Even after the trial I still come across posts that attack Tina, calling her a liar, manipulator, out for money, and other things. I am deeply hurt by this. People use their opinions or their “insight” to make a judgment call on my wife’s truthfulness or motivations. In past “notes” I’ve expressed our motivations. We have no ulterior motive. Our biggest motivations are to make awareness of abuse in IFB churches and to encourage change in churches to prevent further abuse.
At first I thought that they just didn’t get it. After all the facts are out there, how do they not understand? What I’ve come to realize is that they do understand. They get the big picture. Tina is the symbol of all the other children that have been or are currently being abused. Tina’s story strikes a huge nerve to one of the biggest “notworks” in fundamentalism. What abuse story do you know that would involve two men in different churches in states thousands of miles apart who later become college presidents of two different fundamental Baptist colleges who went to the same Bible college for their degrees and are current leaders in other IFB organizations and speakers at numerous IFB events, camps and meetings?
I have a couple thoughts on why people attack Tina. First, it’s human nature. When any person or organization feels threatened, it is only natural to protect your interests. Right now, Tina is the biggest target because her story highlights some of the problems that need to be addressed in IFB churches. People will do it many different ways. A person might decide to stop calling you, ignore your invitations to get together, de-friend you on Facebook, and basically decide that they can’t be your friend or in your family any more. They might call or write you and say hurtful things. Some will get on the internet and post negative things about you and the people who support you.
I think another reason for the attacks is deflection. My thoughts are that if it’s from a friend or family, they are doing it without realizing it. They are following what they’ve been taught and they don’t see that Tina’s story is just one small example of a larger problem. It’s easier to think that Tina’s situation is an anomaly and the most common thought, I think, is, “I don’t see it and so it does not happen at my church” or “My church or my pastor would never do that” or “You’re hurting the cause of Christ and you just need to let it go.” The list could go on and on but you get the idea. They are deflecting and not opening their eyes to the possibility that there might be a problem.
If this deflection is from others in leadership or have a vested interest somehow in the IFB, I think it’s on purpose. If they can get you distracted from the problem and get you focused on the person who has brought the problem to the light, they don’t have to change. They deflect the attention onto the person and their possible defects (whether real or contrived) so that you ignore the real problem in the IFB and their organizations.
Let’s use an analogy. Tina’s story is like an abscess or injury on a person. You have a couple of choices. You could try to cover it up with a band-aid or medicate it so that you don’t feel it any more OR you can address what’s causing the abscess or injury. If the infection or injury is not fixed, it could cause permanent damage and even death. Tina’s story brings to light that there is a problem. If the problem is not addressed, the infection will get worse, the injury will cripple, and IFB churches will not be able to live up to their full potential and possibly die.