Sexual abuse

Difficult topic.  No culture or religion that I am aware of is immune to the horrible situation where children are sexually molested by older children or adults.  There is a lot to say about this so I refer you to this very complete reference.

What we know from the Catholic priest pedophilia disaster is that in strict religious environments where sex is not discussed there is higher risk of unreported abuse.  In many religious communities sex is considered highly sinful, a high power disparity exists where leaders are not to be questioned, and people have learned not to stick there necks out.  When people are punished for criticizing leaders there is less willingness for parents to stand up for their children.  Also in some of these settings there is a tendency to sidestep laws such as mandatory reporting of suspected abuse to state authorities.

There are many people who have alleged sexual abuse on the Bruderhof.  It is rare for such a person to take the huge personal, emotional, family and financial risk of taking legal action.  Recently the hof has adopted a policy to try to reduce future abuse but it is unclear whether this is for legal protection or out of true dedication to stamping out abuse.  We can only hope it will be successful.

Scenarios that have been alleged in the past include a servant misusing their power to sexually molest boys, medical personal misusing physical exams for their own sexual arousal, adolescent teens molesting younger children, parents sexually molesting their children.

Often children are not aware that abuse has occurred.  They often believe that any sexual interaction was their choice.  Often the abuse is so disturbing that memories are suppressed.

The important thing for you to know is that if you were ever touched sexually or inappropriately by an older child or adult, this is wrong and it wasn’t your fault.

People who have been abused should report this to their state’s child protection services.  They should arrange to see a therapist on a regular basis.  They should seek out others who have similar experiences so that they have social support around these isssues.  All this is hard to do and often none of this happens, but they are good goals.

If you need help with any issue you can reach out to us and we will try to connect you with support and advice.  [email protected]