Getting Support : Speaking Out
Responsibility and Caution
from Jules - Monday, October 21, 2002
accessed 1500 times
Issues to consider regarding taking action and speaking out.
On Saturday, an email was sent to a number of participants on this site requesting their help in taking abusers in the Family to court. I would like to clarify that the young man who sent this out, did so entirely on his own initiative. There was nothing particularly wrong with what he did, or the contents of the email, but I would like to suggest caution when writing or acting on behalf of any of the different projects currently underway.
I think it’s important to realize that the issues and actions being discussed are quite serious. If not approached in a careful and well thought out manner, the results of our words and actions could end up hurting people, and have the very opposite effect of what is intended.
Although we may not care what the Family as a group thinks of us, many of us have parents, brothers and sisters, cousins and friends who still live in the Family. It is difficult enough to try to bridge gaps and to maintain the friendships and support that they will need when they leave and as they age with people like Maria and Peter calling us demons. Over zealous and hasty actions could considerably damage relationships further.
Having lived for so long in an climate that does not allow individuality, Family members often don’t understand that “former loved ones” are not a group themselves, but really are just individual people, with different goals, beliefs and perspectives. Within the Family there is a deep-rooted belief in an organized and powerful “anti-cult cult” (part of the anti-christ conspiracy to rule the world) that is just waiting to grab them and their children and siblings who have left and turn them into the worst of all people: a Bitter Enemy. This is one reason why it’s so hard for our parents sometimes to listen to what we say if it is in any way critical of the Family. They think that we couldn’t possibly have come up with any of this ourselves, and it must be this evil group putting ideas in our heads.
Because of this, an anonymous letter presenting an opinion as “we believe the following” could be understood to represent what “all the SGA ex-members are saying”. The contents of forwarded mass emails in particular are notoriously unreliable, as information may be inserted before being forwarded and the original author may be very difficult to track down.
There are a few specific projects that have been talked about on this site. Porcelein Doll’s book and possible legal action which Daniel Albatross is looking into, are a couple of these. All of these projects take a lot of time and effort to develop, and to be effective, need to be carried out in a careful and responsible manner. When choosing to get involved with something it is important to make sure you know who to contact and whom you are dealing with. Someone claiming to be acting on the behalf of other people may be in fact acting on their own. Rumors can spread very quickly in our wired world, and the best way to keep information accurate is to contact the person in question directly.
Things that I personally consider important in any project are:
Will information I give someone be distributed or used without my explicit consent?
Can the person I am working with be trusted to be discrete?
Who is taking responsibility for the management of the project?
Can I contact them directly if needed?
What are the risks and consequences, and how are these being addressed?
If I don’t know the person in question, can they provide references of people that will vouch for them if needed?
How do they conduct themselves? Are they professional and careful in their dealings with others? What is their track record?
What is the short term and long term plan for the project?
Is the process being carefully thought out?
Is the goal viable and possible?
Are the people involved maintaining a realistic approach?
Just some things to consider.
Reader's comments on this article
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Monday, October 21, 2002 - 19:57
"It would be easier if things had taken a different turn than this, and if, when presented with the facts of how abuse in the Family had affected us, the leadership would want to do what it could to prosecute the perpetrators, and support us during our transition. It seems this will never be the case, and we are left with no other choice but to 'do it the hard way'. If it comes to that, then I for one am willing to do what it takes to see those who are guilty brought to justice."
Hmmm? Why the change of tune? And haven't you just identified two individuals, who are making efforts to do something and tell their story, which could make them a Family target? What about those two individuals' privacy? Why can't those brave enough to do something about what they experienced or talk about it in a book protect their privacy at the same time? Why must they provide a resume and credentials and references? Can't we all recognize a fraud? Afterall, we do have our own cult speak which is hard to duplicate. I haven't heard of any current Family members posing as ex-SGA members. It seems, though, that in drawing attention to those who are making efforts to do something about what they and others experienced, and in calling into question their reliability, sincerity and trustworthiness and in revealing their identities and the nature of their efforts, you are doing the very thing you say you are trying to protect. Maybe you know of plots by current Family members, or unrelated third parties, to deceive people and dup people into telling their stories which you haven't revealed. Who knows? But, it seems like a contradiction what you wrote and what you've written before.
