Gregory and Melanie Magazu have been told that they may not have foster children because they spank their own children. I think that it is a good thing. Foster children have enough trauma, without being aware of children in the home being hit. This applears to be a test case, so I will be watching it.
There is SO much being written about the Duggars. In an effort to please everyone, I decided to stop posting everything I saw on this blog’s Facebook Page and start posting it on my Facebook Account’s wall. This way, those who want to see everything I share in real time can friend me and those who rather just see my blog posts can just follow my page.
So, here are the links I have shared since my last blog post.
Crystal Lutton explains What we, the Church, can learn from Josh Duggar.
Brent Detwiler takes an in depth look at the whole catastophe in The “Incredible” Duggar’s – “Happy, Healthy and Well Balanced.”
Susan Cottrell looks at The Dangers of Life in a Male-Dominated System on Pathos.
Allie Jones discovers what I noted when the story first broke: Police Report Reveals the Duggar Discipline Method: “They Have a Rod.”
Jonny Scaramanga reveals that Had Josh Duggar been prosecuted, Duggars would have lost the right to home school.
Joel J. Miller has an article in the Washington Post called, Jesus is quick to forgive, but Josh Duggar’s apology is still disturbing.
Travis Gettys writes about the Duggar mindset, as explained by Vyckie Garrison in Raw Story.
Victimhood is a very personal thing. Many survivors of abuse are finding their voices and are making a valient effort to speak for these victims.
Some are saying that it increases the pain of the victims and that we should stop.
Others are saying that we must speak out in order to give a voice to the victims.
Josh Duggar and Words as Magic by Rebecca Diamond
What Does The Josh Duggar Dialogue Say To Assault Victims? by Stephanie Tait
It’s Not Just The Duggars by Dana of Lemon Lime Adventures
Nice girls don’t talk about stuff like this by Rebecca Diamond *Trigger Warning*
I don’t want to add to the girls’ pain but nor do I want this swept under the rug. Since there are 5 victims, some might feel one way and some might feel the other. Also, since the information is already out, that cannot be fixed. The only thing left to do it to work towards healing.
My main goal in posting is to expose the paradigm behind all of this in hopes of preventing situations like this in the future. My hope is that those who are considering getting into Gothard/ATI/Patriocentric teachings will see the danger and run away. I also hope that those who are friendly with such families will be much more observant.
Here is an in depth explanation of How Fundamentalism’s Teachings on Sexuality Create Predatory Behavior from Diary of an Autodidact.
Barefoot Betsy responds to my first link.
I have been feeling very sad about the Duggar situation, so I am comforted to read this encouraging post by Trudy Metzger. Yes, the situation is grim, but there is still hope for healing. Yes, it’s true that she probably doesn’t really understand the patriarchy mindset involved in this story, but she does know about abuse and she does know the Allmighty Power of Jesus.
Edited to add: Tracy has a follow up post which adds to and clarifies her last post given new information she has learned.
My last post was about the tragic news story of Josh Duggar and his abuse of young girls. How should the Church react to something like this? Here are some thoughts on that as well as reactions and analysis.
Barefoot Betsy shares her reactions and opinions. A short quote to whet your appetite:
I believe that the Christian community needs to soundly condemn the adult Duggars’ response as well as the molestations themselves. This kind of chicanery should not be tolerated in the name of Christ. Yes, forgive, but don’t forget. There is no excuse for the adults sweeping this kind of incident under the rug. For years and years.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, explains what the church’s response to abuse should be. I encourage you to read the whole article. Here is a small quote:
We should also make clear to the whole congregation the steps we are taking to make sure that children and the vulnerable are safe in our churches from sexual abuse. Tell the congregation why you have background checks, why safeguards for parent pick-up in nursery or Sunday school are in place, and so forth. Moreover, tell the congregation what the leaders will do when there is an allegation of sexual abuse. Make it clear that sexual abusers will not be enabled in your church, and victims will not be blamed or shamed.
