This article by Claire Roise looks at how society’s views of cigarettes and seat belts have changed over the years and how it would look if abuse followed suit. It is a very interesting article and I recommend it highly. I remember the changes she discusses quite well. (I was an oddball child who insisted on wearing a seat belt back in a time when they were not used at all. I remember digging them out from under the seat and brushing off all the gunk.) Society’s views of abuse have been changing over the years, but very slowly. Too slowly.
So many Christians do not understand domestic abuse. They often teach that a Christian wife should just submit and pray harder. This booklet looks at what the Bible teaches about abusive behavior using the story of David and Saul as an example. Obviously, the relationship between Saul and David was not the same as the relationship between a husband and wife, it was more like that of a father and son. However, the general abuse dynamics are the same and it is a very interesting study. This study would be very good to share with a pastor or anyone who you feel needs more insight into abuse.
Please click on the posters for the blog post. You may contact Steph at GentleFirmness2014 (at) hotmail (dot) com or through her Facebook page.
Stephanie Cox is selling signed copies for her book “Gentle Firmness” at the lowest price ever, only $20 with FREE shipping! You still have 2 days to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to buy this book for yourself and as Christmas presents. In order to take advantage of this sale you need to contact Stephanie directly. You can message her through Facebook or email her at GentleFirmness2014 (at) hotmail (dot) com.
For more from Stephanie Cox, please see her articles here.
Do you have any parenting tips?
Who doesn’t? We all learn things along the way, that we end up sharing with people whether they like it or not. 😉 There are 3 books I consult along with long conversations with my sister-in-law, mom and few good friends. The books that guideline raising our children are the Bible, Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp and To Train Up a Child by Michael & Debi Pearl. My parenting tip of the day is … consistency; it’s key.
This article also discusses the Duggars and possible endorsement of the Pearls, which we have already discussed here.
Tulipgirl reminds us that it has been ten years since we lost Sean.
Coleen G. was nice enough to share her testimony here on my blog. I’m reposting it below so it won’t be missed.
I have seen the fruits of the Pearl’s methods in my own children and at another family that we know.
My friend tried to switch her toddler son until he was crying submissively and brokenly. She was horrified at how many times this needed to be done and each event required welting, bruises because he would not be broken until he no longer could stand the agony. She never switched like that again and never used their methods again. She had been following the techniques as described including the correct “tool”.
I too tried to follow their methods but I could not bring myself to hit that hard. I did not know of my friend’s sessions with her son at the time. That story came out to me years later. I have a temper problem and very strong willed children as well(I know now that is a blessing not a sin issue). While I tried very hard to not let my temper rule me it came out when I had to go through multiple sessions over many days about the same issues with the same child. Their “rebellion” was taken personally and fed my sinful anger problem. I was not seeing results with my young children they mostly just grew out of whatever development stage and corresponding behaviors that I had been taught vis the Pearl’s was disobedience.
God got a hold of me healing the sin-anger and showing me that my parenting methods were causing me to sin against my children even when I was not angry. The switch was chaotic and it took almost two years for relational healing. Yes I was/am a sinner who had a problem but the Pearl’s methods aggravated and intensified that sin issue compounding the damage I was doing. Yes I had the book, all the connected books. I had videos and the magazine subscription so I was well steeped in their methodology.
Having now stepped away from it all and truly studied both the bible and child development I can see that much of what they teach is toxic even for mild even tempered parent of equally tempered children. While bible-y in terminology it is not Christ-like and denies what is normal development as sin that must be punished out of a child for the convenience of the parents and the child’s future salvation.
I have lived with the fruit and it is a sour hellish thing fit only for those who like the Pharisees care more for control and rules than Love and sacrificial living towards the weaker.
Gentle Christian Mothers has posted a testimony on her Facebook page. She includes a lovely photo of her 4 children, I do hope you will take a look. It is a public post so I do not believe that you need to have a Facebook account in order to view it.
Lisa has said very well what I have had neither the time nor energy to write so I am going to give her comments the exposure they deserve.
I read the article, also, and I was appalled. A prayer should not ever need excuses for why it sounds like a prayer for another human being’s death.
What if they had asked God to open their eyes and hearts and show them ‘if there is any hurtful way in them, and lead them in the everlasting way’? What if they had asked God if they had a log in their eyes that they needed to remove in order to see more clearly? What if they had asked God to bless these people?
When Jesus said to pray for our enemies, I think he meant to pray for their good and their welfare. I think that if someone attacks you, the very first thing you should do is examine whether there is any merit to their complaint. After that, humble oneself and depend on God.
I think that to compare any human beings to attacking dogs is a mistake. The Psalms may contain references like this but these are preshadowings of Christ’s affliction. We are not Christ, and we are now in the New Testament and Christ has taught us to love our enemies and do good to those who would despitefully use us. None of the apostles, nor Steven, prayed for the death of their enemies.
Finally, if I had ever written a book that led 1 other person (much less 3) to abuse their child to the point of killing them, I would be devastated beyond description. I would take that book off the market and burn every copy and repent on my face before God. Wouldn’t you?
It would appear that the Pearls are facing legal problems over the damages their teachings have caused. Vyckie Garrison reports on this in an article entitled, “Evangelical couple begs God to strike critics dead over child abuse claims.”
When I saw this article, was surprised. I feel that I know quite a bit about the Pearls and I know that they strive to be good Christians. I disagree with fundamental aspects of their teachings on child rearing to the point that I consider much of it dangerous. However, I do believe that they are sincerely trying to serve the Lord. So, I read the article right away, looking for what Debi Pearl really said.
She starts out describing a time when Mr. Pearl was brutally attacked by dogs while serving the Lord. She explains how this was really a satanic attack. She then likens it to this new legal attack. She decries her attackers which she explains are also led by the forces of darkness. She then tells of a time when the Lord delivered them by destroying their attacker. She did not say that someone died, but it is easy to come to that conclusion. She exhorts her followers and ends by asking for prayer, giving her followers a sample prayer. Here the excerpt in question:
…we ask that you step in and bring down the evil that is set against Michael Pearl’s family. Bring to an end all those that testify in lies and deceit.
Now, I can totally see where people would interpret that to mean that they are asking for people’s death, but I also suspect that they would be shocked and offended at that interpretation. I suspect that are asking for an end to the evil and that a change of heart would cause there to be no more people testifying against them. Of course, I can’t speak for them, but that is how I read their words.
Either way, the prayer is appalling. One of my commenters expressed why very well here.
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.
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.”