Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Responding to Those Who Deny That Sexual Abuse Was Real Abuse

Various victim-blaming/victim-denying comments were made in response to a Dallas Observer blog entry, "This is What God Told Me To Do To You" Here's the opening:

Eight women have now come forward alleging that Pastor Sherman Allen of Fort Worth beat them with a wooden paddle and, in several cases, sexually abused them, according to Stan Broome, one of the lawyers involved in a suit against Allen, his church and the Pentecostal denomination to which Allen belongs.
A couple of comments captured common beliefs which enable abusers and further punish victims.

Sharon Boyd commented (6):

The first time someone told me to assume the position, I’d be finding another church and calling the cops.
Here's my response:

No, you wouldn't. Saying so may make you feel superior, but it doesn't make it the truth. These people don't work this directly. They chip away at their intended victims just as you and many others are doing until those victims start thinking maybe they are the one's in the wrong. In the cases of abuse in churches, they make people feel not only in the wrong, but on the out's with God's will and maybe in risk of going to hell.

What does it say about a person if they use God as a weapon of exploitation?

Rather than working to help people get closer to God, they are deliberately driving a wedge until the other person doesn't know which way is up. Only when the other person is the most vulnerable do they strike.

"Oh, I don't know what came over me," spoken by perps is a bold-faced lie meant to exploit the belief that victims lured otherwise upstanding men into wrongdoing.

Your way of thinking helps people rationalize undermining others "If she really didn't want it, she'd recognize what I'm doing and run for the hills. Since she isn't she must want it, but just doesn't have the courage to admit it."

Make no mistake this isn't some person responding to an instant urge, these are premeditated acts with planned defenses for their behavior if it is reported.

When someone is premeditating their actions and their legal defense, those who look helpless and stupid are the ones jumping to the defense of exploiters. Likely many of the exploiters are as disdainful of their defenders as they are of their victims.

Jack Jette commented (21):

Yes, the preacher should be strung up by his nuts. (some people get off on that too) The preacher was wrong. He not the first preacher to be involved in a sexual mess. He will not be the last. Some folks even fantasize about having sex with men/women of the clothe. Again….just a fact.
My response:

Some folks fantasize about a lot of acts and a lot of different type of people, but to use those "facts" to nullify the possibility of sexual abuse makes you look either stupid or a cheerleader for abusers. "Somebody, somewhere would have been jumping up and down, yelling, 'Do it to me!' So it can't be real abuse."


What both of these commenters miss, along with many other like-minded people, is that people who sexually abuse are predators who won't stop their pattern of behavior if one or more potential victims sense a trap or feel that something is off or don't respond in a way the abuser can exploit. If their victim of choice is an adult woman then all adult women who come near them are potential victims.

The only way to stop the patterns of abuse is to put the full and absolute responsibility for that abuse on the abusers. As long as abusers have any reason to believe that their actions will be defended or excused, they will be more likely to play the odds that their victims will be shamed into silence or blamed if they dare to speak the truth.

It's amazing how often victims are told to take responsibility for being abused by people who refuse to demand that abusers take responsibility for abusing others. If these people truly want people to stop being victims, they must take a strong stand against all those who victimize.

Stop the victimizing, stop the victim creation.

Duh. This shouldn't be so tough for so many people to understand.

Deal with the true cause (people deciding to exploit others) and you'll deal with the effect (people being exploited). To ignore the cause while attacking those harmed because they didn't successfully dodge exploiters is more than victim blaming, it's a dangerous rationalization.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:57 AM   1 comments links to this post


At March 07, 2007 11:04 PM, Blogger Becky C. said...

I apologize if this is a repeat--blogger was having trouble with the login--if so just delete this repeat please.

My point was I guess it is POSSIBLE to argue that the paddling was not sexual abuse--believe it or not I was paddled by old cranky nuns in school--and this is not ancient history--it was certainly unenlightened--but I do not think it was sexual abuse.

But in this case, it states besides the paddling there was additional sexual abuse. Besides, I think virtually always when these old farts are paddling girls it is sexual.

As an abuser he is incurable and should be locked up so he dosen't see the light of day. If not, one of these days he will find a way to be spanking and otherwise molesting girls.



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