Gospel-Centered Movement, TGC, YRR, Calvinists, Jared Wilson
Rachael DenholIander, Dr. Larry Nassar, Sexual Abuse, MSU, USAG
I normally write articles about church leaders or Christian groups. This is neither, but you will see soon discover that the hero in this story, Rachael Denhollander, is a Christian. In this story, you will see sacrificial love – love that puts the needs, safety, concern of others, far ahead of herself. It’s one thing to sacrifice for your family or friends, but Rachael sacrificed for strangers. She was steadfast, strong, determined, articulate, thorough, and unrelenting. She became a leader, a counselor, an encourager, a listening ear, and perhaps even a surrogate mother-like figure to many who had gone through the same horrific ordeal. For those who couldn’t speak, she became their voices; but by her bravery and courage, she empowered others to use their voice, even up until the very last day of testimonies.
This is about a highly publicized sex abuse case, not in the church, but in athletics. The Dr. Larry Nassar sex abuse case has been an important case. I like to watch cases like these to observe the tactics abusers or enablers use to hide the deviant behavior. When there’s one person who is abusing, many times there are others who enable the abuse. This is a classic case of systemic abuse just as we have seen at Penn State, in the Catholic Church (see Spotlight Movie), the Boy’s Scouts, and others.
Because of the graphic content in this post, I am issuing a trigger alert. If you have been sexually abused, this will likely be difficult to read. Use caution. Continue reading
#MeToo, #ChurchToo, Sexual Abuse, Harassment, Church
The hashtag #MeToo has been trending for quite some time on Twitter. Women who have been sexually harassed or abused have been identifying themselves as survivors of sexual harm, indicating it with the hashtag, #MeToo. But now, there is a new trending hashtag, #ChurchToo. The stories that you can read in one little tweet are heartbreaking.
I wanted to share some here, and also invite those who have been on Twitter to feel free to share more here if they like.
If you are new to Spiritual Sounding Board, this is a blog that deals with abuse in church or church groups. We have dealt with all kinds of sexual abuse: sex abuse of children, sexual abuse in marriage, sexual abuse by clergy, wives of pedophiles, church leaders who have failed to report sexual crimes, church leaders who have blamed victims for sexual crimes, and also spiritual abuse which often occurs when a church leaders are involved in any capacity (perpetrator, counselor, spiritual advisor).
If you have been harmed sexually, this is a safe place. If you would like to share your story in more detail, you can in the comments, or to me privately: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to comment using a pseudonym. This is your place to use your voice where it will be heard.
~Julie Anne Continue reading
To deal with “systemic abuse,” we must understand systems, victimization, and what makes individuals and institutions vulnerable.
Key component in a system of resources on child sexual abuse for policy makers, survivors, educators, and advocates.
Guest post by Brad Sargent, with input from Julie Anne Smith.
Cross-posted at futuristguy.
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Spiritual Sounding Board was invited to participate in the Litfuse “blog tour” for the recently released Child Safeguarding Policy Guide. They asked us to post a one-paragraph summary of our overall response to this resource book, so that could be used as an excerpt on other sites. Here is what I wrote:
How will our church serve those who’ve suffered the harm of childhood sexual abuse, and seek to prevent it from happening to others? On this difficult but foundational issue of human dignity and care, will we choose conscience and compassion – or corrosion and complacency? The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide and the range of other resources from GRACE equip us with clear definitions, well-organized knowledge, and practical skills to follow a right and righteous path on these global problems of violence and abuse.
Available reviews of the Policy Guide share about its concepts and content from a variety of angles. Already posted on Amazon are great summaries, detailed insights from church leaders, poignant personal accounts from survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Litfuse Publicity Group has review excerpts and links to full posts, and New Growth Press, which published this book, has additional endorsements.
In this post, I will give a brief preview of key features from a systems perspective, and list other resources from GRACE and New Growth Press. In a follow-up post, I will add my thoughts on the big picture of systemic abuse, why we’ve needed a set of resources to deal with it, and share some personal perspectives on how the Policy Guide and other books produced by GRACE represent answers to some longstanding prayers. Continue reading
The Keepers, Netflix, Cathy Cesnik, Systemic Sexual Abuse, Catholic Church, Spiritual Abuse, Clergy Sexual Abuse
The Keepers is a new documentary series airing on Netflix. I have watched 5 of the episodes and it is excellent. If you have seen Spotlight, it is similar, however, the investigative reporters in this case are two grandmas who have spent the last three years compiling details of the case and trying to get answers as to who killed their beloved former high school teacher, Sister Cathy Cesnik in 1969.
Like the movie, Spotlight, the series uncovers systemic sexual abuse of female students at Archbishop Keough High School in Maryland by Father Maskell who was a counselor on campus. When I refer to the word “systemic,” I mean it is a whole system of cover-up and abuse. Father Joseph Maskell was not the only one who committed the crimes. His friends in high places also committed sexual crimes and helped to conceal the crimes: police officers, businessmen in the community, etc.
The first episode lays the groundwork for the story and introduces the main characters. Then, the second episode goes into repulsive, unimaginable sexual abuse descriptions. This episode is definitely difficult to watch and I would caution those who get triggered by topics of abuse to be very careful watching it. The second episode was the most difficult for me to watch, but this is important information to know how insidious these crimes were, not only sexually, but spiritually.
Because this documentary series is being discussed so much, I wanted to have a post specifically to address it, and especially to be a place where people can discuss how it may have affected them.
So, let’s use this post to discuss how the show may have affected us and try not to include spoilers for those who have not yet watched it.
Below, I have gathered a variety of links that may be of interest. I encourage you to check out the first link, especially. It is excellent.
Note: While this sexual abuse scandal – also connected with the systemic abuse cover up with cases around the world uncovered by the Boston Globe Spotlight team occurred in the Catholic Church, Protestant churches are not exempt from these types of scandals. We know of the Sovereign Grace Ministries sexual abuse scandal which is still ongoing. I am personally aware of several others that are “under the radar.” No one church group is exempt from systemic abuse.
A website was set up for the movie here: The Keepers. I am very impressed with the information presented at the site, from information about the series, to helpful resources for survivors, therapies, systemic abuse, how to help, etc.
The following links are related and may be of interest:
- Ahead of Netflix doc, our 2005 story “Who Killed Sister Cathy?: One of Maryland’s coldest murder cases heats up” This gives an overview of the case. *Spoiler alert
- From ‘Spotlight’ to ‘Keepers,’ Richard Sipe sees celibate priesthood as problem for the Catholic Church Richard Sipe has been referenced in both Spotlight movie and The Keepers.
- How The Keepers Inspired Police To Make It Easier To Report Sex Crimes A positive outcome from the series.
- The Keepers,’ pending closure shadow Seton Keough’s final days
- 6 Important Things That Happened After the Events in The Keepers *Spoiler alert
- The Keepers: Everything You Need to Know About the Other Victim, Joyce Malecki
- ‘The Keepers’ Is the Best True-Crime Docuseries Yet
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Have you met Boz Tchividjian of GRACE – Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment? This would be a good video to post on Facebook or send to church leaders. Until churches have safe policies in place and survivors feel safe to share their trauma to others in the church, the church is not whole. We need to be proactive in minimizing the opportunity for sex abuse to occur and also to help those who have been harmed by sexual abuse.