole lives in that village that they’re going to be accosted or hurt or misunderstood. Whereas the country kitty, it probably had a really good experience with his, you know, his owners and so therefore trusted me. And so having that idea has been kind of helpful for me in the way that I interact with people realizing they could be scared or hurt. 

SMITH: Yeah. Well let me unpack that just a little bit for you because that says a lot about the cat—the respective cats—and it also says a lot about the people that they get interacted with as well. And I know a part of the overarching message of your book and also of your ministry is to, number one, when we look at the cats who look the same as a church, we’ve got to be discerning about differentiating, you know, which cat is which, so to speak, right? So that we can behave appropriately towards which cat. But it also on the other side of the coin, it also says, you know, we need to be the right kind of human beings as well, right? I mean, the church can respond well or respond poorly and we need to respond well. We need to respond better. We need to be more sensitive. We need to be more understanding than we have been in the past. Is that fair? Is that a fair assessment?

DEMUTH: Yes, thank you. I think that’s a really good assessment and having that kind of a posture of listening and empathy will go a really long way with people who are hurting.

SMITH: Yeah. Well, and I think that a part of the implications of your book, you know, how the church can respond redemptively to the sexual abuse crisis and that story is that unfortunately too often we have not in the past. Is that fair?

DEMUTH: Right. And that was kind of the metaphor of when an animal has experienced bad owners or constant harm, they’re not going to trust. They become a feral cat. But if they’ve had a nurturing environment, then they tend to trust. And so if we’ve been that bad environment for them, it’s no wonder that’s the kind of backlash we’ll receive.

SMITH: Well, yeah. And you know, it’s one thing to just say, well, okay, be nice, right? Do better, do good. But one of the things I love about your book is that you immediately dive into scripture to back that up. I mean, you tell the story of the Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan sort of back-to-back. Would you unpack those stories a little bit for me? I mean, I think a lot of our listeners are going to know the biblical story of the Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan, but why are those stories particularly relevant to us as we examine the sexual abuse crisis in the culture generally, but specifically in the church?

DEMUTH: Right. So when we look at the Good Samaritan narrative, it’s fascinating to me that when Jesus tells a story, he’s placing us in the victim’s mind. This is a Jewish person who’s going down to Jerusalem and his very own people walk by him. And not only that, his religious leader people. So these are his peeps and they are walking along the other side. And the narrative isn’t there, but they also—it doesn’t say whether they did this, but they never reported it. Like they didn’t like get to the synagogue and go, Oh, there’s this guy that got, you know, I know I’m not supposed to touch him because unclean, unclean. But there’s never any report of what they do when they get beyond him. And then we have the Samaritan coming alongside and just absolutely, you know, doing everything beautiful, which is such an interesting paradox because as we know, Samaritans aren’t loved.

And I was just reading recently in the gospels where the Pharisees compared Jesus to a Samaritan. And I thought that was fascinating. Like that was the worst thing you could ever call someone. And in today’s culture with this issue of sexual abuse, sadly, it has been the Samaritans, those on the outside, who like the press and the legal system, those are the ones that are coming alongside victims in a very profound and tangible way. And it’s the leaders who should have been the ones, should’ve been their peeps, who are walking along on the other side.

SMITH: You know, Mary, I’m going to ask you a question or kind of a couple or three questions here that will allow you, I hope, to tell as much of your story as you’re comfortable with and also coach me in the process. You are—and this is where I need the coaching. Do you prefer to think of yourself as a sexual abuse victim, a sexual abuse survivor? Is there other language that we should be using or is one of those OK?

DEMUTH: I don’t really mind whatever people call me is fine. I’m not offended by either. I tend to call myself a survivor because I don’t like the word victim. It makes me feel like I had no volition or that there’s no way for me to get out of that situation and that I’ll be permanently victimized for the rest of my life by that word. But I know that people sometimes think it’s a really good word because in a sense they were truly victimized. So I don’t really, I’m not really worried about the semantics of either of those words.

