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.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

When We Trash-talk the Perpetrator, We May Silence a Survivor

Hang him! Monster! Pervert! Sick, sick, sick man!

I’ve listened to the comments all week. I’ve even been tempted to utter them myself.

Okay, I’ll admit it. . . I have uttered some of them.

But I pray, I’ve uttered them in private—away from my children—away from my survivor friends.

Why? Because ninety percent of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse were violated by someone they knew, trusted, and loved. Ninety percent of children who are violated are molested by someone they know, trust and love.

It’s complicated. Hard to understand. But when we trash-talk perpetrators, we run the risk of hurting survivors and silencing children who have been violated.

“How is your client doing?” the reporter asked.

“He feels vindicated, but this was difficult for him,” the attorney responded. “He had to look the man in the face who was his surrogate father and tell the world what this man did to him.”

This attorney did his homework. He understood the delicate fears, emotions, and compassionate heart of his survivor client.

Is it possible that a victim can love and care for their perpetrator? Yes, it is.

When we let our emotions run from our mouth, unleashed, for all to hear, we may hurt the survivors in our presence. We may keep a child near us—who has been violated—silent.

You see, all the survivors I know are compassionate people and most of them were violated by someone they loved. And children, precious, precious children, are the most forgiving creatures that walk the earth.

Both adult survivors and child survivors know that if they tell, people around them will get hurt. So they keep their mouths shut to protect both the perpetrator and those who also love the perpetrator.

Let’s let survivors utter words of hatred and anger toward those who violated them and guard our tongues. We may be hurting those who have already been traumatized and we may be causing a child to keep silent.

We best love adult survivors and help child victims break their silence when we offer healing words and leave the harsh words to those who have the right to say them.

Friday, June 22, 2012

No Matter the Verdict

Copyright Rise And Shine Movement 2012
As the defense rested its case, final arguments were made, and the jury began deliberations in the Sandusky trial this week, my thoughts drifted toward the millions of survivors who are waiting for the verdict.

For them, this is more than just a trial of a public figure affiliated with a renowned university. It’s more than a top story on the evening news. 

It’s personal. Deeply personal.

At, we teach adults to listen, to believe, and to take action when a child discloses abuse.

And in survivors' hearts all across the nation and the world they wonder: Were the witnesses for the prosecution listened to? Believed? Although the justice system has taken action, will justice be served?

I don’t know. The jury is still out.

But no matter the verdict, I pray survivors keep telling . . . until someone listens, until someone believes, until someone takes action.

Children are worthy of protection. Survivors are worthy of being heard.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

These Brave Men

Source: www.ChristianPhotos.Net
“What do you do?”

“I’m a writer.”

“What do you write about?” It’s a question I can’t avoid at a party or social function.

Sometimes, depending on the emotional climate, I respond with, “Do you really want to know?” Most times, I go for it, “Sexual Abuse,” I say.

The conversation either rolls forward fast and furious or it falls flat—next question, please.

I’m not ashamed of what I write about. It’s my passion. Knowing something I pen may bring a smidge of encouragement to a survivor or an ounce of education to an adult on how to protect children, fills me with joy. And it gives me the courage to continue to write and answer the question.

But sometimes the joy gets overshadowed by heaviness.

I read a summary of the prosecution for the Sandusky trial this morning. I’ve felt a mix of anger and sadness all afternoon. So much hurt. So much pain.

I wonder how the jurors are doing emotionally as they listen to details of abuse they could never have imagined possible.  How are the witnesses holding up who are speaking words in public that they can barely utter in private? I wonder.

But these things I know: These brave men, these witnesses, will inspire me to continue to write and answer the question.

And joy will come.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Blinded by the Unknown: Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse (Part 2)

“Your grades dropped again,” I said.

 “You have no idea what I’ve been dealing with!” he snapped.

“You’re right. I don’t.” My hands gripped the steering wheel in frustration. I glanced at him, “Tell me.” I wanted to pull over, but knowing one of the best places to get information out of a teenage boy is in a car, face forward, no eye contact, I drove on.

And waited.

His grades had been on a steady decline for several months. Once labeled by his principal a stellar student, he was anything but.  Mean. Apathetic. Irritable. Those were just a few words to describe him. My once likeable, high achieving son was self-destructing before my eyes.

I never dreamed that a straight A student and captain of the basketball team would become a target for someone else’s twisted pain. I never imagined my son would spend his freshman and sophomore years at a Christian school being bullied. I never thought bullying could happen to—my son.

But what I didn’t know blinded me. And what I didn’t know hurt my son.

Perhaps if I had read a list of warning signs of bullying, I might have caught on sooner. Perhaps if I hadn’t believed that bullying would only happen to someone else’s kid, I may have been able to help my son sooner.

“There are these guys . . .” He said finally. And in as few words as possible, my son told me about the bullies at school.

An assistant principal, my husband, and I did our best to help him navigate the difficult situation. Thankfully, his high school experience improved; however, it wasn’t until his senior speech at the conclusion of high school that I heard the whole story. 

My son stood at the podium before his parents, friends, relatives, peers, and some of his abusers and told—all of us—about the signs and effects of his abuse. It was hard to listen to, but I was never more proud to be his mother.

But this isn’t a blog about bullying. It’s a blog about sexual abuse.

Next week I will be adding a page with the warning signs of sexual abuse to Tamar's Redemption. I humbly ask you to take the time to read it.

What we don’t know can blind us. What we don’t know can hurt our children.
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