Religion Doesn’t Trump Responsibility

I think many bible quoting and bible believing Christians have religion and responsibility all mixed up!!

I was reading a post today and a young woman was sharing that she had been sexually abused at the age of seven by her uncle. She said the abuse went on for several years. When she told her mother, the mom told him to apologize and hug her and all was well!  The woman went on to say that she was healed because of her faith and she had learned to forgive him.
Dozens of people commented by saying, “Amen.” Now, while I get that we should most definitely support this young woman for having survived a horrific childhood, I was pissed that no one was stating the obvious; how in the world did this mother think that an apology and a hug was all that this baby needed? And furthermore, what the heck does justice have to do with forgiveness?
So let me deal with this is a couple different phases….
1) Amen the fact that this woman has survived, but don’t overlook the obvious. Everyone reading that post should have been outraged that this girl was sexually abused and nobody did anything about it.
We have to stop acting as though an Amen and a prayer is enough because its not! We have to start speaking up and speaking out about the adults who allow these predators to get a pass for their actions simply because they share some DNA with the parent or child.
2) The fact that this man was not brought to justice simply means that while this child’s abuse ended, the trauma was yet beginning for another precious child. Research shows that these predators don’t just stop abusing kids because they get caught. Oh no….they can have hundreds of victims in their lifetime, so by giving them a pass, you literally give them license, opportunity, and means to abuse over and over.
3) Where did we get the idea that forgiveness meant there was no accountability for one’s actions? The bible does speak of forgiveness as a characteristic of being God-like, but it was never intended to give sexual predators a get out of jail free card. You can forgive (clearly those who know me are well aware that I have issues with forgiving these folks, but that’s just me), but you still call the police and allow the legal system to investigate and prosecute. I don’t believe there are any crowns being given out in Heaven for being so forgiving that you would allow someone to sexually abuse your child and not hold them accountable.
4) If The Lord speaks of it being better to throw yourself off of a cliff with a stone tied around your neck than to hurt one of the children, do you not think there wouldnt be some culpability for those who also turned a blind eye to a child being hurt? Even with all the well-intentioned faith in the world, I just have to believe that God expects more from us when we discover a predator in our midst; esp when they have already abused a child.
5) If one part of the body hurts, then we all hurt. So lets talk this through….if you as a believer knows The Lord is concerned about the children, doesn’t that make them part of the body too? And if they be part of the body, shouldn’t our interests be rooted in protecting them, and not the predator? After all, the predator is clearly not part of the body of believers or they wouldn’t be sexually abusing kids!!! So why the heck do so called bible quoting and bible believing Christians go to such great lengths to protect the devil and his imps?
6) What message are we sending the child when we tell them to just forgive uncle so and so for raping her? How about, uncle so and so’s demonic sexual pleasure is more important than her own right not to be violated. How about, that she has no control over what happens to her body and anyone can do with her as they please. How about, the family is more concerned with uncle so and so’s sick behind than her physical, mental and emotional well-being.
So what’s my point? Stop acting like faith without works is going to produce any kind of results! We are going to have to pray for sexual abuse to end AND make predators accountable for their actions. Our religion doesnt absolve us from responsibility – it demands that we take responsibility! That means our brothers, fathers, cousins, uncles, teachers, clergymen, and family friends are going to have to be outed for the predators that they are and required to face the consequences.  Take a wimpy stance when you’re being talked about, being lied on, or overlooked for your talents, but don’t be a wimp when it comes to protecting the babies. If we don’t do it, who will?

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Dying To Keep A Secret?

I was listening to Natalie Lamb, Life Coach and Founder of It’s Your Choice, on the radio today and she made the statement that “We are all as sick as our secrets.” I’ve heard her say this before, but today these words resonated within me and caused an array of flashing lights to go off in my head!  It was like I was standing on the edge of the planet and looking back at it from a completely different perspective.

