A great start to our conference last night. Boz Tchividjian gave us some good things to think about in how predators in the church operate. He named 5 particular exploitations that are common
Exploitations of “religious cover” (aka religious activity); of faith issues (using distorted faith matters to abuse); of power (using authority, “God told me that…”); of trust (christian communities tend to be trusting); of need (churches work only through volunteers, thus the need).
Here’s the quote:
Everyone believes in child protection. But when the status of the alleged offender is high and the status of the victim is low, that is when people start looking for exceptions to their protection policies.
I have placed the slides of my 4 talks (last night’s and 3 from today) in my articles and slides page (scroll to the bottom, in right column). Boz Tchividjian will make his available here as well after the conference.
4 responses to “Abuse in the Church Conference Slides and a Quote”
Glad things are going well. It’s like sticking your head in the sand for churches not to have abuse awareness training and “a plan” these days. Fundamental! Also helpful is the good deal of thought given to offenders’ ministries. (See slides) That detail probably catches most churches off guard. And it takes a mature ministry to even consider it. Good points.
I’d add one thing – a component dealing with false allegations of abuse. This is the “flip side” to a well-rounded abuse prevention program. I mention this because, if Robert Priest and Esther Cordill are right in their recent paper in the Christian Scholar’s Review (Christian Communities and “Recovered Memories” of Abuse), false accusations are a problem too. Most people won’t have access to that publication, but Roger E Olson (Truett Seminary) covers much of the same thing in his blog “A Plea for Christian Common Sense and Healthy Skepticism…”
Something to consider.
Phil, I would really appreciate you addressing the current state of the “Recovered Memories” issue. I understand that Robert Priest has his reasons for writing on this (and I’ve heard him talk on this before), but I thought professionals and their fixation on this issue was long dealt with. In other words, what’s the current state of research on RM?
Second, I would like to see what a “round table” discussion of CSA survivors think about “false allegations.” Have they been asked? Has an article been written on that? Seriously, let’s keep this in perspective and avoid arguing from the exception to the rule. Children don’t naturally dismantle their support system, tear down their parental love, smear authority figures in their lives, invite police to their house, basically upending their own structure and stability. If we want to address RM, then let’s be honest and admit that those who haven’t seen the battle field are often the ones talking about it; let’s acknowledge that hurt and angry adults (who haven’t been abused), but have to face layers of damage, are often the ones addressing this RM.
There is nothing simple or clean about addressing abuse, but if we as survivors can face a culture of silence and a lifetime of stereotypes and complex triggers, maybe the non-abused can stomach the relatively rare false accusation, probably as a product of co-morbidity issues.
Please, some decorum for those who’ve seen the battle field,
Andrew and Tom, these ARE important issues. I plan to write on recovered memories. This is a different animal than children reporting abuse. I have not see Priest’s article. Not sure if we have access to it. Does anyone know if it exists in the etherworld?
False allegations aren’t the sole domain of adults, but Phil’s point is key, namely that RM generally involves adults, not kids. Also, abuse comes is many forms, so it isn’t my intention to argue who suffers most–the targets of sexual assault or those falsely accused of it. Both are victims of abuse and neither situation is acceptable. So, in regards to RM, it’s the science and the practitioners we need to focus on, not victims. That issue needs to be resolved if we are to be of any help – or conversely, cause no harm. And resolution will not happen without willing dialogue. But we can do that, right? Aren’t we the church?
Priest and Cordill’s article is not on-line, but the CSR issue can be purchased for about $8. Most Christian colleges have copies floating around. And I’m sure the authors would provide courtesy copies. Bob is at Trinity. I’m not sure of Esther’s affiliation.