SMITH: Well, would you tell a little bit of your story and why obviously that story, you know, created such passion for you around this issue.

DEMUTH: Yeah. So I was sexually abused as a kindergartener for most of my kindergarten career and I—

SMITH: By older—

DEMUTH: By older boys in the neighborhood. Significantly older, like 16, 17 years old. And there was no grooming for what they did. They just took me from my babysitter’s house and started sexually abusing me. And of course they told me that they would kill my parents if I told. And they were threatening in other ways. They also used a bad word to describe what they were doing. And I was just afraid. I was a good little girl and I didn’t want to say that bad word. But eventually they started inviting more people and it became to be really untenable. Lots of different older guys. And it would happen sometimes in their house while their mom was baking cookies in the other room, which I just don’t know what she was thinking.

And I knew in my mind that if I didn’t tell anyone I was going to just be killed. I felt like my life was ending. So weirdly, I didn’t tell my parents. I told my babysitter, who had pushed me out and into their grips and she said, I will tell your mom. The next day, I thought, you know, this is solved. This is not going to have to happen anymore. It’s done. I didn’t think about like, Oh, I want them to be prosecuted. I was only five. I just wanted it to stop. Next day, boys knock on the door, the babysitter opens the door, pushes me out. And I think my mom knows and she doesn’t care because I believed as a five-year-old that adults tell the truth always. And so at that point I had to learn how to protect myself because no human being on the whole wide world was ever going to protect me.

And so at that point, the cleverness of my little gritty five-year-old self decided I would sleep. And that did save me for like the last month of my kindergarten year. I would just get home or get to the babysitters and I would pull the covers over my head and I would not be roused. And she was lazy enough that she didn’t want to push me out into the air with those boys again. And so that’s kind of the background. I also had a father who was a perpetrator as well and had all sorts of terrible things that he was doing to groom me and, you know, be an inappropriate father. So I had it in every kind of facet of my life. And eventually met Christ at 15 and started that healing journey at that point.

SMITH: Well I want to talk more about that part of your journey, but let’s back up to between five and 15. What impact—you were able through sort of your wits, limited though they were as a five-year-old, you know, you were moved into a survival mode and you were able to make it stop at least with those boys if not with your father. But what impact did that have on you?

DEMUTH: I was devastated. I felt like no human cared about me. Looking back now, I know that there would have been physical evidence of what was happening, but my family of origin just didn’t care to look or notice or maybe they noticed, but they just didn’t do anything. There was no intervention. And I also felt like everyone was finding me—all these other predators would just find me and I had to fight my way through those years of pushing away or running—lots of running away, screaming, yelling. I’m just trying to get safe all the time and being hypervigilant for all those years.

SMITH: Well, looking back on that, do you think, I mean, you told your babysitter and your babysitter told you that she was going to tell your mother. Do you think that actually happened? 

DEMUTH: I’m not sure. I can’t confirm or deny. I just don’t know. But I also know that there would’ve been physical evidence. So I do think that my family of origin definitely knew. They just chose not to do anything about it. But also because I believe that my babysitter did—whether she did or didn’t—I thought my parents don’t care. 

SMITH: Yeah. So, yeah, I mean obviously at one level it’s irrelevant. 

DEMUTH: Yeah, it’s like I knew that I wasn’t going to get taken care of.

SMIT: I guess the real spirit of my question, Mary, is that abuse can only thrive in an environment where either people don’t know—and that’s the value of a conference like this where we can educate ourselves—or know and don’t care.

DEMUTH: Right. 

SMITH: And so often in your story and Rachael Denhollander’s story and many, many other stories that I know about, once the story finally comes out, it’s amazing to me how many people actually really do know. And they didn’t want to face the reality of it. They didn’t want to take responsibility for solving the problem. Like, maybe the Jewish leaders who you know, passed by the man on the side of the road. Yeah, maybe they could, you know, plausibly say, I can’t touch him because he’s unclean, but they could have informed somebody and they chose not to do that. Which is one of the reasons why you tell that story. So, I don’t know if there’s a question in here or not, but it’s just kind of like you know, we need to know, we need to look for the signs. We need to know the signs. We need to take greater responsibility for the five-year-old kindergarteners in the world. Is that part of what your message is here?

