By Nancy Bicknell
Are we over the shock yet? Sexual abuse in Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) schools is being reported by many media outlets in the news and on the internet. Have we picked up our jaws from the floor after seeing Tina Anderson’s case of rape being covered by the mainstream Media? Have we taken a breath since pastor Jack Schaap was convicted of having sex with a minor he was counseling at First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana?
Now let me throw you another question. Is sexual abuse in the IFB School/church just a male crime? Do women in the IFB church, who are taught submission, ever sexually abuse a minor? Despite the fact that the majority of the sexual assaults reported in the IFB church involved male perpetrators, my son was the victim of his female teacher at age 16 at Marantha Baptist Academy in the Maranatha Baptist Bible College System.
In reading Scott’s story, you can see his teacher was aroused by the PRIVILEGED POSITION of grooming Scott into accepting her as a SEX teacher who he felt loved him. This had nothing to do with love and everything to do with the teacher’s sense of power of a naive boy and being the first to take his sexual innocence from him. The public is always more shocked, but perhaps not as outraged, by stories about female-on-male rape because of woman’s perceived nurturing and submissive traditional roles in the IFB and in society in general. In the IFB, women are to be silent in the church and not in a role of teaching men in church. What a thrill Scott’s teacher must have gotten from not only teaching Scott but, teaching a minor about the forbidden fruit of sex.
The control a mature, sexually experienced married woman with a child would have over a teen with growing hormones, would be a significant imbalance of power. The IFB threw the story of Joseph running away from the Pharaohs wife who pursued him sexually, at my son to further shame him. The IFB saw that story as a fair comparison since it was the Pharaohs wife yet, the grooming process in the IFB school by the teacher, took months to prepare her victim for her sexual advances.
The teacher was given more compassion after being caught in a motel room with Scott, than a male offender in the IFB church. However, in many cases of sexual abuse, the offender is never reported by the IFB but given the CHEEP GRACE way out by the IFB leaders. Asking for forgiveness in the presence of an IFB pastor can save the offender years and years in jail.
I think the first reaction was denial. As Jack Hyles, a re-known IFB leader, has reportedly said, “If I did not see it, it did not happen.”‘ This mantra has become the escape hatch for the IFB church facing such sexual scandals. Also, I think the public in general feels that a woman who does such things must be mentally ill where as a male is thought of in society as a “sex offender”. In the IFB church, a male or female sexual offender has simply slipped or fell into sin in the IFB language. If one simply falls, they can then get up and go on in the IFB church as though they have learned about that kind of sexual stumbling and will not stumble again. That’s because women are regarded as submissive, nurturers and mothers. It is harder for the IFB church to imagine a woman usurping sexual power over a young teen. So, as in Scott’s case, they blamed Scott for lusting after his teacher, expelled him and locked him in the church basement for 2 weeks during school hours. IFB leaders also attempted to send him off to Lester Roloff’s abusive boys school and, eventually, just fired Scott’s father from his IFB teaching position and shipped the family away from their sight. The teacher was taken out of the class room but never reported to the police, and eventually, had her MBBC degree grandfathered into MBCC accreditation with the state and was free to get a state teachers license. I do not know how this all turned out for the IFB teacher, except she was never held accountable while Scott suffered for years with low self esteem and did not complete his BA until a couple of years ago.
The good news is that Scott’s children have done very well and one of my grandchildren may be going to get a scholarship to Princeton or Yale. Scott was a beautiful young man and very bright, so lets pray his children who have gone to public school find their way free of predators in the public system despite the fact their father was hoodwinked, blamed and shamed in the IFB schools. The new generations of Bicknell’s are doing just fine.