Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment

Breaking Their Will Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment This revealing disturbing and thoroughly researched book exposes a dark side of faith that most Americans do not know exists or have ignored for a long time religious child maltreatment After speaki

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  • Title: Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment
  • Author: Janet Heimlich
  • ISBN: 9781616144050
  • Page: 280
  • Format: Paperback
  • This revealing, disturbing, and thoroughly researched book exposes a dark side of faith that most Americans do not know exists or have ignored for a long time religious child maltreatment After speaking with dozens of victims, perpetrators, and experts, and reviewing a myriad of court cases and studies, the author explains how religious child maltreatment happens She theThis revealing, disturbing, and thoroughly researched book exposes a dark side of faith that most Americans do not know exists or have ignored for a long time religious child maltreatment After speaking with dozens of victims, perpetrators, and experts, and reviewing a myriad of court cases and studies, the author explains how religious child maltreatment happens She then takes an in depth look at the many forms of child maltreatment found in religious contexts, including biblically prescribed corporal punishment and beliefs about the necessity of breaking the wills of children scaring kids into faith and other types of emotional maltreatment such as spurning, isolating, and withholding love pedophilic abuse by religious authorities and the failure of religious organizations to support the victims and punish the perpetrators and religiously motivated medical neglect in cases of serious health problems In a concluding chapter, Heimlich raises questions about children s rights and proposes changes in societal attitudes and improved legislation to protect children from harm While fully acknowledging that religion can be a source of great comfort, strength, and inspiration to many young people, Heimlich makes a compelling case that, regardless of one s religious or secular orientation, maltreatment of children under the cloak of religion can never be justified and should not be tolerated.

    One thought on “Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment”

    1. Heimlich says that child abuse tends to happen in religious groups that have authoritarian cultures and do not recognize that children have rights. She provides many examples of such abuse in the United States, along with psychological analysis of how people behave during and after these situations.I wished there had been more analysis on the "gray area" of moderately authoritarian groups, or, if the term is permitted, "moderately abusive" groups. It is obvious why it's bad to join a cult, and i [...]

    2. This was a tough book to read, since I have been first-hand witness to some of the milder forms of religious child abuse. There were people in my parents church who definitely crossed the line into abuse with their authoritarian style of Christianity, and I also saw it with my ex-wife's relatives, one couple in particular who adopted a young boy, and that mother was an absolute tyrant. My own mother once confessed to my ex-wife that some of her disciplinary methods would be considered abuse now [...]

    3. This was really a fascinating book. It took me awhile to plow through it, mainly because - especially at first - it’s a bit “research dense” but once it got more into telling some of the personal stories of the people interviewed by the author it moved quickly.In addition to being fascinating, this book is also: shocking; maddening; eye-opening; incredibly sad; and just downright hard to believe. (I don’t mean that the author’s research is faulty; I mean that it’s difficult to accept [...]

    4. There is a difference between gathering and listing data in topical categories and writing a work of non-fiction. The latter requires that the author be a storyteller - not a research paper writer or a legal brief collator. Here is where this book fails.The citations are obtrusive, often cluttering and interrupting the flow of the story. There is little control in moving from one example to another, and you often get only a taste of a story you'd really like to know more about. The choice to tre [...]

    5. All churchgoers should read this book which explains why there is so much maltreatment of children within faith-based communities.Hard to understand why abusers in churches get off with a slap on the hand, but the offended are judged harshly and are hurt even further.

    6. How does religion provide opportunity for child abuse? I was one of those helpless children. Spankings, indoctrination, fear, dictatorships, and authoritarianism prove prevalent in fundamentalist Christian denominations. All cloaked beneath the guise of love.Unwitting parents subject their children to the leadership of these "churches," without realizing the decades-long repercussions. Author Janet Heimlich spotlights this topic from her journalistic investigation.Breaking Their Will: Shedding L [...]

    7. Don't have time to write a full review. Quotes:When people talk about the dangers of corporal punishment, they frequently focus on the physical harm. But, as any recipient of the treatment will say, the emotional toll is often the most detrimental. (92)Larry Christenson inThe Christian Family:"If the punishment is of the right kind, it not only takes effect physically but through physical terror and pain. It awakens and sharpens the consciousness that there is a moral power over us, a righteous [...]

    8. "What Heimlich does offer are some important insights into the conditions that allow such abuses to happen in the first place. Her principal conclusion is that children are most at risk in religious cultures that are dangerously authoritarian. She describes “a perfect storm” of characteristics that signal danger. First, the group displays a strict social hierarchy. Second, its culture is fear-filled. And third, it’s separatist. The supporting evidence offered in the book is easily sufficie [...]

    9. Heimlich's book is a well-researched and extremely fair and balanced presentation (IMHO) of the issue of religious child maltreatment in it's various manifestations: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and medical neglect due to depending solely upon faith healing and prayer and withholding professional medical care. This is no anti-theist rant; Heimlich is very clear that she sees this as a problem specifically among certain conservative, authoritarian religious cultures and groups a [...]

    10. I'm refraining from giving this a rating because of my complicated relationship with the subject matter, but let me just say that I wish I was world overlord and could make everyone in the church read part 2. (As long as I'm world overlord, I think I'll also have them believe it. And then make appropriate changes.)

    11. The writing is weird, deliberately distanced from all the religious and parenting practices described in a way I found made for awfully slow going, but I think it would be good information for religious people even though I also think they'd be unlikely to slog through it.

    12. A great look into the risks and harm that fundamentalist religion of all stripes can pose to children. This harm can be physical, sexual, or emotional/psychological/spiritual.

    13. In Breaking their Will Janet Heimlich investigates, discusses and exposes the possible effect of religion on the mistreatment of children.To do this Heimlich separates the issues into physical, emotional and sexual abuse, medical neglect and a final pair of essays on abuse through rituals and circumcision.Despite the extreme topic and risk of controversy, Heimlich shows deft skill in addressing the idea without polemic or diatribe style. In fact the issue of whether religion is simply the medium [...]

    14. A bit apologist in places, but otherwise a fantastic layout of the ways faith can cross the line into abuse of children, physically, emotionally, medically, and ritually. Some descriptions had me shaking in rage that people could treat children this way and think it justified. Few things are so enraging as the privileging of unverifiable faith over the verifiable suffering of children. The final chapters on male and female circumcision and the rights of children were particularly good and inform [...]

    15. Sheds light on an important but controversial aspect of religious life. Some of the sources are questionable (like one referenced study published "on the Internet") and the writing sometimes reads like a book report but the key concept, that certain kinds of religious ideologies and practices facilitate child abuse, is worth it.

    16. I highly recommend this book for anyone FTC: I received a free copy of this book and was not reimbursed in any other way.

    17. A difficult but excellent read. Meticulously researched. Heimlich not only outlines the problems but also offers solutions.

    18. So long. About twice as long as it needed to be to make the same points. Things were repeated again and again.

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