When my daughter initially disclosed her sexual abuse, I was plagued with all kinds of guilt.  The guilt of not knowing, the guilt of not protecting her, the guilt of being a working mom and being sure this wouldn’t have happened if I was a stay-at-home mom (false assumption on my part), the guilt of what others would think about me as a parent, and the guilt of being a failure in my own mother’s eyes.  Yes, all these things went through my mind in the days following her disclosure.  But, even with all of that, it never occurred to me that we should keep her abuse a secret and not demand her abuser face criminal charges for what he had done.  We also made sure that other people in the family were aware so they could investigate whether there were others in the family who had been victimized by this individual.

It never occurred to us that we would have to keep it a secret and sweep it under the rug for the sake of saving face with others, or for fear of being judged harshly by friends, family and strangers.  Of course, we used discretion initially because we wanted to make sure our daughter was protected mentally and emotionally, but it was never about making her keep it a secret any longer.  She had carried that secret long enough and she had the right to tell anyone she felt compelled to share with.  Although, as parents, we definitely gave her advice about sharing, it was NEVER about creating shame, nor was it about protecting us.  It was about being in control of her life-story and deciding for herself who became privy to that information.

I must say however, there were some members in our family who weren’t as comfortable about her sharing, nor were they in favor of this blog.  They believe subjects like sexual abuse should be treated as private family matters that we shouldn’t discuss publicly.   But what if I told you that many of the mental, emotional and physical problems that many people face today are often the direct result of abuse and trauma that they experienced as children and they felt pressured (or was actually forced) to keep quiet about it?

We probably all have someone in our family who just never could get things quite together in life.  They had trouble holding down a job, abused drugs or alcohol, seemed to be a little out of touch most of the time, or just always acted up when the family came together.  But consider just for a moment that this person isn’t just an all-around screw up and quite possibly is being help captive by the secrets that they’ve been carrying all these years.  Maybe their behavioral patterns and choices were simply a cry for help.  What must it feel like to have been sexually abused by someone you know or even trusted; to have never received any counseling, and then told to be quiet about it because it wasn’t in good taste to talk about it, especially with those outside of the family?  How is that person supposed to act?  After-all, they were essentially told that their abuser and the reputation of the family was more important than them!

Now what about the ones that made them carry the secret?  Don’t think that they were simply able to go on with life with no consequences.  Oh no…there has to be a mental battle for the part they played in over-looking or excusing the abuse of a child – even if it’s a subconscious battle.  So now they are running from what they’ve allowed to go on and if you ask me, the secret they are carrying has to weigh on them too.  Undoubtedly, their actions manifest themselves via some kind of mental, emotional or physical problem.  Nobody gets off scott-free when a child is harmed – I wholeheartedly believe God designed it that way!

So now….are we not all as sick as our secrets?  Every child that was forced to swallow the reality of their abuse is dealing with the lasting trauma of their abuse, and every adult who enabled the abuser to avoid the penalty of their action is also carrying the burden for their part in the crime.  And, while everyone is sick because of the secret, the only innocent party is the child!  The adults brought it on themselves.

We must change our perspective on child sex abuse and stop making it something shameful for the child and the family.  Speaking up and speaking out will shed light on these evil predators and prevent them from hurting other children.  I’ve just scratched the surface here….there are so many other facets of keeping these secrets that we haven’t talked about – generational incest, pregnancy and genetic disorders and abnormalities, identity crisis and sexual dysfunction, poverty, chronic depression, and innumerable failed relationships.  We are a sick society and to a great extent, it’s because we are carrying baggage that we need not carry!

Protect the child, not the predator.

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Knowledge Is Power

As parents, we must talk to our children about sex abuse prevention. If you were abused as a child, it’s at your discretion whether you detail the events of your abuse to your child, but you at least need to have the conversation about what sex abuse is so they can protect themselves. Don’t make the mistake of believing they’re too young….this conversation needs to start early! Many victims are abused as early as 3 years old, if not younger, so teaching your children what appropriate and inappropriate touch is can help safeguard them from the sexual predator. Also, teaching them that they control what happens to their bodies, and that they have the right to say no to anyone’s touch gives them the power to speak up for themselves. Lastly, reassuring them that they can tell you if ANYONE is touching them in a way that makes them uncomfortable or violates the boundaries you’ve already taught is paramount.

