” Background Reading Assignment #1 for Upcoming Summer Sessions
“Silent – No More”
In our society, the first protectors of children are supposed to be parents, teachers, older siblings, pastors, and police officers. Unfortunately, these can also be children’s first predators.
When Janet Heimlich began writing her book, Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, the term religious child maltreatment (RCM) was not among the most popular for online searching. In fact, the subject matter, according to her, made many uncomfortable. While we do not intend to make anyone feel uncomfortable, we wish to make this a comfortable conversation in support of victims of religious child maltreatment and its eradication.
The benefactor will be our children.
In this article, I would like to lay a foundation for the upcoming three summer sessions, “Safe Spaces for Children/Youth/Young Adults.”
In conversations with my friend, Stacey, who is a gifted Christian clinical therapist, I am learning much about the current impact and workings of organized religious networks fostering psychological trauma among our most vulnerable population – our young.
One of the most rewarding experiences, in my life, was that of a Special Needs Educator. Later, as a school leader, I was able to speak out more about their challenges and creativity to bring awareness and support to this subgroup of students. More than that, I saw how their needs were similar among all children.
There exists a spiritual connection with the young because children, youth, and young adults are reaching for answers about the universe. They take a “leap of faith” in adults without much fear and experience. They normally follow the religious teaching and steps of their parents. So, it is important that we are equipped to discuss and share with them information about Religious Child Maltreatment (RCM). Because social media is so prevalent in many of their lives, some are falling into the hands of predators without leaving their homes.
The late Dr. Donald Capps (Princeton University Seminary) explained in A Child’s Song: This is not a pleasant subject, especially for those of us who have deep personal attachments to the Christian faith. But we dare not avoid the subject, for the abuse of children in the name of religion may well be the most significant reason for why they leave the faith when they are old enough to do so. We must ask ourselves: Who can blame them? Why should they not abandon the scene of their silent torment?
Some institutions of faith have received much attention concerning sexual abuse – some more than others. During this pandemic, research shows that trauma has increased across all areas of social-economic status. With the re-opening of educational institutions and houses of worship, local pastors must become aware of their unique opportunity to support victims of RCM and trauma. As fishermen for the kingdom, we must abandon this silence. “Be silent no more.”
In assignment #2, we will give some attention to scripture teaching and trauma in the lives of children. Assignments #1 and #2 are intended to give a background teaching for the summer sessions: June 26, July 17 and August 14, with our clinical therapists and educators. Because each session is only one hour and half, we are providing readings prior to the summer sessions.
Registration is available now for the upcoming sessions at Summer Sessions – Registration NOW (bulluckg.com)