Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Reactions for 'They Didn't Forget'

visit http://media.causes.com/930916 to read more comments about this video.

There are a few people who keep checking this blog but, by and large, all the action has switched to facebook. Partially because you can't get kicked off! Also, I like the idea that other people, unrelated to churches or this issue, can casually notice that a friend has been a victim, or survivor, and learns more about the issue of abuse by religious officials than if they visited a niche website.

I don't even give the YouTube address much business beyond embedding it on blogs and profiles. There are more comments about 'They Didn't Forget' at facebook's causes than YouTube.

Here's a sampling:

"This makes me so angry. I hope all these victims find closure one day. I am sure their PTSD will always haunt them. Torture and emotional rape...all in the name of God." Dwayne D.

"I'd like to revisit my reform school behind the controls of a monster bulldozer. Unfortunately, it's located in the Dominican Republic. Good work, Dwayne." Julia Scheeres

"What happened in this school was very disturbing and has shaped the character of so many. I pray that we can transform the pain and trauma into the strength of who we really are inside, courageous women full of compassion and peace."
Christa Munsell Baschung

There are other comments as well, including one heartfelt comment from a survivor of New Bethany's boy's homes.

Causes asks the question, 'What does this video mean to you?'. So, I answered it!

"This video matters to me because of the reactions. It shows there are others who have been affected and not just a hobby horse of one or two individuals. This is an issue that does affect people throughout the country.

If this is truly a billion dollar industry there must be rising groundswell of people, feeling unrecognized because of the lack of church, media, and government concerns, that grow more and more everyday. Of course, they can't take action because of attitudes that, in some cases, were literally beaten into them. Little things like saying 'you're wrong' or the reality that you have to find a political solution since church leaders, and even some children's advocates, aren't going to do anything about because they're afraid of appearing anti-religious. This means we have to take the human wreckage and literally put it in the face of those who would rather not comment. That's what this short video does.

HR911, which would have regulated these homes on a national level, appears dead in the Senate. If you look at who voted against it, it was predominately along party lines. Democrats tended to vote for regulation while most republicans voted against it. And yet, even victims of homes are shy about addressing that twist in the plot because no one wants to be called a 'liberal'---not even liberals want to be called liberals it seems!

Then there's the 'Movie of the Week' syndrome. People shy about telling their stories because they're either afraid of retribution or fear that putting their story in public would rob them of their opportunity of selling their story. Huh? Before the story can be sold, it first has to break press and become a topic of national debate. Seriously, I've met more than one like that.

The Victory story alone requires the story of six people to get a thorough understanding of how the homes came about, how they closed, and how Palmer, no longer running homes, probably because of the vigilance of survivors, now finds himself working as an escort taking teens from their parents to the various homes.

The most disturbing part is how many I've met who have confirmed a suspicion of mine. That some who were sent to the home had already been abused, or molested, by family members or church officials. One of the victims in the Bob Gray scandal revealed, in her deposition, that after she became pregnant (not by Gray) she was immediately sent off to Lester Roloff's Bethesda Home and her boyfriend shipped off to Jerry Falwell's complex in Lynchberg, VA.

It's like a throwback to the days when rich people would send their problem children far away so they'd stop being an embarrassment to their families. Some of these places are a veritable 'house of secrets' and I'm surprised more child advocates aren't looking into the abuses reported from these homes.

In the long run, it will probably be a long run. . .

As the number of people grow who aren't afraid to tell their story in public, perhaps we will see a gradual turn not just against these places but for some type of regulation.

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