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Thu Nov 28, 2013, 08:05 AM

Religiously enabled Child Sexual Abuse is not just a Christian problem

Links and excerpts about 2 stories regarding this.
First a case relating to Judaism. A message from Tzedek Founder & CEO Manny Waks
As many of you would be aware, I was sexually abused as a child while a student at Melbourne’s Yeshivah College and a member of the Yeshivah community.

/snip

My major grievances are directed solely at the Yeshivah leadership, past and present. They failed then, and are failing now.

How does it make sense that the Yeshivah leadership that was in place during much of the abuse and cover-ups, and among other things:
was directly responsible for shipping off a perpetrator (former Yeshivah teacher David Kramer), who went on to re-offend overseas (please read the powerful Victim Impact Statement written by one of Kramer’s victims and read out by me in court on their behalf);

despite the many allegations that were brought to their attention, allowed Cyprys to remain in charge of security until the mid-2000s;

despite the many allegations that were brought to their attention, allowed Cyprys to attend Chabad Summer Camps;

despite the many allegations against Cyprys, placed a student in his care whom he repeatedly abused;

asked a victim to leave the school for daring to speak out and take action regarding his abuse by Cyprys;

was publicly criticised by Victoria Police in court for not cooperating with them in these investigations; and
includes a senior member whose testimony was described by the Magistrate as being “unfathomable”;


Tzedek (Hebrew for Justice) is an Australian-based advocacy group for Jewish victims/survivors of child sexual abuse—promoting their needs and interests and offering them and other relevant stakeholders a range of services.

Second, (with a trigger warning) a story told to the Birmingham Mail by Nabila Sharma (that's Birmingham UK).
My Imam abused me nearly every day for four years at the local mosque
17 Mar 2013 09:10
Midland Muslim woman was sexually assaulted regularly between the age of 7 and 11.

I WAS abused almost every day between the ages of seven and 11.

My abuser was the leader of my mosque, the Imam.

One day, he asked me to come to his room, as he lived at the mosque.

I found this strange, but he said I could read to him and get ahead with my prayers before the others arrived.

Inside his room, he began touching my face and stroking my hair, telling me what a pretty little girl I was.

I was only seven, I didn’t understand what he was doing other than I knew I didn’t like it. It made me uncomfortable.


Third, (trigger warning) Hinduism is not immune witness this story from the Vancouver Sun-Sentinel.
Drum teacher at Hindu temple sentenced to life in prison for child sex abuse
A religious guru and music teacher was legally declared a sexual predator and sentenced to life in prison Thursday afternoon for repeatedly abusing a 10-year-old student during her weekly drum lessons.

/snip

The girl, now 14, testified that Munshi, 49, molested her, forced her to perform oral sex and masturbated in front of her.

Before the judge imposed the mandatory life sentence, prosecutor Mary Ann Braun read a letter from the victim's family: "You are a far cry from the word guru [religious teacher]. Words cannot describe the pain, agony and mental torture you have brought upon my family and most of all a happy-go-lucky, beautiful and loving child."


Other cases are recorded by the Muslim Womens Network for for abuse of Asian women and girls and by Failed Messiah. Please note that Failed Messiah is, despite being written by Jews for Jews, regarded by some in the Jewish community as a hate site.

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Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply Religiously enabled Child Sexual Abuse is not just a Christian problem (Original post)
intaglio Nov 2013 OP
pipoman Nov 2013 #1
intaglio Nov 2013 #3
pipoman Nov 2013 #8
intaglio Nov 2013 #10
skepticscott Nov 2013 #12
skepticscott Nov 2013 #6
pipoman Nov 2013 #9
skepticscott Nov 2013 #11
rug Nov 2013 #2
intaglio Nov 2013 #4
rug Nov 2013 #5
intaglio Nov 2013 #7
cleanhippie Nov 2013 #15
rug Nov 2013 #16
cleanhippie Nov 2013 #21
rug Nov 2013 #17
intaglio Nov 2013 #18
rug Nov 2013 #19
intaglio Nov 2013 #20
rug Nov 2013 #22
intaglio Nov 2013 #24
rug Nov 2013 #25
intaglio Nov 2013 #30
rug Nov 2013 #33
dimbear Nov 2013 #31
rug Nov 2013 #32
dimbear Nov 2013 #34
Iggo Nov 2013 #13
intaglio Nov 2013 #14
dimbear Nov 2013 #23
skepticscott Nov 2013 #26
dimbear Nov 2013 #29
Warpy Nov 2013 #27
DonCoquixote Nov 2013 #28

Response to intaglio (Original post)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 08:24 AM

1. not limited to religious leaders..

