Imagine a school where a boy is chased down by a mob of other boys, where students are called out of the dining room and return with welts on their legs from strapping, where kids are publicly shamed for things like wetting the bed or leaning back on the legs of their chairs. Hundreds of missionary kids have grown up in boarding schools where those things and worse took place every day.
I would like to think that things are much different today, but stories from New Tribes and ABWE MKs tell us missionaries are still working hard to cover up abuse that happened in the not too distant past. Because missions are so good at keeping these things secret and silencing victims, we really don’t know the extent of abuse that happened in the past, or whether it is still going on today.
Now imagine a school where staff and students watch out for each other to make sure everyone is safe from violence. Staff are empowered to intervene if they witness abuse by other staff. Students keep a protective eye on one another and are allowed and expected to speak up when other students and even staff are seen committing violent acts.
Mk Safety Net Canada, a faithful advocate for missionary kids who have experienced abuse, is partnering with the violence prevention group Green Dot. They plan to provide a program tailored to missions which will train participants to identify and intervene when they observe interpersonal violence. The Green Dot model of violence prevention has been used in a long list of high schools, universities, military bases and community organizations. You can see this list on their website by clicking on their name above.
Green Dot will adapt the method to the unique situation of mission agencies, which are closed communities with a history of not reporting abuse to outsiders. They have had a good success rate working with similar groups in the past.
The goal of the program is to train people at every level of the community, so that they are engaged, proactive bystanders and potential witnesses to violence, and can actively intervene. This sounds like something that is really needed in mission boarding school settings. How many of the staff at Kent Academy, over the years, were witnesses to violence and abuse, but looked the other way?
Green Dot and MK Safety Net Canada are offering an informational webinar on March 3, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST to introduce the program and give interested parties a chance to join in the discussion. To find out how to participate in the webinar contact MK Safety Net Canada at MKSNCanadaGreenDot@gmail.com.