Please, help me to show the USA that a public inquiry into child abuse...

by defender of truth 32 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • defender of truth
    defender of truth

    .. in institutions is needed. It needs to be done as soon as possible.

    And I need YOU to help me.

    I need someone, maybe more than one person, to draft a template, for a letter to the White House.

    It has to clearly state that the USA is falling way behind many other countries, in terms of protecting children in institutions nationwide.

    It has to make this clear:

    Both Australia and the UK (Independent Inquiry into child sexual abuse in England and Wales, see here: ) are currently investing large amounts of time and financial resources to research the best possible policies to protect children, across all institutions, religious and nonreligious.

    They are working to expose the failures of various institutions, that have not reported child abuse, or have even covered it up..

    Why are the United States of America not doing the same?!!

    American children are subject to the same dangers, are they not?

    Please note this point:

    ..However, several studies have been conducted that underscore the significance of child sexual abuse in other institutions.

    For example, a comprehensive study was conducted a few years ago for the US Department of Education by Dr. Charol Shakshaft at Virginia Commonwealth and revealed that child abuse by public school teachers has been common with levels higher than those among Catholic priests. This research also demonstrated that school administrators, like Catholic officials, often moved offending teachers around to other schools and districts when accusations or suspicions arose creating opportunities for additional child abuse in multiple locations.

    High profiles cases of child sexual abuse by coaches (such as at Penn State and Syracuse Universities) further illustrate that child sexual abuse occurs potentially where ever adults have access to and control over children.

    Thus, sexual abuse of children is not confined to any one institution but can be found at remarkably high levels everywhere.


    The Catholic Church hired researchers from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to conduct several large scale research studies to investigate the Nature and Scope and the Causes and Context of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

    While there have been some large scale studies with other organizations such as the public school system no similar comprehensive large scale studies have been conducted with other organizations that provide services to children and youth. Therefore, we now know much more about clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church than about sexual abuse among any other organization in America or elsewhere.

    Research is thus critically needed among other groups to better understand the nature, scope, causes, and context of institutionally based child abuse. Prevention programs can only be developed and adequately target at risk persons and situations if adequate research uncovers loopholes within these organizations.

    Remarkably, we really don’t know what percentage of the population sexually violates children or exactly how many cases of child sexual victimation have occurred in other organizations beside the Catholic Church.

    Research initiatives are desperately needed in order to determine exactly who sexually violates children within institutions servicing youth as well as the risk factors that contribute to this victimization.

    So there you have it.

    Both research into best practice (as we see in UK and Australia) as well as public inquiries into the potential failings of all institutions in America, are desperately needed.

    Will YOU help me to tell the White House what needs to be done? (respectfully of course.)

    If you are going to be a naysayer and put others off from even trying (there is always one or two that do this in any endeavour), please refrain from posting. ;)

    First we need a template letter. I have never written to a politician, and I don't know about American laws or how to appeal to national pride and American values.. Plus I'm a barely passable writer.

    Can somebody please post a template for a letter to the Whitehouse? [ it may be good to include a reference to all religions also being investigated, not only those with Sunday schools. Child abuse is not restricted to institutions with youth services. Look at the ARC and the Independent Inquiry, they are looking at ALL institutions..].

    We can then start flooding them with our request for a USA public Inquiry into child sexual abuse, to help develop and enforce best practice for children in the future.

    Australia and England and Wales are working together, exchanging information to help develop these policies..

    Why can't the USA work along with them?

    The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was established as a statutory inquiry on 12 March 2015 to consider the growing evidence of institutional failures to protect children from child sexual abuse, and to make recommendations to ensure the best possible protection for children in future.

    As in Australia, Northern Ireland, Jersey and Scotland, the level of public concern has resulted in calls for an overarching inquiry to look at the big picture, to learn the lessons of the past, to take stock of child protection procedures that are currently in operation, and to set a new course for the future.

    In conducting its work, the Inquiry is liaising with:

    the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, with the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, with the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland, and with the Scottish Inquiry into Historical Abuse of Children in Care.

    Together the inquiries have much to learn from each other.

    Once we have a rough template for a letter, this page can be used to contact them:

    Please keep us all posted on what happens, any response you get, even if you just decide to write your own letter and don't want to share the words you used..

    Thank you :)

  • defender of truth
    defender of truth

    And you will likely get a response, so please don't give up before we have even tried. The future protection of countless children is worth giving it a shot..

    Tens of thousands of letters, faxes, and emails from Americans across the country arrive each day at my office, the Office of Presidential Correspondence.

    We do our best to reply to these in a timely fashion, and a handful—just ten a day—are chosen for President Obama to personally read and respond to.

  • Zoos
    In addition to sending a single letter to the White House you may want to consider trying to garnish the support of state and national child advocacy groups as they already have the ear of the government.
  • defender of truth
    defender of truth

    Thank you ZOOS.

    Do you have a specific suggestion?

    Such as which group to contact?

