Lip service repentance should not ever get a predator off the hook. Predators need to know that there is no space for them as wolves among the lambs. #twitterstake #bloggernacle
Many woman in the Church have a story about how they were recipient of really awful behaviour by a man in the Church. Often the aggressor being someone in some kind of authority or who has jurisdiction over some aspect of their or someone else’s life and safety. The purveyors of aggressive behaviour are not great in number but they are like chili flakes in a sugar pot – unexpected and unwanted.
The experiences sit around either someone being domineering and aggressive, a creeper, being completely inappropriate or verbally and or physically aggressive toward them.
They have stories of how, in the Gospel, we are required to be forgiving so after taking the concern or fear to the Church authorities the survivor of this conduct drops it, leaves it alone, waits to be called back in for a follow up conversation but when this rarely emerges they try not to mention it again.
Frequently the complainant does not perceive they are truly believed.
But here’s the kicker, the Church authorities frequently “have a quiet word” with the person and perhaps the behaviour toward the complainant stops for a while, perhaps there is tension….
But there is no actual restitution.
Almost never at any point is an abuser expelled from the congregation, only once to my knowledge because police became involved and a person was sent to prison for their offence but otherwise I have never known of a predator or aggressor being expelled.
Never are other women warned about the danger, the complainant does not receive an apology from the aggressor, I’ve never heard of a plan of action being shared with the complainant, and women talk!
There is a disconnect.
Predatory or Domineering behaviour is rife, it is everywhere, even sadly occassionally within the Chapel Building walls.
Young Women of aware parents have been told by their vigilant Mothers “Stay away from that person by any means necessary…. Scream, shout, kick up a stink, be direct with your words, but never ever let them come near you, they are dangerous” and the child’s life is altered with this knowledge and they will never be a completely innocent child again.
Young Women of other parents are not warned of the danger, and the parents either trust the Lord to protect their kids or hover like helicopter parents and the children never develop a sense of danger and warning and walk through life in a Doe-like fashion.
First, Women need to be believed. Leaders need to express their thankfulness that the women have been brave enough to share their experience and asked if they want help pressing charges.
Second, the predators need to be held accountable to the highest standards.
Third, we need the loop to be closed, the complainant needs to be approached by the person with whom they shared their concern, they need to be thanked again, they need to be told what the consequences were for the aggressor and asked again if they want to press charges.
Forth, the aggressor needs to apologise and make restitution in full.
Lip service repentance should not ever get a predator off the hook. Predators need to know that there is no space for them as wolves among the lambs. They need to know that the shepherds have got their number and that there is no hiding place. If predators leave because they cannot predate with ease, so be it.
The missing piece right now rests around accountability and closing the loop by reporting back and receiving a restitutory apology at the very least.
Lip service repentance does not negate the requirement for justice. In fact, it elevates the requirement for justice because lip service repentance is a dangerous and manipulative weapon used by aggressors to evade justice and consequences.