Healing From Abuse in Quaker Communities

Windy Cooler is a survivor of domestic violence within her Quaker community.

“It never occurred to me to be angry about my experience because I thought I was just alone,” she told us. “And it became clear that I wasn’t alone as I was doing child care and religious education in my yearly meeting.…As I heard the stories of people that I knew and loved, stories that I never anticipated would be true, I found a tremendous amount of anger inside myself about what was happening in our community.”

Eventually, that anger came together with the enduring love she had for her community, and she became a public minister.

2 thoughts on “Healing From Abuse in Quaker Communities

  1. Thank you, Christopher. A powerful entry in your new career.

    I am very glad this QuakerSpeak video is being released. At the same time, I wonder if there are any structured religious institutions that are free of these abuses anymore. Is there any religious sect left to be exposed? And if they are all guilty, then what do they offer that is different? If none of these protect us from the worst of humanity — and we know secular humanism doesn’t — then where are people turn who are seeking any sort of belief or hope that ethical behavior and moral grounding and a sense of belonging to a community committed can still exist these days?

    I’ve seen multiple surveys that show acceptance of lying, cheating, and decreased ethical behavior are growing with each generation — 34% of Gen Z accept/expect people lying about things. Millennials five times more likely to cheat than boomers, and it deteriorates from there. Something isn’t working here, and it is a shame to discover the Society of Friends doesn’t always offer a safe haven — just like all the rest.

    Simply sitting with this won’t work. What is described here isn’t consistent with what I understand Quaker faith to be and we need to call it that. I’m inspired to rewatch an early QuakerSpeak video: https://quakerspeak.com/video/the-power-of-being-quaker-in-public/

  2. This is such important stuff, this work of healing an entire community rather than “just” an individual (not trying to minimize the importance of the individual’s work). “The problem of having no time” just rings out.

    HOWEVER, I think I loved this video because I’d heard Windy recently at the 2023 FGC Gathering so knew PRECISELY what she is talking about; the video might be a bit too vague, and would benefit from some specific *story* to make it more powerful.

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