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Panama report
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Author:  mosquito bite [ Wed Nov 09, 2016 11:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Panama report

Your courage and that of others who have posted their stories here is amazing!

Author:  threewillows [ Wed Nov 09, 2016 11:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Panama report

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I'm so proud of you! You have support and are strong.

Author:  Raz [ Wed Nov 09, 2016 1:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Panama report

Theresa is still pivoting and dodging.

And shifting shame to the victim/survivors of abuse.

Author:  Raz [ Wed Nov 09, 2016 6:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Panama report

I just finished reading through the Panama Historical Investigation Summary Report again.

The strategy here is very obvious, at least to those of us who had certain expectations of what the conclusion of the investigation into child abuse in Panama should look like.

A surface skim through the report might give the reader a sense that IHART is sympathetic to the victims of the abuse that was confirmed by their investigators/interviewers.

However: Take another look, and you will see that the deplorable abuse uncovered by the team is softened by a lot of "yabbuts", as my Dad used to call them. Excuses and rationalizations. "Yeah, but ..."


Professional Investigators International reported that there were 103 credible child abuse allegations that they investigated. 63 of the allegations rose to at least the level of "preponderance of the evidence". Ten people were found to have been offenders (abusers). In addition, IHART's leadership investigation found various degrees of culpability on nine mission leaders. pg 28, 29

Children were spanked for not finishing their food, for not eating enough, for not eating fast enough. Some were forced to eat when they were sick, or to eat food they could not tolerate, to the point of vomiting. pg 34

Punishment and humiliation for bed wetters, including spanking, and requiring children to change their own sheets. pg 26

A staff person put a heavy cement cast on the broken foot of a child. pg 26

Children were beaten with the end of a fishing rod with a weight on it. These beatings or whippings were so severe that victims report bleeding, bruising, stripes, welts, and so much pain they could not sit down.
pg 28, 30

Survivors report vicious spankings that left marks. They report that dorm parents seemed to enjoy spanking children. pg 31

Reports of "spankings" consisting of ten, fifteen, or even more "swats". pg 31

There was a belief that spanking was not effective unless the child cried, and if a child attempted to resist crying, the beating became even more brutal. pg 31

Some children were spanked daily, or even more than once a day. Some recall their skin was chronically irritated from the punishments they were regularly receiving. pg 31

Two boys were severely beaten by two adults taking turns hitting them with a 2.5 foot wooden paddle. One of the boys sustained severe bruising. The other had to have his blood-soaked pants soaked off him in warm water. pg 32

Some children were even tied up and gagged during beatings! pg 32

Corporal punishment was dealt out not only to small children ages 6-7, but was also a form of punishment used on teenaged MKs in high school, both boys and girls. pg 31

A dorm father gave girls back rubs that "may have" been under the shirt on the lower back, or have come too far around the side. pg 35


"In the time frame of the Panama allegations, which went up to the mid 1990s, NTM did not have specific definitions of abuse. Given that our cultural understandings of child abuse and appropriate child discipline have changed over the years, it is not appropriate for the investigative teams to use current definitions to evaluate events from decades ago as child abuse.... it is not appropriate to hold people accountable under standards that did not exist at the time." pg 3

"In the decades before the 1990s, child abuse was poorly understood by government institutions, mission agencies, and others. Society as a whole, including mission organizations, failed previous generations of children by not understanding the prevalence of child abuse or its damaging effects. NTM, like other organizations, had a limited understanding of child abuse at that time." pg 14

"Unfortunately, in a historical investigation, it is not always possible to establish facts definitively.... While it is natural that MKs would support
each other through these difficult experiences, discussing events affects an investigation. Research shows that such discussion creates significant social contamination that affects the credibility of the testimony." pg 15

"...there may have been a preference for NTM training over having advanced degrees, particularly those from secular institutions.... A disadvantage of this approach is that NTM in the early days had less access to contemporaneous scholarship on psychology, child development, education, or
leadership than those groups with more rigorous academic standards." pg 16

The political situation in Panama in the 1980s was volatile and dangerous. This is given as a rationalization for some of the harsh treatment of children at EHM. And also is supposed to explain why NTM leaders did not reports crimes to Panamanian authorities, such as the rape of a teenaged MK by a Panamanian. "It was dangerous for Americans to come to the attention of Panamanian authorities. As a result, they were unlikely to make reports to the local authorities, whom they did not trust." pg 20

The incident of an NTM missionary putting a heavy cement cast on a child's broken foot is shrugged off as an example of "lack of training". pg 26 MKs who were at the school at the time recall this incident and its motivation quite differently.

