Sexual offenders don’t get it. And apparently neither do many of us.
This is about Bill Gothard’s response to the charges and the outcome.
First, some background:
A review board has concluded that Bill Gothard is innocent of the charges that he sexually harassed teen girls, but instead only acted in an “inappropriate manner”. Gothard has resigned as president. But there is no indication that he won’t be able to return in the near future. Actually, in the 1980’s his brother resigned as administrative director because of a major sex scandal, and Bill Gothard resigned because he knew about the improprieties without responding to them. He returned as president just three weeks later. In fact, he presently plans on continuing his work on a personal basis with young people he was already mentoring.
The disturbing issue is Gothard’s attitude. He proves that he doesn’t understand what he has been accused of doing. This is typical of those in power! When asked if he sexually harassed young women, he responded:
“Sexual harassment is to a large extent intent, and my intent was never to harass them.”
When will we learn that this isn’t the point? In fact, the legal understanding of sexual harassment includes the possibility that…
“…the perpetrator may be completely unaware that his or her behavior is offensive or constitutes sexual harassment or may be completely unaware that his or her actions could be unlawful.” (wikipedia)
This reminds me of the recent story of the statutory rapist who’s article was posted by Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal in which we became painfully aware that the perpetrator was completely unaware of his guilt or the ramifications of what he had done. After a tide of complaints, CT finally pulled the post and issued an apology.
I have friends who are victims of Gothard’s “inappropriate” behavior. Gothard promises to go to everyone and personally apologize. My friends aren’t interested because they detect that Gothard is still under the impression that they desire to be in his presence and receive is charms and will get hurt again.
Why are we not getting this? With the CT rapist, he felt it was consensual. He still thinks his victim wanted it as much as he did. I believe Gothard lives under the same illusion that his victims wanted it and that it was consensual.
This is the deceit those in power often live under… that they can have whatever they want and their subjects are willing and even longing to provide it.
(Are you a victim of this or something like it? Come join others who are too and understand at The Lasting Supper.)