I don't know who sent the email to registered users of this website. I've never heard of it. Yet, I do know that mass mailing is far from invasion of privacy. I get more junk mail and spam in my email account than I can handle, much of it really offensive sexual advertisements. Yet, none of it is actionable. None of my rights have been violated by having to delete it. Neither have my rights been violated by hotmail selling a list with my email address on it to advertisers. However, my rights were violated as a child by the Family. I respect those who have the guts to do something about what they went through. I'm far too busy and simply don't want to endure what it would take to get retribution for what I and my family suffered. However, I admire those who do try.
Further, you may want to personally maintain good relations with the Family so that you can benefit your siblings and have them trust and turn to you when they are old enough. I, however, believe that I would rather not wait until my little siblings are 18 for the neglect to stop. At that point, they have lost their childhoods and have years of education to catch up on and need years of therapy to help heal. I would rather see them taken care of now, and the only way the Family is going to change I believe is when they are forced to. They didn't come up with the Charter until after the English court case. In 1993, Zerby was issuing her Summit Jewels condoning child fondling. It was legal action which put an end to or, at least, scaled down almost 30 years of child molestation. So, I support in heart all those who have the time and dedication to seek such action which, hopefully, will make my little siblings lives better before they are 18 and their childhoods are over.
Again, I state I know nothing of any emails. I lost interest in personally being involved with any efforts to improve the lives of children in the Family a long time ago. It's as much as I can manage to provide for myself and my own family. So, don't go making me a target now either. I don't need my identity called attention to as you did to the two individuals above in your article.
It's pretty darn obvious that the Family reads every post on this website. And from their Vandari letter, it seems pretty serious that they would like to stop people from speaking out. So, indentifying individuals and the projects they are working on and who is working with them seems to me like throwing them to the wolves. Thank God I don't have details or know what's happening. But, good luck to those that are doing something. Be careful what you post on this website, though, because it seems like you can't trust anyone here. I commend you for trying and your efforts. I hope you are successful, for at least my little siblings sake.
(reply to this comment)
| From Jules|
Tuesday, October 22, 2002, 00:05
For the record, PorceleinDoll, as she stated below, already posted her plans for her book on this website. I specifically asked Daniel about naming him in this article before posting it. We felt it was important that it’s clear who people should be dealing with in regards to these things. I do know who sent the email to other people here, and it was not Daniel Albatross.
Standing up against wrong-doing does not equal endorsing every scheme that comes along. Just because someone was born and raised in the Family does not mean they are someone I would want to work with. For example, I would never work with the type of people who fly off the handle at the slightest provocation, or who use sweeping generalizations and inflammatory rhetoric, or those dismiss other people’s opinions and beliefs out of hand because they do not share them, or people who refuse to listen to others, become defensive when questioned, lack self-awareness or sensitivity, etc.
If we want to be effective, we need to do this right. I believe the ends never justify the means and the process is often as important as the product. The goal is to heal and help and not to do further harm. To accomplish this we need to tread carefully and work with people we trust and respect.
I am willing to go the distance in regards to all these issues, and to put myself personally out there. I also try to think carefully before I act, and then do so in consultation with friends I trust. This is uncharted territory and we are already breaking new ground. The goals are achievable but we need to take these things seriously and appreciate the scope of what we are working towards. (reply to this comment)
| From porceleindoll|
Monday, October 21, 2002, 20:40
Just for the record, I don't mind being named in this article as I've already posted on this site about the project I am attempting to undertake. I realise that most Family members who have ever lived with me will connect my posts with the person they used to know.
I agree with Jules that everyone should be cautious about what you share, even if not for your own sake, but for your family's sake. Someone pointed out to me that by publishing a book in my name, even if the name of all contributors are held anonymous or are pseudonyms, it puts not only my name in the public eye, but my entire family who also carry the same name, including my parents, who though now out of the group will still be connected to a past they may not want to be connected to.
I know some people who do not want to help with a legal court case simply because they still have family in the group and don't want to expose them to any possible harm.(reply to this comment)