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Getting Out : Seeking Justice


from anovagrrl - Thursday, September 11, 2003
accessed 1657 times

"If some real research, scientific research using statistical analysis, would be done on our experiences..."

Since I do quantitative research for a living, I've been thinking about this for some time. The type of study called for by the enormity of the 2nd Gen experience is much larger than an individual researcher could handle. Typically, a project like this would be taken on by someone with a research program. That means someone with lots of federal grant monies and staff such grad students and post docs who are part of a research team.

The good news is that there is such a person, and he's among the world's top researchers in child sexual abuse. I'm referring to Dr. David Finkelhor, a sociologist at the University of New Hampshire. He's also the director of the Crimes Against Children Research Institute. He pioneered much of the methodology that is used in quantitative (statistical) studies of this very difficult subject (sexual abuse).

I believe that the experience of the 2nd Gen is fairly unique the world of child abuse. Among other things, little if anything is known about the circumstance of mothers who perpetrate on their children. Ritualized cult abuse of children is also an area about which little has been empirically (quantitatively) studied. If some of the more articulate and passionately persuasive members of this board--Nancy, for example--were to write Dr. Finkelhor about your history and your existence as an organized self-advocacy group, you might interest him in sponsoring a serious sociological study through his Research Institute.

If you decide to contact Dr. Finkelhor, mention the previous work done by Dr. Kent. Remind him that he gets federal dollars to research child abuse and that many of you are tax-paying American and Canadian citizens. Finally, provide this website address. What you write here says volumes to anyone who knows anything about child abuse.

A really well done study--even a small, exploratory study--under the auspices of someone of Dr. Finkelhor's stature might go a long way toward establishing the credibility of any legal case you might later make against TF leadership for their participation in systematic abuse.

If someone decides to follow up on this suggestion, you are welcome to contact me via email. I am willing to write Dr. Finkelhor a letter of endorsement for your case. Dr. Kent may be willing to do the same. It never hurts to ask.

Reader's comments on this article

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from Eaglebleeds
Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - 04:03

Someone should write and make a movie like Sleepers but with X-family kids stories.
(reply to this comment)
from anovagrrl
Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 11:03


More thoughts after reading two days of posts: My impression of the researchers, grad students, etc., involved with Dr. Kent and the recent conference is that these are sociologists of religion. They have a lot to contribute to the study of your experience. Given the complexity of TF experience, it's likely that many different researchers will study the same population from widely varying perspectives.

Finkelhor is a sociologist of family violence and child maltreatment. He is probably the number one quantitative researcher in the US on these topics. An indicator of his stature is the fact that he has his own research institute. He developed many of the standardized instruments that are used to measure various forms of abuse. He also developed one of the major theoretical models that is used to explain types of sexual perpetration on children. In almost any scholarly work on child sexual abuse that you might read, you will find citations of his work.

At the risk of sounding crass, if representatives of your constituency decide to approach someone like Finkelhor, you need to "sell" yourselves as a a major research opportunity. First of all, there's a lot of you. I've estimated the population universe as between 6,000-9,000. Those who self-select through an agency like SPF would be what's called a purposive sample. Secondly, the sample could potentially commit to being tracked over time in a longitudinal study. I don't know if anyone anywhere who has access to a large, longitudinal cohort of males and females raised in a situation of extensive, systematic abuse. Third, the conditions surrounding your abuse experience are unique in many ways. Simply put, I'm not sure Finkelhor's model of sexual perpetration can completely explain what happened to 2nd gen COG. As a theoretical researcher, he should be very interested in examing the kind of evidence your group could provide toward further theory development.

You all have my email address. If your research coordinator decides to move ahead, I'm willing to help with the "pitch" letter as well as a support letter of my own. I also think Dr. Kent's advice on this would be helpful.

(reply to this comment)

from Kate
Friday, September 12, 2003 - 12:51


I would definetly volunteer to be a part of some research of this type.

My story is posted under Creeps. Writing it & remembering all of that was difficult, but I'd be willing to do it over if it would help in anyway.

