New memoir from Advocate Press explores sexual assault, domestic violence

The newest book from the Advocate Press aims to shine light into the problem of sexual assault and intimate partner violence through the true story of a South Carolina United Methodist pastor who lived it.

The book, “Betrayed With a Kiss: One Pastor’s Story of Finding God In the Wake of Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner Violence,” is authored by the Rev. Chrisie Reeves-Pendergrass, outreach pastor at St. Matthew United Methodist Church, Greenville.

It is in final editing now and expected to be released sometime in May at

Raised a “good girl” pastor’s daughter in a wholesome Christian environment, Reeves-Pendergrass thought the horrors of abusive relationships or sexual assault were things that happened to other people. But she found herself in the midst of an abusive marriage, wedded to a predator who convinced her that she was to blame for the rape and degradation she endured. “Betrayed with a Kiss” is the story of how she escaped her marriage and the chaos of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental anguish that threatened to tear her apart. But escape she did, going on to graduate from Duke Divinity School and become an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church while finding the true heart of God in the process.

“My story is not new, sensational or exceptional. It’s quite common,” she writes in the introduction. “That is why I am writing it: So the world stops believing it’s rare. My story could be your story, your daughter’s, your sister’s, your friend’s or your co-worker’s, and it very well might be. Thirty-four is probably too young to write a memoir about domestic violence and sexual assault, and I am no expert on pain, suffering, mental illness or God (despite my degree). But here I am still attempting to make sense of who God is, what God promises and where God is in our suffering.”

Her story shines light into the spiritual transformation she experienced out of heartbreak and betrayal.

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