Sexual Abuse Everywhere

Posted by Matt Postiff February 8, 2012 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Society 

Some months back 20/20 did a report on so-called "IFB" churches (Independent, Fundamental, Baptist Churches) regarding allegations of sexual abuse and cover-ups by some leaders in those churches. The scandal in the Catholic church continues to rage on. Then there was the Penn State debacle with Jerry Sandusky that took down head coach Joe Paterno. What could be next?

Well, a couple of stories right here in Ann Arbor have hit the news lately. The first happened at the University of Michigan Medical Center. The second, at a local elementary school. Here are some links if you want to read up on them:

Just this morning another story of the same sordid sort was in the news in the Los Angeles schools.

To add further evidence of the massive problem, the CDC recently reported that one in five women in the U.S. have been raped (page 20 of this PDF report).

As I reviewed all these facts, a few thoughts came to mind. First, what in the world is going on? The frequency of these incidents, in all kinds of venues, is ridiculous. Our society is so debased. Second, I have small children. What do I do in order to help protect them? Third, what are best practices for our church and schools to prevent and to handle such cases? Fourth, I noticed that even though the religious institutions have taken a beating in the press, the problem is far more widespread than just some perverts in churches. Big secular institutions are being hit with this as well.

One common thread in many of these cases is the delay in reporting to the police. That is a bad mistake, and one that we need to resolve not to repeat. In some of the cases mentioned above, authorities were contacted, but they might not have been the right authorities. If we are in "management" and something like this comes to our attention, we cannot hide it, shelve it, or ignore it. The people below us on the authority ladder may not know exactly what to do, or may be apprehensive about getting involved. We can exercise appropriate leadership by being actively involved in reporting the incident and encouraging them to be as well. A call to the police with the person who has told us of the incident would be a good start. Hopefully we will find out about the problem in a timely manner.

We must do things right in the sight of the Lord, as well as in the sight of men (2 Corinthians 8:21).

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