A Voice For The Victims

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.

Jason Harris looks at 10 things every person should be able to affirm in the face of the Duggar family tragedy.

Barefoot Betsy responds to my first link.

Hope For Healing Duggars

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.

Reactions to the Duggar Scandal

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.

The Duggars – The Facade Crummbles

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.

People Magazine has posted Josh’s confession.

Libby Anne has a good recap and analysis here.

I’m sure I’ll be adding more articles to this post, as I also post them through my Facebook Page.

This just in: TLC Pulls 19 Kids and Counting From Schedule After Josh Duggar Molestation Allegations

The Risk of Unintended Sexual Abuse Through Spanking

Homeschoolers Anonymous is running a series called, “Hurts Me More Than You,” from which I came across this testimony about the very real and tragic risk of unintended sexual abuse through spanking. If there were no other arguments against spanking, this one would be enough.

Some time ago a pastor and some of his flock came to my facebook page to try to convince me of my “error.” We had a long conversation. By the end of the conversation it was just me and one other person who was shocked and disgusted when I finally brought up the topic of the sexual nature of spankings. I was told that my thinking was perverse and the conversation ended soon after. Here is an excerpt from the end of the conversation. The name has been removed out of respect for privacy.  Please click on the image to make it easier to read.
Convo

More About the Old Schoolhouse and Abuse

Homeschoolers Anonymous has a new article about Homeschool Leaders covering up sexual abuse. (*trigger warning*) They focus on Paul and Gena Suarez of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, who I have mentioned before.  They are assisted in this story by Eric Novak who used to work for The Old Schoolhouse and was close to the family.

The reason I am interested in this piece is that Paul and Gena Suarez are staunch defenders of the Pearls. This article details some of their abuses and is not for the sensitive.

This piece also exposes that many respected homeschool leaders are aware of this situation yet chose to ignore it and continue to support and promote The Old Schoolhouse.  It is a very disturbing document, indeed.

For more info about this, please see these posts by Eric Novak
Why I Care about the Homeschool & Christian Community
An Open Letter to Heidi St. John
HSLDA & Heidi St. John Refuse to Support Victims of Abuse

Bill Gothard: The Board’s Conclusion

The board who was investigating Bill Gothard has concluded that he acted inappropriately but not criminally, according to an article in the Chicago Sun Times.

Of course, there will be plenty of blog posts analyzing this conclusion to which I will link as I find them.

Here is Recovering Grace’s response to this statement.

Bill Gothard Resigns

Religion News Service reports that Bill Gothard has resigned from his position after being put on administrative leave following allegations of abuse.

 For background info about Bill Gothard, please see this post from Cindy, written a few days before his resignation.

Bill Gothard In The Spotlight After Abuse Allegations

World Mag Reports that Bill Gothard has been placed on administrative leave while they research recent  allegations of abuse.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey has an investigative report on this story on ReligionNews.com and here is the story from the Christian Post.

Naturally this story has impacted many people. Here is a testimony from Micah Murray which reflects on this news as he looks at Growing Up in Bill Gothard’s Homeschool Cult.

 

Obedience and Fear

Do your children fear getting in trouble?  Dara Stoltzfus shows us how dangerous it can be for children to fear their parents in a *very* sensitive post. Honestly, I wish I had never read this post.  It is so disturbing that I will just summarize it for the sensitive.  A 9 year old girl put herself into the worse situation imaginable because she was more afraid of getting in trouble than she was of a stranger. Horrific.  Why would a child who had done nothing wrong be afraid to go home and instead seek refuge with a stranger?  Please don’t allow your children to be afraid of you.  Even a child who has done something wrong should not be afraid of their parents.  Perfect love casts out all fear.

So, how should we get our children to obey?  Please see what MamaPsalmist has to say about  Obedience.

Is It Discipline Or Sexual Assault?

Molly explains the evil of allowing adult men to spank teenaged girls in Texas schools.  If you are very sensitive, you might want to just skip this one.

Can Spanking Be Sexual Abuse?

Emeth Hesed has posted an explanation of something few talk about, the risks of normal, disciplinary spankings causing sexual dysfunction.  Of course, it doesn’t happen to all children, but is it worth the risk?

She explores spanking further in, To Spank or Not To Spank…Is Not The Question.

CTBHH – Dangerous Advice with Heresy

ChucklesTravels reviews Created To Be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl which he deems Dangerous Advice mixed with a lot of Heresy.

