Last post I shared that I was molested as a young child. I'm not sure if I became a quiet person because of the molestation or if it happened because I was a quiet person. Was I chosen because I would be quiet? Even as a young child, I felt guilty for dragging the other girls into my predicament. But telling was the best thing I could have done. I told my friend who encouraged me to tell my Mom. She had told, and she didn't have to go back. So I told my brother who would tell my parents. Had I not spoken up, I'm sure it would have continued. That's a lot to ask of a primary student, but it's an important step. Nothing changes without words.
I was always interested in the statistics of sexual abuse of children. Even as a high school student, I'd read that it was 1 in 3 for girls and 1 in 10 for boys. I'd look around the room and wonder who else it might be. I'd also wonder how they'd come up with those statistics since no one was ever suppose to talk about it. They certainly never knew about me.
As a social work student, I learned more about those hard statistics. It shocked me, but I still never talked about my own experience. Not until I was in my 40's did I broach the subject with Mom. She cried. But she had done what "they" told her to do; to not talk about it. She was a young mother and listened to the advice she was given. Yes, it's a parent's job to protect their child. My parents thought they were protecting me. I don't hold any resentment to my parents. They did the best they could at the time. I think it's important to frame things within the context of time.
I had other resources. As a young mother, I sold Brite Music, a home sales company that produced upbeat songs for young children. My favourite song? I still remember the words.
"Sometimes you just gotta yell and scream,
Sometimes it's the only thing to do.
Noisy like a fire truck
You just gotta open up
and get the crowds attention turn to you!"
I sang this song with my children over and over to encourage them to share any "secret" experiences with me. I wanted them to know that they could tell. I wanted to know that they should tell. As a parent, it's important to provide safe opportunities to tell. But more than anything, I didn't want them to be a statistic. I hoped there was nothing to tell.
Today, there are even more resources available for young parents. I encourage everyone to use all the available resources to broach the subject with your children: books, music, mentors, church programs, psychologists. Speak with your children, create a safe environment. Listen, even when it's difficult.
And don't forget about the greatest resource: Jesus. He is timeless, and is able to give new life to the hurting. I prayed for protection for my children, and now pray for protection for my grand-daughter. Pray for protection over your children. And if there's something to tell, listen. Hold them, pray with them, and let them know you're there to help. Let them know that there are no secrets with Jesus. He knows anyway. He loves them too.
For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all. Luke 8:17