Episode 103: Holding the Evangelical Church Accountable ft. Shelly Snow Pordea

When Shelly Snow Pordea reached out to church leaders about the sexual abuse she suffered as a child she found no support, no advocacy; instead the process of telling her story to church elders revictimized her. She would come to discover her experience was all too common. In the Independent fundamental baptist movement her family was part of, patriarchy was in full force and misogyny ran rampant. There was a dress code, gender roles were rigid, and women had to be submissive. Shelly was taught that as a girl she was inherently dangerous, the sexualization of women and children was their own fault, and that she was responsible for the way men treated her. Without any education but the curriculum the church offered and isolation from the outside world, it took her and her siblings years to break away from the community in which she was raised. She has now made it her mission to speak out about the church’s harmful practices. In this episode she shares her story and her advocacy work, her thoughts on the Josh Duggar case, and reflects on how being an artist helped save her.
Shelly Snow Pordea is author of The Tracing Time Trilogy, a story which spans three generations of women who find their way in the world while seeking to save themselves and those they love. Her first children’s book, The Hug Who Had No Arms, debuted on Amazon as a #1 bestseller in several categories. Shelly is a cult survivor using her voice through the power of storytelling in order to promote change. A victim of childhood sexual abuse, she reached out to church leaders as a teenager, only to be “handled” in a culture of shame and misogyny. Today, she advocates for survivors of spiritual, sexual, and institutional abuse with #igotout, and is writing a memoir about her experiences.
Shelly’s Website: www.shellysnowpordea.com
Tracing Time: The Past Outlines A Legacy: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1943526532



I’m a writer, a teacher, a native New Yorker, and I love hearing about people’s lives. When I think back to my elementary school days at PS 20 in Flushing, Queens whenever we began social studies or a history lesson I wasn’t that interested in learning about battles, topography, or politics. What I wanted to know was how people lived: What their families were like, how they adapted to their circumstances, what they ate, how they celebrated, how they felt.
Sociology became my major at Binghamton University and in my life so far I’ve been an actress, a salesperson, a Zoo Keeper’s Aid, a volunteer animal trainer, an ELL teacher, a mother, and a wife. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had, all of which led me to create this podcast which is one of the most rewarding projects I’ve undertaken. I couldn’t ask for a better job than having in-depth conversations with survivors, thought leaders, authors, social justice warriors, and people who believe that we are all connected and then getting to share their stories, insight, and vulnerability with listeners.
I’m so glad you’ve landed on this page. I hope you find stories here which resonate with you and that you’ll tune in every week. 


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