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Article: Incest, Rape, and Abuse Among the Amish


Joyleaf
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https://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/a30284631/amish-sexual-abuse-incest-me-too/

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There’s no one reason for the sexual abuse crisis in Amish Country. Instead, there’s a perfect storm of factors: a patriarchal and isolated lifestyle in which victims have little exposure to police, coaches, or anyone else who might help them; an education system that ends at eighth grade and fails to teach children about sex or their bodies; a culture of victim shaming and blaming; little access to the technology that enables communication or broader social awareness; and a religion that prioritizes repentance and forgiveness over actual punishment or rehabilitation. Amish leaders also tend to be wary of law enforcement, preferring to handle disputes on their own.

 

Edited by Coconut Flan
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10 minutes ago, Joyleaf said:

I’m glad there’s a bit of recognition here. I’m so sick of people placing the Amish on a pedestal just because they live simply. I went to school with an ex Amish girl who was the first to help me see that the Amish aren’t some quaint little group and there are problems of abuse within the culture. 

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16 hours ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

That was Rebecca and Abe.

I thought Rebecca had been married prior to meeting Abe. I knew she had a child, but I didn't think it was Abe's. What was so awful for me about Rebecca was that she had someone else's used dentures prior to getting a set that was made for her mouth..

 

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3 minutes ago, Four is Enough said:

I thought Rebecca had been married prior to meeting Abe. I knew she had a child, but I didn't think it was Abe's. What was so awful for me about Rebecca was that she had someone else's used dentures prior to getting a set that was made for her mouth..

 

The Amish aren’t always big on going to the dentist regularly. So they can develop major dental issues over time. I can’t really say too many things about Amish in general because each group is different. But one thing that is the same about all of them is that they try to deal with any problems themselves without police involvement. So if there is rape, incest, or abuse, the elders deal with it themselves. And it’s rarely handled appropriately. How can it be in such a small insular group?

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About time these things are written about rather than continuing the Amish idolization that is so prevalent with these "sweet, plain" people. As if they can do no wrong. 

These things are not unique to them though. Any group that shuns society as a whole, promotes isolation, shuns education...and so many other things, are breeding grounds for this behavior. Not that it's a given, it's that it makes it "easier" for abusers to not only abuse, but escape consequences.

Look at the Mormon woman who herself is having fits and suing the church leaders for - *gasp* telling the authorities that a parishioner was abusing his daughter! 

I am leery of any group, or even family, that isolates itself and controls the lives of their offspring in the name of "protection". Steve Maxwell, I am speaking to and about YOU. 

When you remove people - children - from the world at large, you remove them from any and all possible help, safe people / places; you remove them from anyone who would are intervene on the child's behalf. 

Whether in the name of some religion or other messed up ideological, it's all the same breeding ground for abuse of all kinds with little to no consequences. 

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4 minutes ago, fundiefan said:

About time these things are written about rather than continuing the Amish idolization that is so prevalent with these "sweet, plain" people. As if they can do no wrong. 

These things are not unique to them though. Any group that shuns society as a whole, promotes isolation, shuns education...and so many other things, are breeding grounds for this behavior. Not that it's a given, it's that it makes it "easier" for abusers to not only abuse, but escape consequences.

Look at the Mormon woman who herself is having fits and suing the church leaders for - *gasp* telling the authorities that a parishioner was abusing his daughter! 

I am leery of any group, or even family, that isolates itself and controls the lives of their offspring in the name of "protection". Steve Maxwell, I am speaking to and about YOU. 

When you remove people - children - from the world at large, you remove them from any and all possible help, safe people / places; you remove them from anyone who would are intervene on the child's behalf. 

Whether in the name of some religion or other messed up ideological, it's all the same breeding ground for abuse of all kinds with little to no consequences. 

The shunning has always been a huge problem for me. I hate any kind of shunning. Jehovah’s Witnesses do a type of shunning and so do scientologists. Over 90% of Amish stay Amish. Even if they go off and have a drug filled wild and crazy teen and young adult time before they get baptized into the Amish church. Because if they want to have a family, they need that support. So they come back to get baptized, married, and start a family. It’s hard to start a family outside your Amish group because you have little education and very little support.

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35 minutes ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

 It’s hard to start a family outside your Amish group because you have little education and very little support.