DEMUTH: That is absolutely what my message is. And just to be, you know, you asked at the beginning about the Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan and the Good Shepherd narrative is powerful to me because a good shepherd takes care of his sheep. And part of that is understanding these kinds of outcries of children and young adults and adults of what’s going on and to really shepherd them is not to pretend the issue doesn’t exist or to be too uncomfortable with it so you won’t ever talk about it. To be a good shepherd is to actually address it with truth and love and authenticity and to say, yeah, this might, you know, open up the floodgates of a bunch of people crying and being sad and working through their issues. But isn’t that what a shepherd is supposed to do? He’s supposed to lead us by still and quiet waters. He’s supposed to restore our soul. He’s supposed to care for the souls of the people underneath their care. 

And I think part of this can relate a bit to the American system of churches, which can tend to be a little more corporate and less connected. And so I think there’s also partially a revival I believe that God wants to re-enact in our structures so that we’re not so much heavy on we must make this corporation thrive, but we’re only as healthy as our weakest members are. So we need to get back to what does it mean to be a good shepherd?

SMITH: Mary, in the last segment you talked about how the good shepherd leads us beside still waters and restores our soul. Restoration is a big part of what your book is about. And you talk, for example, about restorative justice in your book. You use another biblical story, the story of Zacchaeus and, well, say more about that. Say why you use that story of Zacchaeus specifically and why that idea of restoration is so important in this arena. 

DEMUTH: I read something really fascinating by Dr. Sandra Glahn and I quote her in the book and she’s a professor at Dallas Seminary and she kind of took it to a ridiculous level and she had Zacchaeus, you know, what if he were a sexual offender basically and he was encountering Jesus and everything was going to be different. Well, how would that look if he was going to give restorative justice? Well, it wouldn’t—true restorative justice and his way was to give back money to, you know, a certain amount times more than what he had received. 

SMITH: Yeah, I mean, Zacchaeus was a tax collector. And—

DEMUTH: So he was going to give back. And so restorative justice then in this case, in sexual abuse would be acknowledging what you’ve done in making reparations for how that might have damaged someone. And, as we know, trauma is such a difficult thing to get through. I think we forget about the power of that. 

SMITH: Well, what would that look like practically? Because, first of all, as someone who has worked with Chuck Colson over the years in his prison fellowship ministries, the idea of restorative justice is not a new one to me at all. And even in our criminal justice system, the idea of paying restitution as part of a legal criminal settlement is not unknown to the system. How do you give someone back the years that they have robbed? How do you give a child back their innocence in their childhood? How do you do that? 

DEMUTH: Yeah, it’s a fascinating question and I don’t know that I have the full answer to it just to be really honest. But there was a book I read and it’s also a documentary called As We forgive by Catherine Claire Larson, and it’s about the Rwandan Holocaust and how they had all of these people in jail and they couldn’t hold them anymore. And all these people had killed everybody else. And so they were coming back onto the streets and they basically partnered with the church in trying to figure out how can we integrate these people back into society. And it was that element of that person who killed your husband now has to build you a house. And just the pain of it all and the fear of the victim. And it was just a really beautifully done thing. After I read that, I wept and I thought, I don’t think I understand forgiveness quite as much as I should because there was some really beautiful places in there. 

I have not encountered a lot of repentant sexual predators. And so that, I mean, just to be really honest just haven’t seen that very often. And the stats are that it doesn’t happen very often. 

SMITH: Well, I’m wondering, though, if that’s because our criminal justice system and every structure is kind of set up not to compel that kind of repentance. We don’t ask for too often. We’ll send them to jail for the rest of their lives in some cases, most of the time we don’t even do that. But there are very few opportunities in the criminal justice system for the victims to speak out.

