Wednesday, July 27, 2016

More on Abuse

There has been attention drawn to the most egregious of abuses of minors in TFI: the sexual abuse, the depriving of education, the child labor, etc. But what of other abuses?

How do children handle being raised with no prospect of personal space? How could they develop a sense of personal control when it was virtually impossible to exert control over their environments and behavior, their lives being fully scheduled and controlled by outside sources - the arbitrary whims of their Shepherds and even more nebulously and frighteningly, almighty God?

Landmark studies conducted in the late 1970s to early 1980s by Ellen Langer and Judith Rodin on perceived control in nursing home residents showed that giving elderly people even the simplest autonomy, such as the freedom to rearrange their furniture, care for a plant in their room, etc., served to enhance their health and well-being significantly.

But isn't that a given? Did this really need to be the subject of studies?

The freedom to control our own environment to an age-appropriate degree is obviously necessary for mental, and even physical, health. Even very young children blossom when given the respect of allowing them a measure of personal control.

As well, how powerless were cult-raised children made to feel when cases of abuse that were reported went nowhere?

One case was of a prone-to-anger step-father who used to beat his son. When local Shepherds remained in denial about it, the concerned mother wrote to the leader of the country. That leader wrote back to the abuser, asking for his side of the story. He did nothing. When the mother confronted him with the letter from the big leader, his only response was to say, "Ha!"

And that was the end of Shepherd intervention. There was no follow-up at all. The abuse continued and escalated.

That was emblematic of how abuse in TFI was handled.

How could it have been otherwise? To step in and do something would have been hypocritical.

As an illustrative example: The "mate" of another country-wide leader was notorious for sneaking into the teen girls' room at night to "say goodnight" to his step-daughters. Kneeling down beside them, he would quietly demand, "Show me your breasts." Yet another big leader impregnated a 14-year-old. Too many cult-born girls were raised with such disregard for their personal boundaries.

What recourse was given to these girls? What personal control did they have? How could they not think that giving in to the whims of men was what "God" required of them?

Were they forced to seek their own, private, methods of control, resulting in anorexia or anxiety disorders, and having left the cult, eventual substance abuse?

It is a tribute to the resilience of the SGA's (Second Generation Adults) that they have grown into self-sufficient adults, with the intelligence and finesse to navigate a world in which they had little contact as children, and that, only from a twisted, paranoid viewpoint. Hats off to them.

Maltreatment in childhood is associated with a significantly increased likelihood of psychiatric disorder that endures across the lifespan. If disorders emerge they tend to be more severe and less responsive to treatment.*

*"The theory of latent vulnerability: Reconceptualizing the link between childhood maltreatment and psychiatric disorder," by Eamon J. McCrory and Essi Viding, University College London