Also, Elizabeth Esther has a picture of an ATI counseling worksheet on her Facebook page. She says,
As many of you may know, the Duggars used teachings by Bill Gothard and ATI. Someone just sent me this ATI worksheet that was used for “counseling” victims of sexual abuse. Note the question “Why did God let it happen?” and the subsequent answers which blame the victim for “defrauding” the perpetrator (defrauding is fundy-speak for seducing/tempting a man) through “immodest dress, indecent exposure, being out of the protection of our parents and being with evil friends.” So, it’s the VICTIM’S fault for being sexually abused. Obviously this kind of “counseling” is egregiously WRONG (not to mention unprofessional) and, in fact, causes MORE damage by re-traumatizing the victim. Since the Duggar family used and promoted ATI materials, it’s conceivable that worksheets like these were used in the counseling (although, of course, I don’t know that for sure). Regardless, this kind of “counseling” material serves as an important insight into the kind of environment in which the abuse happened.
There is much more information about ATI style counseling in this article by Libby Anne.
It is with great sadness of heart that I discover that my concerns about the Duggar family were well founded. In fact, it’s worse than I ever even imagined. I always knew that they spanked their children, even though many gentle parents insisted that they did not. I knew that they were involved with ATI (Bill Gothard) which was enough to tell me that they are neither gentle nor healthy. Well, I finally found proof that they use the rod to punish their children on page 29 of the *Sensitive* police report regarding Josh Duggar.
I found the police report in this article on In Touch Weekly.
I’m sure I’ll be adding more articles to this post, as I also post them through my Facebook Page.
Rebecca has written a very helpful review of the crime thriller 13:24 by M. Dolon Hickmon. This review explains how triggering this novel is for victims of abuse and why it is not appropriate for everyone. I, for one, appreciate the warning.
Please see the conversation which ensued between M Dolon Hickmon, myself and Rebecca Diamond on my Facebook page here. Since Facebook has mixed up the posts, I will reproduce it here:
M Dolon Hickmon: I appreciated this review and understand her confusion. This book was intended to be very different from what people who read child abuse books probably expect.
First, I do appreciate the many readers who have shared their own abuse experiences and are far along enough in their own recovery to read and say, “Yes, this is accurate in describing abusive corporal punishment and what it is like living with PTSD.” Those testimonies are invaluable for establishing the credibility of the book. However, this book was definitely not meant to be read therapeutically by survivors. Nor was it intended for any of the other audiences that Rebecca mentioned!
The goal of this book was to reach crime fiction fans — for instance, the six million people who watch Law and Order Special Victims Unit each week — with a story that combines stylish, horror tinged entertainment with the accuracy of a child abuse memoir and the factual medical information of a semester of abnormal psychology.
One reason for doing this is the vast difference in the size of the crime thriller and child abuse audiences. This was dramatically demonstrated this weekend: I ran a small ad targeting people who’d signed up to get offers of discounted ebook thrillers in their email. Before the emails were even finished being sent, my book was catapulted into the top twenty of all child abuse titles. With an additional push from several activist communities, the title strolled easily to number one. But while maintaining the number one slot in child abuse by a huge margin, the book barely registered in the top 100 for Crime Thrillers. Viewed in the other direction, what this means is that if ANY book about child abuse were to reach the top twenty in crime thrillers, it would be selling more copies per day than ALL of the child abuse books on Amazon combined. That is a tremendous opportunity, and that is the first thing i had in mind when I was writing.
Of equal importance, from an activism standpoint, is that all of the books aimed at the traditional child abuse audience are ultimately read by the same small group of readers. This accomplishes next to nothing as an awareness campaign, because it doesn’t reach anyone who doesn’t already know all about the topic.
This weekend was a huge success for me, not because the book had number one in child abuse, but because it actually made it onto the crime thriller chart, peaking at #75. This is the first time I have managed it, and the difficulty shows just how much bigger the game is on that level. I now realize that the number of books sold per day in the thriller category dwarfs anything I even imagined.
