In Reply to: A question for Jules posted by Oldtimer on December 09, 2003 at 13:15:43:
I’m quite stunned at the things people have said here, and have not been this upset or disturbed for a very long time. I don’t know what to think about FG former members after reading these things. I’m sorry this is a bit long and that what I have to say is so pointed. It’s difficult to write about such horrific things and I cannot do so objectively.
Forget the hypotheticals. Here are some REAL LIFE situations. All of these are things that have really happened:
1. A single mother met a Christian man at her church and fell in love with him. After dating for some time, they became engaged. He told her that he had been in the Family, and while she was quite shocked at the things she had heard about the group, she loved him and accepted him for who he was now. Soon before their wedding day she comes across child pornography on his computer. The little girls in the photographs are about six years old, the same age as her own daughter. She is devastated and in shock, but goes directly to the police. They set up a recorded phone call and when she confronts him during this, he breaks down and cries and admits to a long history of abusing children. He says it is not his fault, but that of the Family for “turning him into a pedophile”.
It is very well known that pedophiles do not stop with one victim. Perhaps “situational pedophiles” might, but hasn’t your rationalization and turning a blind eye done enough harm to thousands of children already? If you have evidence that someone has committed a crime against a child, and you do nothing about it, the blood of all their other victims will be on your hands as well. How can you make the decision of “oh it wasn’t really their fault, they didn't mean to do it”? Leave that to the authorities. If you think you are above the law, and have a “special understanding” of these people (or yourself, if you are one), what makes you any different than the Family? Would you be “compassionate” to this man, and let him go free to destroy the lives of more children? How can you be sure that any of these people will not abuse again? After everything that has occurred, how can you not be determined to err on the side of caution? Do you have a magic ball that tells you who is sincere and who is not?
Pedophiles still in the Family do at least have some kind of deterrent to not abuse again, although it does still occur. Pedophiles that have left the group can get away with a lot more with no one finding out since they are not under 24 hour surveillance, and their victims may have no contact with other victims.
2. A young adult who left the Family had been molested for many years by her stepfather. The man had started with her older sister, moved on to her, and was now molesting her younger sisters. The mother was aware of what was going on and did nothing about it. The man would cry and express extreme “guilt” every time he was confronted. He had destroyed himself in a way that was pitiful to see, but the abuse still continued. She finally made enough of a fuss about it that the mother could not ignore the situation any longer and was told by Family leaders that she had to do something to appease her daughter. The mother talked to the daughter and cried and asked the daughter what she should do. After everything the daughter had survived and been through, it was now her choice whether or not to “tear apart her family”, as the mother said. Some of the younger children loved this man. He was the only father they had ever known. The continued injustice, and the lack of responsibility on the part of the parents was devastating to the young adult.
Once again, the responsibility for the horrific acts of perversion is being placed on the shoulders of the victims, which is exactly what saying that it should be all up to the victim sounds like to me. Time and time again, it’s the tears when people are caught and confronted, and “what do I have to do to atone?” Why should we have to decide what to do with you who abused us? When will you take responsibility for your own actions? Someone who abused a child made the choice themselves right then and there to “tear apart” their family and they must face up to that, and accept the consequences of what they have done.
Those of you who have been in abusive relationships consider this: You have been beaten and brutalized for years by your husband. Finally you are able to leave and start your life again, and start to heal from all the damage. You discover that your husband has remarried, has another wife and children, and is not only continuing on in the abuse of his new wife, but he is also abusing his children. While other people know about this, no one is doing anything, and it is up to you to confront him and report him, or to let him destroy the lives of a whole other family. Think of how difficult it would be to have to again confront this man who terrorized you for so long. That’s a fraction of what you are asking a child abuse victim to do.
Mr. Joseph Praisemore’s lame confession is sickening. Not once does he acknowledge the devastation he has caused to an innocent child. The “guilt” he is experiencing is because, in the reaction of his fiancé, he finally realized how the acts he has committed distance him from society, and the horror it creates in those with normal values. He is grieving for himself and his isolation, not for his abuse of his own child. It’s still a near pathological lack of empathy for anyone else but himself. There are advocacy groups for criminal’s rights, and some people may feel sympathy for them, I do not.
