Nearly 2 years ago (March 2011), Biblical Seminary put on a conference about the problem of sexual trauma and trafficking. Our speakers included Dr. Diane Langberg (a noted psychologist), Bethany Hoang (IJM), Robert Morrison (a grassroots organizer), and Pearl Kim (now ADA for 2 Philadelphia counties). The sessions covered domestic and international sex trafficking, abuse and violence against women worldwide, the problem of sexual abuse in christian organizations, and how to mobilize community action without expending energy on non-profit status.
It was a powerful conference…and you can own it for a mere $19.99. Here’s the link to Amazon. Or, you can find it here at Vision Video (along with MP4 options as well) for 20% off.
This DVD set (3 DVDs) are an excellent starting point if you or your church group want to think more deeply about the biblical call to justice in the area of trafficking, trauma, and violence against women, whether “out there” or in the church.
Look for information on purchasing our most recent DVD series, Abuse in the Church, in the next week.
For those interested in anti-trafficking media, you might check out this almost 4 minute animated movie about woman in Africa lured into a sex trafficking trap. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVYqlUU_u2I
Warning: while it contains no graphic visual material, the content of the video may still be triggering for some.
UPDATE: I believe this link contains the full 6 minute movie: http://www.ecpat.org.uk/blog/dangerous-journey
I attended Pearl Kim’s presentation in the afternoon. Pearl is the assistant DA in Delaware county. She works on SVU cases. I did not take notes during this presentation due to her excellent PPT and visuals (video clips, case materials). Sadly, she did not want her talk recorded so I cannot forward anything to readers. But, here are some important takeaways:
1. Abusers almost always “find Jesus” while awaiting sentencing. Pearl believes one of her many cases was in fact true. How does she know? This person asked her to give him the maximum sentence so he could get help and so he would not be able to abuse others. She commented on another convicted offender (rapist, attempted murder) who claimed to have found Jesus and even acknowledged that if it hadn’t been for Pearl’s work, he might not have stopped his behavior. However, this offender continued to violate an order of protection by mailing letters to the victim from jail. His refusal to obey a protection order suggests he is less than repentant.
2. Churches are too gullible. Repentance is not in a few words and tears (also mentioned by Diane). Recognize that the average! number of abuse victims for an offender before first arrest is about 50 with about 150 before incarceration.
3. Allow the legal system to do its job. While not perfect, the legal system is designed to work with victims and offenders. When churches try to determine truth (rather than reporting the possible abuse), they may make it impossible for an offender to be convicted. It is easy to contaminate a case, especially when child victims are involved.
4. Churches can do some good things: background checks for all childcare workers, policies for ministry leaders and their time with vulnerable parishioners, making the church a safe place.
Biblical Seminary’s March 17-19 conference on sex trafficking and sexual abuse in Christian communities is filling up. We have space for only 400 attendees. You do NOT want to miss a chance to interact with Dr. Diane Langberg, Bethany Hoang (IJM), Pearl Kim (ADA of Delaware Cty), and Robert Morrison (founder of FREE). If you have been thinking about attending this conference, sign up now. All the information you need about who, what, when, and where is found here. Registration is free and those who would also like academic credit or CEs can see what additional costs and work are required can use the previous link to get more information.