By Summer Elizabeth Ball
*The views I express on this site are my own and do not reflect any official view or position of Southern New Hampshire University.
This post is the first part in a series on child sexual abuse.
Do you know someone, a family member, a friend, or perhaps, you, yourself, who was sexually abused as a child or a teenager?
To protect this person’s identity, I will call him Tom. Decades have passed since he was sexually abused. When he was six years old, a neighbor began molesting him, and the abuse continued for some time. The pedophile threatened this precious little boy, saying he would kill his family if he said anything. He would look at the little boy and run his index finger across his neck as a warning. Tom was terrified. At some point in his middle childhood, the memories got buried away. He did not tell his family what happened until adulthood.
The years passed, and one day Tom began having flashbacks and nightmares that horrified him. The memories of what happened came flooding back. He knew instantly what had happened, when, and who the perpetrator was, but he wasn’t sure how to tell his family. He was afraid to say it out loud. He struggled with it on his own, trying to manage the trauma, but one evening he broke down and told his family what had happened. Tears ran down his cheeks, and his emotions overcame him, bringing forth bursts of grief, anger, fear, and guilt. For that moment, Tom blamed God.
Often people ask why things like this occur or why God would allow them to happen. Well, humanity has been mired in sin since Adam and Eve ate the fruit in the Garden of Eden. God gives us free will to decide whether to follow and obey Him or deny Him and live in complete disobedience. We are all plagued by sin, but those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, have been saved from their sins, set free, and by the Holy Spirit, our Helper, each of us can live a more godly life.
All things come alike to all:
One event happens to the righteous and the wicked;
To the good, the clean, and the unclean;
To him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice.
As is the good, so is the sinner;
He who takes an oath as he who fears an oath.
This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.Ecclesiastes 9:2-4
Parents are responsible for ensuring their children’s safety. However, in today’s culture, it is becoming more and more difficult for parents to protect their children. As sin continues to devastate our society, our children are increasingly at greater risk. Therefore, parents must talk to their children about sexual abuse.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says,“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”.
Find the time to sit down and share this scripture with your child. Explain to him or her that their bodies belong to God and that protecting the temple of the Holy Spirit is important. Be honest with your child about the fact that there are people who may try to hurt their bodies. Be clear about the parts of their bodies that need protecting. Make sure your child knows to tell you if anyone touches those parts of their body and that they will not be in trouble when they tell you. Do not be afraid to have this conversation with your children periodically to reassure them about what to do in that situation. Every time you have this discussion, pray with your children and tell them that you love them and want to keep them safe.
Next time, we will tackle the issue of blaming God, figure out how to move beyond the trauma of child sexual abuse, and discuss more ways to protect our children from sexual predators.
Disclaimer: I am not a trained counselor.
However, I am a Bible-believing Christian woman who loves the Lord and knows His Word has the answers to everything we face in this life. I also know individuals who have endured sexual child abuse in their lives, so I will speak from what they have shared with me about their experiences and their family members’ experiences. I will share common sense advice about preventing and dealing with sexual child abuse in this series.
Scriptures quoted from the New King James Version. Photos by Ivan Samkov and Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels