Why does abuse prolong in Christian Churches and environments?
Why is sexual scandal so prevalent?
And whats worse….Why do some defend the Abuser, rather than the Victim?
Recently, Josh Duggar, now an adult, was exposed through many articles and news agencies for molesting several young girls (Including some of his sisters) when he was himself a minor. His parents found out and sent Josh to counselling away from home for punishment. It took a few days for the articles to actually start giving some details about what happened, but almost immediately, Christians started defending Josh saying that he had repented, that his family handled it, and that he had changed. This same rallying would more than likely not be done for someone of another faith, or an atheist if they committed the same; in fact, the rallying in these instances could be negative – all coming from the same group of people.
But Josh Duggar is not the only example of this. From the world-known sexual abuse cases done by Catholic priests, to the instances of Protestant pastors and Youth Pastors doing the same, this issue is an issue, and Christians should NEVER by any means make light of it, or take the side of the accused, if found guilty.
Saying “what he did was terrible, but he is a changed man” is not enough. As Christians, we understand that the power and forgiveness of Jesus is powerful, but we also know that sin is crippling, addictive, and harmful to us, and those around us.
In the case of Josh Duggar, it is too late to take legal action. But as an article on usatoday indicated, the Duggar family lied to the police officer they told, and even though they had lied, what they told the officer should have been followed up with an investigation. The family, and the police officer were at fault for not taking proper legal action. After some counseling, the Abuser and the Victims still had to share a house together.
Christians should be disgusted, let down, and mournful over the Sin…not JUST supportive of Josh. The main focus should be on making sure the victims receive proper care and counseling, to make sure the law is upheld, and to see where it failed.
To make myself clear: If Josh Duggar truly repented, I affirm his forgiveness in the name of Jesus, and I do not condemn him. Though my main point thus far is this: In his example, the sin is very grave, and effects of that sin are real, and we need to do a better job at addressing the issue instead of just defending a Christian celebrity.
Do we need more examples of how sexual abuse, and rape culture take place within the church?
- A Youth Pastor who sexually abused several boys, and clear signs were shown that should have stopped him. Read Here
- A girls story of being sexually abused by her brother in a Christian home, and not being taken seriously… Read Here
- An excellent article on one woman’s experience with Rape Culture (Warning: Graphic Language)…Read Here
The question, “what could have been done better” is an example of what Christians should be asking, in addition to “What are the signs”, and “What can we do now”.
Oftentimes, these sexual abusers are those who people trust, those that no one would suspect anything from, and they could also be a family member. In these issues, when comments, concerns, or questions are spoken…we cannot view the accused through Rose-Colored glasses…we have to view them, and the situation through a very critical lens.
But we live in a sub-culture that has a tendency to esteem Men over Women, to put leaders of the church on pedestals, and to not question authority or speak up.
We live in a culture that governs what women are to wear and that lets the men wear whatever they want. We focus on what the women can do for the men to “Keep them from stumbling”, while saying “Boys will be boys” instead of teaching our boys self-control and respect, and being men and women that respect and care for all people.
We need to be a people known for the safety of Children, not the molestation of them. We need to have boundary training, set procedures to follow, have open door policies, and we need to encourage anyone to speak up if they suspect anything.
We can no longer be silent. We can no longer turn a blind eye. We can no longer blindly support a person because of their status or religion, while diminishing their wrongful actions.
We need to be a people that is at the forefront of advocacy against rape culture, sexual abuse, and all other forms of abuse. Imagine if the people in our church knew that EVERY Man or Woman in the church would stand up for them and with them in these instances? Imagine if our little girls and boys were protected by men and women who would protect them, and guard them against any pretitors because they were educated on what to look out for.
Jesus calls us to more.
The Church is called to more.
Stop being a part of the problem, and stand against abuse wherever it is found! If you see or hear of anything that could be suspicious: Speak UP!
In the comments, let me know how your church protects both Children and Itself from these instances.