How to Prevent Fatherless Black Sons From Being Preyed On In The Church
Originally posted August 5, 2011
This is a touchy subject but it must be addressed to safeguard our children. Firstly, the church is supposed to be a place of refugee where we all can go and find comfort, help and confidence in the members and staff at the church. The church was meant to be the only place we could trust anyone that walked in the doors.
Well, though this subject is not new, how many people really take heed to the issues in the church where scandal has arose? Have we even thought about what could happen to our own children, namely our black sons if someone was to prey on their vulnerability for sexual favors?
Unfortunately, the church has become in some cases, a place where more children are being sexual assaulted and victimized at young ages up to teenage years. All of the news we here about pastors and church staff involved in inappropriate sexual contact with children is real and not just for television. We must act accordingly in order for our own children to be safe.
We are focusing on black boys because they will be the men of our next generation and if we don’t do our job as single black women to keep them safe, they may grow up to be confused, neglected, abused and resentful.
In the wake of the Bishop Eddie Long sexual misconduct allegations and case, we will point out some obvious tips to prevent your black son from being preyed on. Though many of us know about the case and have probably said we know what to watch out for, this is for single black mothers who trust in the church and don’t see the tell-tale signs of a possible abused and used child or inappropriate manner of a church official.
These are some warning signs that your son may be preyed on at the church (These can also be used for daughters too):
- When one particular person is showing too much interest in your child. This could be the pastor or a church staff member who wants to be around them often. This may include private phone calls that a teen boy may not want their mothers to listen in on. This person may be giving your son many compliments that seem unwarranted just to gain trust.
- When a pastor or church staff member may want to take the place as your son’s father, since his father is not present in his life. He wants to be called ‘daddy’ and your child called his ‘son’. Though this may seem innocent when the words ‘spiritual father’ or ‘spiritual son’ are used, this is a classic sign of a possible predator trying to gain the trust and love of your son. Remember, anyone that your son comes in contact with that wants to play a role of a father, is very influential to the son because they are impressionable.
- When a pastor or staff member begins giving your son gifts. These gifts can start off small like a little money or dinner or lunch. Then the gifts can start to become larger like large amounts of money, clothes and electronics. One particular person should not be giving your son several gifts in exchange to spend time with them.
- When this person wants to spend time with your son very often and alone away from your presence. This is a bad sign if your son wants to spend most of their free time with this person and the person also requests to see them often. This may have been explained to you as mentoring sessions but there could be something else inappropriate going on or that may occur.
These are two things you do not allow your son or teen son to do without your presence.
- Sleepovers. This is a bad idea. Sometimes we become so trusting of the church and the pastor that we don’t recognize that even a request for your son to sleepover a man’s house is inappropriate in the asking. Again, to keep your son safe, you may have to say no to sleepovers. Spending the night over people’s homes just aren’t as safe as they used to be.
- Out of town trips. There should be no out of town trips of any kind unless this is for a team or church event where your child is actively involved. It should not be a trip alone with the pastor or church staff member. As your child’s mother, you would need to be present on the trip or have someone you know presence to watch over your child.
As a black mother, it is up to us to ask questions, show a presence and be very active in our child’s life. Just as we can’t let the schools babysit or raise our children, we can’t allow the church to either. We must be very aware of our child’s behavior which may exhibit some defiance because they can’t be around this particular person. As single black mothers, we have to deal with this accordingly by possibly banning the child from the person. We also have to ask our child questions about their time with a church staff member or pastor. By doing so, we can be aware of what’s going on at any given time and intervene.
The point of this article is to make the single black mother aware that they can not put all their entire trust in the church just because its the church. Unfortunately, the church can be a dangerous place in forming sexual identity issues in the future. If in fact an incident does occur, the parent must cease attending the church, confront the persons involved and notify the authorities immediately. But we pray that the tips above will be of some help for any single black woman who wants to raise, strong, confident and safe young men. Remember, even though the father may not be present in your son’s life, as a mother you must take care of them as you would a daughter. They will grow up to appreciate your efforts in making sure they were sheltered from harm’s way.