Christian Assemblies International: Former members detail abuse handed out by CAI leader Scott Williams ABC By Caro Meldrum-Hanna July 29, 2014
A four-year investigation by the ABC has uncovered shocking claims of abuse and torment in relation to NSW-based registered charity and religious group Christian Assemblies International (CAI).
Four Corners has revealed that self-styled religious guru Pastor Scott Williams was using his warped brand of evangelical Pentecostalism to run a clandestine homosexual sex ring while allegedly misusing vast amounts of member donations for personal use.
Courageous former members broke their silence and told of their torment living inside the group, which they said is not a Christian church but a horrendous cult run by one man.
The ex-members have remained in the shadows until now out of fear and shame. They detailed shocking acts of abuse ranging from spiritual abuse, financial abuse, verbal and physical abuse, and the sexual abuse of adult men.
They said bizarre sexual rituals were carried out in secret by Williams, who described himself as "The Anointed One" with the Lord's authorisation to sidestep biblical commands against homosexuality and sexually train his male members into submission and obedience....
Former members say they were recruited by Williams as teenagers and young adults, with many still at school. They say they were brainwashed into believing Williams was The Anointed One, filled with the Holy Spirit and gifted with the divine power of healing.....
Katja's husband, Steve, says women were treated as less than men.
"Women were second-rate citizens," he said. "They were there to have children and stand in the kitchen and make food."
Using biblical scripture, Williams also preached that children were born evil and that the evil had to beaten out of them with an iron rod.
Four Corners spoke to many children who were born into the cult who are now adults. They detailed disturbing policies of punishment, including children being publically beaten for making any noise during a Sunday sermon or for moving off a mat laid out at the front of the Assembly....
Official campus statistics for sexual violence mislead
A school with a lower rate may just be better at discouraging students from reporting assault
July 14, 2014 by Jennifer J. Freyd
Last month, The Washington Post released a compilation of reported rates of campus sexual assault nationwide. Such reports, which colleges and universities are required to release each year, are generally thought to be useful to the public. Parents of college-bound high school students who read that School A has a higher rate of reported sexual violence than School B can make more informed decisions about where their children will be safest. And they might very reasonably think that School A is a more dangerous school. However, the higher rate of reported sexual violence at School A likely indicates the opposite: that it is actually safer than School B. It means that School A is making it possible for — even encouraging — students to report sexual violence.
As a social scientist researching campus sexual violence, I know that even the highest rates of official reported victimization on campuses are substantially lower than what social science data suggest are the real rates of sexual assault. The best national estimate is that approximately 1 in 5 women experience sexual violence in college. But the reported rates are nothing like this, even at those colleges with the highest rates.
Why? Victims of abuse are often reticent about making official reports because they fear the consequences, including being stigmatized or not being believed. This tendency to remain silent is then amplified by institutional barriers to reporting. Colleges and universities have a perverse incentive to discourage sexually victimized students from reporting assault, due to the reputational hit colleges experience if their reported rates of violence are higher than those of their competitors. It’s a profoundly dangerous status quo, because encouraging reporting is one of the key ways colleges can make campuses safer.
Part of the challenge of tackling campus sexual assault is that sexual abuse typically starts in adolescence, prior to the beginning of college. Perpetrators have often been victimized themselves. Many college victims also have a prior history of abuse. These are important factors that my laboratory has studied for years. Ultimately we must address the underlying society-wide problem of child sexual abuse that contributes to college sexual violence. But in the meantime, college campuses offer a remarkable intervention point for sexual assault: They have resources. They are limited in number (thousands of institutions of higher education versus millions of families, for instance). They influence young people on the cusp of adult responsibility.
But only when such violence is reported can victims access services and colleges hold perpetrators accountable. For most colleges and universities, however, discouraging reporting appears to remain the norm. Colleges can make it difficult to determine how to report; they can also make life harder for students who do report by shaming, invalidating and even punishing them. This is why the reported rates likely tell us more about the campus climate than about underlying rates of sexual violence.
When schools discourage reporting, they collude with many societal forces to cover up sexual violence. Sexual violence thrives on secrecy; if students do not feel they can safely report, the assaults will continue unchecked....