What Mica Miller Teaches Us About Revenge Porn and Abuse

by | Jun 12, 2024 | Abuse | 37 comments

Sad woman from revenge porn being abused like Mica Miller was

At the end of April, Mica Miller died in very suspicious circumstances.

She had been married to pastor JP Miller, and there were what look to me like credible allegations of abuse. She had been asking people for help, and had recently filed for divorce and a protection order.

She died on a Saturday night; on Sunday morning the pastor preached a whole sermon before at the end telling his congregation about her death.

Her death has been ruled a suicide, but many online are questioning this. (You can Google “Mica MIller” and find lots of articles). It’s heartbreaking, and I feel very badly for her family. I hope there will be justice. 

Her husband’s ex-wife has also claimed that JP Miller confessed to her and to the church elders that he had sex with minors under his care. 

While her whole story is tragic, and is a warning to us to beware of marital abuse, there’s a part of the story that I particularly want to talk about (and thank you to Brenda L. for bringing this to my attention on social media).

JP Miller posted topless photos of his wife on social media

In what looks like a case of revenge porn, where a partner posts compromising photos or videos to get back at a woman who is attempting to separate or pull away, he posted photos publicly. 

And he is a pastor.

“I’m sorry for putting a picture of you on the internet,” reads the apology email, which was exclusively obtained by NewsNation national correspondent Rich McHugh. “It was for less than one hour and immediately taken down. I was hurt that you are telling everyone horrible intimate details of my past sin, and I just wanted to try and hurt you. Please forgive me. It was evil of me to do that.”

Mica Miller’s husband, John Paul Miller, admitted in an apology letter to posting a topless photo of her online.

Mica Miller’s death, and her attempt to get safety from an abusive husband who maligned her to church members, is all tragic, and there is much to learn from it, including how families can help people escape abusive marriages; how to see red flags earlier; how abusers operate; and more.

But I want to point out especially the fact that revenge porn, or posting these types of pictures, is a very real threat. 

And often these same abusers are the ones pressuring their wives to take these photos in the first place.

That’s why I was so upset when Gary Thomas, in his book Married Sex that he co-wrote with Deborah Fileta, advised women to take nude photos for their husbands so that “neurologically” their husband’s sexual attention will be focused on them, and not on porn or other women. 

This is, quite frankly, disastrous and harmful advice, and is coercive. 

In our books The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex and The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex, we talked about taking boudoir photos or sexting, and our take was this: 

If you really want to do it, it’s not a sin issue. But please, please, beware of the potential harms. You can be hacked. Other people may see. It can exacerbate a porn problem. And, as we see here, it can be used to further abuse someone.

Sheila Wray Gregoire

(paraphrased), The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex/Good Guy's to Great Sex

But Gary’s take was different (Gary wrote the chapter containing this piece of advice, not Deb). It was:

If you don’t want to take the photos, because you’re afraid it will exacerbate a porn problem, or you don’t want to for other reasons, you’re wrong, and here’s why you it’s a good idea.

 

Gary Thomas

(paraphrased), Married Sex

That was just so problematic. 

I wrote a post detailing the coercive elements a while ago, and it’s worth rereading to show how books can actually be coercive. I started with this Fixed It For You:

Gary Thomas Married Sex Pressure to send nude photos

Why is a Christian Book Trying to Coerce Wives Into Sending Nude Photos?

 I was also inundated by comments that I can’t share by women who had sent nude photos to husbands who pressured them, and they’re now divorced, and those ex-husbands have those photos to use as blackmail at any time. It’s a horrible way to live.

I had so, so many of those. My week was basically taken up by so many heartbreaking emails about how taking these pictures didn’t stop the porn use; how the pictures were used as blackmail in custody disputes; how someone was denied a promotion at work because the pictures were out there and so she was potentially subject to blackmail, and couldn’t get security clearance.

It was truly awful.

And many women told me that they only sent the photos because a book or a counselor told them that there was no biblical reason to say no. All is pure in the marriage bed!

The counselors and the books broke down these women’s defences. 

That’s unconscionable. But that’s exactly what Gary Thomas and Debra Fileta did in their book, in the paragraphs preceding the sentence I “fixed.” So I’d like today to use this as an example of how a book (or a counselor or pastor if they use the same techniques) can actually be sexually coercive.

I then went on to show how it coerced women to break down their legitimate defences saying no.

