Recently I took an online “course” designed to protect Christian ministries from lawsuits arising from child sexual abuse.
I knew it was going to be annoying, but it was worse than I had anticipated.
Here are some (but definitely not all) of the curriculum deficiencies:
- There was very little information about helping victims of child abuse
- Many of the recommendations were protective of the church over the child
- There were broad, unsubstantiated allegations about the victims of child abuse and their families which included saying that they were mentally disabled and prone to familial dysfunction
- The course stated and repeated that the adult survivors of child sexual abuse were not emotionally stable, neither able nor willing to process and recover from childhood trauma
- The methods of ferreting out both abuse and abusers were shot through with harmful stereotypes and inadequate information
- The course taught the participant to favor in-organization reporting over direct and immediate reporting to law enforcement, legal guardians, and child protective services
- The test reinforced curriculum biases
I contacted the company directly after I took the course and asked them for information on their source material and bibliography.
I am not a rape victim, but I was targeted by at least one pedophile when I was young, and I have children who are childhood sexual assault survivors.
I am not “low IQ,” and my children are all smarter than I am. Had any of us been “low IQ” (term taken directly from course material), we would still deserve help from the law and relief from abuse.
Our individual and collective intelligence was not the reason my children were molested by my adopted son, but it also did not save us from protracted and compounded grief.
First from the felonies,
Later from the way “good people did nothing,” or worse still, did things to let us know they wanted to silence our story.
Jesus said, tell the little children they will always be safe with me.
Yet in order to protect their legal asses big, well-known communities and institutions all over this country are serving up biased, unsubstantiated defamation of childhood rape victims and their families in place of solid, simple procedures to ensure that children are safe in church and that the law is followed.
It should never be “protect my ministry,” over protect the children.