& Rebuts Independent Advisory Group
The Jonathan Fletcher matter has grown stranger and stranger. A thirty page open letter addressed to Justin Humphreys of the safeguarding charity, Thirty-one:8, was purportedly issued by seven unnamed survivors of Fletcher’s abuse. The letter was placed in the public domain on 12 May. It says that the IAG Report showed an “apparent willingness to weaponise our experience of abuse for their own purposes.”
After touching on the already widely disseminated allegations against Fletcher, the authors then took the IAG report to task.
“However, what has also wounded us – indeed, profoundly deepened our pain – is the IAG
statement and the Twitter response its authors have incited. It has left us profoundly hurt
and confused. It has left us dismayed and angry – because of the unjustified erosion of trust
in leaders we know acted responsibly, promptly and kindly.
“Compared with your 31:8 report, the IAG statement seems to speak with a different voice
pursuing a different agenda. It feels like our abuse has become a convenient launching pad
for its authors’ and their supporters’ real interest.
“We have been left hurt and frustrated that the focus has been allowed to be taken away from
our suffering, the sin of JF and the failings of Emmanuel Wimbledon. We have been left
wondering: why did the IAG take advantage of this moment to pursue their other interests
instead of allowing the report to speak with its own voice?
“Having been used once we find ourselves being used all over again, indeed we feel we are
being weaponised for somebody else’s agenda.
The explanatory text portion of the rebuttal was some six pages in length. The remaining 24 pages were a lawyerly series of questions and statements.
The anonymous authors concluded the textual narrative by stating:
“We repeat how grateful we are for the Review report. The problem for us lies with the IAG
statement in the way it removes the focus from JF, Emmanuel Wimbledon and our suffering.
JF is the man who wronged us and harmed us. JF is rightly the focus of the Review. It is right
that broader questions are raised where there are opportunities for wider learning – indeed,
this is one way we pray good can come out of survivors’ suffering. But the IAG statement
does not merely raise broader questions – it removes the focus from JF and from the issues
that really caused our suffering. But worse, what it has incited has brought us misery and
inflicted deeply personal further pain.
“We will listen carefully to what you say in response to us, but on the face of it the IAG
statement looks like a political and/or personal agenda that some members of the IAG are
determined to pursue.
“What hurts and confuses us so much is their apparent willingness to weaponise our
experience of abuse for their own purposes. And, respectfully, what hurts and confuses us
even more is why you allowed them to do it, and then stayed silent when they had done it. If
we are wrong, please help us and tell us why we are wrong. Or disavow the IAG statement
publicly, so everyone can set it aside and get on with the serious and vital cultural reflection
we all desire. We praise God for the clear evidence that this necessary reflection is already
beginning to take place in our constituency.”
At press time, none of those involved in the IAG Report have responded to the assertions of the Survivors’ Group. Likewise, no one has been publicly identified as a signatory of the open letter.