I think this is one of the worst things about them. They deliberately make it as difficult as possible for their kids to succeed outside the group, and make it clear that they'll basically have to minimize if not completely break contact with everyone they know if they choose to leave. It's yet another reason abuse is able to be hidden - even if you tell, even if they believe you, you know full well the perpetrator will have to apologize to the church and sit at another table during dinner for a few weeks, and then you'll have to pretend nothing ever happened. There'll be nothing to stop the abuse from happening again. You'll get no protection, no support, no counseling, and no other help. And if you can't deal with that and want to leave? Good luck! You're undereducated, have no idea how much of the world works, and will have to start over completely from nothing with no guarantee of ever seeing your friends and loved ones again. 

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1 hour ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

The shunning has always been a huge problem for me. I hate any kind of shunning. Jehovah’s Witnesses do a type of shunning and so do scientologists. Over 90% of Amish stay Amish. Even if they go off and have a drug filled wild and crazy teen and young adult time before they get baptized into the Amish church. Because if they want to have a family, they need that support. So they come back to get baptized, married, and start a family. It’s hard to start a family outside your Amish group because you have little education and very little support.

It is also so hard to leave the life you grew up in. I know that if you leave before you are baptized you are not supposed to be shunned, so you can come back and visit, but I'm sure you are looked upon with suspicion. And in some cases, people are probably shunned. So you go back because you love your family and don't want to never see them again. 

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9 minutes ago, libgirl2 said:

It is also so hard to leave the life you grew up in. I know that if you leave before you are baptized you are not supposed to be shunned, so you can come back and visit, but I'm sure you are looked upon with suspicion. And in some cases, people are probably shunned. So you go back because you love your family and don't want to never see them again. 

I think a lot of them put off being baptized because of this. They can drift in and out for years. And then finally when they want to have a family, they get baptized. But imagine how hard it would be to stay within the Amish rules when you’ve been breaking them for years of your young adult life. I bet a bunch of them break the rules all the time and hope they don’t get caught.

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3 minutes ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

I think a lot of them put off being baptized because of this. They can drift in and out for years. And then finally when they want to have a family, they get baptized. But imagine how hard it would be to stay within the Amish rules when you’ve been breaking them for years of your young adult life. I bet a bunch of them break the rules all the time and hope they don’t get caught.

I will say that is the one thing the Amish do right with their adult baptism. They let them "run around" before hand, for better or worse. Maybe it helps get it out of their systems or maybe helps them realize they don't want to take that very serious step. 

I'm sure many break the rules, just like with any religious group. I know that it isn't surprising to see Amish men smoking cigars or making home brewed beer. 

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2 minutes ago, libgirl2 said:

I will say that is the one thing the Amish do right with their adult baptism. They let them "run around" before hand, for better or worse. Maybe it helps get it out of their systems or maybe helps them realize they don't want to take that very serious step. 

I'm sure many break the rules, just like with any religious group. I know that it isn't surprising to see Amish men smoking cigars or making home brewed beer. 

Alcohol and drugs are major issues for the young men during rumspringa. 

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1 hour ago, fundiefan said:

About time these things are written about rather than continuing the Amish idolization that is so prevalent with these "sweet, plain" people. As if they can do no wrong. 

Agree, and the popularity of Amish romance novels has only perpetuated the bullshit & distracted from some pretty grim realities.

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1 hour ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

Alcohol and drugs are major issues for the young men during rumspringa. 

Yeah, there are a LOT of those types of stories: https://wsbt.com/news/local/police-bust-2-underage-drinking-parties-saturday

 

I will also say I think "go have some time in a world we've totally not prepared you for" is a jackass manipulation tool.

Like, sure, go out and have fun...but you have sub par education, no non-cult safety net, no background that let's you know how to do stuff like have a credit card or use the internet, etc.

It LOOKS like freedom but feels like showing them they can't survive outside their little cage.

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I have been aware of this sort of thing , from haven lived in the Amish country of both Ohio and Pennsylvania , where this story , the second mentioned in this transcript http://www.nbcnews.com/id/6839718/ns/msnbc-about_msnbc_tv/t/msnbc-reports-innocence-lost/#.XiEKFSMo7bU , happened .  More specifically it was Swartzentruber Amish .  Compared to the Swartzentruber , all other churches , even Bible based fundamentalist cults , pale by comparison , in my opinion , in terms of the level of inhumane cruelty , and restriction , not to mention the before mentioned corruption .   

https://www.beliefnet.com/news/2005/02/the-gentle-people.aspx   

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17 hours ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

The Amish aren’t always big on going to the dentist regularly. So they can develop major dental issues over time. I can’t really say too many things about Amish in general because each group is different. But one thing that is the same about all of them is that they try to deal with any problems themselves without police involvement. So if there is rape, incest, or abuse, the elders deal with it themselves. And it’s rarely handled appropriately. How can it be in such a small insular group?