DEMUTH: Right. 

SMITH: And for them to actually hear, I’m sorry, will you forgive me from a perpetrator. The system is just not set up for that. There’s so many plea deals and bargains and men that are just never held to account. 

DEMUTH: Or we have the other thing happen where you’ll have a perpetrator and a victim in a pastor’s office and the pastor will say to the perpetrator, are you sorry? Oh yes, I’m very sorry. Which usually means I’m sorry I’m caught. And then he’ll say to the victim, you need to forgive now because he has repented. And then you’ve got this crazy cheap grace going on that is really mean and not accurate. And then you’ve suddenly placed your expectations on a victim to quickly forgive when they haven’t even processed their trauma.

SMITH: Mary, there’s another aspect of your book that I wanted you to talk a little bit about and that is the relationship between abuse and pornography. Would you say more about that and why that relationship is so important and why it is so often overlooked?

DEMUTH: I think we have grossly misunderstood the prevalence and the pervasiveness of porn. And I think it fuels the sexual abuse crisis. It certainly fuels human trafficking. And it also fuels rape because if you’re watching images of a person overpowering another and yet they somehow portray that as the woman or the victim wants to be overpowered, then suddenly men who watch that or women who watch that think it’s okay and they want that. And so you’ve got a lot of confused people out there thinking, well, she says no, but she means yes because this is how porn has been portraying it. Plus, we’ve got this whole fueling of the fact that if you’re watching it so much, then inevitably you tend to act on it. There was a new statistic I heard that if there is a picture of child porn on your computer, the statistics are that there have been at least a hundred touch contacts that represent that one picture. So, if you’ve got child porn on your computer, you’ve had a hundred touch violations. It could be one victim of a hundred touches. But that’s the stat. And so we have to just wake up about this. 

My father was a purveyor and a creator of porn. I struggled with porn addiction in my late teens, early twenties, as a sexual abuse victim and being exposed to it constantly as a child. And that also ruins this idea of imago dei, like the image of God in each other. And when we stop seeing other people as human beings created by God, then we can believe that you are a thing to be used for my pleasure. And that’s, I think, the pervasive message of porn that drives all of this. And we just simply don’t talk about how it’s interrelated to sexual abuse.

DEMUTH: Well, since you brought up your own struggles with pornography, I want to come back to your story a little bit. So, you were first sexually abused in kindergarten around five years old. You mentioned earlier that you became a Christian when you were about 15 years old, but you then you said that you struggled with pornography in your late teen years and early twenties. All of which is to say that while you and I, and many of our listeners of course, believe in the transformative power of Christ in the Holy Spirit, it doesn’t happen overnight, does it? 

DEMUTH: No, I wish it did. And when I became a Christian, I thought that would go away. Like I figured I’d just be delivered of everything. And I also thought I would be instantly healed from all that pain and all the trauma. And that didn’t happen either. And so that made it hard for me to, in a way, trust Christ. And I think that’s part of the evangelical message that we have gotten wrong. We want that victory story and we tell people, if you meet Jesus, everything’s going to be solved. We don’t necessarily say it in those words, but that’s kind of the connotation that we get. And so then there’s all the self hatred of why can’t I get over this? Jesus is in my life now. I should have a victory story. And why am I still triggered? Why am I still afraid when I walked down the street? All these things, it’s a process and it’s a discipleship journey. And I don’t think discipleship is about memorizing a bunch of verses and meeting for coffee at Starbucks. I think discipleship is training each other how to work through these kinds of questions. What does it mean to love Jesus in the midst of these kinds of struggles? What does it mean to love Jesus when you’re triggered? What does it mean to love Jesus and be healed on that healing journey, compartmentally and as you continue along as you continue to walk with him.

