Stand with Survivors!

"Stand with Survivors" cartoon by David Hayward
“Stand with Survivors” cartoon by David Hayward


things are messed up
when the perpetrator
becomes the victim
and gets the sympathy

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6 Replies to “Stand with Survivors!”

  1. So far, there seem to be three threads of thought in the Internet discussions: legal, local church community, and professional disqualifications.

    There also seems to be an over-riding question of ‘whom is controlling those threads?’ Let’s explore this latter question.

    In the Andy / Jules case, it seems that Jules believes Andy did not apologize to her, and that the church steered her into silence. In my mind, Jules could reach out to Andy (if she wished that apology). And perhaps Jules should reach out to the local church that steered her into silence, and request their apology, as well.

    After all, the local church railroaded Jules into silence.

    A decision to ‘not pursue’ should have been made (or not made) by Jules years ago – not forced on her by the church. This is similar to forcing someone to forgive, or forcing someone to give a person ‘a second chance’. Forcing someone to forgive takes away the very nobility and compassion being shown by the victim.

    In my current thinking, being given a ‘second chance’ is an incredible gift when given by the victim to the perpetrator. It is a noble act of the highest order. But it should not be forced. The victim owns the thread; the victim controls the thread. The church should not have stolen that thread from Jules.

    Concerning Professional Disqualification: Several voices on the Internet seem to be also concerned that Andy was not permanently disbarred from the professional ministry. For example, the thought is that (20 years ago), Andy should have been steered out of the professional ministry, and into other areas of work. And perhaps, after 10 to 20 years, he could then be welcomed back into the professional paying ministry as an intern, watched carefully, and prove that he is indeed a changed person.

    After reading the arguments, and the passion/pain of those that have been ‘railroaded into forgiving’, I have come to agree with the concept of permanent disqualification from the professional (paying) ministry and/or long-term disqualification.

    The ‘disqualification’ by the church institution would perhaps give some sense of ‘spiritual justice’ to the victim. They were heard. The man confessed to doing evil. They are now disqualified for 20 years.

    The disqualification may even help the victim to forgive the man in time. After all, some amount of justice was done… and justice was not ignored. Perhaps the man then ‘made good’ on being forgiven and given a ‘second chance’, and made a career outside of the church institution, and perhaps helped the poor in a para-ministry (that is, non paying work).

    In my mind, the man can follow Jesus outside of the paying fulltime ministry, imo. Otherwise, my concept of God is too small. Surely, God exists outside of the church; and godly acts of kindness can be done anywhere.

    Well… those are my thoughts at this time, concerning ‘who controls/owns the threads’ and ‘disqualifications’.

  2. Hmm a considered and sober response as usual from you Caryn culminating in the view that the man be disqualified for 20 years and after 10 or 20 years he could perhaps be welcomed again into paid ministry.

    With the woman “reaching out” to the man and the church for an apology with giving the man a “second chance” being of the highest order.

    And that godly acts of kindness can be done anywhere.

    I think we face dynamics in culture as it is where there is wrong doing of the victim in this case not being heard and in other cases of the perpetrator or alleged perpetrator being in receipt of something disproportionate. In the case of the latter a young man in the U.K. recently falsely accused of rape and suffering a two year ordeal and panic attacks while being innocent.

    My question- who has had it worse in these scenarios?

    Both the woman and the man that were victims seem to me to be suffering at the hands of people in power being applauded and all that doing is to create a culture of fear which is a hindrance to healthy normal relations for women and men.


  3. I hear you, Jack. Victim and Perpetrator become the tools of others with agendas. That is all too human.

    If the agenda is ‘defend the church’, or if the agenda is ‘defend the victim’ – the chosen lens controls the conversation.

    My wife (Bonnie) and I had a long discussion on this case, and it seems the church institution in the US is slowly realizing that they need to redefine their role from (our 1970s) ‘Say what? that stuff never happens here’…. to (1980’s) ‘We are Above the Law’ and/or ‘We are THEE Substitute Court’ to (2010’s) “HOLY SHIT!!
    What on earth do we do now??”

    The ‘noise’ is so great, the church institutions are rethinking beyond denial and internal damage control. This was their old lens – and the victims (or perpetrators) were handled according to ‘denial’ and ‘damage control’ protocols.

    Long ways to go… but the conversations we have now, are shaping our children and grand-children, and they in turn, will ultimately change the church model of response. At least, that is my hope … that change will be forced by the next generation that follows Jesus and works within the church institution.

    Concerning the 3% or so of false accusations made by a victim: it is hell for the person that is falsely accused. It is hell for the person that is rightfully accused. It is hell for the victim; it is hell for the false victim.

    Only the true criminal mind does not give a damn, when accused. And, only persons with anti-social personality disorder rejoice when causing pain to the innocent. And prolonged drug users are normally manipulative but obvious to the professional counselor.

    This has been true for almost any crime, or allegation.

    It will not change. It will never change.

    Unless the church is truly involved with the drug user community, or prison community, the local church should always side with the 97% side of the equation. That way, when the smoke clears, they most likely did well.

    And three times out of 100 (or less), they did poorly. And they will need to reach out and work with the falsely accused.

  4. Yes I hear you Caryn with the holy shit. Here in the U.K. In the evangelical church there has been a less intense realisation of worship and community being unattractive to outsiders and sometimes even repulsive.

    Which of course is the natural way of things with tribes having a strong cohesion based on group think group speak etc. and hostility to outsiders based on survival instinct.

    Perhaps more difficult to experience with the church if the expectation of the church is to show the outcome of the two basic commandments and the golden rule.

    Unfortunately what you say is true for those who don’t give a damn when falsely accusing or have a criminal mind without care. Jesus had something to say about the hypocrites, those with agendas etc. that they have their reward in full in the present but are missing out on greater treasure.

    I have a thing that I am saying more and more. It has become a mantra. I respect people’s freedom to experience the consequences of their freedom and choices.

    For some that will be hell. Sometimes the judgement of God comes in the form of “OK have it your way” and takes his presence away. That’s what I understand hell to be.

  5. Caryn,

    Do you have a link that you can provide to the statistics you have quoted?

    I’ve seen stats for those convicted of rape when accused are there or there about a similar percentage to those proven to have been falsely accused with the majority of cases not being proven either way. Do you have anything to say about that?

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