I remember hearing a story about a young Amish woman who, after trying to tell someone in her community about the incest she'd suffered, was taken to an "Amish dentist" to have her teeth pulled,  then told "Now you won't talk anymore." 

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1 minute ago, smittykins said:

I remember hearing a story about a young Amish woman who, after trying to tell someone in her community about the incest she'd suffered, was taken to an "Amish dentist" to have her teeth pulled,  then told "Now you won't talk anymore." 

That’s the story Marmion linked. It’s horrifying.  They usually just pull a bunch of teeth with cavities to save money but that instance was punishment. 

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18 hours ago, hoipolloi said:

Agree, and the popularity of Amish romance novels has only perpetuated the bullshit & distracted from some pretty grim realities.

I call this “Amish lifestyle porn.” I’ve read several of these (I’m looking at you, Naomi King/Charlotte Hubbard!) because they were milk-and-cookies comfort food in a time of stress, but have no illusions about their Amish utopia being real.

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49 minutes ago, Hane said:

I call this “Amish lifestyle porn.” I’ve read several of these (I’m looking at you, Naomi King/Charlotte Hubbard!) because they were milk-and-cookies comfort food in a time of stress, but have no illusions about their Amish utopia being real.

I read 5-10 of them back when my local library first started offering ebooks. For some reason, many of the ebooks they initially offered were Amish lifestyle porn, vampire fiction, and bodice-ripping Highlander books, with a few DIY & cookbooks thrown in. Not great pickings. 

At one point, I had plans to become wealthy through writing a romance series featuring Amish vampires of the Highlands. 

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24 minutes ago, hoipolloi said:

At one point, I had plans to become wealthy through writing a romance series featuring Amish vampires of the Highlands. 

I'd read that!  

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6 hours ago, Hane said:

I call this “Amish lifestle porn " .  I've read several of these (I’m looking at you, Naomi King/Charlotte Hubbard!) because they were milk-and-cookies comfort food in a time of stress, but have no illusions about their Amish utopia being real.

For counterbalance , if you can find any in stock , you can read the works of Helen Reimensnyder Martin .  They're , on the whole , more so set among the Pennsylvania Dutch more generally than specifically the Amish , though .  So far , I have read both " Tillie, a Mennonite Maid " , and " The Ordeal of Minnie Schultz " .  Both involved fictional stories of girls who experienced  abuse , and adversity , and yet eventually went on to find both personal liberation , as well as romantic love , aided by attaining an education .   

 

5 hours ago, hoipolloi said:

At one point, I had plans to become wealthy through writing a romance series featuring Amish vampires of the Highlands

Some of the Amish  actually originated in the Swiss Alps ,  i . e. highlands http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/1/11/swiss-amish-yodelingindiana.html  , and Holmes County is said to resemble this part of the world .  { https://amishcountryinsider.com/sugarcreek/ , https://www.ohiosamishcountry.com/articles/visit-the-little-switzerland-of-ohio }  

And  in addition , folk magick does factor into Pennsylvania Dutch culture as well .  { https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pow-wow_(folk_magic) , https://braucher.webs.com/hexesandcurses.htm }   

 

So such spooky stuff , while considered to be mere superstition to some folks , in taken seriously by numerous Pennsylvania Dutch communities , including the Amish .   So such novels might be appropriately applicable . But , in researching the topic just now , I have found that some people have already beaten you to the punch , incredibly enough .  https://www.charismanews.com/culture/41906-amish-romance-and-vampires-are-these-books-going-too-far 

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8 hours ago, hoipolloi said:

At one point, I had plans to become wealthy through writing a romance series featuring Amish vampires of the Highlands. 

???

I. will. be. waiting. 

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I used to live in an area with a large Amish population, and they're not as different from "us" as most people may think.  

 

I definitely remember a story on the news about an Amish man who was arrested for a sex crime, and later convicted and sent to prison, with his mugshot on the news.  Some of their communities are plagued by meth labs, and most of the puppy and kitten mills in my area (the Ozarks) were run by Amish families.

 

 

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10 hours ago, FiddleDD said:

Somewhere, in the bowels of my Kindle, is an Amish sci-fi book I found that takes place in space. 

Title needed!

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