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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