Aug 10, 2020

CultNEWS101 Articles: 8/10/2020

Events, Religious Abuse

Events: CIFS Australia, Cult Mediation/Intervention101, ICSA, IndoctriNation, MSc Psychology of Coercive Control program at the University of Salford, RETIRN are offering an online event:

  • for those leaving high control groups, abusive churches, those who have experienced spiritual abuse, extremist groups, and cults, 
  • to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement.

This online event will offer an opportunity for organizations to share their collective knowledge and experience — across many continents. The conference includes fourteen plus, fifty-minute sessions and a three-hour Former Member Workshop.  

Uniting The Continents: Support For The Pacific Rim — An Online Event for Families, Former Members and Friends Affected by Cultic Groups and Relationships

Pacific Rim/Europe:

September 12/13, 2020, Saturday/Sunday

  • Sydney (9 am - 3 pm)
  • Beijing (7 am - 1 pm)
  • Hong Kong (7 am - 1 pm)
  • New Zealand (11 am - 5 pm)
  • Singapore (7 am - 1 pm)
  • Tokyo (8 am - 2 pm)
  • UK (1 am - 6 am)

North America:

September 11/12, 2020, Friday/Saturday

  • East Coast (7 pm - 1 am)
  • Central Time (6 pm - midnight)
  • Time (5 pm - 11 pm)
  • West Coast (4 pm - 10 pm)
  • Hawaii (1 pm - 7 pm)

More Information: Cult Education Events

 Sponsoring and Supporting Organizations

  • CIFS Australia (Cult Information and Family Support) 
  • Cult Mediation/Intervention101
  • ICSA (International Cultic Studies Association)
  • IndoctriNation (Rachel Bernstein, LMFT)
  • MSc Psychology of Coercive Control program at the University of Salford (Supporting Organization)
  • RETIRN (Re-Entry Therapy Information and Referral Network - UK)
  • Whitsett, Doni P. PhD (Clinical Professor of Social Work, University of Southern California)
"A recent literature review by a University of Alberta cult expert and his former graduate student paints a startling and consistent picture of institutional secrecy and widespread protection of those who abuse children in religious institutions "in ways that often differ from forms of manipulation in secular settings."

It's the first comprehensive study exposing patterns of sexual abuse in religious settings.

"A predator may spend weeks, months, even years grooming a child in order to violate them sexually," said Susan Raine, a MacEwan University sociologist and co-author of the study with University of Alberta sociologist Stephen Kent.

Perpetrators are also difficult to identify, the researchers said, because they rarely conform to a single set of personality or other traits.

The findings demonstrate the need to "spend less time focusing on 'stranger danger,' and more time thinking about our immediate community involvement, or extended environment, and the potential there for grooming," said Raine.

Raine and Kent examined the research on abuse in a number of religious denominations around the world to show "how some religious institutions and leadership figures in them can slowly cultivate children and their caregivers into harmful and illegal sexual activity."

Those institutions include various branches of Christianity as well as cults and sectarian movements including the Children of God, the Branch Davidians, the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints as well as a Hindu ashram and the Devadasis.

"Because of religion's institutional standing, religious grooming frequently takes place in a context of unquestioned faith placed in sex offenders by children, parents and staff," they found.

The two researchers began their study after Kent was asked to provide expert testimony for a lawsuit in Vancouver accusing Bollywood choreographer and sect leader Shiamak Davar of sexually abusing two of his dance students in 2015.

Kent realized that although some scholars had written about sexual abuse in religion, "They had not identified the grooming process and the distinctive features of it." After the lawsuit was settled out of court, he approached Raine to take on the project.

"The two of us had worked on projects before (including the successful book Scientology in Popular Culture) and I knew that she wrote fluently and quickly," said Kent. "I provided her with initial ideas and suggestions, and she did most of the writing."

The result is "the first of its kind to provide a theoretical framework for analyzing and discussing religiously based child and teen sexual grooming," he said.

One of the best-known cases of such grooming in the Catholic Church was uncovered by the Boston Globe in 2002 and dramatized in the 2015 film Spotlight. The Globe revealed that John J. Geoghan, a former priest, had fondled or raped at least 130 children over three decades in some half-dozen Greater Boston parishes.

Eventually a widespread pattern of abuse in the church was exposed in Europe, Australia, Chile, Canada and the United States.

More shocking than the abuses themselves, said Raine, was the systemic cover-up that reached all the way up to the Vatican.

"And the relocation of priests to other churches, I think that was devastating for Catholics—a major breach of trust," she said.
Sociologists expose how perpetrators use trust, faith and authority to groom victims and keep abuse secret."

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Selection of articles for CultNEWS101 does not mean that Patrick Ryan or Joseph Kelly agree with the content. We provide information from many points of view in order to promote dialogue.

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