Sexual abuse and Christian churches

This video from the USA says about itself:

Anti-LGBT Pastor Charged With Child Molestation

29 August 2016

A Florida pastor, who said the Pulse shooting victims got what they deserved, has just been charged with child molestation. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down.

“Kenneth Adkins, a Brunswick pastor in Georgia who doubles as a [Republican party] political consultant in the Jacksonville area, has gotten into his share of controversies and conflicts. But none perhaps as serious as he’s facing now.

Adkins, 56, turned himself over to Glynn County authorities Friday morning on charges of aggravated child molestation and child molestation stemming from allegations made by a young male former member of his congregation.”

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The newspaper is full of stories about sexual abuse in the church. Jenny Schneider-Van Egten (91) was one of the first in the nineteen seventies to start talking about it. …

As a typical pastor’s wife in the Den Dolder village of the seventies, Jenny Schneider-Van Egten gets a visit by a teenage girl. My father is touching me, she says. Pastoral as the Schneider couple are, they invite father, mother and the girl to the presbytery. “It was necessary to talk about that, that was clear to me.”

During the interview, the girl reads a letter about the abuse she has written together with Schneider. Father’s reply is: “Ah, child, I love you, I just wanted to be nice to you. But if you do not like it, then we will not do it any more?” “We solved that well”, Schneider and her husband said to each other that evening.

Years later it turns out to be a naïve assumption. Schneider meets the girl on the street and asks how things are. “The girl stiffened. She told how her father had beaten her up when they got home that night. If you talk about it one more time, he said, then I’ll wring your neck.” Schneider was shocked, but did nothing.

Waking up

“My husband and I have been so wrong in this”, she says. “I did not even know that sexual abuse was illegal. After that time it turned out that the father had also abused his other two daughters. And it was such a model family.”

“In retrospect”, says the 91-year-old woman, “a seed had been planted for the idea that sexual abuse within religious communities must be tackled professionally.” When Schneider visits the church in Den Dolder, she still feels the impotence she felt then. “I did not know then what I know now.”

The life story of Schneider is a small history of the slow awakening of the church concerning sexual abuse. She is one of the women who put the subject on the map: since the 1970s she has committed herself to victims. She was listened to only sparingly for years. …

The [1988] thesis by psychologist Nel Draijer showed that one in six women has been abused by relatives. That caused a social debate that started to penetrate into the churches. …

“A story that has always stayed with me [Schneider] is that of a woman who thought she was lesbian, she discussed it with the preacher, who wanted to test it and raped her, then concluded: “No, you are not lesbian”. ….

Sexual oppression of women, Schneider argued in Trouw in 1989, is partly caused by the prevailing theology which makes women second-class humans. Faith in the all-seeing God who governs everything also works, according to her, towards hesitation in talking. “A girl who was abused wondered why He did not see what my grandfather did to me”, she confided to the reporter.

Schneider did not receive much cooperation from the church in the early nineties with her mission. She was allowed to do lectures. …

Schneider was also invited to the Protestant church at the joint synod of the Lutheran, Dutch Reformed and Reformed Churches. “When I was done, two ministers visited the toilet. A friend heard them talking. ‘Have you ever experienced things like that?’, said one. ‘Oh yes, always those women’, the other responded.”…

The stories she hears show the ignorance of the church about abuse, she thinks. “A woman told how after a long time she finally told the elders of her church about sexual abuse. She had to lie down on her back on a table, because the elders wanted to lay hands on her, as is stated in the Bible. Imagine what happens to you if you have been abused sexually and you then get all those hands on you!”

She also attended a disciplinary procedure with a woman who had been abused during her training to become a pastor by the male preacher who guided her. “This is about power”, she told an elder. “No”, he responded, “we will not discuss that subject here.”

This is still the big problem in the church, says Schneider resolutely. “People do not know how much power they have over the life of the other person. The problem is the self-evidence of power, which is believed to have been given by God. In addition, both families and churches are closed communities.”

2 thoughts on “Sexual abuse and Christian churches

  1. Pingback: ‘Dalai Lama, stop Buddhist clerical sexual abuse’ | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Dalai Lama will meet clerical sexual abuse victims | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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