3. A young wet-behind-the-ears executive is taken under the wing by a member of senior management in his company. The young man has worked hard and is committed to the company, and is rising fast through the ranks. He is taken on a business trip with the CEO, his mentor and other senior executives. They stay in the penthouse suite of a luxury hotel, and after a hard days work decide they need some entertainment. The young man’s mentor calls up some young prostitutes to come and “party” with them. The girls are obviously no older than 13 or 14. If the young man does not go along with this, he will likely ruin his career and all that he has worked so hard for at this company, and may even find himself out of a job. The girls seem to be having a good time, although they are obviously high on something, and he has a sister the same age. What should he do? Would you sympathize with him for just going along? What if instead of underage girls, his superiors were smoking crack? Would you feel the same way?
It’s very apparent to me that many of you do not believe that the abuse committed by you and your generation in the Family was “real” abuse. A common excuse I have heard is that the child “came on” to them. Many victims were highly sexualized from a very young age, and sometimes the only way they knew to interact with adults was in a sexual way. It is apparent that many people thought of us as “damaged goods”, in the same way that men don’t see having sex with a child prostitute as abuse of a “real” child. You were the ADULTS and the PARENTS. The responsibility was yours to protect children no matter what the “temptation”. (YKW, if someone really has that little control over themself, what would have happened if someone had put another man in the shower with them? Would they still have "not been able to resist"? If it's not the same then there is obviously a predisposition to sexual activity with a young girl.)
Quite frankly, no one held a gun to anyone’s head, or threatened to break anyone’s arms if they didn’t do these things. The amount of “force” used to coerce other people into abuse was about the same as the example above. People did what they did because they wanted to, for advantage, or because they would otherwise look bad in the eyes of their superiors.
4. A young man born into the Family is confronted by his younger sister, whom he repeatedly molested from the age of four onwards. He has full memory of exactly what he did to her, but is worried that he will be prosecuted if he admits and confesses to her. She wants nothing to do with him, and he is racked by guilt. He goes to some friends for advice, and they tell him to turn himself in, and to give the background and climate of the Family, and the fact that he was only six years older than her as his defense, but that he will never truly make amends with himself or get over this unless he does so.
The effects of sexual abuse on a child are the same whether the perpetrator is 13, 33 or 63. There is certainly a difference in culpability between an adult and juvenile offender, and the law allows for that, but to the victim there is no difference in the effect these crimes have. How can you expect the victim to have any sympathy or understanding for their abusers, or to demand “compassion” or to understand the “reasons” why?
There are a number of young women who cannot have children today because of the extensive damage being raped as a child did to them. Incest in particular is the most insidious form of sexual, emotional and psychological violation that there is. How dare anyone, Maria, Peter or current or former members refer to these things as “mistakes”, or "things beyond their control"? You didn’t fall down and accidentally molest a little girl (or boy). I don’t accept this rationalization from the Family and I don’t accept it from anyone else. Sexual abuse is a life sentence for that child. How can those of you who say you are feminists, or those who experienced abuse themselves as children not understand that. You never really completely get over it. You can learn to heal and cope, but the pain never completely goes away.
If any of you who were direct perpetrators really believe that you are blameless, and that you were “forced into sex with children”, then put your money where your mouth is. How much do you really believe that? Would you stake your life on it? Turn yourself in and use that as your defense. If you are right, then you would be giving evidence against a conspiracy to sexually exploit children that you were unwittingly a part of. The outcome of such a case would have worldwide implications for the Family. If you really believe that the choice should be with the victim, then write them a letter, confessing what you did, where and when, (apologizing if you want) and sign your name to it. That would definitely give them the option of pressing charges with as minimal disruption as possible to their own lives. How much do you really want to make amends, even at cost to yourself?
Jo, you have as much right as Maria to tell me what is “misdirected anger” on my part and what is not. You have the right to your opinions, but I do not share them. I will never agree with you that there is no collective responsibility for everyone who saw and knew and did nothing. I lived through the Family as a child and I have the right to my opinions regarding that experience. As I have repeatedly said, I think we should agree to disagree on this.
Reader, I owe you no explanations for my life. If I had gone to the police about organized crime in the city where I STILL LIVE, do you think I would post that information on a public web site where I have used my real name?