 

Teachers, cops, day care providers, doctors, and thelist goes on...predators seek opportunity..any place children are put under adult supervision there is opportunity..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 08:58 AM

3. This post is specifically about one area of the child abuse problem

It is not about the entirety of that problem. That is why this post is in "Religion" and not GD.

Those who are supposed to provide moral leadership to the faithful are sometimes guilty of these crimes but even those who would never commit such acts enable those who do. We are all aware of the abysmal record of the Catholic hierarchy in this respect and the marginalisation of those who make similar complaints against protestants. For Christians, beyond the sexual aspect, the physical abuse of children is regarded as biblical or canonical and thus receives approval and support from certain areas in the Christian community.

Abuse, both physical and sexual, is sometimes justified as traditional practice by those religions that depend upon such traditions like Judaism, Islam and Hinduism. There is a culture that does not allow the the so-called "dirty washing" to be aired in public and not just where the religion involved is in a minority or oppressed. The evidence is that where a faith has large political presence such crimes are covered up or excused even more effectively.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 11:52 AM

8. In each of the cases I cited

 

there is egregious abuse of authority...all sinister and reprehensible in their own way..each with a tendency to cover the problems for the good of the profession..

I didn't look at the group this was in..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 11:57 AM

10. Please check my post #7 on response to rug

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1218101434#post7

I have stated precisely why it is a problem for religions to face whereas those others have multiple layers of control lessening (but not eliminating) the chance of such abuse.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #10)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 12:01 PM

12. Also a problem especially for those who are convinced

 

that their ultimate authority comes from gawd.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 09:06 AM

6. The difference is

 

that teachers, cops and day care providers are not trying to dictate morality to everyone else and to control and restrict other people's rights based on what they claim to be their higher moral authority. The Catholic Church and other religious organizations are even though their systematic coverup and enabling of child rape shows they have no such authority.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 11:53 AM

9. As stated above..

 

all abuse a trust or authority given them by others...each is inexcusable in its way..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #9)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 11:57 AM

11. Which does not address my point

 

Try again.

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Response to intaglio (Original post)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 08:28 AM

2. This is true.

 

it seems to be a problem with many large institutions, secular or religious, that deal with children. Some handle it better than others.

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Response to rug (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 08:59 AM

4. Check my reply #3 n/t

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Response to intaglio (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 09:02 AM

5. Ok.

 

Which would you say are the bigger factors, trust and authority or religious belief and practice?

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Response to rug (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 10:19 AM

7. In this case it is the reinforcement of trust

and the assumption of authority by leaders on the basis of religious belief and practice. There is no rational reason to trust such figures or to give them such authority, be they rabbi, priest, imam or guru, except to assume that their training (if any) will have weeded out the abusive or that, in the few cases where such mechanisms exist, a superior will act to report and remove the criminal. Unfortunately we know that the training does not do such weeding and, in the religions where there are command structures, those with that responsibility are reluctant to even acknowledge the problem.

There is even a case to be made that religions approve such behaviour. Physical abuse of children is receives the deity's stamp of approval in the Bible, the Koran, the Haddith and the Torah; man/girl rape can be excused in all those texts; man/boy rape is rationalised by the prohibition (biblically) being against man "lying" with man. Add in the layers of customary law that have attached to such faiths and you are left with a hodge-podge where religious leaders can do nearly anything without question or fear of reprisal.

