Predators have several methods of keeping their victims silent and compliant so that they can continue their abuse unhindered. Here are two prominent ones you should know

First, predators know that people tend to discount reports of abuse. Despite the fact that the percentage of false reports is very small and the overwhelming majority of disclosures are true, people don’t want to believe and so they don’t.
Disbelieving reports of abuse is even more likely when the perpetrator is a well-known, well-liked, authority figure or leader. When we hear that someone we know, respect, or admire has been accused of abuse, we default to believing that person rather than the victim.
Predators KNOW this! They use this information to keep their victim from saying anything because “no one will believe you.” And they’re right. We as a society tend not to believe victims when they come forward with an accusation.
The predator not only grooms the victim, but grooms everyone around them seeking to make it more unbelievable and to ensure that no one will believe the victim if they do speak out.
The power of not being believed, and the consequences of that, are often enough to silence a victim, even in the case of repeated abuse over many years.
A second method is the use of threats. These can take a variety of forms but have in common that they use fear and intimidation to make the consequences of disclosure seem greater than the abuse itself.
Part of the grooming of the victim is that the perpetrator crafts circumstances and creates a kind of dependency to make it seem impossible to get out. (This is also common in domestic abuse situations).
Threats may include the promise of physical harm or even death to the victim or their loved ones if the victim discloses the abuse. The perpetrator may use various verbal threats so that the costs of disclosure are extreme, even unthinkable.
The victim thus is stuck between the grave and dire consequences of disclosure and remaining silent and compliant. Abusers use fear and intimidation to keep control of their victims
Here is the rub, and this is important: failure to disclose and compliance with the abuser does NOT mean the victim is a willing participant. It does not preclude violence. Nondisclosure is NOT consent. Compliance with an abuser is NOT consent.
It often takes years for a victim to build up the courage and the fortitude to disclose abuse. Even when the abuse is ongoing. It requires tremendous strength and great victims take a huge risk in disclosing.
When we blame victims for their abuse, heap shame upon them for what happened to them, minimize the sin of the perpetrator, or wrongly call the abuse an “affair” or “adultery”, we are not only making a mistake, we are causing great harm on the victim.
Where God calls us to heal, we instead harm. and add to their already great trauma. This is not only wrong, it’s evil.
If we will grow in our knowledge of abuse and predatory behavior, we can change our culture—particularly our church/#SBC culture. We must make it safe for victims to disclose abuse. We must care well for survivors. And we must stand with them for the long haul.
Let us continue to learn how we can love, support, strengthen, care well, and advocate for victims of abuse.
#SBC21 #Churchtoo #SBCtoo #IStandWithSurvivors

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More from @toddbenkert

8 Jun
Trigger warning: The following thread contains some explicit language concerning abuse/assault. #sbc21 #SBCtoo #IStandWithSurvivors
If you treat Deuteronomy 22:23-29 as normative and exhaustive for our understanding of rape and how to address it, you are left with multiple problems in contemporary application.
If Deut 22:23-29 is exhaustive, you are left with no biblical grounds to speak of child molestation. An abuser who grooms a child into being compliant would not be an abuser but an adulterer and the child will have committed adultery because they didn't "cry out."
Read 7 tweets
12 Feb
We now have groups in the SBC that want to take us backward under the guise that we're moving in the wrong direction. They are working on their ground game to get 1000s of messengers to the Convention for a second faux Conservative Resurgence.
Some may actually believe what they are selling, but that doesn't stop it from being a red herring. Most of their arguments hinge on a multi-year propaganda campaign to smear our entity leaders. And most of their campaign is based on lies, half-truths, and fomented distrust.
Meanwhile, they continue to bury the problem of clergy abuse, our failure to stop abusers from migrating from church to church, our culture of protecting institutions at the expense of survivors, and our unwillingness to hold accountable those who ignore or enable abuse.
Read 7 tweets

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