Hello darkness my old friend….
I’ve been involved in a lot of discussions in the last few months about abuse on the mission field, and one thing is always there – the overwhelming sound of silence coming from SIM. Even though I open up my Facebook privacy settings to “everyone,” and in fact I have quite a few missionaries on my friend list, and SIM itself has a big presence on Facebook, not a single SIM missionary or employee will weigh in with an opinion. The same is true of this blog. All of the comments are from MKs of SIM and other missions, but SIM prefers to sit back silently and not participate, even though we are all talking about them.
I understand the reasons that many MKs are silent on these issues. Some do not want to delve into painful memories. Some were both victims of abuse and abusers themselves. Some don’t want the shame of sexual abuse to become public. Some flat out don’t remember what happened to them in boarding school. Some want to protect their parents from the pain of knowing what they experienced. Some just don’t want their parents to hear that they are saying anything against SIM, after all many of our parents are all living together down in Sebring. Some don’t want to have to confront their abusers, who are still alive. Some believe that it is sinful to speak out against SIM, and don’t want to do this in front of parents and peers.
Why is SIM silent? Are they sitting back with arms folded, waiting for this to pass, hoping that nothing will be done before all the perpetrators have passed on, so there won’t be any unpleasantness of having to discipline their own people? Are they afraid of acknowledging that anything happened, because of the cost of setting things right, or legal problems that might ensue? Would they rather all of this just stayed hidden in darkness? Are they actually oblivious that anyone is talking about these things?
Do they still regard MKs as a lesser priority, not really important to the work at hand of winning souls?
Maybe you have stumbled across this blog while you were searching for information about SIM. For anyone who is looking for answers, the new Child Safety Coordinator at SIM is Marge Prince. (She took over the position from Dorothy Haile, who answered some questions for me in the past about SIM policy.) If you decide to open an investigation into abuse in an SIM school, past or present, Marge Prince is the one who will likely be handling your case. (Although you may be shocked to find out how a case of past abuse is actually handled.) I imagine you could also direct questions to her about what SIM is doing to reach out to wounded MKs. Marge’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marge Prince or anyone else from SIM is welcome to break the silence and join the conversation here.