Friday, July 14, 2017

Will you speak up?

So this last week has left our community reeling.

Devastated. Shocked. Horrified. Stunned.

There was a huge child sex sting where 26 local men were arrested for child sex crimes.

The community, I suspect, is not so much reeling from the fact that it happens...we all know that. But who the perpetrators were.  Ouch.

People we know. Loved. Respected. People in positions of authority...even with at risk youth.

No...they don't fit the profile we had formed in our minds.

In all of this...I've heard little about the victims of sexual abuse.  Now in this case since it was all a set up by law enforcement, there were no actual victims. But ... we don't really need to fill in the gaps do we?  There were victims. The night before. The week before. The month before. The year before.  There were so many victims.  Thankfully, this night...there were not.

This left us reeling for a different reason.  We are the parents of children...who have been sexually abused.

We know first hand the long, grueling, horrific, hard, heart wrenching road that lies ahead for these children.  Only hoping they get the help they actually need.

Will they have a voice? Will they have people that love them stand up and speak? Will they have people who will fight for them with every breath? Will people hide the awkward news articles that come out about perpetrators? Will people deflect and talk about how sin is sin (as if consequences of our choices are equal not matter the severity of the offense...)? Or will people take the heat and speak? Will they speak up and give a voice to these children?

Because that...? That is what it takes.  And time doesn't heal with sexual abuse.  No...time frees their little spirits up to feel safe enough to talk. And talk. And talk. And talk some more.

Our journey has been hard.  So...very...hard.  And so very hard that we had to fight for them to heal. Fight for their safety. Fight for their protection.

Perhaps it was my own naiveté...but I thought the world was on their side.  People would rally around them and us to fight for them.

I saw, firsthand, differently.  The victim's voice is hushed.  Shushed, even.

In moments of despair...I have cried out to God saying this road was too hard.  That we weren't strong enough for this.  So very tired of having to fight for basic human rights.  And then...Dean would remind me that no one would fight harder to protect our children...than us. That we would do whatever it took.  And that small flicker of a flame would be fanned again with new resolve.

The hours we have spent and ... will spend...in therapy.  The falling on the floor at the end of the day in sobs for what these precious children have endured...only to be reminded that they survived.  They...survived.  The longing to see them overcome and thrive in their lives...knowing God gave them...and us...a microphone in this horror. So many are hurting. Hushed into silence.  No...it's time for us to rise up and speak.  Give them a voice. No more sweeping it under the carpet. No more putting 'shame' on those who have been victimized.  No. It's time to empower them to overcome. They are more...so much more. As our counsellor says..."they are not victims...they were victimized."

Not a statistic. Not a nameless number.  No. They are children.  With futures. With hearts...albeit broken ones.  They have families who love them.  They need a village to fight for them.






11 comments:

  1. Dear Janice, I am so very sorry (and that is not even a strong enough word) to hear this has happened in yet another community! This simply should not be something ANY child should have to deal with!
    I had no idea that one or more of your children experienced such horror. My heart breaks for them--and yet I praise God that He brought them to YOU and DEAN--knowing they would find love, hope, protection and a voice. That is so important and I believe the very fact that you guys believe them and allow them to talk about it is what will help promote their healing so that they CAN have fulfilling lives!
    It's strange....I somehow sensed from the beginning of reading your blog that you were safe to talk to about sexual abuse and its impact--which is why I mentioned my own history in previous comment(s). I was right to follow God's leading that it was safe to mention it here with you. Thank you for being so brave and so outspoken on this issue and I wish with all my heart I had a way to hug those kiddos of yours who went through it and tell them how VERY COURAGEOUS, INSPIRING, INNOCENT, WONDERFUL and STRONG they are for having come through it, for daring to trust again, for keeping their hearts open enough to their parents and to the Lord. They are warriors those beautiful blessings of yours!
    I wish also that EVERY child who is hurt in this way would have parents like you and Dean...parents willing to listen, parents who are protective and don't bury their heads in denial and say unhelpful things like "he doesn't know how to love..." which is what my mom (whom I love dearly) told me once---as if THAT was reason enough for what I went through?? NO!!
    I endured years of unspeakable things, things that did not involve just one perverse man. The damage has been deep and long lasting. I wonder sometimes how much better and easier my life would have been had I been given a voice, had I been told it wasn't my fault, had I had parents who paid attention to changes in mood or behavior etc. My mom was and is great--but she had no clue--and didn't look for any either unfortunately. Even today, the dysfunction in my family runs deep. I shudder to think where I'd be without Jesus!!
    Love you guys,
    Lori