I really hope this goes beyond the "great idea" point. If there's anything I can do, let me know.
(reply to this comment)

from verylonelygirl
Friday, September 12, 2003 - 12:40


i am willing to be part of this test group study. i think it may spark interest and develop into more later on.

i have been very focused on myself for a long time and can say i am in touch with what happened to me with my parents and with their lovers, who were also my shepherds, second mothers and fathers/aunties and uncles.

incest is very much the root of this issue. berg himself was guilty of raping both daughters. faithy all the way into adulthood. dont forget he "goosed her" under the dinner table. he was a pedophile who was given permission by a woman, maria, to take what he wanted from all who were around him. no matter or thought of social placing.

i would hope that this could help children everywhere not just from our shared past. as was stated above our past was so unique because of the cultic base vein. results would show magnified and crystalized and may present the first true piece we need to fight the cult. if we continue to focus these ideas we will conquer with truth. our truth doesn't need exaggeration, alone it will destroy the demons berg and now zerby have let loose on their children and followers.
(reply to this comment)

from Seen It All
Friday, September 12, 2003 - 09:05

Great, now the Family knows who their next FFing project is.
(reply to this comment)
From frmrjoyish
Friday, September 12, 2003, 13:41


Comments like this are a perfect example of the breakdown of communication between the scientific community and the general public! (reply to this comment

From anovagrrl
Friday, September 12, 2003, 09:41

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Posts on this website have a way of making me laugh and cry at the same time.

I've read some of the crap "research" commissioned by TF to "prove" there was no abuse; I've even written an email protesteing continued online publication of Lillistan & Shepard's (1996) "Psychological Assessment of Children in The Family," which is NOT an empirical study. It's a program evaluation that the investigators were paid by TF to conduct. The crap that TF publishes in its defense is not taken seriously by anyone who knows how to do research.

Check out Finkelhor's website and follow the links. This is the guy who wrote the book and has gone where no one dared go before. He isn't some unethical, pissant academic looking to make a few bucks and get laid. It is extremely important that a researcher's funding source be independent of his/her study subject. This guy gets megabucks from the feds; if his professional integrity were compromised, he would stand to loose everything.

Finally, one other thing crossed my mind about this. It's called the "Almighty N." Quantitative researchers always want to know how large of a sample they can draw, because that controls what types of analyses they can do. To do a very simple statistical analysis, we generally need at least 30 cases. Telling a quantitative researcher that the study sample is potentially as high as 100 (or more) turns a lot of us nerdy quantizoids on more than any promise of sex.(reply to this comment

From Regi
Sunday, September 14, 2003, 10:30


Just a question: wouldn't you draw a random sample of ex fam kids, rather than take volunteers? (reply to this comment

From Nancy
Sunday, September 14, 2003, 14:26


No, you would take volunteers. I did a year and a half long research project of which the results were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. All the research done at the university was with volunteers. Unless it is animal research, there is no other way.

What bothers me about this whole idea is that it is debated back and forth ad nauseum, just like the idea of a civil action, then nothing is ever done. Most of the questions present little understanding of the subject matter and are posed by individuals unequiped and/or unwilling to make any contribution. It just all seems like a massive waste of time. I still await someone who is both knowledgeable enough and resourceful enough to pull anything off, much less have the required desire to stick with it through obsticles. I wonder if much if anything will ever happen. That is what the Family has enjoyed for so long, the lack of any coordinated, informed effort to make any real effect. (reply to this comment

from Mir
Friday, September 12, 2003 - 06:27

this is a brilliant idea. What do you think Nancy?
(reply to this comment)
From Nancy
Friday, September 12, 2003, 14:50

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

I think we may have hit on the catalyst of how to better understand and analyze our collective experiences, emphasis on collective. I don't think this type of research or analysis has ever been done collectively. It sounds better and better the more I think about it. It is an opportunity to scientifically define certian phenomenon, trends, phases, doctrine and their practices which occured within the second generation of the organization known as the Family.

It would not be anything like the skewed propaganda attempted to be passed off as research by the Family. It would not have any what we would understand to be goals, purposes or intents beyond better understanding the environment and experience we had socially within the Family as children. It may provide some documented research data which reveals practices which could be catagorized as physical, emotional or psychological abuse, yet that would not be the end in itself or even the goal. We all have our personal experiences and know of hundreds of our peers experiences, and we can catagorize those as we choose. Rather, the research could help us better understand our experiences as a social group and the social psychological, sociological and anthropological trends which effected and shaped all our childhoods.

What I think is crucial is someone willing to serve as a coordinator of participants in such a project. As we all know, it would probably be a good idea to not post the name of that coordinator here.

Posting here is problematic given the Family's attempts to malign and defame and threaten individuals they perceive as threatening to their beliefs and secret practices. That is why there has been little if any coordination concerning possible civil litigation. Individuals are understandably leary. Yet, give a good method of communicating, maybe a group listserv which is private, I think both the idea of undertaking a research project and a civil action could be successful.

