Tag Archives: United States

Helpful (short) definition of sex trafficking

ImageAt staff meeting today we watched, Not My Life. A film about human trafficking and modern slavery. Narrated by Glenn Close, this documentary explores the cruel inhumanity of trafficking and slavery around the world today. I recommend it for anyone wanting to get a clear picture of the types of trafficking and slavery, whether in Africa, India, Cambodia, Europe, or the United States.

Somewhere in the movie someone defines sex trafficking as supported by,

force, fraud, and coercion

You might think that force and coercion are the same but here is how I hear those words:

force: the physical power to control another person

fraud: deception often makes it possible to get more cooperation without using as much force

coercion: psychological efforts to get someone to do what you want. It is one thing to kidnap someone. It is another to convince them to act in ways that they would never choose to do. Coercion could be physical but sex traffickers rarely stand over their slaves and make them act out with those who buy them–at least after the first times. No, coercion is often psychological. If you don’t do this, I will kill your family. No one will want you now. Force starts the process, coercion keeps the victim entrapped.

Why is this helpful? Because these three items can be found anywhere. It is far too easy to believe that trafficking happens elsewhere or is something that only a monster does. Well, that last phrase is true…but we all know a little about force, manipulation, and deception. These features are found in everyday life.

Want to do something about trafficking? Stand up against force, manipulation (coercion) and deception everywhere you see it–in yourself, in others, in systems.


Filed under Abuse, Uncategorized

Global Trauma Recovery Institute Launched! Dr. Langberg Joins Biblical Faculty

American Bible Society

American Bible Society (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is my pleasure to announce that I and Biblical Seminary are the recipient of a sizeable grant to launch our new Global Trauma Recovery Institute–training for lay and professional recovery experts in the US and around the world. The grant (from an anonymous donor and the American Bible Society) funds the Seminary’s collaborative program with ABS to provide deeper training for those active in both trauma recovery efforts in the US or in training local facilitators in east/central Africa.

Why collaborate with a bible society?

ABS is involved in a trauma healing/scripture engagement project, focused in Africa but with other works going on around the world. This project has been under the work of ABS’ She’s My Sister initiative in the Congo. The bible societies were founded on bringing scripture to bear on the current issues of the time–specifically slavery. So, it make sense that ABS is interested in helping traumatized individuals recover from wounds by showing how God cares and is active in their recovery. Through connections with a few of my students, I and Diane Langberg have become co-chairs of the advisory council to the above-named initiative.

What does this mean for Biblical?

The generous grant will enable Biblical to do the following

  • Commission a research study of the psycho-social impact of trauma in the African context
    • in collaboration with Wheaton College’s Humanitarian Disaster Institute
    • WHY? We need better understanding of the scope of the problem and what locally led interventions will be the most effective (both in terms of success and sustainability)
  •  Develop introductory and advanced global trauma recovery courses that enable MA and postgraduate students to develop specialization in training local trauma recovery facilitators here and around the world
    • These courses will be delivered in a hybrid format starting late 2012; delivered in hybrid system (on-line and in-person)
    • Mental health continuing education credit will be possible
  • A hands-on practical experience under the direction myself and Dr. Langberg will be the capstone experience for students who complete the entire training
    • Likely 2013 in an African context
  • A website providing free and homestudy CE materials for those unable to come to the Philadelphia area
  • Consultation groups formed for those seeking help with cases and projects in domestic and international trauma recovery

How is Dr. Langberg involved?

Dr. Diane Langberg is the leading Christian psychologist with expertise in trauma recovery. Her teaching has taken her to South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Her books on sexual abuse remain popular with both clinicians and victims. She joins Biblical Seminary as a Clinical Faculty member (clinical faculty are practitioners who also lecture and train) and will have a leadership role in the shaping and delivery of the curriculum and trainings. It is safe to say that the counseling department has been most influenced by Dr. Langberg’s training and supervision.

How can I find out about these courses and consultation groups?

Until we launch the institute website, the best way to keep yourself informed is to do one of the following: subscribe to this blog where I will be posting updates; keep checking with www.biblical.edu for more information, or email me at pmonroeATbiblicalDOTedu and I will put your name on a growing list of those who want to be on our mailing list.

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Filed under "phil monroe", Abuse, Africa, biblical counseling, Biblical Seminary, christian counseling, christian psychology, Christianity, counseling science, counseling skills, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, trauma

King to psychologists: Some maladjustment is necessary!

Dr. Martin Luther King at a press conference.

Image via Wikipedia

Recently, someone forwarded to me an email from Ken Pope (see his fabulous and informative website: www.kenpope.com) containing excerpts of Martin Luther King’s address to psychologists in September 1967. I pass on excerpts for your enrichment and encourage you to read the entire address available for download here.

Here’s King on the necessity of being maladjusted to some things:

On creative maladjustment

There are certain technical words in every academic discipline which soon become stereotypes and even clichés. Every academic discipline has its technical nomenclature. You who are in the field of psychology have given us a great word. It is the word maladjusted. This word is probably used more than any other word in psychology. It is a good word; certainly it is good that in dealing with what the word implies you are declaring that destructive maladjustment should be destroyed. You are saying that all must seek the well-adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities.

