Hate Crime/ Domestic Violence/Child Abuse

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by sky dancer, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. sky dancer
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    How is it handled in your faith/religious or spiritual community?

    What is your Church's response to child abuse, domestic violence and hate crime?

    I'm thinking about the harm that was done to the Church community when the Catholic Church protected parish priests who were pedophiles. I'm thinking about the Church's historical practice of counseling women to stay in domestic violence marriages--because marriage is a sacrament. I'm thinking about priests who knew from confession that their congregants were abusive to their children, and told them to repent and pray, thereby not protecting the children from harm.

    What is the appropriate role for a faith community in helping an adherent with harmful behavior toward another member of the community.

    My own Buddhist community is struggling with this now.
     
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  2. Sunni Man
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    Please explain
     
  3. sky dancer
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    I'd prefer to discuss the topic in general terms first. Let's just look at the Catholic Church for an example. It was common practice for the Church to be aware of priests who were abusing children in their parishes, and to ignore the legal ramifications and damage that was occuring to the children. They kept silent, did not reach out to the families of children who were abused by their priests, they did not kick the priests out of the priesthood and commonly just moved them around from church to church.

    Some incidents of domestic violence and child abuse have committed by a member of our Buddhist community. The community is trying to find out how to skillfully address this problem. The member of our community who is violent is in denial about his violence.
     
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  4. AllieBaba
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    It should be handled by the legal system.
     
  5. sky dancer
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    I agree. I am the person in the our community who reported this. It has caused an uproar in our community that I did so.
     
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  6. catzmeow
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    I went through this personally. When my first husband (we were married for only about 6 months in my early 20s) beat the crap out of me, we went to the Bishop in our ward for counseling. I was told by the Bishop that I was responsible for the "unfortunate episode" because I hadn't allowed my ex-husband to "live his role as man of the household," thus forcing him into a position where he felt compelled to physically demand submission.

    Fuck that noise.

    I don't believe that most faith communities can work effectively in an intervention role with abusers, because the leadership for the most part has not been trained to deal with this issue. Not all professional therapists and counselors can even do so, but only those with a speciality in this area. Abusers feel entitled to abuse, and have to be handled on that level.

    Faith communities can SUPPORT therapeutic interventions, and perhaps even hold the individual accountable, if he/she allows this, but few faith practitioners have the therapeutic background to handle domestic violence issues effectively.

    When working with victims, faith communities should support the victims in reporting the abuse to the proper authorities and seeking out therapeutic help. Having a list of possible referral agencies can be helpful.

    When working with violence perpetrators, faith communities should encourage accountablility by encouraging the offender to report the abuse and deal with the consequences. They should also have a a list of possible referral agencies, as well, to provide to a perpetrator.
     
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  7. catzmeow
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    IMO, you acted correctly.

    Most faith communities lack the capacity to handle domestic violence effectively and ensure the safety of the victim. It should not be glossed over or covered up.
     
  8. sky dancer
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    What's tricky about this is the inclusive nature of Buddhist teachings. All beings have Buddha nature. Some in our community thought we should not report it so that we don't alienate the abusive community member who clearly needs help.

    Unfortunately, the abuser doesn't think he has a problem.
     
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    This is EXACTLY why someone with a background in abuse issues needs to deal with him. Abusers NEVER think they have a problem, and they feel justified in engaging in these acts. I think the religious community should be clear in saying, "You are part of our faith community, but you are not living up to the teachings and you are actively doing harm to another human being. This is evil, and we will not tolerate it." I'm not recommending that he be shunned or whatever, but he does need to be held accountable, particularly by his faith community.

    This is similar, by the way, to what I've recommended to faith communities in dealing with gang membership. There should be a balance of support and accountability when faith communities deal with perpetrators. Yes, you want to support them and keep them engaged, but you also want to be very clear in sending the message that they've acted badly, that their actions are intolerable, and that they've done evil acts. These messages are incredibly important in diverting offenders.
     
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  10. sky dancer
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    He was previously asked to leave the community where he lived with the sangha because of his violence. He continued to participate in Buddhist events. He continued to take drugs, drink alcoholically, abuse his wife and children and assault people in the community--including one person in our faith community.

    This has caused a schism in the sangha--which is considered very negative karma. We are really struggling with this now.
     
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