Adverse Childhood Experiences in the Geftays Assembly
Here are our initial observations about the relevance of the ACEs questionaire to many children in the Geftakys Assemblies. This is an unfinished draft. Your input is invited.
Did a parent or other adult in your household often insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? Or act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt? YES
The message that accompanied the spankings was not just instruction about the particular misbehavior. Every infraction was framed as an act of sinful self-will that was so bad it must be put to death. So children learned that a particular behavior was unacceptable, but at a deeper level they got the shaming message that their whole being was 'bad'.
Spankings were administered not only at home, but at Cornerstone Academy, and in the ladies room at meetings, introducing the element of public humiliation.
There are physical neurological consequences with spanking infants:
1. Spanking is painful and creates fear. The fear response affects the developing brain.
Research has shown that brain size is measureably affected.
2. Fear also impairs infant-mother bonding and development of secure attachment. Our earliest relationships actually form the brain structures we will use for relating to others for the rest of our lives.
Did a parent or other adult in the household often push, grab, slap you, or hit you with something hard? throw something at you? Were you ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured? YES
Parents were instructed to spank from the age of three months to twelve years.
This was fearful for the babies and toddlers; it was both humiliating and
fearful for the older ones as more strokes were added and were administered with
The spankings were administered, not just once for an offence, but until the desired behavior was exhibited. If the child didn’t immediately comply with the command after being spanked, spanking were repeated, sometimes even for hours.
Parents were not the only ones who spanked and disciplined the children. Babysitters also carried out discipline. Workers visited in homes for the specific purpose of taking over the spanking and discipline to demonstrate the proper method.
Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way? or Attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you?
It is known that this did happen to children in the Assembly (as well as adults).
Did you often feel that no one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? Did you feel that your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other? YES
Does anyone have a response to this question? Share comments here and on the "George and Betty Geftakys" FaceBook page.
Was your mother often pushed, grabbed, slapped or had something thrown at her? or hit with something hard? YES
See Assembly Marriages. After "wife training" was implemented in 1989 many wives were subjected to this kind of treatment.
Was a household member depressed? YES
The moms subjected to the 'wife training'? Any comments?