Category Archives: Uncategorized

Minimization

One common technique that we see abusers and their flying monkeys use is minimization. These are the people who in the face of inconvertible evidence will state that whatever the abuser did, “It was not that bad”, “a mistake”, “the first time anything like that ever happened”. This is used to rush to normalcy and to avoid far more difficult and ugly conversations.

This is not new. I Corinthians 5:1-8 outlines something similar, not outright abuse, but rather the behavior that many youth organizations, churches and families will employ. Very often forgiveness is the very first thing that is offered before the depths of an individual’s depravity are known, before the other survivors come forward. When they do often their voice is silenced because the group has already “moved on” and the offender is already forgiven.

Not so fast. Let’s take a look at I Corinthians 5:1-2 again. Paul is not praising the Corinthians for their forgiveness. He is excoriating them for their tolerance! Today when an organization tolerates like the Corinthian church did, they go beyond what hardened criminals in our prison system will tolerate. In our correctional system sexual offenders are placed in specific populations for their safety. However, in our organizations, families, and churches we celebrate our “forgiveness” of such a person and invite them in the presence of those that are similar to or the very ones that they have offended previously. This is backwards.

This is not to say that the blood of Christ cannot cover the sins of those who repent of sexual offenses committed against children. That repentance must be a full reckoning of their deeds, independently verified if they have been incarcerated. They must understand that their crime involves a tremendous amount of deception if they are unwilling to truthfully disclose their deeds, it is likely a ruse and attempt to regain access to other individuals. Then special measures can be taken to ensure the spiritual growth of the individual, but it should not involve unfettered access as it did previously.

As we observe the #meetoo, #churchtoo, #familytoo events going on in our society today there are many attempts by those accused to minimize and move on. Unfortunately, many of these minimize to move on and offend again. What is truly going on is a request for tolerance that does not even occur in the U.S. prison system. We must be far more mindful of the degree to which offenders will use their craft of deception even when apparently caught. We need to be the good watchmen.

Respect

Although this is not the usual type of post placed on the Ezekiel 33 Project page, thoughts about the event, what needs to be done, and where have we gone wrong have jumped into my head. The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is another tragic event where the citizenry of our great nation polarizes, and we hear the arguments of both sides, yet when we get so polarized in the end nothing effective ever gets done. Why is this? I believe that our focus is in the wrong place. Those of both political persuasions are looking to the government to solve a problem that is so much deeper than a few laws.

There is something that has deteriorated over the past 40 years or so that has put our nation in a state of fear for our children as we send them off to school every day. What has deteriorated? Respect.

If we step back and be honest with ourselves respect is most certainly on the decline in our nation. We have lost the ability to disagree with each other and remain friends. We use social media to say things to or about people that we would never say in person. When observing what the media produces for us to consume in news and entertainment very often displays levels of disrespect. Can you name a network TV show that displays the father of a nuclear family in a positive light? Or is he the buffoon? The media has flipped the script on what we used to believe was good, not so good, and bad in our nation.

Try this, when in public with a child and if you are around a group of individuals using salty language, ask them to tone it down. What reaction do you get? In my experience with both of my children the response was less than favorable, and the language continued. Where was the respect? Try turning on your blinker in any metropolitan area during rush hour in order to change lanes. Very often that is a signal for others to move next to you to prevent your lane change rather than the signal of your desire to move over. Instead of helping someone move over, many drivers appear as if they are making it more difficult to move over. The common denominator, respect. These are examples of disrespect that can be observed as an adult. People who are at an age where respect should be well known. If this is the state of our adults, what are our children like as they are still learning?

If we continue to examine respect and its decline in America today let’s look at the fatherless homes. It can be said that a significant number of the kids who chose to shoot up their schools came from home where their biological father was not present. Why is this? Did mom and dad divorce? Or, was the child raised in a home without a father from the beginning? It would be impractical to state all of the reasons why this happens, but one could certainly say respect is a factor. The couple that gets married, has a child, and then dad runs off for whatever reason. Where was dad’s respect for the mother of his child? In single mother scenarios, did dad not respect the mother enough to either not put her in a situation to be raising a child alone, or when discovering he was to be a father decided that the child was not his problem although the child was the result of the dad’s night of partying? America, although you have resisted this fact over the last 40 years or so, there was a design for the family that had been followed for centuries, yet because of your decision to blaze new trails, today we have many misguided young men because of the lack of a father in the home. The disrespect for the traditional family is harming our children.

