It’s interesting to note that of the four listed consequences of sexual abuse in this case, three concentrate on damage to public image.
The abuse is presented as tragic, but public exposure of the abuse and the resulting damage to appearances are presented as at least as tragic.
The piece uses the humanizing language “scars to the life and reputation” to describe effects of the abuse and its subsequent exposure on the young perpetrator, but uses the term “damage” to describe effects of the abuse and its subsequent exposure on the much younger victims.
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Our hearts go out to all the families under Bill Gothard's influence who have suffered this tragic abuse.
The teachings are horrific in both their blame of victims and lack of true help for young perpetrators.
An Institute publication entitled “Lessons From Moral Failures in a Family” [Click here for the full pdf document] was first mailed to Advanced Training Institute (ATI) families in the late 1990s, and it has been periodically distributed at conferences since.
Recovering Grace does not know the identity of the family members who shared their story in this document, so we don’t know whether, or how much, the two first-person accounts in the document were influenced or edited by Bill Gothard or other Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) staff.
In this list of questions, “immodesty” in the home was presented to the young man as a leading question.
It’s assumed to be a motivating factor for his sexual abuse of his siblings, and he was asked how not only he, could have been trained to “resist evil.” This is the first time the piece displays a presumption that the very young children were somehow complicit in their own abuse by exhibiting “immodesty” and/or not effectively resisting the sexual assault of a much older and stronger perpetrator — let alone their very own brother whom they knew and trusted.
The implication that the younger children were “immodest” and did not adequately “resist evil” will be made explicit by the young man’s narration later in the piece, and the suggestion that the younger children were “immodest” and inadequately resistant due to their lack of training does little to blunt this subtle assignment of blame to child victims.
As we examine the message of this document, we understand the young man and his mother may have been under pressure to present a certain type of message at the time this was written, and that their views might be very different today.
So it’s the influence of the words, not the family itself, that we wish to examine.
The entire document is available at the link above, and specific quotes are reproduced below.
It’s helpful to read the entire original document before proceeding to our analysis.