Mon 29 Aug, 2005 07:37 am
The XN page
Thanks for posting this material, Monger. At the risk of sounding like an alarmist, I have to give you my impression of XN01, page 24. It's an article called "The Spot that No Ripples Reach." It's illustrated with a nubile mermaid that initially reminded me of the FF mermaids--
First thought: there's nothing quite like a recycled Family archtype to give new meaning and direction to early adolescent sexual awakening. Jungian psychologists would argue that the mermaid archetype is about the transition of girl to woman, which is also what the fairy tale is about.
Second thought: Reading the message from Jesus, I was eerily reminded of what Satirica wrote about "that special place I go when I'm having sex with my big brother." It is a well-documented coping mechanism for children who experience inappropriate sexual activity with more powerful partners (older siblings, adults) to "escape" the immediacy of their experience by retreating mentally to a place where they can't be touched or feel. Jules described this classic abuse survivor experience in her DateLine interview.
Third thought: This is a sexualized Jesus who talks about "holding," "touching," and a seductive "silky slow motion" of the water, a Jungian-Freudian symbol for sexuality.
Fourth thought: Although a sexualized Jesus is nothing out of the ordinary for TFI, this is the supreme diety who advises the adolescent reader: "Don't worry or let the small movements of the unexpected happenings of life startle you into thinking too much."
One interpretation I might make if I were a 13-year-old living in a Family Home: Don't think about it too much when Uncle Creepo puts his hand on your butt during the holy hugs. Just go with the flow.
What's going on here is called "grooming behavior." It's essentially about prepping a sexually inexperienced child or adolescent to submit to the intrusive behavior of a more powerful, more experienced sexual partner. The perspective I'm giving you is that of a clinical social worker trained in the assessment of children and adolescents who experience inappropriate sexual socialization by older, more powerful peers and adults. It's the kind of thing we look for when trying to assess the likelihood of abuse. Very, very few sexually abused children ever come right out and tell someone--particularly outsiders--about their experience while it's happening.
What's inappropriate about this sexual socialization is that it does not aim to empower the adolescent to set healthy boundaries that SHE controls, rather, it tells the girl that if she just escapes mentally to that special place with Jesus and shuts down her feelings & thoughts by focusing on something/someone else, she will be OK.
My point: No one is overtly preaching "it's OK to have sex with 12-year-old girls" any more. However, 12-year-old girls are still being covertly groomed to submit sexually to older, more powerful partners. Think about the fury & rage that one MO poster expressed in the James Chancellor article commentary about being raped at 17.
This is why no responsible person who knows anything about the cultural and social contexts in which children & adolescents are sexually abused would say that young girls in the Family are safer from molestation and abuse than children growing up in the general population.
Grooming for Martyrdom
As a female raised in The Family's first wave of children, that passage especially raises my eyebrows when coupled with the story on page 6 about the pretty, young female martyr, complete with box of "Dad's" words -- "not worrying about tomorrow. -- And certainly not worrying about death or dying. That's the moment of glory, the moment of the end from [sic] pain, release from sorrow! --No more crying or tears!"
Looking back, I think that my sexual victimization was aided not only by the indoctrination and grooming of the sexual variety, but also by the rhetoric of martyrdom and the relief it would bring from the vicissitudes of this life characterized by so much sacrifice and denying oneself, taking up the cross daily, "dying daily." When things are so close to ending so cataclysmically, why would one make much effort to avoid comparatively lesser indignities (which one is being trained to accept anyway)?
Further comment to BE's post
In that context, the excerpt below from an interview that religion Professor James Chancellor gave to KVOA in January bears reflection.
[journalist:] "But he's also interviewed others who grew up in the sect during that period who went through those experiences and remain in the family."
[Chancellor:] ""Processed them as part of their normal culture and have completely come to terms with their past in a very positive way