The sex abuse scandal of Bishop Eddie Long has been a staple in national media for almost two weeks now. Accusers are coming out of the woodwork left and right, making Bishop Long look like the gay version of Tiger Woods in the pulpit. One surprising aspect of this case is that Long’s camp hasn’t fought back against the allegations, at least not very much. I wonder if that’s going to change.
One thing I thought about this morning is the advice I would give to Long’s accusers in the event that these sexual assaults actually did take place. If these were my sons, here are some things I might say:
1) Get counseling: If you were the victim of sexual abuse, it is important that you get help. You can’t just pray your way out of it or hope that time will heal all wounds. You should seek professional counseling and gets lots of it. Our first sexual experiences define us in powerful ways, and you must also deal with the fact that one of the people you trusted the most has betrayed you. The trauma of these experiences will be with you for the rest of your lives, so you must find a healthy way to cope.
2) Stop talking to the media: By speaking on the case publicly, you are putting your lawsuit at risk. Attorneys can be vultures, and they are going to use every little word, nuance, and media appearance against you. Listen to your attorney, BJ Bernstein, and keep your mouths shut.
3) Be honest: I hope the accusers aren’t lying or conspiring against Bishop Long. If this case turns out to be about money or revenge, I will count this as one of the greatest disappointments in my entire life. If truth is on your side, you should use it as your greatest weapon against those who are going to try to attack you. So far, the other side hasn’t counter-attacked, which bolsters your credibility in the public eye. Keep being honest, for the truth really does set you free if you are innocent.
4) Stay diligent and mentally strong: If it is the case that you are telling the truth, you need to keep your eyes on the prize. The prize is not the money you may win from a lawsuit. It is the peace of mind you will have by knowing that you are protecting other young men. Again, I am not one to say that Bishop Eddie Long definitely did this, but if he did, he needs to be stopped. To the extent that you are being truthful, I am proud of all of you for taking on a man with more powerful friends than we can count. Evil has no place in the pulpit, and you deserve better than this from a father.
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