I would like to apologize for not following up sooner. It should have been towards the end of October.
In any event, we had a very good response, and will be closing out the survey at the end of this month. The responses will need to be processed, and I will begin to present the findings, hopefully, by mid-December. (Anyone that knows me, knows that these targets are rather loose, and tend to be pushed back, though I will try hard to stick to it.)
The way the findings will be presented, as of now, will mirror the way the survey is designed. Each topic will be presented in a separate article under the following headings:
- Profile of the Offended
- Profile of the Offender
- Profile of the Shepherds
- Consequences for the Offender
- Consequences for the Offended
- Opportunities for Healing and Reconciliation, and Restoration
It needs to be emphasized, again, that this is not a scientific survey, though I believe it to be a well designed first step, that will give a fairly accurate glimpse of the scope of the problem. As it is, we have endeavored to obtain responses through other means than simply web based traffic, to get a better sampling. Ads have been placed in newspapers in Holmes County OH, Lancaster PA, and Elkhart IN, to obtain a more diversified response. This will certainly help in reducing, though admittedly, not eliminating, bias. At the end of the day, if the Conservative Anabaptist community desires to have a more accurate picture of the abuse situation with which we are dealing, it will necessarily take a fuller cooperation of the community (which I would actively encourage), in which I ready and willing to assist. If that desire is not adequately present, this survey will likely be the best/only information that will be available.
I have heard the comment that this survey participation has been measured in the 100s, and the population of Conservatives Anabaptists has been measured in the 100s of thousands, so that’s not too bad. First, it should be noted that what we have undertaken is a survey, not a census. A census measures and counts entire populations of people. A survey measures a small sample of a larger group of people and through this sample, we can draw some conclusions about the larger group.
So it remains to be seen how our community compares to the general population, but after I am able to process the information, we will be able to draw some very rough estimates of where we stand. Of course, as the saying goes: “one incident is a tragedy, hundreds or thousands of incidents become a statistic,” so through this information gathering process, it is important to remember that we are dealing with individuals, and lives that are unique and special to the Lord. Therefore, we should not lose sight of this in regard to our brothers and sisters.
Finally, it is inevitable that one group or another will be unhappy with one set of results, or another. I have purposely disabled the comment section. It is my view that anonymous comments lend themselves to things we would not likely say face to face, and so they go against the grain of Matthew 18. At the same time, I do want to open myself to being accountable. So if there is some disagreement (Agreeable comments are also welcome!), please contact me through the email link, and let’s talk about it - face to face if necessary, brother/sister to brother.
May God grant us wisdom and grace!