I will say this, understanding, of course, that the idea of a research project and the idea of a civil action are completely separate, the barriers people have perceived and even written about on this website concerning a civil action are resolving. I want to be very careful what I say here. Yet, what is lacking in such a project is a coordinator. I am a fulltime attorney, fulltime graduate student, parttime teaching assistant and a single parent. I simply do not have the means to coordinate such a project. I do not think, as well, that I am the best person, if I had the time, as my beliefs are very strong in a particular direction, as many are aware. I am more of a "hired gun" than I am a coordinator. Yet, I have knowledge and abilities and willingness to assist in the matter. I know what needs to be done and how to go about it, if someone or some few would coordinate. It would take a good bit of discussion on how to handle such matters as information sharing and the involvement of which individuals. I have found that not all individuals on this site are what they seem. Some are actually a good bit of a risk to even allow to have one's email address, much less one's real name and address and integral information concerning any project. I am very, very careful who I communicate with on this site. I am hesitant to email anyone I do not know personally or whom is known personally by a friend of mine.

So, just to put that out there. Those either willing or interested in discussing any of these matters can contact the right individuals on this site. The administrator can put people who are legitimitly interested and able to contribute in touch with each other. I can be reached though a few individuals here, as well. (reply to this comment

From Jules
Friday, September 12, 2003, 15:13


Assisting with a detailed, comprehensive and objective study of people born into the Family is one of the projects we had on the list for the safe passage foundation. Accurate information regarding our collective experiences and in particular the long term effects of our upbringing is something that would greatly help in program and resource development, as well as in raising awareness and providing an accurate assessment of the safety of children in the Family.

While SPF is certainly not the only way to go about research on this topic, there is an SG who has tentatively accepted managing this project. We are still setting up the foundation structure and operations, which is a ton of work, so this is not quite ready yet.

Besides the researcher suggested here, there was interest in doing research on this from some of the academics at the AFF conference Daniel and I attended. Another possiblity may be grad students who would be willing to take this on under the supervision of their profs. Either way, it certainly is about time a study like this was done.(reply to this comment

From frmrjoyish
Friday, September 12, 2003, 19:10


I wonder if it would be a good idea to associate SPF too closely to a project such as this. TF will no doubt be up in arms against any such research and may try to activley hinder it. Since most of the youth that would benefit from SPF are currently still in TF, wouldn't SPF need to have somewhat of a neutral relationship with TF in order to help current Family youth maintain access to information regarding the foundation? If SPF backs any research that could possibly be seen as anti-Family from any angle, they may deny their kids access to such vital information.(reply to this comment

From Jules
Friday, September 12, 2003, 20:52


Our thinking (or rather mine, since this is something I plan to help set up) is that research by definition should not be biased or presume an outcome.

The position of the foundation is neither pro or anti Family, and those terms are not relevant. Regardless of our own experiences we will approach the Family as we would any other isolated community, in good faith. The primary goal of SPF is to protect the rights of children born in isolated communities which does not always imply a neutral stance. It is important though that the policies, endorsements and actions of SPF are based on solid quantitative data that can stand up to scrutiny.

I believe that this approach is the best way to provide services needed and to be objective and accurate. There is no way to predict what exactly the Family's reaction will be. However, given their stated goals of doing good in the world, caring for their children and conviction not compromise regarding openess about their beliefs and practices, opposing or dismissing us out of hand could only occur if there was severe bias on their end. From an objective and depersonalized perspective and judging by their statements to outside society, the Family will appreciate the services and perspective we provide in regards to their children.

What is important though is that SPF remains true to the goals of children's rights. Our principles and practices must be ethical, objective and sound and the opinions of a single group or individual should not influence what we do. (reply to this comment

From frmrjoyish
Friday, September 12, 2003, 21:27


Predictions made on the relative frequencies of past events can be used as valid scientific data. Probability theories are used all the time in research. Based on past actions by TF it is indeed likely that you should not expect too much cooperation from them if SPF gets involved in this research.

Had TF even once been open to outside critique of their practices, that wasn't initiated by them, I'd be a more apt to share your optimisim regarding their cooperation. None of us can have a truly neutral stance when it comes to TF and TF knows it. Given TF's history of paranoia regarding the outside world it's very unlikey they will cooperate with any organization or indvidual involved. Relying on any of their public relations statements to the contrary would not be very wise given their history.

