Thu | Jul 19, 2018

Moravian mess is no 'sex scandal'

Published:Saturday | January 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I am deeply disappointed in the media, including this publication, and its reporting of the sexual-abuse cases that are surfacing against leading members of the Moravian Church.

Insofar as the media are one of the most powerful agents of socialisation, they must begin to understand and appreciate the critical role they play in shaping attitudes and behaviours. A cultural shift is necessary, and the media must assume responsibility on the front lines.

The continued use of the term 'sex scandal' to describe the sexual abuse of minors is unfortunate at best, and complicit in the abuse of our girls (and boys) at worst. A pastor having consensual sex with a congregant he's not married to may be described as a 'sex scandal'. A pastor abusing his position of authority and betraying the trust of minors with whom he should be sharing mentorship and protective relationships cannot be presented as a sex scandal. It is highly irresponsible, and it aids in the process of normalising the inappropriate and criminal behaviour.




There is a long history of treating sexual violence and abuse against children and women as a mere inconvenience. Until we begin to treat sexual abuse as the scourge it is, we will continue to do a disservice to the affected members of the population. The first step in delivering justice to the thousands of victims who have suffered from the horrid violation of their bodies is to use appropriate language to describe and address sexual abuse and violence against our children. Language matters, and it is high time that the media operate as though they are cognisant of this.


Human Rights Advocate