Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More Stories of Sexual Abuse

In Amish Community, the embarrassment of drinking too much is far greater than the entire community knowing you raped innocent children.  Also, it does not help that Amish women are taught not to speak up, nor are they taught anything about sex, making it even harder for them to describe what has happened to them.  22-year-old Mary Byler, another who escaped from Amish Community, recalls only having the word "bad" in her vocabulary to describe what had happened to her.  Her childhood within Amish society was filled with sexual assault and rape.  She recalls the horrific memories from her adolescence, "If somebody was raping me, I'd look up to ceiling, count the blocks or count the cracks in the wall, or [I would be] completely not there emotionally.  I would have committed suicide many times over if I wouldn't [have been] strong."  Throughout her childhood, Mary was sexually raped abused by many different members of the local Amish community.  The most shocking, however, was her brother Johnny Byler.  Johnny began sexually abusing his sister when he was 12 and she was just 6.  Her brother's abuse continued into her teenage years.  She remembered fearing being alone, walking to the outhouse or anywhere.  The abuse in Mary's family started with her stepfather, who consistently beat Mary and her siblings throughout their childhood.  He used shovels, hacksaws, even his fists, anything he could get his hands on.  Despite these tragic events, members of the Amish community were very accepting of this sexual and physical abuse, as Mary's story is not uncommon.  The amish community puts a strong emphasis on the importance of confession.  A public confession to pretty much any crime will be forgiven in Amish community.  To expand on my earlier comment, drinking too much has the same punishment as raping a child.  For Mary, to imagine that her abusers would only get a "slap on the wrist" for their life-scarring actions she will never forget, was devastating.  The final straw for Mary was when she suspected her younger brother was molesting her 4 year old sister.  Her sister came to her and said, "You know, Mary, David is bad to me," a statement very similar to when Mary described her encounters with sexual abuse.  Her sister then confided in her mother, who told her not to speak about it and that she needed to forgive her brother.  Upon hearing this, Mary left the Amish community for good and the police got involved with her history of sexual abuse.  Her brother, Johnny, openly admitted to raping her, however argued that it was not between 100-150 times as Mary has said, but moreover between 50 and 75.
Three of Mary's brother were charged and served time for their sexual abuse towards Mary and her sisters.  Not surprisingly, the Amish community viewed Mary as the villain rather than the victim.  They did not understand why Mary would put him through court when he had already gone through the public apology, and been forgiven within the community.  As a reaction to the crowd, Judge Michael Rosbrough stated, "The thought occured to me, How many of you have ever cried for Mary Byler? You may have prayed for her, I don't doubt you have, but how many of you cried for her, for the loss of her childhood?" Unfortunately, Johnny was only sentenced to 10 years probation.
Despite this, Mary Byler lives a very different life now, with aspirations of pursuing a career in nursing.  She makes it a mission for herself to help others suffering from abuse in Amish Community.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for speaking out on this important topic. The abuses of patriarchal religious orders have long been excused and victim shaming a common practice. They use the fear of losing one's salvation as a control device to discourage women for standing up for their human rights. The Bible contains accounts of incest without condemning it; therefore they use it as an excuse for their sexual misconduct. It seems Amish Culture is using Confession as an excuse to commit the acts without repercussion. The confession you describe is not a form of repentance because it does not commit them to turning away from the sin and sinning no more, as Jesus told the adulterous woman.

    It's just not Amish Culture it is worldwide in religious and cultural circles. The cover-ups are common to save the church's reputation and tax exempt status. Other religions make it hard to bring justice to corrupt men because they institute rules requiring witnesses in order to convict/excommunicate and thus the lone female's testimony goes ignored, which is exactly why these sexual predators isolate their victims before committing the immoral, evil acts. In fine, they speak against the Devil/Satan in church, while supporting his devices and his mortal minions, once church services have ended. It is the wolves in sheep clothing entering the flock, as warned about in the Bible.

    The State of Utah never cracked down on the sexual predatory practice of polygamy and it took the State of Texas to take down the FLDS leader that was promoting and committing rapes of under-aged brides. Likewise, states with large Amish/Mennonite populations will not take action against these Amish sexual assaults because of the political implications. Instead, they defer the issue to the religious order to police its own, which is like giving a thief the combination to a bank vault. There must be an organized public outcry against these abuses, in order to put change into motion, especially since Amish mothers and wives are not stepping up to defend the virtue and physical and mental health of their own daughters! Adult women willing to submit to these abuses is one thing but the abuses against under-aged children should never be tolerated and like with the FLDS children, removed from the irresponsible and abusive parents and church leaders for their own safety and placed under the protective custody of the state.

    Amish women must empower themselves and come to know that they will never lose their salvation by refusing to follow false prophets and false doctrines. They must work to educate themselves to shed the economic shackles of an 8th education. They must know that they do have marketable skills. They can run their own bakeries, laundry and sewing services. Their sewing skills can be used by the Fashion Industry. They can open Homemaking Academies to teach what are becoming lost skills in American Culture. And then future generations of Amish women can move on to non-traditional jobs and careers.

    If American Culture is labeled as "The evil world" in Amish Culture and all this evil is going unchecked in their own circles, then which is worse, hanging out with the self-professed saints or so-called sinners?

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  2. One day Tanya's telephone rings amidst the debauchery. At that moment detective Johnny Wadd is traipsing into the hideout of some master criminals as Tanya watches with rapt fascination.

    Tanya Danielles World

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