Re: Children now?
Reading about how you guys grew up I have a question I'm hoping someone could answer; what about children living in the group now? As I understand some of you have sibligs or friends still in, so I guess there are children still in, but how do they live now? Are they subjectef to any danger now?
Children in the The Family International now are better off and at less risk of being sexually, physically and psychologically abused than children raised in the organization until the mid-1990s. However, that is not saying much because, in general, The Family International is still a very dangerous place for children due in no small part to the stringent policies the organization has instituted to protect child abusers. Setting aside for the moment the wholly inadequate education Family children receive, the isolation and lack of socialization and other forms of abuse; this is evident when one looks at some of the factors that make The Family International a safe place for child molesters to rape children:
1. The Family International was founded by a child molester.
David Berg raped and sexually abused numerous children, including several of his immediate relatives, during his lifetime. At his direction, Family members made child pornography videos for his sexual gratification and he published numerous texts promoting pedophilia and encouraging Family members to sexually abuse their own children and the children of other members. Even though he's dead, he is still revered in The Family and his importance within the organization cannot be overestimated. Family publications routinely contain what are purported to be messages or "prophecies" from both Jesus Christ and David Berg. Outside The Family International, child molesters like David Berg are universally despised and generally regarded as beneath contempt yet in The Family International they are revered and honored.
2. The Family International is run by child molesters.
The two top leaders of The Family International, Karen Zerby (aka Maria) and Steven Douglas Kelly (aka Peter Amsterdam), have raped and otherwise sexually abused a number of children. Under their leadership and direction, an entire generation of children were openly and routinely sexually abused.
3. There are numerous child molesters in The Family International with direct access to children and, in some cases, in positions of leadership.
In October/December 2007, The Family International published GNs 1234-1236 in which it was made clear The Family International would not "excommunicate" those who raped children before July 1989 (the date it now claims to have enacted a policy specifying that raping children would be an "excommunicable offense"). In cases where it is known with certainty that someone raped a child before July 1989, they believe it would be "unfair" to "excommunicate" the rapist. In the same publication series, it was also made clear that "excommunication" for raping children and/or other types of abuse is not always (or hasn't always been) permanent which explains why people who they supposedly "excommunicated" for raping children and/or other forms of abuse were allowed to rejoin a few days (in some cases after only one day), weeks or months later. While no one knows the exact number there are certainly many (perhaps thousands) of child molesters and abusers in The Family International. It should be obvious that children are at increased risk in an environment in which those who raped children have access (in many cases, these child rapists live in the the same communal home as the child) to them and authority (children in The Family are taught and required to obey and respect adult members and refer to them as Aunt or Uncle) over them.
4. There are no serious consequences for raping a child in The Family International.
The Family claims that its policy of permanently or temporarily "excommunicating" those found to have raped children after July 1989 is a "stringent" policy that adequately protects children. In fact, this policy does virtually nothing to protect children and likely increases the risk they will be sexually abused because it makes it clear to child molesters in The Family International that they have absolutely nothing at all to fear if caught raping a child. They will simply be asked to leave the organization and the rape will never be reported to law enforcement and child protection agencies. Indeed, as far as I know in the entire 40-year history of The Family, no Family member has ever reported the rape of a child by another Family member to a law enforcement or child protection agency. Numerous cases have demonstrated that the first instinct of Family parents whose children have been raped by other Family members is not protect their child or make sure that the rapist is held accountable and punished but rather to protect the rapist and The Family. For example, in a case in Illinois the father of a child who was sexually abused by another Family member over a period of 9 years (starting at age 5) appeared in court not, as would be expected from any normal parent outside The Family, to support his daughter or to demand the maximum sentence but rather to support the rapist and ask for the lightest possible sentence. In other cases, the parents, siblings and other relatives of child rape survivors raised in The Family have appeared in court to denounce the survivors as mentally unstable liars. Besides counting on the support of the relatives of their victims, child molesters in The Family International can also count on the support of other Family members to do whatever is necessary, including committing perjury or just remaining silent, to protect both The Family and the rapist.
All of these factors combined make The Family International a very safe place for child molesters and a dangerous place for children.