But on the other hand, I am sure that we will recognize that there are some things in our society, some things in our world, to which we should never be adjusted. There are some things concerning which we must always be maladjusted if we are to be people of good will. We must never adjust ourselves to racial discrimination and racial segregation. We must never adjust ourselves to religious bigotry. We must never adjust ourselves to economic conditions that take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. We must never adjust ourselves to the madness of militarism, and the self-defeating effects of physical violence.
Thus, it may well be that our world is in dire need of a new organization, The International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment. Men and women should be as maladjusted as the prophet Amos, who in the midst of the injustices of his day, could cry out in words that echo across the centuries, ‘Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream’; or as maladjusted as Abraham Lincoln, who in the midst of his vacillations finally came to see that this nation could not survive half slave and half free; or as maladjusted as Thomas Jefferson, who in the midst of an age amazingly adjusted to slavery, could scratch across the pages of history, words lifted to cosmic proportions, ‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. And that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ And through such creative maladjustment, we may be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, into the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice. (emphases mine)

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Filed under counseling, Great Quotes, Psychology, Race

The next generation will have less than us?

The western front of the United States Capitol...

Image via Wikipedia

I began the following post on March 1 of this year. I set it aside because I wasn’t so sure how to end it. But the recent squabbling about how to ensure the US will be able to pay its bills has me feeling pretty sure that the next generation is going to have a tough go at it.

I’m no economist. I stink at math. But, I’m pretty sure that my children’s generation is going to be worse off than my own. What makes me think this? Consider some facts

  • Our consumption oriented world cannot keep the economy afloat…debt is ballooning out of control
  • Educational costs are skyrocketing and do not necessarily bring greater income potential
  • We make few things in this country so jobs in industries are shrinking. At some point, don’t we need to do something other than service jobs?
  • Aging baby boomers (and those of us just a bit too young to be considered boomers) are going to need  a lot of help given that many live hand to mouth and with a ton of debt.
  • military cuts will mean fewer 18 year olds will be able to make a living in the service.

So, if my prediction is correct…what does it mean? I suspect it means families are going to continue to live together. I should probably expect my children to live with me a lot longer than I did with my parents (I went to college and never really moved back in except for 2 summer jobs). Families will need to pool their monies more. In some ways, this may not be all bad. Family members will grow in their sense of needing each other to accomplish daily life. This is how most of the rest of the world operates. Financial security, as much as I really do like it, may give us a false sense of independence that is neither healthy to our social or spiritual lives.

Okay, back to July 2011. Our lawmakers are playing chicken with the debt ceiling and hoping the other side will budge. No matter how this turns out, someone is going to get hurt. Probably our children’s generation.


Filed under news, News and politics, Uncategorized

What caused sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests?

Did you see the 152 page report published about the causes of sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic church? You can read a very short new story here which links to a pdf of the entire report. You don’t have to read the entire report since the first several pages serve as a summary of the entire report. The report is being rejected by most who have read it because the most prominent “cause” of the increase of child sexual abuse between the 1970s and 1985 is social and moral degradation. In the words of one radio host…”they’re blaming Woodstock? Really?”

What I want to read in the report is their comments on the culture of seminary training. Just what was going on in the lives of the seminary leaders? It may well be that seminary professors and leaders were explicitly and implicitly creating a culture of boundary violations, sexual abuse. It may well be that perpetrating priests were raised and brought up in the church and seminary under a leadership that encouraged such behavior (even if not outright).

Obviously, I’m not thinking that seminaries are only to blame. A culture of secrecy, a culture of protecting the system and ignoring the victim (or much worse), failure to assess priest candidates (both at initial entry and later), and failure to encourage real spiritual formation are just a few of the facets of this problem. But as a seminary professor, I do bear the responsibility of thematic problems of my graduating students. If one student is a bad apple, I’m not responsible. However, if my graduates begin to exemplify a particular theme (e.g., ethical violations, legalism, arrogance, etc.) then I may indeed be responsible for either (a) encouraging such behaviors, or (b) not identifying the problem behaviors/attitudes and not attempting to remediate the problem.

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Filed under Abuse, Christianity

The uniqueness of the United States?

Have you caught any of the public (media) controversies about whether President Obama really likes the U.S.? You have sound bytes of Americans saying that Obama doesn’t even like the country and even the former Vice President Cheney making a similar accusation. It is not a new controversy. Certainly, the comments of his then pastor didn’t help him…The bruhaha about wearing a flag pin…and Michelle Obama’s comments about her first time feeling proud about the U.S.

Without debating Obama’s feelings about the country, I’d like to consider the issue of our uniqueness. Is there something special or unique about the US that places us in a special category different from the rest of the world? Is it okay to even ask this question or does it automatically indicate a disrespect for our forefathers, for democracy, for the Christian roots of the country?Is it tantamount to saying that God has not had his hand on this country in some special ways?

Stating that we are not unique may be one of the remaining heresies of our time.

But, should it be a heresy to suggest that in the eyes of God and others, we aren’t so different. This does not mean that we wouldn’t choose every time to still live in this country. This is not to suggest that we have blessings that few others have.  This is not to say that God isn’t carrying out his purposes via our country either.

But are we special? We have flawed individuals making up a flawed government who are seeking both personal good and, yes, the good of others (for the most part). Isn’t that true of other governments as well? Maybe not all governments seek this, but certainly many do.

Is America great? But could it be better? Yes. And so, being willing to criticize, even publicly, this country is one of the evidences of its greatness. Even further, being willing to criticize and demand better care for all is a sign of our greatness.

Seems the debate is not really about our pride in the US but in demanding no honest criticism. Sounds like the, “I can criticize my family all I want, but I’ll never admit to you that they have any flaws” mindset.

So, are we special and unique? Is it so bad to admit our flaws? Our failures? To even note that other countries have done a better job at certain things? What do you think? If your family emigrated to Canada instead, would you really be less of an individual? Would you be jealous of Americans?


Filed under Christianity, News and politics