Christianity Today, the premier American magazine for Evangelical Christians, features as its cover story the personal recollection of Wess Stafford (Compassion International) in regard to his time at the Mamou Alliance Academy, a missionary kids’ boarding school, and how the abuse he suffered there affected his life and his call to help other children.
In a sidebar to the article Katelyn Beaty summarizes what happened at Mamou and how the denomination, Christian & Missionary Alliance, responded eventually. She also mentions our documentary All God’s Children, which tells not only the story of the abuse the children suffered at Mamou, but also how they were re-traumatized by the forced silence in the decades following and how they struggled for over 10 years to get the denomination to begin an independent investigation into the reports of abuse. 
We are grateful for Christianity Today drawing attention to the abuse of missionary kids. But personally I will always wish there would be more focus on how common and widespread the abuse is and how so many survivors continue to suffer in silence. 
The thought that some people may read into the main article that suffering as a child may lead to becoming a better servant of God, is chilling to me. 

4 Replies to “Articles about abuse at Mamou Alliance Academy”

  1. What people seem to forget is that there were several denominations represented at Mamou. The Alliance was the only one to step up. They didn't say, "It didn't happen on our watch". THey opened the doors to healing and communication; they said, "How can we help?". THey also looked at what they do today and worked to change things. What other denomination has done this? (read the papers)Perhaps others should utilize what they did and what they learned as a model and step up rather than sweep things under the rug. Thank you, Alliance. I went to Mamou. I have many good memories and many sad ones. THe greatest healing for me was the acknowledgement of our hurts and the open door to talk to my parents. There are many in the world who have suffered more deeply than we did. In the course of my work I have met small children who have suffered unimaginably and have moved forward to live triumphant and joyful lives. The key is open communication and acknowledgement. The Alliance has done this.I have no formal religious affiliations, but I feel that rather than beat dead horses, we need to move forward to work on the others who still refuse to offer healing or acknowledge that they need to change.

  2. Hi Anonymous,

    You bring up an interesting perspective, but some of your information is incorrect. Mamou was owned and managed by the Alliance. None of the other denominations involved at Mamou stepped up when they should have, and that is to their shame. But the school was primarily the Alliance's responsibility.

    Two other denominations (not associated with Mamou), the Presbyterians and the Methodists, have completed Independent Investigations into abuse at their schools/dorms.

    The Alliance is culpable for abuses in their other schools, not just Mamou. And they have not responded to credible allegations of abuse in those other schools / hostels. (1) Alumni from those schools who have reported abuse have received the same inadequate response as we did when we first began formally reporting abuse in 1987. Their allegations have been minimized, and there has never been an independent investigation into any of the schools. (2) Over the last 5 decades there have been staff from the Alliance's other schools who were sent back to North America because the Alliance themselves acknowledged these staff members had sexually abused children in their care. On returning to North America those pedophiles were either given positions in churches or were quietly released into the general polulation. Sound familiar? Yup, they were reading from the same discipline manual as the Catholics.

    And at least 24 other mission agencies and denominations are using that same manual. Just as Mamou was not the only school in the Alliance where serious and damaging abuse occurred, the Alliance is not the only denomination which has seriously endangered children.

    This is a story worth telling, because
    there are at least 85 missionary-run schools operating today, with over 15,000 children in them. Until the mission agencies and denominations find a very different manual to use, those children will continue to be vulnerable.

    We cannot be involved in all of the terrible pain that children suffer in other settings. But this is one that I am familiar with, and we will continue to advocate for change.

    Beverly Shellrude Thompson
    President, MKSafetyNet

  3. Dear Anonymous,

    Christianity Today has covered the Mamou story since 1995. They obviously don't think that telling Wess Stafford's story and highlighting the work of MK Safety Net is beating a dead horse. Protestants often think these things are a Catholic problem. A few denominations, including the Alliance, have acknowledged their problems and have taken some steps to address them. But, much more needs to be done.

    Those of us who participated in All God's Children are not in an adversarial position with those who remember Mamou as wonderful or who feel they have completelyag overcome what happened to them there. However, we are often attacked when the press, Christian or otherwise, affirms what we have done. I guess it falls under the category of being persecuted for righteousness sake.

    Dianne Couts,
    AGC Participant

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