Finally, I hope it’s obvious that this book was not written for Christians or to change the minds of parents who are on the fence about spanking. This is a book about child abuse. Primarily, I wanted people on all sides of the modern spanking debate to consider that conversations they have with other adults can be overheard and misunderstood by children who are being physically abused. It is not enough to frame our conversations in words that a reasonable adult could understand–we all need to consider how every word that we speak and write about corporal punishment will either empower victims to seek out help or convince them that are not deserving of any.
Why Not Train a Child?: Thank you for that clarification. I do hope you understand that I wish you success in your endeavor while also needing to take my intended audience into consideration.
M Dolon Hickmon: I think we need to have a shout out on corporal punishment–from every angle and with every bit of creativity and energy that we can muster. Having said that, the USA didn’t abolish slavery by convincing the slave owners that it was wrong and they should give it up. It was accomplished by making the people who didn’t own slaves appreciate the horrors of slavery so they felt obligated to do something about it.
I don’t think that people who beat their kids are motivated at all to stop. They will stop when the law steps in and says, “Enough”. And the political will to get those protections in place is going to have to come from the broader culture. It goes on for the same reasons that slavery continued: the people responsible LIE about what is being done. When the public understands what their euphemisms actually mean, they will say, “enough”.
Why Not Train a Child?: Yes. That we have different audiences was kind of my point.
M Dolon Hickmon: Rebecca was dead on with all of her observations. But, for example, anger, hostility, aggression and violence are typical male reactions to trauma; it is how men deal with feelings of vulnerability and inadequacy. To point it out as something unusual in survivor writing is exactly right – but the REASON it is strange is that the tenor of survivor discussions has so far been heavily led by female voices. I related to this review. Basically, I read what others were writing and thought that it didn’t really reflect my experience. So I wrote something that did.
Rebecca Diamond: M Dolon Hickmon – I really did – I don’t want to say I enjoyed reading the book, because it was honestly a hard read – but I truly appreciated your voice throughout it.
I tried to convey in my review that it definitely wasn’t for the audiences I listed, so I appreciate your clarification on who the audience is. And I congratulate you on your success! That’s amazing to get into the top #100.
Have you considered doing a James Rollins-esque summary at the end? (Yes, I confess, I read some of his books. Guilty pleasure and all.)
I think that an epilogue or author’s note explaining the real-life connections; that this wasn’t just a thriller, but actually is happening around people more than they think, that the compliant smiling child that everyone compliments on their behaviour could indeed be a victim of horrific abuse, is an important point to make.
And it would be great to see a list of tangible ways that the reader could do something in response, as well.
Your novel is well-written, and I think it will linger in the minds of readers, even those who aren’t survivors. Giving ways to react/change/make a difference would take that lingering energy and help transform things, I really do believe.
M Dolon Hickmon: Thanks for reading and reviewing; Its really interesting to see what people think who have read it cold. I spent more than five years writing, and there are so many little details that some people notice and others don’t. It’s fascinating to see what, in particular, comes to the front for different people.
There is a prologue that steers people to the book’s website, where I have collected some of the stories of real life cases that the book is inspired by. I think that if you read the EBook it starts at chapter one, so you may not have seen it. A lot of reviews on goodreads have mentioned it but it may need to be handled differently. It’s always a challenge between essentially luring people in as a thriller, and making sure that they know that all of the crimes in the book are based in fact.
I would like to do more with that website but I am working full time at a sweaty, calloused hands job and taking care of a three year old, while also doing tons of writing and managing promotions like the one this weekend–which was the culmination of a year of lining up a complex choreography.
Every step is a learning experience as I am trying to do something that has not been done before. Ultimately, my hope is to create a new genre of survivor fiction. I would like to see others taking their stories and presenting them in ways that are marketable beyond the small circles of survivors and professionals.
I sold as many books in April of this year as I did all last year; the main reason is getting away from branding it as a child abuse book and trusting that people will accept it as a straight thriller. So much of that is just confidence from many many readers, and from the support I have gotten from professionals like the editors at Publishers Weekly.
