Carl Huhta gave me permission to repost his thoughts about his abusive father's enablers. (After decades of abuse and countless victims, his father was finally investigated, prosecuted, found guilty, and given a short prison sentence. He died last year, at age 82, as a registered sex offender, unreconciled with his victims, who included his own children.) This is an excerpt. Read the entire thing at Carl's blog, Messy Guru.
Nobody apologized from within the FALC organization for not doing anything for my family. We had zero value to them. Nobody went to the authorities when all 14 of us Huhta's were growing up.
Victims told my mother. Neighbors told my mother. She went to church. He kept on molesting. It went on for generations. Victims told their parents. Their parents did nothing. Victims told the main minister in Calumet. He did a meek attempt at "confronting" my father. My mother did not ask what the minister came to "visit" about. He never went to the authorities. He got "involved" when it became personal to him. And that was years later. And it was not for my family.
I was met with "indifference" from the blood relatives and the FALC Chairman of the Board said he will not investigate their own. Keep in mind most of these people have known me and my family since I was born. They watched our family come in and out of Sunday School, Bible Class and Church.
Year after year.
. . . I also wonder how many other victims there are still in their organization. I wonder if they will get help. I wonder if anybody believes them. I wonder if they are left with the burden of an "untold" story. Forgiven and forgotten.Sex abuse has been discussed six ways to Sunday on this blog, and I have long been perplexed at how anyone (Laestadian, Catholic, Hindu, Vulcan, you name it) can feel justified in ignoring it. Until I read this thoughtful analysis of the many reasons abuse goes undetected and unreported. In a nutshell:
- Overwhelming feelings (like fear, anger, or shame) caused by just thinking about the sexual abuse of children.
- Confusion caused by incorrect stereotypes about what kinds of people sexually use and abuse children.
- Physical, emotional, and financial dependency on an individual or group that would be lost (for oneself and the family) if such concerns are raised
- Self doubts of various kinds (e.g., “I’m paranoid.” “What if I’m wrong?” “It’s none of my business.”).
- Fears of various consequences (e.g., of acknowledging betrayal by a trusted and respected person, of being wrong, of being right).
Please read the whole thing and then come back and discuss. List the things that can be done, now, in the church and outside of it, to prevent abuse.