"There were also MKs who said that, though the atmosphere was strict, it was fair. They denied that spankings were generally harsh. They describe the same dorm parents in very different terms. This second group of MKs state that the retrospective memory of their fellow MKs is unfair, exaggerated, and even inaccurate." pg 32

In regard to the dorm father who gave back rubs under girls' shirts, running his hand around their sides, or a dorm father who put his hand on a young girl's thigh, these too were shrugged off, and the dorm parent excused because of some supposed failure of training. "While neither memories nor allegations were very clear after so much time, and the definition of boundary violations has changed through the years, certainly dorm parents should have been given more carefully defined boundaries for interaction and physical affection with children." pg 35

"The IHART process is not a legal action or part of the criminal justice system, and so personal information about offenders and leaders will not be
shared broadly." pg 7

Author:  Raz [ Wed Nov 09, 2016 6:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Panama report

From pg 1 of the Summary Report:

"NTM wants to make every effort to express to MKs that it values their lives, and NTM deeply regrets the suffering they have endured."


What's that, NTM? What's that you're saying?

I can't hear your over the roar of your actions!!!

What a crazy, upside down mess.

Yes, what a mess.

I don't know how some people can sleep at night.

Author:  threewillows [ Wed Nov 09, 2016 10:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Panama report

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Author:  mosquito bite [ Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Panama report

I don't know how you can get thru this.
Or the Brazilians either.
Or the Senegalese after ntm threw everything out that they were supposed to do.
After such a long wait
For anything at all to happen
And then another long wait for nothing to happen
You all have validation here
Lots of it

Author:  Raz [ Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Panama report

From pg 21 of the Panama Summary Report:

"Home schooling was very limited at the time due to lack of training and curriculum materials (the Internet was not accessible in the tribal areas at the time, and the homeschooling movement had not gotten underway)."

And from pg 25:

"In the decades pertaining to the IHART investigation, NTM put considerable pressure on the missionaries to put their children in boarding schools. NTM practice was that children were required to go to boarding school, and very few families fought this—or were successful if they tried. This same boarding school practice was common to many major missions.... Few parents had the educational background or resources to homeschool, as materials were not readily available at the time to do so. Successful homeschooling in that day took a level of brilliance and effort that was almost prohibitive. Further, it was thought important that children have the society of and socialize with other children. A final and important reason is that the mission wanted both parents contributing fully to mission work. As it played out, this conveyed the message to children that ministry was more important than they were."

I don't blame Theresa for her incomplete understanding of the boarding school history in NTM, but I would like to correct some misconceptions.

There are many of us MKs from NTM fields who would dispute the notion that home schooling was not a viable option in the decades prior to "the homeschooling movement" that is considered to be a more modern phenomenon. Entire fields took a strong stand against sending their children away from home. NTM Paraguay and NTM Thailand are two fields that never got on board with the concept during my growing-up years, and the Executive Committee allowed them to take that stand.

My missionary mother home schooled all five of her children; and I am often reminded that I got an education which was far from inadequate when compared with the Americans around me. I am 65 years old, and I still remember the annual arrival of the big boxes of books from the States, which had come by ship on a several-month journey. The clean, uncracked books smelled like a land far away. My early elementary books came from the Calvert School of Baltimore, Maryland. According to their website, they have been serving home schooling families all over the world for 110 years, and their students have included Barack Obama, Pearl S Buck (and me!). It is absolutely not true that schooling materials were not available. By the time my younger siblings were ready for school, there were other, less expensive options available. Many of my fellow MKs used materials from the University of Nebraska. I am a proud graduate of the American School in Illinois, which has been offering high school curriculum for 120 years, and has educated more than three million students all over the globe! So just to make it clear: home schooling options have most certainly been available during the entire time New Tribes Mission has been in existence, and not just since the coming of the world wide web. And there are many retired missionary moms who would chuckle at the sentence, "Successful homeschooling in that day took a level of brilliance and effort that was almost prohibitive". No one has ever paid them such a high complement for their sincere and tireless (and successful) efforts to educate their children. :)

I remember hearing about MK schools on other NTM fields when I was young. The earliest schools were probably in Bolivia, Brazil, and then (later?) Papua New Guinea. The statement "NTM practice was that children were required to go to boarding school" is misleading, because that was never a world-wide policy, as boarding schools were not even provided on some fields. I am thinking it was in the 1970s that I began hearing more about certain NTM fields putting pressure on their missionaries to participate in the boarding school system. There were always hold-outs though. In the Philippines, NTM did not open a boarding school of their own until the 1970s, and even after that, there were always families on that field that kept their kids at home in the tribal villages. I think for older parents to tell their adult MKs they didn't feel they had a choice about whether to send their little ones away or not is kind of a cop-out. We parents need to accept responsibility for what we did. That could maybe build a foundation for some healing and reconciliation that I long to see take place within so many of our families.

Author:  mosquito bite [ Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Panama report

We know families who used the Calvert materials in Brazil from the 1950's. Not ntm.
We got some pressure about the school.
But we were just at the beginning of the homeschooling years, so maybe things were loosening up.
It was very expensive for people with poor support to order courses.
By the time our kids were in jr high, the field was offering some help to home school families.

Author:  threewillows [ Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Panama report

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