This weekend it really hit me that what I have been guessing at, about the relative sizes of audiences, is not only true, but is obvious to professionals at PW and Kirkus. All along, people inside the book business have immediately understood that the potential of the concept to influence the world is phenomenal. The trick is getting the blend exactly right and figuring out how to market it.
Your comments about the audience are right on. This is a book that does not have a ready made shelf. But that’s not a flaw; it’s how I designed it from the beginning. In police procedurals, the victim is given one monologue to describe being abused and how it affects them–it’s not enough to do justice to the experience. Child abusers memoirs do justice, but people don’t want to read them. So I created something new. It puts me in a bind because I need survivors to endorse the book as accurate–but it’s not a book that was written for them. It’s written for everybody else.
Publishers are in business to make money, not to change the world, and they would rather print something that fits a known genre with a predictable number of sales. So it’s basically been up to me to believe in it, to develop the product and the funding for it and to do all the publicity. It’s a lot – lots of time and energy and money.
Appreciate you sharing your thoughts.
I am also working on a second novel, by the way. I am learning at every step. When the next one is done I will have so many advantages. Have to remember that a year ago I was a guy with a stack of papers, zero Facebook friends and a dream of changing the world. The things that have actually happened since then I can hardly believe.
“Do not hold back discipline from the child,
Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.
You shall strike him with the rod
And rescue his soul from Sheol” (Proverbs 23:13-14, NASB).
So many Christians believe this verse and the other “Rod” verses are to be taken literally. Some very watered down versions of the Bible even say to spank. But, if we were to take this literally, wouldn’t that make God a liar? Let’s think about this. [Read more…]
In a recent post, I shared discussion of an addition to To Train Up A Child by Michael Pearl. There is an exerpt from the chapter on the No Greater Joy website. In this article, Michael Pearl refutes studies which have shown spanking children to be harmful and shares the results of some other studies which he claims show the opposite. Of course, there are flaws in his logic. Here is an example. He states:
Child psychologist Elizabeth Owens, scientist at the Institute of Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted a study. She concluded, “If you look at the causally relevant evidence, it’s not scientifically defensible to say that spanking is always a horrible thing. I don’t think mild, occasional spankings in an otherwise supportive, loving family will do any long-term harm.”
Markiece Palmer has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the beating death of Roderick “RJ” Arrington. This was another case of parents abusing their child in the name of religion. The part I found intersting about this case was that the judge condemned him for his attempt to break the child’s will. Here is the quote from the story in The Las Vegas Review Journal. (Warning, upsetting story; not for the faint of heart)
“You used your faith as a basis to justify that,” District Judge David Barker said at Palmer’s sentencing hearing. “It sounds to me like you were trying to break him, this little boy, to break his spirit, to break his will.”
ETA: There was some question about the report to CPS on my Facebook wall, which led me to share this (very disturbing) news story.
C.L. Dyck has graciously allowed me to host her free e-book. Her summary text is as follows:
Is the child-training method of homeschool business No Greater Joy Ministries a factor in child deaths? Sean Paddock (2006) and Lydia Schatz (2010) both died at the hands of parents who allegedly followed Michael Pearl’s child training method. But what influence, if any, might Pearl’s teachings have had on the parents’ thinking?
In the wake of intense online debate and controversy in 2010, this project undertook an in-depth review of No Greater Joy Ministries’ doctrinal ideas. It was assembled with the assistance of a 10-member review team who provided theological and editorial guidance for the project.
The e-book is 76 pages, and is available as a free download for the information of the Christian homeschooling community and other interested parties.
Creative Commons License: Parenting in the Name of God by David J. Dyck and C.L. Dyck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
To download, please click here.
Another testimony from someone who was “lovingly” spanked/hit by her well meaning Christian parents, and yet, was harmed. Pro-spankers, please do not dismiss these real stories. After all, if spanking is so “godly,” why do you call people harmed by spankings “spoiled brats? Here is Donia’s story:
“This was how I was raised. Spanked ‘biblically’ by loving parents and I turned out fine…..except I didn’t. I lied, I cheated (in our Christian school, no less), I stole, I had sex, even trying [Read more…]
JoEllen from CuppaCocoa explains how to teach children A Better Way To Say Sorry. This method is phenomenal as are the results of teaching it. As Dara Stoltzfus said on the Facebook page for this site.