Mica Miller’s sad case is another warning that we can’t give advice without recognizing how it can be used to abuse.

Too often marriage books are written without any consideration of potential abusive dynamics. 

Many women who come out of abusive relationships tell me that being coerced into taking such photos or videos was common. This is often a hallmark of abusers. 

And then they suffer from it. It’s an easy way for an abuser to punish a woman trying to get free.

No, not all people who want to take such photos are abusers, absolutely. But to ignore the reality of what far too many Christian marriages go through, and then to give advice anyway, is wrong.

Let’s realize that when a woman sends nude photos, she is often (definitely not always) being coerced. 

Ignoring this dynamic enables abuse to get worse.

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Please read my longer post on what coercive advice about nude photos looks like. My heart just breaks for Mica, and instead of coercing women to go along with what is often abusive dynamics, how about if we help people identify those abusive dynamics, so that they can see them faster in their own marriage, or in the marriages of those close to them.

That’s part of why I wrote the post on Monday about how we should expect that Christian books won’t do harm. We can’t stand for this anymore. 

Let’s not forget Mica. Let’s not assume that such things are fringe, or shouldn’t really enter into the conversation about marriage, because that doesn’t apply to us. 

It applied to her. And she is not alone. And she mattered. And the church failed her. 

Let’s not fail anyone else.

What do you think? Have you seen demanding nude photos be an element of abusive relationships? How can we give better advice about complicated things like this? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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37 Comments

  1. Jo R

    Regardless of everything else (and the everything else is pretty horrific on its face), how does this man get up and preach TWICE the very next morning?

    That is some serious psychological abnormality. 😳 Psychopathic, sociopathic, SOMETHING.

    Reply
    • Angharad

      Yes. And that’s the one thing that can’t be explained away.

      I’ve heard people defending him, saying that his wife was mentally unbalanced, that she was saying things that weren’t true because of mental health issues etc. But even if all that were true, it still doesn’t explain his totally normal behaviour when leading a service like ‘business as usual’. And that the rest of his leadership team either didn’t try to stop him or were incapable of doing so. I think I found that more chilling than anything else, and it staggers me that so few people seem to be concerned by it.

      Reply
      • Jo R

        “it staggers me that so few people seem to be concerned by it.”

        Maybe because his stoicism is “proof” that he’s a “real man of God” who rises above these petty, worldly, fleshly pinpricks like the mere death of his spouse? 🤮

        Question: how does his obvious indifference to his wife’s death demonstrate how he’s representing Christ and His relationship to His church, which I’m guessing JP has preached about at least once? 🤔

        Reply
      • Marina

        Yeah, that is the biggest, most undeniable red flag in the situation to me. Even if what his defenders say is true, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did little-to-nothing to actually help her. How convenient that crazy took care of itself, you know?
        Sometimes I swear christians are somehow too used to “off” behavior. Behavior that would raise questions in a secular setting gets a pass, or at least overlooked. Because “spiritual”, I guess?

        Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Absolutely.

        Reply
        • Katie

          Is JP still a pastor??? This is horrendous.

          Thank you also for pointing out the coercive tone of some Christian books. My sister and I have noticed this in parenting books as well as marriage books. It’s so sad.

          Reply
      • Lisa Johns

        The idea of her being mentally unbalanced was one he planted in the wake of her asking for help. It’s a pretty common tactic of narcissistic abusers.

        Reply
  2. Jen

    Honestly, I can’t see a situation in which it is not problematic. Having to give him nude pictures in order to “be a good wife” puts entitled requirements on the relationship. Wanting to see nudes of your wife also displays a pornographic style of relating. YOU LIVE WITH THE WOMAN. If there is something so enticing about a picture, it’s because you are used to looking at naked women. Problem right there. I do NOT want naked pictures of my husband. I don’t look at naked men via photographs (or any way) and it would be weird to see a picture of my husband that way. In fact. I’d find it gross and embarrassing. He’s a real person, not a thing to be ogled. It’s objectifying, not matter how you slice it. It’s consuming. It reduces your partner to a strictly sexual dimension.

    Also, how are said pictures going to be used‽‽. Masturbation and/or floating to friends. Double gross. Why do women always have to be objects, products to “keep” a man. I don’t want a man like that. I’d rather be alone.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, and Gary downplayed all of that in his book, as if it were silly to even think such a thing.