Another Letter To A Pastor About Spanking

Dulce de Leche shares a letter someone wrote to her pastor about her experiences with spanking and why she does not believe it should be preached from the pulpit.  She shares her testimony of what it was like to be spanked and how it effected her.  She also looks at the blurred distinction between spanking and abuse.  This letter may be triggering so it is not for the faint of heart.

On a similar note is this post on The Journey about The Sexual Effects of Spanking.

Tina Anderson Case Goes to Trial

Reposting this MSNBC report for permanence:

Teen allegedly raped, forced to apologize for pregnancy before her church

Jury selection to begin in 1997 case; church member on trial for raping babysitter

msnbc.com staff and news service reports

CONCORD, N.H. — Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in the case of a 15-year-old girl who prosecutors say was raped by a fellow church member and forced to stand before the congregation to apologize for getting pregnant.

Ernest Willis is charged with forcibly raping Christina Anderson twice during the summer of 1997, when she was his children’s baby sitter and he was 39. Lawyers for Willis, now 52, say in court documents that he will admit having sex with the girl once but maintains it was consensual.

Prosecutor Wayne Coull said he expects Anderson to be among the first witnesses called when the trial begins May 23 in Merrimack Superior Court. The trial is expected to last four days.

The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they were victims of sex crimes, but Anderson, now 29, asked that her name be made public.

Former Trinity Baptist Church Pastor Charles Phelps is on the prosecution’s list of witnesses. Anderson told police that Phelps arranged for her to move to Colorado and forced her to write a letter of apology she had to read to the fundamentalist congregation.

She then was told to move into a room in the Phelpses’ home until she was to leave for Colorado, which Anderson said happened within days.

Anderson was home-schooled in Colorado, and gave birth to the baby there, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported. She gave the child up for adoption, the newspaper said.

Phelps is adamant that he reported the allegations to Concord police and was critical of them for failing to act. Police said they tried to investigate in 1997 but couldn’t find Anderson. They didn’t locate her until last year, when friends and Internet posts revealed she was living in Arizona under her married name.

‘Justice needs to be done’
The Union Leader reported that a detective with the Concord police contacted Anderson, the married mother of three more children, after learning of the case through a Facebook page entitled, “Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Cult Survivors.”

Phelps, who now lives in Indiana, said last year that he helped relocate Anderson at her mother’s request. Anderson’s mother, Christine Leaf, has refused to comment on whether she initiated or consented to the relocation. She, too, is on the prosecution’s witness list.

Anderson told the AP earlier this month she is nervous about testifying and having her life rehashed publicly, but added, “It needs to be done. Justice needs to be done.”

In court documents, Coull said he doesn’t object to a motion by defense lawyers Donna Brown and Brooksley Belander to be allowed to question Anderson about sexual abuse inflicted on her by her former stepfather beginning when she was 9 and ending when she was 11.

Coull does object to defense efforts to bar testimony about Willis’ offer to take Anderson out of state for an abortion and his offer to punch her hard in the stomach to induce a miscarriage. Coull said in court documents that Willis’ “willingness to use violence” is highly relevant “and clearly indicative of guilt.”

The judge has yet to rule on those motions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Update here.

 

When The Child Abuser Has a Bible

In Dec of 2010 The Official Newsletter of the National Child Protection Training Center featured an article entitled, When the Child Abuser Has a Bible: Investigating Child Maltreatment Sanctioned or Condoned by a Religious Leader.  They mention To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl in the footnotes and include a quote from Beth Fenimore’s open letter to Roy Lessin, How Spanking Changed My Life (Note: this story is very graphic and might be triggering for some. Use your own descretion.)

A Former Trinity Baptist Insider and the 20/20 IFB Story

Bob Bixby has posted a statement from Laura Moody, Formally from Trinity Baptist Church, about her relationship with those involved with the scandal featured in the 20/20 story about abuse in some IFB churches.  Read the comments for more hashing out of details.

Bob Bixby also has a post addressing Brian Fuller’s comments in that episode of 20/20 and his subsequent blog post.  Again, more details are hashed out in the comments.

In an effort to be fair, he links to the Other Side of the Story and discusses the hows and whys of Blaming the Victim.

Under Much Grace reminds us that the 20/20 story “failed to make any mention of the abuses that took place at the IFB’s most infamous boarding house for ‘troubled girls,’ the Hephzibah House of Winona Lake, IN.”

And The Wartburg Watch has a list of suggestions for how churches can better protect the children in their congregations from sexual abuse.