I’ve used this approach with my kids and it’s really the best way to go. Just forcing the “I’m sorry” thing doesn’t help anyone or teach kids “why” they should be sorry. I find too that when you talk to them about what they did wrong, once they’re used to this way of apologizing, they do it on their own. They will spontaneously offer an apology and ask forgiveness without being prompted to do so once they understand “why” what they did was wrong.
And, the funny thing is…once my oldest…did something and then she came to me and asked me to forgive her and I realized at that moment that here…I’d been wanting to wallow in my anger. I wanted to stay mad at her. I wanted to somehow “make her suffer” for what she’d done (the effects of having been spanked showing thru in me) and when she asked me that I had to deal with that IN ME.
Thoughtful parenting really changes US in such amazing ways.
This post is part of a larger series on How To Shape Children’s Behavior.
She also has some good marriage advice.
Richard was kind enough to share his concerns with me here. Dara responded to him with such a powerful testimony that I did not want to leave her words hidden in my comment section. That is why I am reproducing her comment here.
“How interesting, Hermana Linda, that you have determined that there are better ways to guide than those supplied by God’s Word.”
I agree with you that it would be disturbing if someone felt this way. But, I do not see Hermana Linda as doing that. I see that she agrees that the best way to guide children is to do so by God’s Word. The real conflict is among Christians over what God’s Word actually says and should be of utmost importance to all of us.
I was raised being hit with [Read more…]
I was recently asked why gentle Christian parents and advocates don’t talk about sin when it comes to children much. The answer is because what most Christians believe is sin in children usually isn’t. A toddler saying, “no!” when asked to do something isn’t sin, it’s the child exploring independence and boundaries. A preschooler crying over not having something they really wanted is the child just having a hard time. Even biting, hitting, kicking, and cussing in young children is NOT sin. Young children needing food, love, comfort, room to play is not sin. Sin is when we truly understand something is wrong and goes against God and we have total control over ourselves and can tap into God’s strength to resist, yet choose wholeheartedly to go against God, THAT is sin!! Every child is different. Every child will sin like us. But, before 12-years-old, I don’t believe children truly sin. We slowly teach children about sin by discipline without punishment. By providing them with appropriate behaviors. And, by teaching them about God.
Also, when we look for sin in children, it makes us hypersensitive to all “inappropriate behavior.” It makes us want to punish for perceived sinfulness. We look at children as “little sinners” rather than blessings as the Bible says they are. Jesus loves children and told us to be like them. When sin is the focus, we become proud. We become judges. We think more highly of ourselves than we should so we can “beat that sin right out of that child.”
In reality, we are WORSE sinners than older children. Jesus said to get the plank out of our own eyes before removing the speck out of our brother’s eye. This applies to children too! Sin is sooooooooo much more than a child having a meltdown. Childish behavior is NOT sin. Rejecting God is! Hurting children is! Let’s focus on teaching and guiding children instead of worrying what childish behavior is sin. Give children the tools to choose good over bad so when real sin comes their way, they can tap into God and make more righteous decisions over sinful ones.
UPDATE: Because of cash donations not included in the total, the goal has been met! Thank you to everyone who participated in this labor of love. <3
Here is an article which explains why many of us are uncomfortable with the Duggars.
I just found out about a new abuse trial, that of Army Maj. John E. Jackson and his wife, Carolyn. The North Jersey Record writes about the case here. It involves 3 adopted children, one of whom died some time ago (which they are now investigating due to the findings of abuse of the other 2.) I normally would not post about a case when religion has not been mentioned, but according to this story, when the oldest biological son confronted his father about the abuse, he was told that children were being trained. This article is giving me flashbacks of the Williams case.