If you were abused as a child and now you have fears about your children’s safety, that is normal. And, while your fears are warranted based on your own experience, you just don’t want your child to feel as if they live in a bubble and they have no understanding as to why. Therefore, you may need to explain your decisions to them in a manner that they can understand. For example, if you don’t allow them to sleep away from home or you don’t allow unsupervised play dates, let them know about your concerns for their overall safety and then try to construct alternatives like having the sleep over at your house or having play time at a venue that you are a little more comfortable with. There has to be a balance created to addresses your concerns while giving them the ability to just be a kid.

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When Did We Lose Our Humanity?


This case serves as a lesson to all that we, as a society, have a HUGE problem with the way we view and subsequently treat women and children. Sadly, it is a global issue as well.

It is the utter disrespect of women and total neglect to view them as humans that perpetuates behavior that would somehow give a teenage boy license to violate a young woman and then suggest it wasn’t a big deal. That same disregard for women and children would then shape a defense that suggested that an intoxicated young woman consented to the crimes committed against her, and further argued that said crimes should be overlooked as nothing more than two boys horsing around or behaving badly.

The facts surrounding this case also leave me with so many questions like why were so many of their peers willing to stand by and watch a young woman being raped and transported like cattle from one location to the next? Why would a young man feel it was ok to suggest that someone urinate on her like she was an in-adamant object? Didn’t anyone teach these kids about basic humanity? Were these parents just that neglectful in educating their young men about respecting women, and what constitutes rape? Are parents in general just oblivious to the fact that teaching character and the willingness to stand up for what is right is still vital to raising good, responsible human beings?

This case should have NEVER happened! Priests molesting children should NEVER happen! Teachers and school administrators molesting kids and having sex with students should NEVER happen. Dads, cousins, uncles, brothers, aunts, and even mothers molesting, pimping, and raping our girls and boys, young men and young women should NEVER happen…..but it does. It’s happening everyday because somewhere along the line, women and children were viewed more so as a commodity and a possession and not as human beings who deserved to be loved and protected.

So while Trent Mays and Malik Richmond must be held responsible for raping a 16 yr old girl, every other person must be held accountable for their crimes against a group who has been muted for far too long….the sexually abused and sexually assaulted.


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The Children Are Our Future, So Why Don’t We Protect Them ?

I was lying in bed and began to contemplate the idea that the children are our future.  As the thought lingered, I became saddened by the fact that we, as a society, don’t seem to consider what this really means.  After all, we take precautions like purchasing car seats, child proofing the house, and feeding our children green leafy vegetables so they grow up to be healthy and strong.  We are warned to be on the look out for conditions like obesity, dental caries, and adolescent diabetes.  We even have programs aimed at preventing drug use, teen pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases.  But….when do we take the precaution of preventing child sex abuse?

If the children are truly our future, shouldn’t we take better precautions to ensure that their emotional and psychological health are protected just as much as their physical health?  This involves taking the time to understand the behavioral cues and grooming patterns of sexual predators.  Because, as we all know, they don’t walk around with a big red scarlet “A” for Abuser on their chest, nor do they announce their intentions.  Quite the contrary! They insinuate themselves into our lives ever so cleverly, and most of us are oblivious to their motives because we are caught up in the familial and social connections that we have with them.

In fact, the statistics speak louder than my words ever could.  Research tells us that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18.  90% of the abusers will be someone the child knows and trusts.  And, these children are at greater risk of suffering from depression, eating disorders, sexual promiscuity, and mental disorders etc. than children who aren’t sexually abused.  So if this is true, what kind of future are we creating for them when we don’t protect them?

Now some might say that they don’t have children so this isn’t “their problem,” but I beg to differ.  This is an issue that affects us all because we are talking about the emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being of those who will be tasked with running our country, raising the next generation, and caring for us in our old age!  So whether one has children or not, we will all depend on these kids at some point in our lives.  That said, we ALL have an obligation to protect our children – our future.

