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Repost from crossfire. I wanted to acknowledge and suppoert our victim

Posted by Rocky on July 11, 2002 at 00:31:17:

To Ray re question repost from below

Posted By: Rocky
Date: Thursday, 11 July 2002, at 1:12 a.m.

Date: Thursday, 11 July 2002, at 1:10 a.m.

In Response To: not a trick question. (ray)

Ok Ray, Thanks for declaring your reason for asking. I will try to answer as balanced as I can between a counselling position and as a Christian. They are not mutally exclusive by any means.

1. Personal bias:

- survivor of child sexual abuse member of the National Organization of Male Victims of Sexual Abuse( American foundation)

- most of my case load as a program manager of a residential behavioural assessment program is with child victims of neglect, violence and sexual abuse. Ed P can confirm that this is what I really do for a living

- years as a street worker working with children caught up in the sex trade, gangs and drug abuse
- ex member with lost children in the family and absolute disgust towards the sexual abuse that happened in the fam.

Over the years I have worked with victims of sexual abuse and their families I have seen the following.

1. Victims often are devestated when they disclose abuse.

2. Many blame themselves and are not sure exactly why they do. Many also are confused and lost in their lives.

3. It often takes many many years to work through the issues. I had over 200 sessions with a therapist to sort out my issues. It took four years of very intense work, with the prayers and support of many Christians including my wife who stood by me as the pain came out.

4. The work can't really start until you know you have been victimized. Due to Mo's doctrines some of the symptoms of family victims are similar to ritual abuse. I don't mean the sterotypical as itemized in the press but the deeper trauma of not knowing if the abuse was wrong or not. ie: If you do not share sexually with others you are out of God's spirit or his will.

5. The etiology or cause of the trauma in Family victims is further intensified, prolonged and complicated by the fact that the social fabric of the family surrounding the victims encouraged, supported and condonned the abuse as acceptable practice. In many regards those who did not willingly participate were censured by the group. This is a very destructive aspect of the abuse that took place in the family and one of the major reasons I say the abuse has ritualistic qualities to it. That is why so many take exception to WG's views on Berg, forgiveness and moving on.

5. Once validation occurs and the victim knows that they have been abused progress towards healing can begin to happen. It is also critically important that those around the victims give clear statements and emotional support in confirming that the abuse happened and it was wrong, criminal and sinful.

6. One area of healing and recovery is that victims must have a place to vent and sort out feelings. This place must be safe and consistently so. Victims will come back to questions of why it happened time and time again until they are able to process it. From an observational point of view this process can seem very cyclic but each cycle has different, albeit, subtle differences. This piece can not really be rushed and is often a self directed process in that the victim decides the pace. Certainly therapsits can step in sensitively and help the victim work through it but not in a pressured or agenda driven manner.

7.As the victim works through the issues support must continue from friends and family. It takes alot of love and patience as victims behaviour can be quite intense while working through the issues.

8. From my perspective it is quite tedious to hear the endless comments made to victims that they must forgive and move on. These comments usually come from people who have not experienced sexual abuse, do not understand its nature and apply simplistic traditional "buck up and get over it" solutions. I think it must be particularly galling to victims to hear this from ex male members who were actually part of the abuse system through sharing, preaching FF'ing and agreeing with Berg's doctrines.( Guys we all share some of this responisibilty) Forgiveness of those that abuse you is a very important element to me as a Christian and a victim but it is one of the last pieces to occur in the healing journey. It often does not happen and we should not preach at victims to "get on with their lives and forgive". When I forgave those that abused me they were no longer able to victimize me. The forgivenss was for my benifit more than theirs. It is important to note no one could make that happen for me before it was time. I do not say this must happen for victims to heal but it helped me. I really feel the depravity of Berg's abuse is very unique and probably, outside of war atrocity regarding sexual abuse, one of the worst cases of systemic sexual abuse I have ever seen. The fact that he was protected by the families and associates of the victims and was able to convince others to practice the abuse is criminal and very, very rare. This is a big statement for me because I have worked with kids that are so abused that nothing shocks me very much any more. I have read case histories in the hundreds if not thousands over the length of my service.

In our therapeutic approach to victims we do not push the healing proces. We try to be victim focused/ directed and help the person move towards the process at a pace they are comfortable with. Too much too fast can lead to serious emotional breakdown. This is particularly true with victims of long term or multiple abuse incidents.

Now that I have given you my "professional" view I will give you my feelings on the Christian side. If I sound pompous remenber I am short, chunky and wear glasses.

As someone involved serving victims of abuse on a direct and daily basis I often wonder how Jesus would deal with it. He must have been kind as one victim could not stop crying and drying his feet with her hair. I just don't believe that Jesus would be hard. He is the great physician and healer.

He said his yoke was easy and his burden light and he invited those burdened and heavy laboured to come unto him for rest. What could be a greater burden than to carry the marks of sexual abuse in your body, mind and soul.

The Word said that the servant of the Lord must be gentle.... you all know these threads. I believe as a Christian and a worker I must be ready to listen, support and take the time required to help victims heal. We bear each others burdens and help with the load for each mile it takes. Not everyone can do this. Sexual abuse is a dirty buisness and crushes hearts and souls for long periods of time. It absolutely requires patience and real heartfelt empathy towards the victim. Corinthians Thirteen seems to me to be somewhat of a therapeutic guideline for supporting victims. .. suffereth long and is kind, beareth all things. In addition applying the kind side of the fruits of the spirit would not hurt.
Doctors have an oath to do no harm. I feel a Christian should be at least that.

The last point is that I firmly believe justice must happen. The criminal sexual abuse that happened in the family must be noted and justice done where possible. It can not be done without totally exposing Berg and the family practices and beliefs. The family should be dismantled and their legacy of abuse ended, paricularly for the sake of the SG's and the third generation now growing up. Remember that what Berg did and taught others to do are very serious crimes and this fact cannot and should not be downplayed. Doing so is a dis-service to the victims and loved ones still trapped in the family. They are all our brothers, sisters, wives, sons and daughters. God help us all.


I hope I answered your questions. Thanks for asking and for caring.