Abused MKs and the Question of Compensation

I hear more and more that people believe abused MKs are only out for the money. Nussbaum and Sidebotham made it a premise of the article they published back in June of 2011.  This article with its rather twisted logic claimed that Protestant Ministries have become a new market for MKs who are all out to get a large sum of money as compensation for their abuse.  Nussbaum has a great deal of influence in the missionary community, since he is legal counsel for the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), and also for Christian and Missionary Alliance and no doubt for other missions.  On top of that ACSI is a member of the Child Safety and Protection Network (CSPN), which bills itself as a collaborative network of mission agencies, faith based NGOs and international Christian schools intentionally and strategically addressing the issues of child protection.  Many, probably most, of the missions we discuss on this blog, including SIM, are members of CSPN, attending their conferences and working with them in some capacity.  We all know missions today have a heavy reliance on lawyers, and are greatly concerned about their liability.  When misinformation like that in the Nussbaum article is being passed on to missions is it any wonder that they become hostile and defensive when an MK comes forward with allegations of abuse?

Now, several MKs have spoken out and disagreed with the assertion that we are all out to get large amounts of money.  I think it is true that most MKs are not interested in compensation, but rather in having their experiences acknowledged and validated, and having the perpetrators dismissed from the mission.  But is any of this really even what we should be discussing? My feeling is that it is just a tactic to throw blame back onto the MK, to make it seem like they are the “bad guys” for wanting compensation.  When we all start debating why MKs are opening investigations, we lose sight of the real issue, which is the abuse that happened in the first place.

So what if an MK wants monetary compensation for abuse they suffered in the past? I know MKs who have spent thousands on counseling and medical fees out of their own pockets, who have been unable to earn a steady income because of the effects of abuse, and who missed their chance at education and proper training because they had NO support when they were young adults fresh home from the mission field.  If someone added up all the costs associated with abuse that occurred to SIM MKs, it would be pretty staggering.  And yet the fact that they would ask for compensation is such a bad thing that lawyers are writing up papers about it!  Shouldn’t they be focusing instead on the fact that many perpetrators are still on the mission payrolls, and still out there in the community working with children and putting them in harm’s way?

Whether the goal of an abused MK is to get an apology or to get compensation does not matter. The fact is that they are the victim, they are not the one who has done something wrong.

Lets take the blame off the abused MKs and put it right back where it belongs, on the shoulders of the missionaries who caused so much trauma and heartache for children under their care, and the missions who are refusing to do anything about it.

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4 thoughts on “Abused MKs and the Question of Compensation

  1. I concur completely that we cannot lose sight of the tragedy of the abuse that the MKs suffered which is precisely why we need to insure that these same MKs are not abused again by exploitative law firms. I think 2.5 billion dollars, as was the case with the Roman Catholic settlements, is a bit excessive. A huge percent of that went to the law firms. It’s a huge conflict of interest – money versus MKs.

  2. I totally agree that the blame should not be thrown on the MK’s. The agencies need to take ownership of their own failures and own up to them. Some of these agencies should be closed down and not be in operation any further.

    The ABWE MK’s posted a couple of articles this past weekend on their blog to that effect and I totally agree with them on their evaluation of ABWE in its current process. In fact, as a follow-up to their articles, I wrote a review on those two ABWE articles on my own blog at Biblical Accountability in Missions. As a result, I am now running a new Poll question regarding ABWE and whether or not they should continue operating as a mission agency. The same question should be asked of SIM, of course.

    I would like to invite anyone who wishes to weigh in on my current poll at Biblical Accountability in Missions to please do so (if you haven’t already). Come cast your vote. The current question is “Should ABWE continue operating as a mission agency after having willingly harbored a criminal pedophile within their ranks for decades?”

    Come cast your vote for Yes or No if you think ABWE should continue operating as usual. The URL is http://bamissions.blogspot.com/ and the poll question can be found in the upper right corner of any page. Thanks, and keep up the great work here!

    A former MK from Bangladesh (with Baptist Mid-Missions),

    Wes

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