It's never too late to begin the healing process from childhood sexual abuse. It's never too early to fall in love with the person God created you to be. Long ago someone made a choice to take away your innocence, but today that someone can't touch your freedom to heal.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Why Children Don't Tell (Part 4, They're Ashamed)

“Then one day Princess Marissa was on her way back to the castle when she was attacked by a pack of gypsies. They tore her beautiful purple dress right off her and ran away, leaving her with nothing to cover herself. Princess Marissa was so upset, but she did not shed a tear. She was so ashamed and embarrassed, but she told no one . . . (The Tearless Princess, by Anonymous, Used by permission)

The words taken from this story were written by an adult survivor friend to describe her molestation. This creative exercise was a powerful tool that has aided her in her healing process. She chose to express her pain in the language of a children’s book. It helped her remember and it gave her a voice.

Nothing can silence a human being like shame. And nothing can elicit such deep personal humiliation like childhood sexual abuse.

My friend concludes this paragraph in her story with these sad words, “The princess went on with her life as if nothing had happened, but a piece of her soft heart became hard like stone.”

So this week, I once again have my “what if” questions: What if her parents had taught her about sexual abuse? What if they had built a bridge of communication with their daughter regarding abuse so that she could possibly cross over and tell them what had happened? What if she had known that she could trust them with her shame?

Once again we will never know the answers to my questions. Sexual abuse is a complicated issue. But wouldn’t it be comforting, to know as parents, that at least we tried?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why Children Don't Tell (Part 3: They Trust)

I can still picture it, my husband in the backseat of our two-door Oldsmobile Firenza, cradling our newborn son. We had just returned home from the hospital and my husband had crawled in the backseat of the car to get our son out of his car seat. I was waiting patiently, well, okay, not so patiently by the passenger side door.

“Are you coming?” I said.


“Are you coming in?” I repeated.

He didn’t even look up. “We’ll be in soon,” he said.

I was so glad to be home. I wanted my own bed. I wanted my own everything. But my mind told me to shut up, to take in this moment, to etch this beautiful picture deep within my mind.

My husband with his firstborn. Strong capable hands holding a helpless baby. Our baby. I didn’t ask Ken what he was thinking. I didn’t have to. It was a sacred moment. It was their moment, and this sight spoke more to me than words ever could. The love was palpable. And my baby, our baby, was learning from that tender moment on, that he could trust his daddy.

I believe that there are few things more precious to preserve, and more innocent to defend, than a child’s right to trust. A child longs to trust. A child needs to trust in order to grow up into a healthy adult. Perhaps that’s why it’s so difficult for we, as parents, to teach our children that sometimes there are individuals that can’t be trusted.

My survivor friend trusted. "I was abused by a close relative. He was absolutely trusted. And he took advantage of me. And I went along with it because I didn't know any better. Because I trusted him."

Her parents trusted him. She trusted him. And that trust was broken. Shattered. Destroyed. And she couldn’t tell her parents because she trusted. She trusted that what was happening to her was somehow okay because people you love and trust don’t hurt you. Do they? Can you imagine the confusion she felt? Can you imagine the war that raged within her little mind, within her little heart? I can’t. And when I try, it makes me cry.

But what if her parents had taught her that her body was special and that the parts that her swimsuit covers are extra special? What if they had taught her that no one is allowed to touch the parts that her swimsuit covers and that she is not allowed to touch anyone else where their swimsuit covers and that if anyone does, they want her to tell them—no matter whom it was? What if they had taught this information to her from the time she could identify body parts like nose and hand? What if they had taught this to her several times a year and built on this information in age appropriate increments? What if . . .

We will never know the answers to my "what if" questions. Sexual abuse is a complicated issue, but as a parent, I want to know that, at least, I tried.

Let’s begin the conversation about childhood sexual abuse with our children. So they will know. So they can tell. So they can continue to trust.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why Children Don’t Tell (Part 2: They Don’t Know)

My friend wrote: "I was abused by a close relative. He was absolutely trusted. And he took advantage of me. And I went along with it because I didn't know any better. Because I trusted him."  (

Some children don’t tell because they don’t know they should. When my friend was first violated, she was a preschooler. She did not tell because she did not know. No one had ever taught her that her body was sacred and that certain parts were private and should not be touched by others. But as the abuse continued and my friend matured, she began to feel uncomfortable with his touch. But she kept quiet—for years. And because she loved (Part 1, of Why Kids Don’t Tell), she didn’t tell.

Uninformed children are easy targets for perpetrators and perpetrators are looking for easy targets.

That is why it is an adult’s job to protect children from childhood sexual abuse. We must teach our children from the beginning that their bodies are special and that no one is allowed to touch them in their private areas (except a doctor with permission from their parents).

Teach them so they will know. Teach them so they can tell.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Why Children Don’t Tell (Part 1: They Love)

"Some of them don’t tell because they love them,” I said.

Her face turned bright red. Her brown eyes bore into mine. “What?” she snapped.

“They love them,” I repeated softly.

“They love them?  How could they love them?”

I wasn’t surprised by her question. I wasn’t shocked by her anger. She is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and she couldn’t imagine how any survivor could love their abuser. But her abuser wasn’t someone whom she loved.

Ninety to ninety-five percent of survivors of childhood sexual abuse are violated by someone they know and trust, and, yes, sometimes, by someone they love.

Consider this quote by a survivor friend of mine: "I was abused by a close relative. He was absolutely trusted. And he took advantage of me. And I went along with it because I didn't know any better. Because I trusted him."  Many of the reasons children don’t tell lay within these five sentences.  (You can read her story, Scars of Abuse, at (

The first reason kids don't tell is in the first sentence. Notice she wrote “close relative”. Children generally love their close relatives (fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters, and cousins). I know my friend did and does.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll explore why children don’t tell as we dissect this quote. And together we’ll learn more, and we’ll protect our children better.

Children don’t tell because they love. They love deeply. And they know instinctively that if they tell, they might hurt the one they love. They can’t understand it—they don’t have the reasoning skills for it; they can’t explain it—they don’t have the words for it. But they can feel it. And those feelings are powerful. And those feelings hold them captive and keep them quiet.

And that is why it is an adult’s job to protect children from childhood sexual abuse.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

We Have a Winner!!!

Congratulations to Christy Willard!!! She is the winner of the God's Design for Sex Series. Our ten year old pulled Christy's name from the lid from our Apples to Apples box lid at 11:35 this morning. Thanks to all who entered.

Congrats Christy and family!
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