Someone recently brought up an interesting point in the comments. How could someone who now claims to have been sexually abused by TB Joshua have continued being part of his organisation, even in roles of great responsibility for so much time after the alleged crime? This was in reference to a story Cautious told in part 1 of his account, but the same questions could be asked of other people who allege to have been sexually abused by TB Joshua, such as Bisola or Anneka (this post links to these accounts of abuse and others).
On the face of it, this is a fair question, though it ignores some of the reasons for not speaking out that we mentioned here. However, it also shows very little understanding of the nature of sexual abuse. In this post we look at a recent article about child abuse that can help us understand the psychological dynamics at work. While victims may have been over 18 at the time, TB Joshua was in a position of absolute authority over them, and they effectively lived “under his roof” in a place where everyone has absolute allegiance to TB Joshua (this context has been discussed in a couple of previous posts on this blog). In that sense, these alleged crimes shares similarities with cases where fathers abuse their daughters (even more so considering the disciples call TB Joshua Daddy).
In this this article, there are some interesting comments from experts in the field who shed some light on this matter. According to Jeanetta Issa, the president and chief executive officer of the Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA), child abusers rarely fit the stereotype of a creepy-looking man. They’re often some of the most likable, gregarious people around. They get close to their victims by charming not only them, but their parents also. This creates a situation where it is doubly hard for the child to speak out because they know how highly others think of the abuser – who is going to believe them?
Elizabeth Saewyc, a nursing professor at the University of British Columbia who specializes in treatment of abused children says that “When someone is a very prominent and powerful figure, it is very difficult for people to feel like they should say bad things about them, people may also start to doubt themselves, worrying that they’ll ruin the suspected abuser’s life if they’re wrong.”
Referring to the recent abuse case covered up at Penn State, Saewyc said, people who heard about the alleged abuse may have been blinded by their loyalty to their organization. “When it’s a prominent person in a respected institution, there is going to be damage, not just to that person but to the institution,” Saewyc said. “People may pay attention to those consequences.”
These points are all extremely pertinent to the abuse claims at SCOAN. TB Joshua is, by all accounts an extremely likable, gregarious person. He has charmed many thousands of people to the extent that most could not even process the possibility that these abuse claims could be true. Even those who may have an inkling of doubt in their minds will be aware that these allegations being true and becoming widely known would cause untold damage to SCOAN. What would come of all the thousands who are blessed by this ministry? These worries will cause them to suppress any element of doubt they might otherwise have had.
If you are like that, if you’ve had moments of doubt when you’ve wondered if these allegations might be true, we urge you to dig deeper. Ask SCOAN why they’ve never allowed these allegations to be investigated. Ask yourself why allegations have come from several different, unconnected sources, yet have been strikingly similar? Read up on the abuse scandals in the Catholic church where children were abused by their “Men of God”, yet many of the victims kept quiet for years.
We’re not saying these allegations are definitely true – we’d have no evidence to support that claim. What we’re saying is that these allegations are serious enough that they definitely deserve to be investigated thoroughly and transparently. Until that is done, we will continue to give them a voice.
If you are a SCOAN supporter who sees no reason why these serious claims should be investigated, please tell us why in the comments.