    (Not sure if I made it clear, but I have no idea about America. Full Stop. )


  • Heaven
    Would it not be a good idea to look at what led to the ARC being commissioned to do this investigation and who was key in doing this? Does anyone know or know how to find out? Perhaps email the ARC directly?
  • Zoos

    defender of truth

    Do you have a specific suggestion?
    Such as which group to contact?

    Let me poke around a little and I'll see what I can come up with.


    Would it not be a good idea to look at what led to the ARC being commissioned to do this investigation and who was key in doing this? Does anyone know or know how to find out? Perhaps email the ARC directly?

    I was thinking about that too, HEAVEN. As amicable as the ARC seems to be about communicating with us via email, why not ask them directly what prompted them to act. Ask THEM for advise on how you might proceed? Hell, I would even try to solicit their help in sticking a bug in the ears of their American counterparts. They have done most of the leg work already and would be in a perfect position to guide any other government.
  • Zoos
    defender of truth
    If you are going to be a naysayer and put others off from even trying (there is always one or two that do this in any endeavour), please refrain from posting.

    The only thing I would offer as a "naysayer" is that you not pin any hopes on a single letter to the White House. It will accomplish nothing. Even if it gets read by a live human, your letter will likely be perceived as coming from a disenfranchised fringe element (ex-JW) and tossed aside without consideration. Also, the White House gets tons of signed petitions every year. How will your single letter compete?

    I'M NOT SUGGESTING THAT YOU NOT SEND IT! I am suggesting that you time your letter to be part of a groundswell on the issue - make it part of the choir of support from a variety of sources.

  • defender of truth
    defender of truth

    Thank you Zoos.

    You're already proving very helpful. When I said naysayer, I didn't mean no constructive criticism, goodness knows I need that, I have no idea what I'm doing ;)

    I meant those kind of people who just pop their head into a topic to say "that idea sucks man", then go off to chat about moon landings or whatever ;)

    I'm now forming a list of american organisations to ask for help. For some reason I've not had a reply from the ARC yet to any of my emails from weeks ago..

    Would you mind sending them a brief email asking if they have any advice, Zoos? If not, I will.

    Thanks for that thought, Heaven. :)

  • defender of truth
    defender of truth
    your letter will likely be perceived as coming from a disenfranchised fringe element (ex-JW) and tossed aside without consideration.

    That is not going to happen. I had no intention of aiming this at any religion, let alone a little group like them jay-dubya's ;)

    Sorry if I was unclear, but my aim is to simply raise the issue:

    "Excuse me, the UK and Australia are holding public inquiries into institutional responses to child abuse, because it is a really big issue that effects everyone, so why aren't the USA doing anything?!". JW's are a minor group not even worth mentioning to politicians, the USA needs to just start by holding an inquiry into child abuse. I would not mention any specific organisation at all personally..

    The USA seems far behind other countries on this...

  • blondie

    Jehovah Witness

    Contact: Kathleen Conti
    Phone: 562-788-0433
    [email protected]

    What To Do When Your Minister is Accused of Abuse

    1) Remain open-minded.
    The natural human instinct is to recoil from alleged horror, and to immediately assume that the allegations are false. But the overwhelming majority of abuse disclosures prove to be true. In every case, the proper and Christian response is to remain open-minded.

    2) Pray for all parties involved.
    Every person involved deserves and needs prayerful support.

    3) Let yourself feel whatever emotions arise.
    You may feel angry, betrayed, confused, hurt, worried and sad. These are all natural, "typical" responses to an allegation of sexual abuse. None of these feelings are inappropriate or "bad." Don't "kick yourself" for feeling any of these emotions.

    4) Remember that abuse, sadly, is quite common.
    It's far more widespread than any of us would like to believe. Experts estimate that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be molested in their lifetimes.

    5) Don't try to "guess" or figure out who the accuser is.
    Abuse victims, like rape victims, need their privacy to recover from their trauma. Openly speculating about who is alleging abuse is essentially gossiping, and helps to create a hostile climate that will keep other victims (even those abused by non-clerical perpetrators) from coming forward.

    6) If you do know the victim(s), protect his/her confidentiality.
    There are many good reasons why abuse victims are unable to publicly come forward. Often, the person wants to keep his/her elderly parents or young children from suffering too. Don't compound the pain he/she is in by disclosing his/her identity to others.

    7) Understand that abuse victims often have "troubled" backgrounds (i.e. drug or alcohol problems, criminal backgrounds, etc.)
    Instead of undermining the credibility of accusers, these difficulties actually enhance their credibility. (When someone is physically hurt, there are almost always clear signs of harm; so too with sexual abuse. The harm is reflected largely in self-destructive behaviors. One might be skeptical of a person who claimed to have been run over by a truck but showed no bodily injury. Similarly, one might be skeptical of an alleged molestation victim who always acted like a "model citizen.")

    8) Don't allow the mere passage of time to discredit the accusers.
    Stress to your fellow parishioners that there are many good reasons why abuse victims disclose their victimization years after the crime. In most instances, victims come forward when they are emotionally able to do so, and feel capable of risking disbelief and rejection from precious loved ones, including family members, church leaders, other authorities, and fellow church members. Sometimes, they are psychologically able to do so only after their perpetrator has died, moved or been accused by someone else. Sometimes, they have been assured that their perpetrator would never be around kids again, but have learned that this isn't the case.

