Betrayal Trauma (Part 5)

December 28, 2011 09:00 AM

Part 5

“I propose that the core issue is betrayal—a betrayal of trust that produces conflict between external reality and a necessary system of social dependence.” — Jennifer J. Freyd

Betrayal Blindness is the unawareness, not-knowing, and forgetting exhibited by people towards betrayal. This blindness may extend to betrayals that are not traditionally considered “traumas,” such as adultery, inequities in the workplace and society, etc.1 Dr. Jennifer J. Freyd, who is author of the terms “Betrayal Trauma” and “Betrayal Trauma Theory,” wrote in 1999, “We now have a much clearer picture of the conditions that make human memory vulnerable to suggestion and distortion. We are beginning to understand the relevance of factors such as event plausibility and social authority.”2 As we go deeper we learn that victims, perpetrators, and witnesses may exhibit Betrayal Blindness in an effort to maintain relationships, institutions, and social systems upon which they depend.

This is part five (5) of a seven (7) part series examining why black leadership rejects the pro-life movement, is helping to perpetrate the genocide of their own people, and what can be done to reverse this horrific reality.

Betrayal Trauma: Turning a Blind Eye

“You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.” — MALCOLM X speech, Thursday, January 7, 1965, just six (6) weeks before he was assassinated on Sunday, February 21, 1965, in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom.

The number four reason black leadership rejects the pro-life movement is that he or she is: uninformed [to read about the first three reasons, please go to and type Walter Hoye in the search box]. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, 30 percent of all abortions are performed on black women.3 According to the National Vital Statistics Reports of 2009, in 2005 there were 587,000 live black births, 452,000 induced black abortions, and 292,808 black deaths from all causes, excluding induced abortion.4 If we do the math, we have 587,000 live black births against 744,808 black deaths (i.e., 452,000 induced black abortions plus 292,808 black deaths from all other causes) which equates to a black life deficit of a negative 157,808.5 Abortion, which has taken the lives of more black Americans than heart disease, cancer, strokes, accidents, diabetes, homicide, and chronic lower respiratory diseases combined, is the number one (1) cause of death in black America.6 In the last thirty-eight (38) years black Americans have suffered the loss of over twenty (20) million lives to abortion alone.7 Still further, these numbers do not include those aborted by abortifacients such as ellaOne8 or by “private physicians’ procedures.” How is it possible for black leadership to miss this? Is simply being uninformed a plausible explanation? Could the depth of our responsibility for the death of our own children be so deep that we can no longer fathom right from wrong? Could the blood on our hands be so rich and red that we blind ourselves to the truth? Could the pain from helping to perpetrate the genocide of our own people have left us blind, deaf, and dumb? Could the cost of the silence in our pulpits have left us morally bankrupt? Could the results of our own betrayal of our cherished Christian values be so traumatic that in order to maintain relationships with institutions, and social authorities, we deliberately turned a “blind eye” to the realities of abortion all around us and in plain sight?

Betrayal Trauma: Was Blind, But Now I See …

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that sav’d a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.” — Christian hymn written by English poet and clergyman John Newton (1725—1807)

I was not always aware of the creeping culture of death in my own community. Like many, I relied on others (black leadership) to keep me informed. If I did not hear a biblical perspective from the pulpit, it was not relevant to my world. Yes, I was wrong. While our pastors and leaders bear the responsibility of being watchmen on the wall (Ezekiel 33:1-6), as a member of the Body of Christ, I have a personal responsibility to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to apply His Word to my life at all times. For years, I was guilty of living out my Christianity through others. Finally, God used the premature birth of my son and the immediate possibility of his death to open my eyes. It was not until I knew better that I was available to God that I might do better. With more death than life in black America, the clock is ticking and our survival is what’s running out of time. If Jude 229 is right, then all we need to do is strengthen our performance of compassionate acts. Surely, more of this is needed. However, in light of the Apostle Paul’s 2 Timothy 4:310 warning, Jude 2311 is what must be done today to reach my people.

THE QUESTION IS: Who among us is willing to risk it all by going into a house on fire to wrestle with those who are burning in the fires of betrayal trauma?

THE ANSWER IS: Only those who have already suffered the burns of betrayal trauma and bear in their body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:17) can rescue those who are blind to the fires of betrayal.

This is why I sing “AMAZING GRACE, how sweet the sound, that sav’d a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”

Brothers, we really need to talk.

Walter B. Hoye II is both president and founder of the Issues4life Foundation and the California Civil Rights Foundation. God used the premature birth (six months, 2.1 pounds) of his son to teach him that the fetus is a person—a living, breathing human being. In 2008, Walter and his wife, Lori, were the recipients of the 4th Annual Walk for Life West Coast's St. Gianna Molla Award for “courage under fire” in the pro-life movement. He serves as an incredible leader for the cause of the preborn despite the personal costs, and has even been unjustly jailed for his peaceful defense of the preborn on a sidewalk outside an abortion clinic. His “Letter from the Santa Rita Jail” and California Human Rights Amendment appeal for personhood entitled “Why I Can't Wait” are now classics. Hoye has also written a book entitled, Leadership from the Inside Out

This article has been reprinted with permission and can be found at

1. Freyd, J.J. Memory repression, dissociative states, and other cognitive control processes involved in adult sequelae of childhood trauma. Invited paper given at the Second Annual Conference on A Psychodynamics–Cognitive Science Interface, Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, University of California, San Francisco, August 21-22, 1991.
2. Freyd, J.J. (2009). What is a Betrayal Trauma? What is Betrayal Trauma Theory? Retrieved Friday, August 26, 2011 from:
3. Alan Guttmacher Institute, State Facts About Abortion: California (
4. National Vital Statistics Report: Vol. 58, No. 4 – Oct. 14, 2009 (
5. National Vital Statistics Report: Vol. 58, No. 8 – Dec. 23, 2009 (
6. “Abortion kills more black Americans than seven leading causes of death combined, says Centers for Disease Control data” (
7. “Over Twenty (20) Million Aborted: Why Planned Parenthood Targets The Inner-City,” February 11, 2010 (
8. “Abortifacients,” Life Issues Connector, February 2010 edition (
9. Jude 22, “And of some have compassion, making a difference.” (KJV)
10. 2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts.” (KJV)
11. Jude 23, “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” (KJV)

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