Protecting them starts with educating ourselves and creating a circle of safety for our children; teaching children boundaries and giving them permission to create boundaries for themselves, and speaking up when we see someone exhibiting potential problem behavior.  This includes trusted friends and family members, teachers, clergymen or neighbors.  Anytime you see someone exhibiting behavior that places a child at risk for sex abuse, say something.

As the song says, I believe the children are our future.  The question is, what type of future are they going to have if we don’t protect them today?  Rest assured, our collective failures as a society today, can and will have devastating and long-lasting effects tomorrow.

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Teachable Moments

This week I came across this post regarding a clergyman who was photographed in the bathtub with his 4 yr old granddaughter….


The photo has sparked a lot of outrage because many view his actions as inappropriate and in line with the actions of a child predator. In listening to his interview, he clearly acknowledges the problem of pedophilia in our society and how what he characterizes as an innocent moment between him and his granddaughter could be viewed as something inappropriate. He further states that while he makes no apologies for allowing his granddaughter to get in the tub with him (both of them were clothed according to him), he certainly wouldn’t condone such a moment being released across the world wide web after the backlash he has experienced.

So what’s my point? Teaching children boundaries is critical to securing their safety. Innocence is often taken because the child didn’t understand the actions of the predator was wrong, they didn’t feel empowered to challenge the advances of the predator, or they didn’t know how to speak up and have their voices heard by those tasked with protecting them. Granted, while one can make the argument that being clothed in a bathtub with grandpa while mom snaps a photo for the old family photo album is nothing more than a tear-jerking moment of innocence, I believe it can create a modicum of confusion in a child’s mind and provide the tiniest opening for a predator to use against a child’s sense of better judgement. For example, if another family member or family friend is aware that a child engages in such play with grandpa, what prohibits them from suggesting that their advances and acts of molestation is nothing more than the same innocent child’s play that occurs with grandpa?

I don’t know the man in this photo, so I’m not going to speculate on whether he is a pedophile or not. What I will say is, neither he, nor his daughter, used the best judgement in this situation.  The child in this particular photo could easily become prey to any number of predators who are craftier and more manipulative that we parents could ever imagine. Not to mention that other children might see this photo and become prey to a predator because they don’t know the little girl and her grandfather were supposedly clothed and the mom was in the room the entire time.

Fun and games have their place, but there must be clearly defined limits to avoid confusion.  One irresponsible act could have a devastating impact on a child’s life and we must all be mindful of that. Pedophilia isn’t a new phenomenon by any stretch, but we, as parents, have more knowledge than ever before.  We must use these teachable moments to let our children know what’s right/wrong, acceptable/unacceptable, appropriate/inappropriate. Our children NEED to know that they have a voice and we will listen to them when they say someone makes them uncomfortable or that someone is doing, saying, or touching them in a way that they dont like. Lets face it, everyone and everything that appears innocent isn’t, and there is a lot of dangerous “innocent fun and games” type behavior involving trusted family members, friends, and authority figures occurring all day, everyday.

Don’t set your child up to become a victim of “presumed innocence.”




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When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

There are a number of events that have transpired over the last few weeks that leaves many people questioning why life just brings so much pain through senseless acts of evil and violence. Well….I don’t have the answer to that, but I am reminded that God knows.  Discovering that your child has been abused can literally snatch the wind out of you, and you are left with countless questions.  This is the time when we must rely on God and depend on His ability to handle our questions and our doubts.

God is thoroughly acquainted with our thoughts and doesn’t expect us to sit idly by without seeking answers for life’s struggles. In fact, it is in the asking that we find the answers we seek. However, in asking, we must also be prepared for the lesson in the journey.