SMITH: Well, let me fast forward you through that process just a little bit because I’m going to assume, let’s just stipulate for the record, that while you’re never probably completely healed from some of the trauma that you experienced, that you’ve experienced a lot of healing in your life. What made the difference? What did the church do that helped? What did the church do that was maybe not so helpful? What did you do that helped?

DEMUTH: What I did is I just desperately wanted to be whole and I knew that if I was going to start a new family with a new way, with a stake in the ground saying no longer on my watch, that I had to pursue healing. It was something I had an insatiable need for and therefore I had an insatiable need for Jesus. And I just kept chasing after it and chasing after it and chasing after it. The church did well in when I was in those younger years—probably college years—I had these people that just would listen to me and they would pray for me. And that’s where a lot of that healing came from. The lion’s share of my healing came from just people listening and praying.

SMITH: And that happened in college? You were able to talk openly with—?

DEMUTH: Weirdly, I was, yes. I think that’s part of the way God has made me. I’m a communicator, so he used my very nature and the way I was created to be a part of my healing. 

SMITH: Well, and you say weirdly I was, and I think if I can sort of, you know, correct me if I’m wrong here—give me some coaching in this because I’m new talking about these kinds of issues as well—that it’s weirdly because so many people can’t. So many people are not able to—so many people even talking about it, you know, takes them right back to that space when they were five or six or 10 or 20 or whatever age it was. And I don’t want to turn that reality, at least what I think you’re saying there as a reality, into some glib piece of advice—well go talk to somebody. Like you said, that was easier for you than it would be for others. But talking about it really does help, right? Naming it really does help. 

DEMUTH: Absolutely. And I think shame flourishes in silence and that darkness can be pervasive and it causes suicidal ideation. And depression and anxiety because you think you’re crazy and you think you’re the only one with that story. Even though you could read online that you’re not the only one, it’s still you intrinsically feel that you are. And so when we can find a safe person—so I wouldn’t do what I did. I started blabbing to everybody because I was so desperate to be well. Thankfully they landed on safe ears, but I’m sure that there have been times, I know there have been times, where I have overshared with an unsafe person. And so if you’re going to make that first declaration, one of the things that’s difficult about the Me Too movement is that it encouraged people just to say, yeah, me too, without the context of community and safety and kindness and someone who’s going to shepherd your story with tenderness and compassion versus just like, I’m just going to say it and then that’s their first declaration and there’s no one to pick up the pieces. It can be a very lonely and scary thing to do. 

SMITH: Mary, before we go any further, maybe it would be worth just recounting, you know, how big a problem is this? I mean, you’ve got a section in your book where you just sort of recount some of the statistics in there. They’re pretty daunting and pretty overwhelming. 

DEMUTH: They are. 35 percent of women have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime over the whole world. 57 percent of Bangladeshi women, 77 percent of Cambodian women, 79 percent of Indian women, 87 percent of Vietnamese women, 99 percent of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual harassment. This is a worldwide problem. And I think the church in America has a chance to lead in this, hopefully, but it’s a bigger problem. And whenever I’ve spoken in other parts of the world, I have longer lines of men and women coming up to me afterwards saying, yes, that’s my story and it breaks my heart. 

SMITH: Mary, you said your experience was one of just sort of blabbing to everybody and just by God’s grace those words landed on safe ears. It’s not always a case of you said. But if there is any place that should be that safe place, it’s the church. And I know that’s not always the case for women who’ve encountered sexual abuse. I know you know Rachael Denhollander’s story, that wasn’t the case for her in a couple of situations where she was in church, for example. How can the church be that safe place?

DEMUTH: I think it’s super simple. It gets down to just empathy and listening and instead of jumping to a Christian cliche and try to put a bandaid on something that’s an open wound, just to simply listen and ask, how can I pray for you? How can I love you? What could this look like? And just simply listen. And if someone’s crying and they’re sharing their story, just to cry with them. It seems kinda like Christianity 101, but just be kind. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated, which is, you know, the golden rule. So yeah.

