This piece by Mercy Survivor Lily was originally published on her personal blog, La Petite Maman, and can be viewed here.
I graduated from this ludicrous excuse for residential “treatment” in 2010, but didn’t speak up about my negative feelings/experiences until recently.
I personally know that almost all of the girls I was with at the CA home have either privately told me that they are against Mercy Ministries, or that they are strongly questioning the programme’s techniques. Some of them have even messaged me, relieved that they had someone to talk to about their feelings and negative experiences at Mercy Ministries.
But many people ask: Why didn’t these girls just leave this supposedly voluntary programme if it was so bad? Why don’t they speak up against it afterwards?
Firstly, the programme may be voluntary, but many women come to Mercy desperate and at the end of their financial rope, so to speak. They can’t afford actual treatment with experienced professionals (whether secular or not), so they think Mercy Ministries is their last hope. And hey, sure, maybe it will work…or maybe it will cause even more issues, like it has done for countless women I know. Yes, you can leave, but the fear of losing what many think is their only hope is great, and many staff members will coerce you to stay by praying over you. (I realised later that I probably was pressured to stay because my story was severe/shocking enough to use and publicise on their website, and later on their radio programme and donor postcards, to raise more money.)
That leads to the second question. Women don’t speak up about all they endured at Mercy Ministries because they don’t want to be seen as failures. While at Mercy Ministries, as well as after, staff members and other men/women brush off those who had negative experiences with Mercy Ministries as “non-graduates” or by saying “they must’ve relapsed, so they’re bitter.” (Side note: This is not true. I am still in recovery, despite being honest about my time at Mercy Ministries.)
No one wants to be seen as a failure or a “sub-par Christian”. Many women are desperate for reassurance that they can maintain their recovery outside of the manipulation and brainwashing of the “Mercy bubble”. So they stay silent…or maybe even start boasting about Mercy Ministries, just so others won’t look too closely and see their inner struggle. In reality, these women are only hurting themselves, instead of healing from some of those things said, heard, and done at Mercy Ministries.