Contrast social workers or the police or medical practitioners or teachers; in all cases not only are there specific management structures but also there are professional bodies, and statutory oversight mechanisms. Even these systems fail at times but there is a far greater chance that the deliberately abusive will be stopped by them before massive damage occurs.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 02:12 PM

15. +1. It will be interesting to see what kind of a response you get, if at all.

It's likely that if you do get a response, it will not address the specific points you raised, and instead deflect to some tangentially related obfuscating nonsense. Or it will be a question that impugns your motives or character. Or both.


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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 03:00 PM

16. Or maybe I'll just make some indirect commoents about you to another poster.

 

Or eat turkey.

I'm flattered you wait with bated breath.

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Response to rug (Reply #16)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 05:22 PM

21. Turkey is fitting.

You enjoy.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 03:10 PM

17. The case that religious scripture approves child sexual abuse is quite weak.

 

Religions that are global have varying rates of abuse depending on the culture. The scripture is the constant but the society is the variable.

As to teachers and police and the like, the problem persists there despite statutory and regulatory oversight. Not to be anecdotal, but in even a cursory perusal of GD, you'll see frequent incidents of police sexual abuse (currently at motor vehicle stops in Texas) and teachers' arrests (the current reportage often highlights female teachers abusing male students).

As I said, some organizations do a better job than others but the case that this is endemic to religions primarily is simply not made.

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Response to rug (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 04:44 PM

18. The text with which we are both most familiar is the Bible

and, although CSA is not given overt approval, there is a body of teachings and parables that allow marriage to any woman "of child bearing age" i.e. when they commence their menses. There are also examples where God gives permission for the forced marriage of soldiers with their prisoners of whatever age, the approval of the use of prisoners as sexual slaves. Add in the teaching that a rapist can avoid punishment for their rape by marrying the victim whatever that victim's age. Then consider the sickening tale of Lot and his daughters and the approval for incest that that gives.

Now you say, rightly, that there are cases of modern authority figures committing CSA but that is not the object of this post, the object, which I state again, is the discussion of child abuse of whatever type by members of non-Christian faiths. This abuse can be given a cachet of approval by religious leaders due to the direct teachings in holy text or by the customary accretions to that faith. If approval is not given then it seems to be concealed by such faiths and sects to avoid the opprobrium that such revelations cause.

Your continued attempt to derail this into a different discussion indicates either blindness as to the stated purpose of this thread or a deliberate attempt to avoid criticism of the faithful by moving into a more general discussion of CSA. Remember also that the statement "... but everyone does it!" does not excuse such acts and, given the claims to moral superiority made by all faiths, completely negates that claimed superiority.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #18)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 04:50 PM

19. There's no derailment at all. You received a direct response,

 

You assert there is something unique and peculiar to religions, all religions, that promotes and abets child sexual abuse.

I disagree. Pointing out the shortcomings of that claim is a far cry from the words you put in my mouth, "... but everyone does it!" (For future reference, I rarely use exclamation points.)

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Response to rug (Reply #19)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 05:01 PM

20. I have deliberately avoided saying something "unique and peculiar"

I have stated, again and again, that this discussion concerns the relationship between faiths and child abuse and specifically that Christianity is not alone in the problems raised by the relationship between child abuse and the attitude of both religious leadership and holy teaching.

You however have insisted that this either become a discussion of specifically the CSA problem in the wider world or that, somehow, the existence of CSA elsewhere excuses those who claim moral authority and their cover-ups, or participation in, child abuse.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #20)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 06:09 PM

22. You have, however, implied that there is something about religion that makes it worse than elsewhere

 

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Response to rug (Reply #22)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 09:05 PM

24. No, I have said that those who claim moral superiority

because they are religious have to answer hard questions given the incidence of child abuse and the known evidence of attempted cover up within these faiths. Other groups where abusers have been found do not make these claims of moral superiority and in the main have attempted to address the problem with management awareness, professional oversight, statutory oversight, robust insistence on reports to the investigating agencies, training emphasising the importance of continual self monitoring and early assessment of those entering these jobs.

Compare and contrast. Imams, Rabbis, Rebbes and Guru often do not have even the minimal oversight provided by the few Christian hierarchies. There is also a culture of unthinking obedience to these spiritual authorities solely because they have a deeper understanding of holy writ. These cultures often insist that what happens within the faith not be reported to the temporal authorities because that would damage the faith in the wider world.