You are right about research needing to be objective and unbiased, which is why I don't think anything involving any SGA, other than as a subject, can ever be considered valid research. I think SPF has potential to be a great organization but I just wanted to give a word of caution! I do wish you luck in whatever you plan to do.(reply to this comment

From Jules
Friday, September 12, 2003, 23:54


I am certainly not an expert on research methodology, but I do think that probability calculations regarding socially volatile groups such as the Family are difficult to estimate at best. Also, so far, the staff of SPF are not qualified to conduct this sort of research themselves, so that is not an issue.

I am wearing my SPF hat right now, while I talk about our plans in regards to this and am not speaking from my own personal opinion. There are days when personally I feel very pessimistic about all of this. However, establishing an organization is a job, (albeit a difficult one) and it must be approached in a professional manner. I do not expect anything, but I do hope that the Family will recognise what we are doing. If that hope is misguided, then we will work to provide support regardless, but our opinion as an organization of the Family will be influenced by their own actions.

I do disagree that none of us can ever be objective in this regards. If there is one thing the Family taught us it was how to dissasociate. Not that I am recommending that, but it is possible to distance yourself emotionally from a particular topic.

What I object to, and I am not saying you said this, but I think it is a common belief in society, is the notion that children who are abused are damaged goods and are not capable of being whole. We are hurt, for sure, but both Rocky and Anovagrrl were sexually abused, from what they have said, and have gone on to work professionally with abused children, taking their empathy and unique understanding from having been there to help heal others.

I believe we can be passionate and professional. We can care deeply and know when to let go. We can take our own experiences and use them to make us more effective in this area, not less so. Despite the scars we will always carry, we are stronger simply for having survived. (reply to this comment

From frmrjoyish
Saturday, September 13, 2003, 19:18

I totally agree that abuse victims can go on to live amazingly productive lives despite their past. My only point was that the objectivity is in question with regards to personal past experiences. I have no doubt that anovagrrl and rocky are doing tremendous good in their fields, however, as researchers and scientists, I'm sure they would agree that any research involving their own personal issues would be tainted. Since you said SPF has no plans to involve itself in the research, I guess it isn't an issue. But that's what I understood from your earlier comment.(reply to this comment
From enquiry aka dense one
Saturday, September 13, 2003, 20:00

So for SPF to be a liaison, would that be OK? (reply to this comment
From frmrjoyish
Sunday, September 14, 2003, 13:59

sorry about the "dense" comment! I was in a bit of a mood yesterday!!!! But, yes, I suppose that would be ok!(reply to this comment
From enquiry
Friday, September 12, 2003, 22:21


What CAN be done? What is your definition of "involving any SGA"? What would you suggest? Are we at the mercy of chance, that someone one fine day wakes up interested in what we lived? Interested that we ever lived?(reply to this comment

From frmrjoyish
Friday, September 12, 2003, 23:26


I said any SGA involvment other than as a subject of the study, would not be unbiased, since, as you so clearly demonstrated, it's difficult for any of us to remain as objective, unbiased and unemotional as a scientific research study would require.

If you'd be so kind as to read the article it suggests contacting a well known and respected scientist in the area of child abuse and submitting a proposal for a research project on the effects of growing up in a community such as TF. That's not exactly leaving anything up to chance!!!(reply to this comment

From enquiry
Friday, September 12, 2003, 23:36

But she said that an SG who is passionate and articulate should write to convince the guy to study it. Is that not being "involved other than as a subject"?(reply to this comment
From frmrjoyish
Saturday, September 13, 2003, 07:45

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Please!! Initiating contact, as long as that's all it entails, does not imply actual involvment in the research process!!! Don't be so dense!!(reply to this comment
From Mir
Friday, September 12, 2003, 06:30


Nancy, I need to get in touch with you. Could you email me please?


Miriam(reply to this comment

From Nancy
Friday, September 12, 2003, 14:56


Email one of our mutual friends, I'm thinking of one in particular, and I'll email you back. I don't mean to be difficult, but I've responded before to people on this site and discovered that their request was just a rouse to send me hate mail. I just like to verify people's identity that way.(reply to this comment

From ChrisIsBack
Saturday, September 13, 2003, 17:09

because your a lawyer, this shouldnt be a problem.(reply to this comment
From Mir
Friday, September 12, 2003, 15:40


It's ok, our mutual friend rang me today and I am no longer worried. (I hadn't heard from this person for several weeks and I wondered whether you had, that's all.) Take care,

Mir(reply to this comment

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