SMITH: Well, it seems to me, too, that a part of this—and of course your book even suggests as to a certain extent, right—is at some point we’ve got to just get like super honest with ourselves, right? That pornography is not other people’s problem. That sexual abuse is not someone else’s problem. It’s not the Boy Scouts’ problem. It’s not the Catholic Church’s problem. It’s our problem, too. And whenever we can have that level of honesty about ourselves, it is humbling and maybe at least it should make us better listeners.

DEMUTH: Yes. And to have that humility and also like Nehemiah to own your nation’s sins and pray before the Lord and ask for forgiveness on behalf. It wasn’t his fault, but he still prayed and asked on behalf of his peeps, you know, his people like we did this, we’re sorry. He owned it himself. And I think leaders in the churches need to say, I didn’t personally do this, but we as a culture in the church have strangled people and strangled their voices for far too long and we’re sorry, we’re not going to do that anymore.

SMITH: Well, I think that may be why—and correct me if I’m wrong—that you say that a lot of times the church is not a safe places because we have bad theology. We have a bad theology about of the fall and what it means to be, you know, fallen and broken human beings. We have a bad theology when it comes to who God is. That God, yes, he’s a God of grace and he’s a God of love and he’s—but he’s also a God of justice  and it angers and grieves him whenever he sees this in our church and ourselves. Is that a fair assessment?

DEMUTH: Yes. We are so much about love, but we forget that love and justice hold hands and if we’re any sort of student of the Old Testament, which I adore the Old Testament, we cannot get away from the justice nature of God. And for some reason we’ve divorced like the Old Testament is justice and the New Testament is love. But those are both intertwined throughout the whole narrative of the gospel story. And so, yes, we have to have a robust theology of what is sin, what is separation from God? Why is God always talking about the quartet of the vulnerable—the alien, the widow, the orphan, and the poor. Those four people that he’s always on their side, so that’s a God of justice.

SMITH: Well, it seems like if we’ve got a robust biblical theology, we should understand that God doesn’t merely erase sin. He paid for it. And there’s a real difference between those two, right? It doesn’t just say, well, this doesn’t matter. I’m going to brush it aside. He says, no, it really is a big deal, and that’s the reason I had to send my son Jesus for it, the most precious person to me, and we forget that as a church. It sounds to me that that’s what you’re saying when you say we’ve got bad theology. We don’t understand that sin is so consequential and that it requires such a great price

DEMUTH: And also have to remember the two essences of that on Jesus is bearing sin, but he’s also the pain-bearer. You know, he bore our sorrows. And so not only the sin that is committed, but has broken other people. He’s bearing both of those at the same time. 

SMITH: Mary, I’d like to kind of bring our conversation to a close by asking you to tell a story that I think sort of in some ways encapsulates that idea of taking responsibility. And even though I’m asking you to close our conversation with it, you actually began your book with it. And that’s a story of a man named Malcolm. Tell me about Malcolm and what he did. 

DEMUTH: Yes. So I had the privilege of going to Cape Town 2010, which is the World Evangelization Congress. And I was representing the United States and I was at a table with five other believers from all over the world. One of them was Malcolm. He was from South Africa. We all shared our stories. And so he knew my story. And on the very last day of the conference, he said, Mary, I want you to look at me. And he got on his knees before me and tears were running down his eyes and he said—and I felt from the Lord in that moment, I was supposed to pay attention. He said, Mary, I ask for your forgiveness on behalf of all men that have ever done these terrible things to you. I am so sorry. Please hear me. I am so sorry. And it just ruined me in the most best way that I can talk about. Like, I’ve never had that happen since that time or before that time. But someone that was willing to say, what happened to you mattered and it was wrong. And I’m sorry. It just deeply, profoundly ministered to me. 

SMITH: Well, thanks to Malcolm. 


SMITH: And thanks to you, Mary, for being so transparent and telling your story. Thank you very much for being on the program today. 

DEMUTH: It’s my pleasure. Thank you.

(Photo/Mary DeMuth)

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