I’ve often made it known that I struggle with Romans 8:28 because I just can’t understand how our child’s abuse will work for her good or ours. But, I haven’t been shy about asking questions and expecting that one day God will answer. So, when life doesn’t make sense, we don’t just sit in our pain, but we go boldly to the throne of grace and seek answers from the ONE who’s got them……

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Signs of child sexual abuse

Many times we attribute hormones to the unexplainable behavior of young ladies. However, we need to be mindful that there may be much deeper issues at work. Depression, bouts of anger and violence, engaging in sexual behavior (incl.  promiscuity and prostitution), eating disorders, disconnecting from friends, families, and interests, are all possible signs that a young girl has or is experiencing sexual abuse. If you notice these behaviors, be diligent in getting to the bottom of the problem and consider counseling. Even if sexual abuse isn’t the issue, there is something going on and it shouldn’t be ignored or overlooked.

remember……awareness is the key!!!

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Helping Others

Discovering that your child has been sexually abused is a life altering moment.  Everything that you believed about your child’s world changes, and you immediately want to fix it.  However, fixing it is easier said than done.  Whether you can actually fix it is actually debatable depending on who you ask.  But, you can seek to ensure that the abuser is charged and punished for their crimes; you can seek counseling for your child to begin the process of mental and emotional healing, you can take your child to a medical doctor to ensure that any physical damage is addressed, and you can support your child emotionally throughout their lifetime.  With all of that said, there is one more thing that you can do…. commit to helping others.

Becoming an advocate for child sexual abuse prevention and supporting survivors (including the parents of survivors) are two important aspects of helping others and it will only cost you your time.  There are free resources that you can tap into to learn more about child sexual abuse and the behavioral cues/grooming strategies of predators, so that you can become a committee of one to spread the word about awareness and prevention.  You can seek out support groups to join in an effort to provide emotional support to those who have been affected by this unnecessary evil as well as to continue your own personal journey to healing.

The idea that we take our experiences and allow shame and guilt to send us running into hiding is exactly what predators want.  However, we must do the exact opposite.  We must take a stand for our children – for all children.  Even if our children aren’t quite ready to publicly acknowledge their experience, we can still support others privately and even anonymously.  The idea is simply to do something…..do something that will help us all fight against child sexual abuse.  Together we must believe that our efforts will make a difference while we take the journey to healing together.


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The Abuser Is Being Released; Now What?

We were notified 90 days prior to his release date. This gave us time to take it in and prepare our daughter. Although some have disagreed with our decisions, we didn’t tell our daughter immediately. We took a week or so to absorb the reality that the person who abused our child would soon reclaim his freedom. It was a hard truth to accept seeing as how we in no way felt he has served enough time to atone for his crime. We were angry all over again, but we had to quickly check our emotions and prepare to support our daughter. We knew there was a big possibility this would cause her to regress back into feelings and emotions that she had been trying to heal from. Nonetheless, it was our job as parents to support her.

In the days prior to his release, we checked in with her regularly and encouraged her to let us know where she was mentally and emotionally. She admitted that some anger had resurfaced because she didn’t feel justice had been served. We reassured her that her feelings were completely appropriate and understandable. We gave her space to just feel whatever she was feeling. We also gave her specific instructions on what to do if she encountered him anywhere. These instructions were recited for several days to make sure she would not panic; but react, and react quickly.

The day he was released she woke up and asked if he was out. We explained that to the best of our knowledge he was free and what his parole officer had told us about the requirements and conditions of his parole. She chose not to go to school that day because there was some trepidation with knowing he was out and he could violate his parole and seek her out. Her fears were certainly understandable and we wanted her to feel safe, so we supported her decision to stay close to home until she was comfortable going out and returning to her day to day activities.

As parents, it was critical that we kept our emotions in check as well. Not to say that we had to be super heroes and act like we weren’t affected by him being released, but we had to hold it together for our children, and ourselves. We had come a long way and we didn’t want to undo all of our progress by making hasty decisions that would impact us in a negative manner. We took the time leading up to his release date and in the days to follow to check in mentally and emotionally with one another and our therapist. Admitting where we were struggling and talking things through was a tremendous help. It hasn’t been easy, but we are determined to heal!

Next week’s topic………Helping others

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