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  • Writer's pictureMary Byler

Amish Abuse Awareness Part 2

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

"Qualified Speakers"

Edited by The Anonymous Athiest

As I think and process the conference, this stands out to me: this was about "Abuse Awareness".

Despite this, only one speaker mentioned anything about support for victims (anything that didn't involve prayer, forgiveness, letting it go, or burying it).

I listened to speakers talk about pornography and I wondered, "What qualifications do they have to speak on abuse awareness?"

Did the speaker(s) ever experience abuse?

Have they ever become trauma informed?

Are they a subject matter expert?

How are they educated on domestic violence issues?

Have they even taken even an introductory psychology class?

One speaker said he counsels 15-25 women a week via phone. Is he a licensed clinical social worker? Psychologist? Psychiatrist? Anything? The last I checked; no Amish approved of attending college.

I am so confused here on what qualifications these speakers had, with the exception of the local detective. She had the only obvious qualifications I could identify; she is trained to and does investigate allegations of abuse, and can show years of experience working with these crimes and these victims.

As I write this I wonder, "How do people get qualified speakers?"

My Army training kicks in: First, find a SME (Subject-Matter Expert).

What does that mean?

If you're in a position to give the public information about child abuse, start by finding a qualified person who works with abused children. Do a background check. Make sure this speaker is properly credentialed and check for years of experience, etc. Talk to people who know this person. Interview the person yourself. Make absolutely sure that the information they are going to present is aligned with your goals and vision.

(There are some very rare cases where someone may be qualified to speak without being licensed on that topic. Let me give you an example: Dianne Darr Couts who wrote "Things Fell Apart, but the Center Held" could be giving a talk on trauma informed practices.) Dianne Darr Couts was a school teacher who took it upon herself to become educated and trauma informed.

Another example:

I personally would not speak to best parenting practices. I don't feel qualified to speak about best trauma practices.

What I am comfortable sharing is my story, the lessons that I have learned and the things I learned were harmful, things that were helpful. I am comfortable speaking about my experiences growing up Amish in five different communities. I say this a lot: I was born and raised Amish, I lived in five different Communities over the span of 19 years, when I speak about my Amish communities, those are my experiences in those communities only.

My journey is one survivor's journey, which I hope you can take some guidance and (hopefully) wisdom from.

The Amish are people, they are no better or no worse than anyone else. When a group of people live together, there will always be some bad people in every group. But when that group is purposefully isolated from the rest of the modern world, physically, spiritually, and through language barriers, bad people can flourish in a way they should not be allowed to. Amish are not above the law, they are American citizens, prosecution is not persecution.

And lastly, let's talk about qualified speakers that would never engage in the "subtle, covert, silencing and labelling" tactics used at the meeting on Saturday, May 22, 2021.

These are harmful; it is harmful to mix in your message that Victims are "attention seeking". This will directly influence other victims to not seek the help they need,

This is Part 2 of a series on the Amish Abuse Awareness conference in Loganton, PA, on the 22nd of May, 2021.

Look for Part 3 "Gaslighting in the Name of God" next week.

Thank you all for listening. ️

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