My OP raised the point that too often attention has been focused on the failures of Christian faiths and that the failures we see there seem to be replicated in other faiths; this was the reason for my quoting of the examples in the OP.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #24)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 09:18 PM

25. Do I understand you to say that the incidence of CSA is the same in religions as it outside?

 

And that your objection is they have less supervision and more coverups than outside?

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Response to rug (Reply #25)

Fri Nov 29, 2013, 03:43 AM

30. I made no claims about incidence or frequency compared to other groups

My claim is that, as far as religions go, attention has been focused on Christian child abuse including CSA whilst ignoring the idea that it may be a much wider problem. I have suggested that submission to authority and the exclusivity claimed by faiths enables abuse and CSA; this is much as a culture of celebrity and the pampering of "stars" in the entertainment industry enabled CSA.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #30)

Fri Nov 29, 2013, 11:20 AM

33. I get you.

 

I guess the disagreement is how wide the circle is.

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Response to rug (Reply #17)

Fri Nov 29, 2013, 07:37 AM

31. Police seem to do better when their actions are constantly recorded. We ought to adapt that system

for members of the clergy. After some initial reluctance, the recording devices wouldn't seem intrusive at all, and would come to reify the ancient idea of an overseeing angel.
As a practical matter, the expense would be trifling compared to the present spate of lawsuits and penalties.
Win win.


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Response to dimbear (Reply #31)

Fri Nov 29, 2013, 11:17 AM

32. Did you ever hear of a sting tape?

 

It's sometimes called a pretext call.

The way it works is the victim, or someone who the suspect trusts, calls the suspect and talks about the incident.

After a complaint is made, the police will record the phone call (after following the legal procedure in the jurisdiction) while the caller attempts to get the suspect to make an admission. If he or she does make an admission, the evidence is devastating.

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Response to rug (Reply #32)

Fri Nov 29, 2013, 08:16 PM

34. I see the value of that, but it's one sided. The constant surveillance works both ways, it

protects the innocent on both sides, and as a bonus to that essential purpose punishes the guilty. That's why the police who were first reluctant are by and large now enthusiastic about dashboard cameras, et al.

There's little question the police then behave better.

This actually taking place WRT clergy would not jar me.

Next up: physicians. We go from just taping the operating room to taping everything.





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Response to intaglio (Original post)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 01:44 PM

13. And yet it's still a HUUUUUGE christian problem.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 01:59 PM

14. I think it is because there is more publicity about the Christian side of things

If you check out the link to Failed Messiah you will see a large number of posts about abuse in the Judaic world. In the UK there has been much publicity about under-age forced marriage for Islamic and Hindu girls, though that might be prejudice driven.

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Response to intaglio (Original post)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 08:55 PM

23. Here's how it boils down. Religious folks trust their leaders too much, don't keep tabs on them,

predators are evil, not stupid.
Hence the problem.

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Response to dimbear (Reply #23)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 09:24 PM

26. And why do they trust their leaders too much?

 

Couldn't be because they've been brainwashed from a very young age to think that their leaders are doing the work of "god" and that their moral authority comes from him, could it? After all, what sane and sensible person would question something that came from an actual god?

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #26)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 10:01 PM

29. No doubt about it.

Here and there folk seem to be becoming more alert; Ireland, Australia for two examples.


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Response to intaglio (Original post)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 09:25 PM

27. No, it's not. Sexual predators, especially the ones who prey on children,

want to seem as above reproach as they possibly can. Religion is one of their favorite places to hide.

ETA: the US is a majority Christian country and that's why the stories of sexual predators usually involve Christian clergy.

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Response to intaglio (Original post)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 09:29 PM

28. sorry to say every religion does this

Because every religion tries to get control of people's sexuality. Even supposed "Atheist " Communism was notorious for this. If all human religions were replaced tomorrow, all of them would have the clergy that would not only be direct abusers of children, but be the defenders of it, passive or not.

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