ABC News Exposes Abuse in some IFB Churches

ABC News Exposes Alleged Abuse in some IFB Churches on this News Video. The Schatz story is mentioned as well as the recent Lori Wick Child Abuse Scandal.  Brian Fuller of Trinity Baptist Church condemns the abuse and insists that not all IFB churches are the same.  I agree with him, as my Independent Fundamental Baptist church is nothing like that either.  The very fact that they are Independent shows that they are not all the same.  But I digress.  This video is a tease for tonight’s episode of 20/20 which aired Friday April 8, 2011

More links:

Review of “Yell and Tell”

The Christian Post has a review of Debi Pearl’s Yell and Tell series.  This is a positive review but unlike most I’ve seen, they don’t promote her other books nor link to their website.   I wonder if they are aware of the controversy around them.

For another opinion on the series, see TulipGirl’s review. Hers is the 3rd on the page at this time.

Mixed feelings about Created To Be His Help Meet

Elizabeth, at Virginia Is For Mothers, reviews Created To Be His Help Meet. While she got a lot of positive things out of it, she has some concerns.  I am linking to this post for 2 reasons.

1) This is a good review to share with people who got a lot out of the book and are wondering what could possibly be wrong with it.  If you share a very negative review with them, they will likely be resistant to the message therein.  This review brings up concerns from someone who, for the most part, liked the book.

2) She is interested to know what others got out of it.   I assume that she will find her way here and may be interested in the other reviews which I have collected.

By the way, she asks what we think about the allegation that Bathsheba can be blamed for enticing King David by bathing on her roof. The roof in those days was what our patios are today, it was probably enclosed and she probably did not expect anyone to be able to see her. I’m not sure if that was the usual custom or not. Also, the Bible says that it was the time when Kings go to war. I have heard many sermons teach that King David had no business in the palace at all because he was supposed to be at war leading his men. It seems to me that she thought that all the men were at war and would not be spying on her. But even if she were trying to entice him, the fault would still be his for not looking away and resisting. We can look at Joseph in his encounter with Potiphar’s wife to see how God expects a man to react to temptation.

Human Rights Violations from the TSA.

Not that I fly often, but there is no way I would fly now. Have you heard about these atrocities? Were you aware that if you fly, your choices are to go through a scan which lets someone view very graphic scans of your unclothed body (as well as exposing you to radiation) OR allow someone to touch your intimate areas? While I have no plans to fly soon, I am shocked and horrified for my brethren who do have to fly. It sickens me that so many people are accepting of this and I appreciate everyone who is speaking out. I am adding my voice here. This is just wrong and must be stopped.  TSA says that they are receiving very few complaints.  Probably few people know how to complain.  Let’s get the word out.  Anyone who has a complaint should read this.

Here is an article which explains how hard it is for the TSA staff involved as well as highlighting some abuses.

Here is an article comparing TSA staff with the Milgram Experiment.

Here is a first person account of a man who experienced the “enhanced pat down.”  He says that if he were a woman he would have felt violated.

Here is an article about how a sanitary towel prompted TSA to grope a sexual abuse survivor.

Here is an article about how a  mother was held in a glass cage for almost an hour for resisting over breastmilk.

Here is a reminder  of what we teach our children about Saying No to inappropriate touching. How can we reconcile this advice with what TSA is doing? TSA says that they will no longer search a child under 13. I hope they all will honor that guideline and not make up their own rules (as they did with the breastmilk guidelines), but what about our teenagers?


The Pearls Take On Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse

I feel obligated to post the information that the Pearls are working on a new book about protecting children from sexual abuse.   Debi Pearl posted that info on her blog at http://www.debipearl.com/blogs/blog/1740302-cultivating-cautious-chicks-protecting-children-from-predators.  I found this post through my Google Alerts which hit a thread on Free Jinger about how said blog post was altogether wrong in its information about chickens. http://freejinger.yuku.com/topic/2475/t/Pearls–Writing–New-Book—Know—Chickens–Children.html

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about this news.  I believe that many of their teachings do make a child vulnerable to abuse and therefore is is good that they are addressing that.  I hope that the advice they give turns out to be useful advice and will end up protecting children rather than hurting them more as much of their advice does.


Update: Debi Pearl is releasing a children’s book designed to prepare and protect children from sexual molestation and it actually looks pretty good.

Update Nov 2010: The book, Samuel Learns To Yell And Tell has been released.   Here is TulipGirl’s review of the book.  If you are not familiar with TulipGirl, please see my sidebar for a link to her site.