In the fatherless homes, who teaches the young man about masculinity? In the fatherless homes, who teaches the young man about respect for others and for human life? In fatherless homes, young men are given the remote to the TV and video games to occupy their time because mom is quite frankly worn out by doing the work of two alone. A child watching television will have seen countless murders before the age of 18. It is safe to say that the first time a child “pulls the trigger” today is in a video game opposed to on a range with fatherly guidance from an individual who loves the young man and wants what is best for him.

Most of us have seen the memes of a pickup truck with a gun rack reminiscing about how 40 years ago there were guns in the school parking lot and nobody got shot. It was far more likely that the young men driving those pickup trucks with the gun racks were all too familiar with what a gun would do as a result of a fatherly lesson. In today’s video games a young man will be encouraged by “points” to pull the trigger thousands of times without a father speaking to them about the consequences to others had the scenario played out in real life. Without dad teaching the son with a real gun at a range how to safely operate and shoot a gun, how does the young man learn of the destructive power he holds in his hand?

For too long when an individual chooses to disrespect another as a society we have remained silent, or accepted an answer of, “none of your business”. Here we are 40 years later, in a society where children are murdered in their schools and we have the usual suspects touting their politics and looking to score. When in fact it is very likely that the individual that needs fixing gets ready with them in the mirror every morning. Decisions that we think only affect a small group of people end up affecting a larger group of people. America, this is the nation you asked for as some of your personal liberties became more important than others desire for respect and civility. As the respect diminished you fostered a culture that belittles humanity. Sometime years ago, people scoffed at the thought of their momentary lack of civility would do anything but irritate somebody who would shake the insult off. Unfortunately, they were wrong, as a chain reaction has occurred, and disrespect became a part of American life because somebody had a, “right to”. We now have a coarse society in which we have fatherless homes where the lessons only a father can provide are not being taught. The level of ignorance from the lack of teaching has created an environment that many do not want. This problem cannot be legislated away or resolved quickly. A society without respect will only continue to deteriorate and in the absence of one object to inflict harm, another will be identified and implemented.

America, I pray that your citizenry longs for a return to more civility and more mutual respect for each other. Respect that will take root and cause us to look at each other differently and to be less selfish with our liberties out of respect for each other, and ultimately reignite our respect for God the Father.

Predictable

Predictable is where one can foresee what will happen. Fighters that have tells, they telegraph what they will do in a given situation, if studied, an opponent can come up with a counter to the predictable move. Football teams can become predictable if they have a play that the coaching staff prefers. The opposing team through studying the preferred plays, will design a defensive strategy to stop the preferred play. The team will continue running the play until the opposing defense stops the opponents preferred play.

For the last several years since starting the Ezekiel 33 Project, one thing that has become evident is most situations in dealing with child abuse and molestation, what happens is predictable. There is no doubt that there is limited information circulating on the topic because the tactics are almost all identical. Meaning, those opposing those abusing our children have not come up with an effective counter to the techniques they use to gain sympathies of larger groups.

Most situations involve someone who many like and prefer that their children spend time with. When the individual is reported, they will point out all of the “good” they do and rally their allies. In addition to pointing out how good they are, they will also minimize the event where suspicion was raised. Others will be glad that an individual was reported indicating the suspicion was not a one-time thing as many abusers will add to their defense if they go so far to admit even a portion of what was done. As this happens their allies (flying monkeys) will make things difficult for those who reported the incident.

Predictable. No matter where an incident happens. What will happen to those who make an attempt at doing good is unfortunate and predictable.

How does one counter such tactics taken by abusers and their flying monkeys? Resolve. Be predictable in your own way. Be known for taking an unwavering stance in protecting those who don’t have a voice. Understand that relationships change in light of reporting such an event. Know that doing so is the right thing to do regardless of the social consequences or the result of an investigation. Each event of abuse only has a conviction rate of approximately .24% so do not be disheartened when the flying monkeys bring back the fact that an individual was not convicted. Often the flying monkeys do not know the details of what you witnessed that sprung you to action.

It is not a watchman’s job to listen to the “why” of an incident that they reported. If they witness someone climbing a fence to get into a facility in the middle of the night, they report it and move on it was their job to do so.  Reporting abuse makes it more difficult than a watchman guarding a facility because 90% of the time the watchman knows the individual he is reporting. Understanding that when abuse occurs that a switch must be flipped to prevent emotion from entering the equation and relying on the facts of a situation can help with resolve.

The reason why abusers and their allies continue with the same tactics is because they have not experienced an effective counter to their tactic. Therefore, they will continue using them until they are countered effectively. They know emotion and relationships will be what keeps them from being turned in. Often the resolve of those reporting abuse is broken as the social pressure is increased. If the resolve is not broken, what happens? The social consequences are the same if one backs down or stays diligent. Be diligent, be unwavering, be the good watchman.

