CBN is the latest to report on the growing voices of missionary kids speaking out about the abuse that happened on the mission field to them by missionaries over the the last half a century. You can read their article here. A great blog/website for getting more information or finding ways to report mk abuse is here.
Some have wondered at the timing – why now? Why are so many students suddenly speaking up?
Social media is an incredible thing.
Just a few years ago one boarding school had students speak loud enough and force themselves to be heard. It took years. And they documented the struggle it took to be listened to and finally see it through to changes being made and the mission being forced to make changes to protect current missionary kids. What they thought was simply a way to force the mission to deal with something it avoided by calling them out publicly (a last straw resort after years of being ignored and told to do the Biblical thing and forgive and forget), turned into a rallying cry for missionary kids around the world.
Other students from other schools started sharing their stories of abuse. For so many the assumption was that the sexual, physical, psychological or even spiritual abuse was an anomaly, a unique moment in time not worth making a scene over. Who wants to be the person making a mission organization with such noble goals look bad? It quickly became apparent that the abusive scenarios were not isolated or even rare.
I know I had always assumed that the three years I was at Tambo was just a bizarre time with several sexual abusers and physical abusers. I’ve been horrified to find what I witnessed was actually a common experience for children there for decades before I was there, and continued in the years after. What has been more horrifying is finding out the known abusers then, some of whom were even ‘dealt’ with are still currently serving with the mission in other parts of the world with children still.
Back to my original question, why now. For decades the abusers have managed to keep their victims isolated and quiet. Social media in the form of blogs and private Facebook groups have changed all that. For the first time victims are able to find others in safety, realize their experience was not isolated, and find the courage to unite their voices in demanding something be done about the abusers.
For years after leaving my boarding school I was filled with frustrated anger every time I thought of that place and the abusers still there. For a long time I was determined to become a teacher and go back, not because I felt called but because I wanted to fix what I saw as a broken system. It feels good to know that my voice and other voices can finally help make that happen for missionary kids now and in the future.