ISLE OF MAN (ENGLAND)
Phys.org from Science X Network
August 6, 2020
By Geoff McMaster
A recent literature review by a University of Alberta cult expert and his former graduate student paints a startling and consistent picture of institutional secrecy and widespread protection of those who abuse children in religious institutions “in ways that often differ from forms of manipulation in secular settings.”
It’s the first comprehensive study exposing patterns of sexual abuse in religious settings.
“A predator may spend weeks, months, even years grooming a child in order to violate them sexually,” said Susan Raine, a MacEwan University sociologist and co-author of the study with University of Alberta sociologist Stephen Kent.
Perpetrators are also difficult to identify, the researchers said, because they rarely conform to a single set of personality or other traits.
The findings demonstrate the need to “spend less time focusing on ‘stranger danger,’ and more time thinking about our immediate community involvement, or extended environment, and the potential there for grooming,” said Raine.
Raine and Kent examined the research on abuse in a number of religious denominations around the world to show “how some religious institutions and leadership figures in them can slowly cultivate children and their caregivers into harmful and illegal sexual activity.”
Those institutions include various branches of Christianity as well as cults and sectarian movements including the Children of God, the Branch Davidians, the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints as well as a Hindu ashram and the Devadasis.
“Because of religion’s institutional standing, religious grooming frequently takes place in a context of unquestioned faith placed in sex offenders by children, parents and staff,” they found.
The two researchers began their study after Kent was asked to provide expert testimony for a lawsuit in Vancouver accusing Bollywood choreographer and sect leader Shiamak Davar of sexually abusing two of his dance students in 2015.
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