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    1. Love you my friend. You are always safe with me. Broken hearts help heal other broken hearts. We are broken together. XOXO

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    2. "We are broken together." Yes indeed--although I wish with all my heart that no child would know abuse. I also wish I could help you through your brokenness... I hold you and your family in my heart as well as in my prayers! Love you and THANK YOU for being a safe person in my life!

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  2. Lori,
    Thank you for sharing your story here. My heart grieves for you in what you have endured. I love that you know Jesus.. He is the only One that can bring healing but it sure would help to have parents like the Walkers who caught it. Then to see that it's really world wide. That babies don't get to stay babies but grow up with the wrong idea of what love is. Eesh... it grieves my heart.. and Jesus' heart. What I know is hope in the Name Jesus. Thank you for sharing.. much prayers your way, for the Walkers and all that fell prey to the ones who robbed their innocence.

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  3. Thank you "Unknown" for your caring response. It means a lot to me. I have spent much time in therapy dealing with the abuse. It never goes away but it HAS gotten better and for that I am grateful!
    I am also grateful for Janice, yourself and other kind people out there who understand (as I do) that children are a precious gift and who represent safety to these little ones. I don't have my own children but I have always tried my best to be the safe, sane adult, the "soft place to fall" in my nieces and nephews lives.
    I try very hard to take what Satan intended to harm me (abuse) and use it to glorify God by helping others who suffer!

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  4. As foster parents for the last 16 years, we have seen this over and over again, and it's heartbreaking every time. We have also fought against people who should be helping these children (lawyers, caseworkers, judges) because they are so focused on parents rights and liabilities that the kids get lost in the legalities. Foster parents continue to fight for children's rights and for the legal system that often puts parent's rights over all. I'm so sorry for your experiences- we also have an adopted daughter that has experienced sexual abuse, and it's difficult to discuss adult issues with children. Angry moms will continue to fight this for our kids and be their voice when they cannot talk about it.

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    1. Michelle,
      I am so glad you are willing to do whatever it takes to help your children heal!
      Back when I was going through being abused, these things were talked about even less than they are now and I personally think, because I was older when I first gained the courage to tell someone, the system perhaps figured I'd be old enough to live on my own in a year or two so there was no mention of a foster home. I know the mere mention of that would have terrified me and felt like the wrong person was being removed from my home but it would have saved me from further abuse--including being threatened with a gun by my abuser's father.

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  5. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse I want to caution you about being a voice versus become the child's narrative. So often I hear people make comments about how a child's life has been destroyed, damaged and broken for forever because of the sexual abuse. I was a victim, but now I'm a survivor. I overcame that time in my life, I'm strong now and I feel empowered by having worked through it. I have moments when it seems like just yesterday but most of my time it is in the past. Please be careful about the labels you place on the children and never ever say their life has been destroyed by this. My life was not destroyed, it probably has changed course in directions. I love my life, it is beautiful. I'm a survivor and I am strong.

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    1. So sorry for your past pain. Thank you for your thoughts. We are striving towards the same...and our children do have a beautiful life. There is, however, something that was taken. And all stories of abuse are not the same. The details of our case (and yes, every case of sexual abuse is horrific) are pure horror.

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    2. Hi Anonymous,
      I feel I have come a long way too and though I am sorry you went through it, I am glad you survived and are doing well!

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