After posting Sexual Abuse Is A Crime (why the Josh Duggar story needs to matter to Christians), I have seen a lot of questions (primarily on Facebook! Thank you for sharing!) kind of along the lines of “okay, so it’s a crime and ought to be reported/treated as such. What then?”
A friend of mine captured these questions eloquently in an email earlier this week, and I thought I would post the email in hopes of opening a discussion. I am hoping some some of my readers (and first-time readers) will chime in with their thoughts/questions/opinions, or even rebukes and rebuttals, so we can all learn and grow in understanding. I will follow this post up with a reply in the next few days.
Here is the email, reposted with permission:
I wanted to send you a quick note about the blog post you recently wrote. I wanted to email you because sometimes what I’m trying to say in a comment seems to me to be too easily misread as “argument” by others who don’t know me. And also because I know this is all so very personal to you…so close to your heart. So this is my question:
I completely agree with all that you wrote. Every last bit. As a non-survivor, I don’t understand it like you do, however. So when I read your post, even though I agreed with it, it just left me with huge questions:
- So how *should* we deal with this? The answer is never just, “throw them in jail.” And I’m talking specifically to a family situation where it’s a juvenile and sisters are victims.
- What would you have done had this been your own family situation? Jail/juvenile detention, yes. But there has to be so much more. If this happened in your *own* family, how would it have gone down, both for the the perpetrator and the victims?
- I think it’s easy to be angry at someone unrelated to you who has molested (and we rightly should be) and just say “throw them in jail”. But if it had been your *own kids*, what else besides jail would have been done for the saving of his soul, to bring about repentance, to cause him to understand the full impact of the crime and sin against his victims, to make him hate his sin…to make right (is this possible? I don’t know) what was done to the victims.
- And what all would have been done for the victims? Although I realize putting someone in jail is a vitally important for the victims, as you said in your article, but even I know that’s not enough for healing. What else happens?
So those are the questions that a non-survivor has. I realize these are questions particular to the recent case — just b/c that’s what was being discussed and I actually think the fact that it was all among siblings is what is raising all the debate and controversy. How does a parent deal with that? They love the son, too, and don’t want to see him go to the system, either. We both know bad things go down in juvenile detention. If the parents didn’t deal with it thoroughly, what should have they done, instead? And that’s why I’m asking how you would have dealt with it if it were in your own home. I truly would like to have some insight to this, but WILL NOT be reading any sites that are blogging about it and arguing and throwing dirt and etc.
Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I really appreciated what you wrote.
Can you resonate with the questions in this email? Do you share her questions or have questions she didn’t ask? Do you have answers to her questions that you can share with the rest of us? I really want to understand the common perceptions about sexual abuse, and what kind of questions or opinions the subject raises.
Please consider taking the time to post your thoughts in the comments, and feel free to keep yourself anonymous if that makes it easier! Thank you. I appreciate you all so much. We’re always learning.