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Controversial author plans church abuse book sequel

IN THE NEWS - City & Region

Since the West Philadelphia pastor served as her spiritual adviser, she was easy prey for this form of emotional and spiritual abuse, according to Bellamy. “This man learned my vulnerabilities. He (had access) to learning about them because I was in a therapeutic environment and he was counseling me on life issues. Somewhere down the line there must have been a shift on his part emotionally,” she said.

As a result of public attention, the pastor was forced to resign from his position in one of the area’s well-known mega-churches. A lawsuit is now pending against both the pastor and his former church. Bellamy said that since the lawsuit is still pending she was unable to comment about the details.

“Breaking the Silence” will fill in many details not included in her previous book and will cover personal accounts of her life not then explored. Among the issues she feels led to her becoming vulnerable to her pastor was the experience of being molested by her mother’s boyfriend between ages 11 to 14.

Bellamy feels her books can provide life lessons to younger girls and inexperienced women. The book, she said, is designed as much to empower other women and encourage them to speak out against immorality in the church. These girls and women should not suffer in silence, according to the author.

“Other women have come forward and said, ‘We want to tell our story,’ so I’m taking those stories and bringing them into one place,” said Bellamy. “I’m taking those stories national.”

Yet penning her own story and those of women like her has not been without repercussions. She said some of the women from the church have berated her. She has also received threats. Currently she has had to hire security to ensure the protection of herself and her children. Nevertheless, she said she will continue her mission to raise awareness and change church practices that support this type of abuse.“

Bringing awareness to this on a national level and demanding some changes, that is my journey,” said Bellamy. “ From the time ‘Pimps in the Pulpit’ came out until now, my journey — all of the radio interviews, the backlash, the nasty e-mails, having to walk around with security, having churches respond by this, local radio stations attempting to prostitute the book, this was all in my effort to raise awareness and implement changes.”

Those interested in learning more about Shannon Bellamy or her new book “Breaking the Silence,” can visit her Web site at: .

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