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I implore the GBC to rethink its role in this and many other issues that face our movement today. Maybe one of them will step out and take up the challenge.
a Child Abuse Seminar
By Krsnacandra dasa
Dear CHAKRA readers,
accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
returned last night from the seminar on Child Abuse that I wrote of in my
last article 'GBC Reaction to
Child Abuse Ruling'. It was a very successful seminar as far as seminars go, and was
well attended with victims, health and welfare professionals, lawyers and
I did not hear from a single GBC member I took it upon myself to speak
with openness and honesty- which proved to be a most rewarding path to
take. In fact I ended up
being approached by many of the attendees for information and advice as
well as being asked to speak at the next scheduled seminar.
seminar was rewarding for me personally in many ways. Primarily I was
given an even deeper insight into the suffering and personal devastation
that abuse causes to an individual by the many personal testimonies that
some of the victims present bravely offered the gathering.
I saw more clearly how our Child Protection services especially the ICOCP
is in many ways leading the world in inter-organizational child protection
procedures. Especially in the way it deals with our past abusers.
third aspect is not so much of a reward but a let down. This may be
summarized in a short excerpt that a government psychologist dealing with
Child abuse presented. The excerpt is from a Rev. Marie Fortune who has
worked in the US in combating child abuse by members of the clergy, who
said, "When I first began to help address the issues of professional
misconduct and sexual abuse, I believed that the real problem before us
among the administrators, the leaders, the bishops etc., was one of
ignorance. I no longer believe the problem is ignorance. I now see
institutions more interested in secrecy and damage control than justice,
more interested in protecting themselves from survivors that healing for
survivors, more interested in avoiding liability than doing the right
thing, more interested in protecting the perpetrator than in holding them
was clearly understood by all present at the seminar that the churches
placed emphasis on the institutional as opposed to the spiritual aspects
of their obligations to their communities. Further that the churches
acceptance and appropriate action in dealing with abuse caused by their
members was an integral aspect of the survivor's recovery.
it is with this light that I point out that our upper echelon has reacted
in a very similar way to the various churches that were discussed at the
seminar and implore them to reconsider and to act in a more appropriate
manner befitting our devotional community.
was interesting to note that all of the victims who gave testimony at the
seminar were abused by priests. They were all extremely bitter and
resentful that the officialdom of the various churches was in denial. They
had also not yet finished dealing with legal and personal issues relating
to cover ups and denial by the church officialdom.
was also interesting to note that a major concern of the professionals
involved with child abuse was that just as the proficiency of the
intervention and legal aspects of child abuse increased so did the skill
and cunning in the avoidance of discovery by the perpetrators increase.
That this coupled with the fact that it may take up to twenty or
more years for a person to begin dealing with their abuse may affect the
statistics on the efficacy of child abuse intervention procedures in place
was also interesting to note the extremely positive reaction by the
attendees to my suggestion that child abuse required some “champion,”
possibly in the form of a politician or in churches a bishop or cardinal
(in ISKCON that could be a GBC, sannyasi or guru), who would openly fight
for the cause and provide the much-needed leadership that child abuse
implore the GBC to rethink its role in this and many other issues that
face our movement today. Maybe one of them will step out and take up the
in the service of Srila Prabhupada,
© CHAKRA 29-May-2000
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