      Reply
  3. Stefanie

    I was just rereading an email I had sent to a sex therapist, whom my church had brought in to give a sex ed class to the married people at the church. I had an issue with an off-handed statement she had made: “Women don’t need to orgasm.” In the email I tried to tell her that she can’t say stuff like that at church (she also goes to our church so she should know), because it was assuming that people were in healthy relationships where the woman’s pleasure was also being considered. I gave her example after example of bad teachings I had gotten at church. It was a long email. In her response I didn’t get the sense she was hearing me or taking me seriously.

    Anyway, I think the leaders of the Evangelical industrial complex have vested interests in keeping women down and maintaining men’s power.

    But then people like that sex therapist, or other lay people, or unofficial leaders, assume (?) that church is a healthy place because we’re doing it “God’s way.” We have the Bible to show us the truth unlike the heathens out there in the world. So we just parrot what we’ve been taught, without examining whether this teaching contributes to abuse.

    But thanks Sheila that you’re bringing it all out into the light so that we can see what has been happening on the grand scale.

    Reply
    • Jo R

      “Women don’t need to orgasm.”

      Um, more like

      “Women don’t need to orgasm TO CONCEIVE.”

      There, fixed it for her. (And she’s a SEX THERAPIST?????? 🙄 Wow, she needs to have her license revoked IMMEDIATELY.)

      If women arent supposed to orgasm, why did GOD give them a clitoris capable of multiple, back-to-back (to back) orgasms?

      Reply
      • Stefanie

        So at the end of the class, I asked a clarifying question. I asked her to expand on that statement, and then she explained that women should be orgasming most of the time, and that not orgasming should be rare. But then I wrote that email because you can’t make an off-handed comment like that in church with the orgasm gap as large as it is. But, you know what? I wouldn’t have known to ask that question if I hadn’t already found Sheila. Beforehand, I would have left that class crestfallen, “I guess that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

        Reply
        • Jo R

          Brava to you for asking a pointed question!

          So if she knew that, why the heck didn’t she say THAT instead of what she actually said????

          Imagine the revolution that would occur in churches if “an authority figure” said, “Women should orgasm regularly”?

          Reply
        • Jane Eyre

          Motte and bailey fallacy right there:

          Make a big sweeping statement (the bailey) and retreat to the motte (castle) when challenged.

          Men don’t need to orgasm in every encounter, either; sometimes, stuff happens and they can’t finish. But she said women, so that’s not what she meant.

          Eye roll.

          Reply
          • Stefanie

            Interesting. I didn’t know about Motte and Bailey. I left that church anyway two years ago. The leadership couldn’t acknowledge that they had done anything wrong. The problem was all me and how I had misinterpreted the teachings. And they were saying that Sheila is unbiblical because she’s egalitarian, but what they teach is biblical.

    • Lisa Johns

      Seriously, if as a sex therapist she made a statement like that, she needs to be reported to the ethics committee of the AMA. I’m in training as a counselor as we speak; I know how important it is that we say right things, and if we say wrong things that we self-correct appropriately. She didn’t even correct well (with good information) in her clarification, and she at least needs to hear about that from whatever organization she is a part of.

      Reply
      • Stefanie

        So I’m going down the rabbit hole here. I looked her up. She’s a Certified Sex Therapist through the American Board of Christian Sex Therapists. VeryWellMind .com had this to say about ABCST: “There are not many programs that cater to Christian therapists seeking sex therapy certification, and aspiring sex therapists who are religious Christians may find that many AASECT-based certification programs are not a good fit for them. Christian sex therapists are board-certified through a different organization: The American Board of Christian Sex Therapists.”

        Oooh. I wonder if this is going to be like another “biblical counseling” type certification.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Well, that’s a horrifying thought! I hope it’s better than that!

          Reply
  4. Marina

    It sounds like the “photos for him” advice is an attempt to get conventional thinking about sexy photos and videos into christian spheres by giving it the “but it’s my wife” rubber stamp. “It’s just photos/videos. What’s so bad about that?” “She said it was okay.” “Her “beauty” should be flaunted.” “You’re so pretty, come on, just one.”
    It reminds of a news story I saw once about a female college student who was doing either porn or onlyfans to help pay for her school. She was outed when someone at a party recognized her from the videos and spread the word. She tried to demand respect, and defended it as a legitimate way to make money. She got a lot of backlash anyway, mainly from “customers” of hers. I guess they weren’t happy that their favorite toy wanted respect or had dreams of a career other than posing for them..

