From BrahmaKumaris.Info Encyclopedia
All statistics on rates of child abuse and neglect are controversial. All statistics on the incidence and prevalence of child abuse and neglect are disputed by some experts. Most abused and neglected children never come to the attention of the authorities and this is especially true of sexually abused children. Strong emotions and moral commitments influence reasoning and judgement on the subjectand even experts or activists who claim to be without bias are not without prejudice nor exploiting the issue professionally.
Given that the current stated membership of the BKWSU is to be in excess of 900,000, and the majority of members living in familu units, reported cases of child abuse are exceptionally low. The one high profile case has drawn criticism of the Institution due to the manner in which it was handled by the Senior Sisters. However, it must be stated that that low rate of abuse is likely to be due to the Instution being administered by women occupying authory roles rather than men.
The four major types of child abuse are consdiered to be ; injury, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect.
Putting aside any concerns as to the effect of the spiritual teachings being taught by the BKWSU, which are no more or no less sustainable than any other established religion, essentially the BKWSU statistically remains a very safe place for children. The only area due for concern might be where both parents do not share faith in the veracity of the teaching and need for spiritual disciplines in which cases the child is likley to suffer in the same manner as a child in a broken home.
By way of comparison, the Roman Catholic Church in the USA is used as a case study against general statistics.
General child abuse statistics [ USA ]
- Approximately one in three girls is sexually abused before the age of 18.
- Approximately one in four girls is sexually abused before the age of 14.
- Approximately one in six boys is sexually abused before the age of 16.
Source : Jim Hopper, Ph.D. research Fellow at Harvard Medical School
- An average of 5.5 children per 10,000 enrolled in day care are sexually abused, an average of 8.9 children out of every 10,000 are abused in the home. Source: Finkelhor & Williams, 1988.
- In 1997, 1,054,000 children were confirmed by CPS as victims of child maltreatment. This represents 15 out of every 1,000 U.S. children. Source : National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse.
- In 1997, over 3 million (3,195,000) children were reported for child abuse and neglect to child protective service (CPS) agencies in the United States. Reporting levels have increased 41% between 1988 and 1997. Source : Wang & Daro, 1998. Web site: NATIONAL COMMITTEE TO PREVENT CHILD ABUSE
In an adult retrosptective study, victimization was reported by 27 percent of women and 16 percent of men. The median age for the occurrence of reported abuse was 9.9 for boys and 9.6 for girls. Girls were more likely than boys to disclose the abuse. Forty-two percent of the women and thirty-three percent of the men reported never having disclosed the experience to anyone. Source: Finkelhor et al., 1990
Comparison with Roman Catholic Church [ USA ]
- About 4 percent of U.S. priests ministering from 1950 to 2002 were accused of sex abuse with a minor,
- 4,392 clergymen, almost all priests, were accused of abusing 10,667 people, with 75 percent of the incidents taking place between 1960 and 1984.
- 68 percent of the allegations were made against priests ordained between 1950 and 1979, while priests ordained after 1979 accounted for 10.7 percent of the allegations, for the entire 52-year period " the problem was indeed widespread and affected more than 95 percent of the dioceses.
- No action was taken against a priest in 10 percent of the allegations, and in 6 percent of the allegations the priests were reprimanded and returned to ministry.
- The study listed the main characteristics of the sex abuse incidents reported that the most vulnerable were boys aged 11 to 14, representing more than 40 percent of the victims.
- A majority of the victims were post-pubescent adolescents with a small percentage of the priests accused of abusing children who had not reached puberty.
- Most of the accused committed a variety of sex acts involving serious sexual offenses.
- The most frequent context for abuse was a social event and many priests socialized with the families of victims.
- Abuses occurred in a variety of places with the most common being the residence of the priest.
Child Abuse within the BKWSU
http://homepages.nildram.co.uk/~eromain/childprotection.htm Report on Child abuse within BKWSU and response by Senior Administrators.
The BKWSU has drawn criticism for members maintaining a tradition Hindu conception of the cause of child abuse being due to the " bad karma " of the children suffering the abuse in their previous life and so therefore being outside of their responsibility. The perpetrators avoiding punishment or reporting to police. In principle, this is even extended to the thought that for it to happen within a center is good fortune as it would relate to a great clearing of bad karma.