from ErikMagnusLehnsher - Monday, March 14, 2005
accessed 1329 times
I brought up the idea of quantification of episodes of abuse in a previous post but it was associated with a lot of reconciliation verbiage so the question was never really addressed. I have been thinking about it over the last week or so and the "FBI" post by Dan made me think I should post the question again.
As is demonstrated by the "FBI" post, there is clearly a degree of mistrust between many of us SGA former members. I guess this is to be expected given our backgrounds. Unfortunately, I think the fact that instances of abuse have never been quantified does play into the hands of Family Leadership that contends that many accounts of abuse are exaggerated or based on hearsay (False Accusers of the Last Days). I prefer to maintain my anonymity (though I have written Jules with my info) because I have 2 young children and frankly am not willing to make myself (and by extension them) vulnerable or empower anyone who would use my former association with the TF to affect my career and livelihood. I have the utmost respect for those among us who speak out publicly and openly in the cause of justice and truth.
I think a documentation of instances of abuse would prevent any spin regarding the prevalence of abuse. I know SGA former members who have "moved on" and are happily working/studying and though they are not interested in participating in court cases or coming out publicly they would be willing to provide personal accounts of abuse or provide information that would corroborate the accounts of others IF they could do so anonymously.
The Family has had many academics study Homes and interview current members but one concern that I have had about academics’ studies of the group is a phenomenon that within journalistic circles might be regarded as the “Peter Arnatt Syndrome” whereby one exchanges sycophancy for access. In the early nineties, I guess TF regarded these types of studies as important for the survival of the group and therefore permitted them. In some cases, I would imagine academics could go easy on them in order to earn the “privilege” of extended access. Of course there are bought and paid guys like Melton who are an embarrassment to their profession.
I acknowledge that finding an unbiased 3rd party to collect such statements would be challenging. I say "unbiased" because for it to be credible to the TF it couldn't be someone who has written or spoken negatively towards the group. Likewise, none of us are going to trust someone on record as a cult apologist. The approval of jury members by both prosecution and defense lawyers does occur every day so one would think that finding an impartial 3rd party feasible, at least in theory.
I am in no ways trying to discourage people from working with the effort with the FBI but I would like to pose the following question:
If there was a method whereby you could maintain anonymity and recount firsthand instances of abuse involving yourself OR corroborate instances of abuse involving someone else in the interest of truth, would you participate?
My answer: I would.
The goal of this effort would not specifically be legal action against TF or individuals but of silencing once and for all the contention that instances of abuse were isolated and infrequent and not promoted by Family Leadership. One’s decision to seek justice individually or as a participant in a collective effort such as described in the “FBI” post would irrelevant to this process.