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  • Feb24Wed

    We CAN do better! We MUST do better!

    February 24, 2021 Melodie Bissell
    Filed Under:
    Abuse Awareness, Vulnerable Sector

    We can do better!  We must do better!

    I woke in the middle of the night!  My heart was heavy … I could not sleep!  So, I put the tea kettle on and I decided to catch up on my reading.

    • I reread a draft of an article on Lessons Learned from Fallen Leaders.
    • I read an email that had just come in – An Open Letter to Victims of Clergy Abuse! 
    • I turned my attention to social media, where I read a flurry of social media posts criticizing leaders for their response to allegations of abuse. 
    • I read of a series of incidences of abuse within the cheer industry.
    • I read the results of the investigation into allegations against Ravi Zacharias.

    As a person of faith, I find comfort in reading the Psalms and Proverbs – but even there I read of oppression, plagues, abuse, the burden of suffering due to poor choices, and the enemy pursuing his victim and overcoming him.  The folly of one’s ways. 

    When I read, I am challenged … provoked to be better … to do more … to feel deeply about the hurts and pains of this world. 

    Are you challenged when you read these accounts?  Or do you just shake your head and criticize the offenders. 

    Is there anything that incites you and fuels your passion to do more, to be better yourself?

    I will continue to read.  I hear the words of my father in my head, “There is no retirement when there is so much more work to be done and lives to be touched.”  My father passed away at 87 years of age, having just returned from a Missions trip to Eastern Europe, and with a new study guide on his dining room table for a course, he was going to begin to teach the following week with 150 students.

    The faith community has been once again shocked to read of the abuse and hidden failures of a well-respected leader.  The Board of RZIM wrote an open letter having discovered the truth of the abuse from the investigation. 

    Barrie Doyle, our lead instructor for our Crisis Response and Management Course, shared his thoughts regarding the open letter, in our last blog post, There are apologies and there are apologies!  I do agree with Barrie that the letter is very well written however I only wish that the names of the Board members were included with the letter.  Should we not take ownership for our actions and shortcomings and acknowledge where we missed the mark?

    Here are my key take-aways from my midnight reading:

    • Even the most respected of leaders are faced with temptations, perhaps even more so.  No one is immune to exploiting others for sexual gratification.
    • Organizations must place parameters on their leaders and hold them accountable. 
    • Those in positions of leadership must ask hard questions and insist on transparency, accountability, humility, and integrity.
    • Every organization should have a whistleblower policy in place ... a safe environment to raise concerns and suspicions of abuse.
    • Every allegation or suspicion of abuse must be investigated. If it involves minors, it must be reported to law enforcement or child protection agencies.
    • Every leader, even the senior leader and founders, should submit to screening and training on an annual basis.
    • Adhering to policies and protocols must be role modelled from the top down.
    • We must be willing to turn over our technology, mobile devices, calendars, and hard drives when asked.
    • We must demonstrate humility and repentance if there is any moral or criminal activity, acknowledge our failure, step down from leadership and begin the journey of restorative justice.
    • Beware of an individual that protests or responds defensively or aggressively to concerns voiced.
    • If we are going to put our name to an apology, we must be willing to be transparent and take ownership for our actions.
    • Our words can either nurture the healing of abuse or cause greater harm. May we be instruments of healing.

     

    As for me, I will continue to read.  I hear the words of my father in my head, “There is no retirement when there is so much more work to be done and lives to be touched.”

     

    We CAN do better!  We MUST do better!

     

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