He heals wounds of every shattered heart. Proverbs 147:3
Happy Tuesday. Today, I would like to ask you to join me in trying something new . . . stomp out childhood sexual abuse!
Imagine you are a child and a trusted family member does unspeakable acts to you that you do not understand. One of the people you love most in the world is not only aware, but jealous. You hide and lock the door, and he apologizes and promises to never do it again, but over and over he returns pushing the envelope further. You tell your mother, who scolds you and you keep the secret.
Imagine yourself a young adult with small children still afraid to be left alone with the perpetrator. A child in your family tries to kill herself from depression. She later tells similar stories about the same family member.
Imagine you are going through life and through no fault of your own, your world is turned upside down and inside out. All the people you know and love suddenly love you no longer. You are alone. Doing what’s right to protect a child who has experienced a pain like your own means losing everything. You have nothing to gain. You are looked upon as dirty and substandard.
Imagine wanting to die from the pain of being isolated, unloved and invalidated. Each day the torment of memories is eating away at your existence. You can barely leave the house for fear of being known, ridiculed or accidentally seeing the people who hurt you.
Imagine the church that you attend supporting the people who hurt you without ever speaking with you, even though you were a victim and also a member. You know secrets unveiled from within the church walls and when you try to speak with the minister who had a hand in getting the one who hurt you most out of jail, he threatened to call the police.
Imagine the child you helped recanting everything as an adult, leaving you looking like a liar. You never again have any substantial relationship with anyone outside your husband and children.
Imagine working your way through college and fighting your way into a career later in the life. You fight to protect your children from people and situations that might be harmful, so they do not know the same pain.
Imagine yourself working through the pain and forgiving the ones who hurt you. You trust God and make a new life for your family and you are finally finding peace. No one can hurt you or your children now. Many years have passed. The family is forever broken and there is no hope of reconciliation. You now realize that we are all God’s children and wish no one any harm.
Imagine yourself seventeen years later. The family member you loved so much has died. She never made things right with you. The same church places a plaque up in her honor, even though she hid family secrets about your pain. You seek out family history and convince yourself that she made stupid mistakes as a young adult and lived in a different time. You tell yourself she made decisions because women married to ensure they had providers for their children. You are able to reestablish a relationship with one relative who is also outcast by the family.
Imagine yourself twenty-four years after the arrest. The perpetrator has died. The family is fighting and excluding others as their greed takes control of their minds and hearts.
Imagine praying for the family and repose of the soul of the perpetrator. Imagine feeling numb at first and then sadness because your dreams that one day your family would be reunited and know you told the truth will never happen.
Someone I care about was a victim of childhood sexual abuse and experienced these events and feelings. If you know someone like this, whether a child or adult, don’t look at them as dirty. Give them love and help them. It’s never a child’s fault. Childhood sexual abuse is real and destroys lives and families. Often these crimes are committed by people close to the family, if not the family. Children do not want their family members to be mad at them and more often than not, remain silent. Perpetrators need help too. Protecting the perpetrators only hurts more people. Churches are made up of people like you and me. We need to unite to help.
Join me today in stopping sexual abuse of children. If you have been abused, I lift you up in prayer. Leave me your name and I will pray for you. Join me in turning everything over to the one who mends shattered hearts. God bless you.