Universal Precautions

With another page turned on the calendar and we race towards the end of the year there will be several events coming up where our children will likely be in many more social situations with different people than normal. Universal precautions should be utilized to protect them from grooming, or molestation. These precautions include the understanding that each individual involved with your child has a role, and with each role there are boundaries that you are within your right to define and you child has the right to add even more boundaries if they choose.

For example: Your extended family may be very close, and you are more involved with their lives. For those who are close you may allow car rides, movies, and other recreational activities. However, if you have the one family member that only shows up a few times in a decade although there is a familial bond, there should be a different set of boundaries.

The comparisons in the example above are stark however the principal holds true in all aspects of our lives. Our child’s doctor has different boundaries than a coach. A friend’s parents may have different boundaries than the grandparents may have. Some of your close personal friends may be more like family than your blood relatives therefore their boundaries may be less restrictive than with your blood relatives.

Consider the following statistics:

  • 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are molested before the age of eighteen.
  • Ninety percent of all child molesters know the child they target.
  • 34% of children are molested by members of their family
  • 40% of molesters are under the age of eighteen
  • Only one in ten children who are molested will ever tell

These statistics are stable. Stable meaning, they are consistent across socioeconomic, racial, geographic, and religious lines.

We live in a good neighborhood, nothing like that would happen here…… No, it happens in your neighborhood.

My family is <insert your race here> we don’t have that problem…. No, it happens within your race.

We live in <insert your area of the country here> we are safe here…. No, it happens in your state, county, town

We are not religious, so we have nothing to worry about…. No, it happens with all beliefs including those who have no belief

We attend <insert church affiliation here> so it isn’t a problem…. No, it is happening in the church you attend.

We need good watchmen in our lives. Are you one of them?

Sources:

  • American Society for the Positive Care of Children
  • Darkness to Light

What’s the gameplan?

gameplanGameplan. Plans are things that we make in preparation for an event. Games are things we play, sometimes against a rival or adversary for recreation. If we put these two terms together we get the term “gameplan”.

A gameplan is defined as, a strategy worked out in advance, especially in sports, politics, or business.

When looking at the definition of gameplan, it does not have to be a game being played. Politics can be far beyond a game, often politics is quite adversarial.

Knowing that a gameplan is not only for recreational pursuits, shouldn’t one have a gameplan for protecting those around them?

The failure to have a plan when any event occurs, often leads to emotional decision making. Proverbs 21:5 tells us, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” When one allows emotion to decide, the decisions made are often far less intelligent than decisions are made when there is more objectivity and far less emotion.

Unfortunately, child sexual abuse with all of its prevalence, remains a taboo topic in our families and our churches. With one in six being abused before the age of eighteen, why the silence? The only ones benefitting from the silence are those who abuse or hide the abuse. If this is the case, Why the silence? No gameplan.

This is not a fun topic, it might be about as much fun as discussing life insurance, but a plan of what to do if something happens to one of your children or a child you know can make the difference. The difference is between the abuse of others continuing and the abuse coming to a halt. So, what should the plan be? For starters, wouldn’t obedience to the law be the minimum? This would put one on the correct side of the first part of Romans 13.

When it comes to those in your care, having a gameplan prevents others from preventing you from following the law. Think it does not happen? Child sexual assault one of the most underreported crimes in America today. Why? Predators are masters at deception and fooling many around them.

If you don’t have a gameplan consider one. You will make better decisions if you do.

 

Upcoming events

There are some upcoming events that need to be shared. The Ezekiel 33 Project has a couple of trips planned for this fall. Searcy, AR is the first stop.

  • Harding University Annual Fall Lectureship September 24-27
    • We will have a table set up in the Benson lobby come by and meet us.
    • If you don’t have a copy yet, we will have several of copies of, “What Kind of Watchman Are You?” available.
    • Monday, September 25 @ 1 and 2pm Steve Black will be a panelist on the “Predators in the Pews” discussion in McInteer 145.

I believe you

It is a powerful statement. It is a declaration that the individual that just received surprising or shocking information believes the information to be true and that they stand with the person who delivered the information. In the case of the survivor of sexual abuse, the person hearing the shocking news may be the first time the survivor spoke of what happened to them.

I Corinthians 13:7 states, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

I believe you is a declaration that the survivor will not face the coming days alone.

I believe you means that the survivor will not navigate the justice system alone.

I believe you is the statement that the lies the survivor was told if they ever spoke up were just that, lies.

I believe you is telling the survivor that their voice matters in what happened to them.

I believe you means you listen to the survivor over the excuses of a perpetrator.

I believe you is a statement of love.