    (In other cases, it takes years before victims are able to understand and/or acknowledge to themselves that they have been sexually violated. This is a common defense mechanism.)

    9) Ask your family members and friends if they were victimized.

    Many times, abuse victims will continue to "keep the secret" unless specifically invited to disclose their victimization by someone they love and trust. Even raising this topic can be very uncomfortable. But it must be done. It may be very awkward and your family members may even act resentful at first. But soon they will remember that you really care about them, and will see your question as a sign of that care.

    10) Mention the accusation to former parishioners and parish staff now living elsewhere.
    They may have information that could prove the guilt or innocence of the minister facing allegations. This is especially important because sometimes abuse victims or their families move away after experiencing abuse.

    11) Contact the police or prosecutors.

    It's your duty as a citizen to call the proper civil authorities if you have any information (even if it's "second hand" or vague) that might help prove the guilt or innocence of the accused.
    It's your duty as a Christian to help seek justice and protect others from harm. Remember: abuse thrives in secrecy. Exposing a physical wound to fresh air, clean water and sunlight can be healing. Exposing sexual crimes is also ultimately healing. And remember that police and prosecutors are unbiased professionals with the skills and experience needed to ascertain whether an allegation is true or false.

    12) Don't allow other parishioners to make disparaging comments about those making the allegation.
    Remember, the sexual abuse of children has terribly damaging effects. As a Christian, you want to help prevent such victimization. And you want anyone who is in pain to get help as soon as possible. Critical comments about those who make allegations only discourage others who may have been hurt. Such remarks prevent those who need help from reaching out and getting it. Show your compassion for abuse victims. Tell your fellow parishioners that hurtful comments are inappropriate. Remind them that they can defend their minister without attacking his accuser.

    13) Educate yourself and your family about sexual abuse.

    There are many excellent books and resources on the subject. There are also good books specifically about molestation by clerics (Jason Berry's Lead Us Not Into Temptation, Frank Bruni & Elinor Burkett's Gospel of Shame, and the Boston Globe's Betrayal). Check out the web site for clergy abuse victims:

    14) Support the accused minister PRIVATELY.

    Calls, visits, letters, gifts, and prayers - all of these are appropriate ways to express your love and concern for the accused minister. Public displays of support, however, are not. They only intimidate others into keeping silent. In fact, it is terribly hurtful to victims to see parishioners openly rallying behind an accused minister. You may want to publicly defend a minister, collect funds for the minister's defense, and take similar steps. Please don't. Express your appreciation of the minister in a direct, quiet ways. Even if the minister is innocent, somewhere in the parish is a young girl being molested by a relative or a boy being abused by his coach or youth leader. If these children see adults they love and respect publicly rallying around accused perpetrators, they will be less likely to report their own victimization to their parents, the police, or other authorities. They will be scared into remaining silent, and their horrific pain will continue.

    15) Don't be blinded by the pain you can see.

    The trauma of the accused minister, and those who care about him, is obvious. You can usually see it in his face, his posture, and his actions. But please try to keep in mind the trauma of the accuser too. Because you rarely see his/her pain directly, it's important to try and imagine it. This helps you keep a balanced perspective.

    16) Try to put yourself in the shoes of the alleged victim.

    It's easy to identify with the minister. Most Christians have met dozens of ministers and know them as warm and wonderful individuals. On the other hand, few Christians have met clergy abuse survivors. In the gospels, Jesus calls us to identify with the hurting, the vulnerable, and the innocent, the hurting. Try, as best you can, to imagine the shame, self-blame, confusion and fear that afflict men and women who have been victimized by trusted religious authority figures.

    17) Use this painful time as an opportunity to protect your own family.

    Talk with your children about "safe touch," the private parts of their bodies, who is allowed to touch those parts, what to do if someone else tries, and who to tell. Urge your sons and daughters to have similar conversations with your grandchildren.

    18) Turn your pain into helpful action.
    In times of stress and trauma, doing something constructive can be very beneficial. Volunteer your time or donate your funds to organizations that help abused kids or work to stop molestation.

    19) Keep in mind the fundamental choice you face.
    On the one hand, at stake are the FEELINGS of a grown up. On the other hand, at stake is the PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, SPIRITUAL AND SEXUAL SAFETY of potentially many children. If one has to err in either direction, the prudent and moral choice is to always err on the side of protecting those who can't protect themselves: children. Remember too that it's easier for an adult to repair his reputation than for a child (or many children) to repair his/her psyche and life. Another way to look at this: Being falsely accused of abuse is horrific. But actually being abused, then being attacked or disbelieved is far worse.

    20) Ask your pastor to bring in an outside expert or a therapist who can lead a balanced discussion about sexual abuse.
    Therapists understand and can answer the questions you and your fellow parishioners are facing, and help you deal with the emotional impact of this trauma too.

    21) Urge your all church employees to follow these guidelines too.

    For more information:
    Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
    David Clohessy 314 645 5915 home, 314 566 9790 cell
    Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003

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