    Reply
    • Stefanie

      I’ve heard of teachers being fired for having an OF account. My question: shouldn’t the person who was viewing her on OF also be fired? Like how did you know she was on OF?

      Reply
    • Jane Eyre

      Miriam Weeks, aka Belle Knox, the Duke porn star.

      Everyone knows her name, but not the name of the student who paid money to whack off to porn.

      Reply
  5. Jane Eyre

    This is all so horrible. Women are also image bearers.

    “And many women told me that they only sent the photos because a book or a counselor told them that there was no biblical reason to say no. All is pure in the marriage bed!”

    Photographs are by definition NOT the marriage bed. You know this. We all know this. When a husband and wife are alone in their bedroom, naked, they see each other in the moment, but no one else is there.

    Photographs aren’t in the moment. They are outside of an intimate encounter. They are something that can be shown to the entire world. Both practically and philosophically, they are outside of the marriage bed.

    Reply
    • Jo R

      “All is pure in the marriage bed!”

      I know Sheila was paraphrasing what people teach in their attempt to justify anything and everything, but a quick survey of every English translation of Hebrews 13:4 at biblegateway.com shows that the vast majority (like 85 percent) word it as “the marriage bed should be [kept] pure.” (Some omit the “kept,” hence the square brackets.)

      The gist is that it is possible for the marriage bed to be impure. Similarly, per the first half of the verse, that marriage “should be” honored or held in honor by all, which means that its possible for marriage to be dishonored (obvs, based on what waaaayyy too many pastors and authors preach and teach—unless “be honored” is taken to mean “unlimited orgasms for husbands” 🙄). If one partner dishonors the other in bed, I’d say that the marriage bed is then impure, right? Right???

      (It would be nice if someone who knows Greek could check the exact form of the verb here, and verify what that tense actually means.)

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        So good! Yep.

        Reply
      • Jane Eyre

        Great points.

        Notice it does not say: “The marriage bed shall be to serve men,” or “women’s orgasms aren’t important,” or anything else.

        Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Very good point!

      Reply
    • Bonnie

      You are right on. A very good point.

      Reply
  6. Tim

    Do you have the actual quote of the married sex passage you paraphrased above?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I wrote the whole passage out in this post and analyzed it in detail!

      Reply
  7. Steven

    I don’t think making nude pictures of your spouse is a good idea. I want to make memories not porn.

    When it says all is pure in the marriage bed it means that both husband and WIFE have to agree with what is being done. I have too much respect for my future wife to want nude photos of her to get into the wrong hands. Whats important in a healthy sexual relationship to me is that my future wife knows she is loved and inappropriate pictures just send the wrong messages.

    I’m single and keep seeing husbands hurting their wives and it makes me sick.

    Reply
    • Lisa Johns

      “I want to make memories, not porn.”
      That is so beautifully said. Thank you.

      Reply
    • Wendy

      I wish we had more honorable men like you. Please hold to your convictions it gives me hope that not all men are porn watching, women objectifying, jerks. I am trying to teach my boys to honor women, never objectify them and flee from porn like your life depends on it. Breaking several generations of abuse from the men in my family.

      Reply
  8. Lisa Johns

    My X kept begging me for nude photos and I kept turning him down. I found ones he had taken by stealth, and I *think* I got them all before I moved out. I do certainly hope so!!

    Reply
  9. I.

    If you absolutly want to do Boudoir-Shots, maybe use a polaroid cam. No negatives, no digital copies and the wife (as the more vulnerable person in the shots, because it’s harder to ruin a naked man) can keep the pictures under lock and key and you can look at them together, as a couple-thing, not a porn-methadon.

    Reply
  10. Sarah O

    When you have a nude picture of someone, you have access to their sexuality without consent. Even if your wife consents to you having the picture, are you going to ask for her consent each time you look at it? Or share it? Of course not. So now you have a work around to access her body at any time regardless of the relationship.

    Sexual access without relational effort bypasses the purpose and function of sex and makes people sick.

    Reply
  11. JT

    My husband does not like to go away and we live with and care for his disabled, elderly father, so I go with my mom and sister, usually once a year. I made the mistake of sending him a nude picture, kind of trying to pacify his unhappiness that I chose to go on vacation. Now he wants one every time.
    He does not look at porn. This is totally my fault and this post is exactly why I wish I had never sent the first picture.

    Reply
    • JT

      He would not use it against me, to be clear.

      Reply

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