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.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Gift of a Daddy

As I spend these next two weeks celebrating our Savior's birth and a new year with family and friends, I invite you to watch this special CBS news story. Warning: Tissues needed.

Click here.

With prayers for a peaceful and joyous Christmas,

Thursday, December 20, 2012

When a Father Speaks

“If you really want your kids to hear something, they need to hear it from their dads,” the culture watcher man said on the CD. “They expect to hear words of instruction from their mothers.”
I drove down the highway, tears streamed down my face.

“But they don’t have a dad, God,” I said, as my words bounced around my empty mini-van. I was making the drive home, New York to Pennsylvania. I had just returned three little sisters to their grandmother’s house. And I felt a heavy burden for them and for their future—a fatherless future.

Little did I know that years later, these three little girls would become our daughters. And they would have a father.

I don’t remember why the man on the CD said kids hear instruction from their dads better than their moms. Perhaps it’s because historically mothers not only did much of the childcare, they gave much of the instruction. Perhaps it’s because women are more verbal then men. Kids are used to moms warning about this and teaching about that, so a momma’s instruction becomes more muddled, a bit like Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Whomp, wahaw whomp, wahaw whomp . . ."

Whatever the reason, when a dad speaks, there is power in his words. It’s why I have the father in my children’s book, Rise and Shine: A Tool for the Prevention ofChildhood Sexual Abuse, give the instruction to his daughter about sexual violations.

I believe in daddies and in the power of fatherhood. I believe that when fathers understand that they can play a major role in protecting their kids, and given the encouragement and tools that they need, they will have the conversations. They will do what they must do.

I believe in motherhood. I know that mommas, now and in the future, will continue to warn and teach, even if they sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher. They will also, given the encouragement and tools they need, talk to their kids about sexual abuse. They will do what they must do.

And blessed is the child who has two parents working together to protect them, doing what they must do.

To watch the free children's video, Rise And Shine: A Tool for the Prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse, please visit: RiseAndShineMovement.orgProtecting children, one conversation at time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Spouses Caught in the Ripple

Photography by Christy Mae, Used by permission, Copyright 2012

Perhaps no one endures the ripple of sexual abuse more than the spouses of those who were abused. The two were called to become one. Not two.


And in this joining of two, all things are shared. Not just the future. But the past.

Marriage, the joining of two souls, is difficult enough. Add sexual abuse history to the mix, and you've got another mountain to climb.


But here’s the hope, mountains can be climbed.

Image courtesty of Michal Marcol/"

In January, Tamar’s Redemption Tuesdays will feature couples who are facing the mountain and choosing to climb.  We’ll ask them honest questions and look forward to their vulnerable answers. They’re not climbing experts. They are learning along the way, working together, picking each other up as they stumble, and dusting each other off, taking needed rest and shelter along the way.

They aren't perfect. They’re in process. They can’t offer you healing, just their honest thoughts, and a promise.

You’re not alone.

Please, come join us in the climb.

Hope for others "Caught in the Ripple": Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What to Do with Uncle Joe

“He’s always coming at her demanding hugs and kisses. She just stares at him, and he continues to nag, saying that he won’t give up until she responds. He's harmless, but it bugs me. I want to say something. Do something. Yet, I don’t want to hurt his feelings.” A mom

The clueless and relentless uncle, he wants his hugs and kisses from all the kids and pouts, teases, and manipulates until he gets what he wants.

He’s a big kid. And he is probably harmless. But what’s a momma to do about him, especially a momma who’s trying to help her kids understand that they are allowed to say, “No!”?

She has a talk with Uncle Joe.

Yep, you read that right. She needs to have a talk—a talk right there in the middle of Christmas. No bah-humbug. No need to be Debbie-downer. Just a simple non-threating conversation.

“Uncle Joe, we’re trying to teach Sally that she’s allowed to have boundaries and that she’s allowed to tell people, ‘No!’” the momma says as she gently touches his arm. “I know how much you care about her . . . and you know,” she whispers, “how dangerous the world is out there. Well, I was wondering if you could help us out. When Sally doesn’t want to hug you, could you just tell her that it’s okay? It would really help us teach her, and it will help protect her from people who may want to hurt her. Thanks,” she smiles. “I really appreciate your help.”

Non-threatening conversations not only help us set boundaries with all the clueless Uncle Joes and cheek-pinching Aunt Bettys, it helps us protect our kids. Embrace teachable moments, one conversation at a time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

An Adoptive Mother’s Voice, Caught in the Ripple (Part 4)

“I brought her from a country where she would have starved to death, and then I bring her here. Here for this!”

Her baby girl was violated.

A loving mother. An adoptive mother. A mother who loves the children of others. A mother who loves children with abandon. A ferocious protector.

Yet it happened.

“Your daughter is here.” I said. “She’s alive. You made no mistake by bringing her to the states. And she told.”

So much to be thankful for, but understandably this loving mother felt guilty and hurt for her child.

Would she have knowingly put her child at risk? Never. Would she have protected her child from the sexual violation if she had any clue? You bet.

Photography by Christy Mae. Used by permission. Copyright 2012

Sexual abuse whispers lies to its victims, and to the victims caught in the ripple. “I shouldn't have adopted her. This is all my fault.”

I’m glad this mother spoke with me. I’m glad she shared the lies, so together we could look at the truth.

Sexual abuse breeds lies and thrives in secrecy. If you’re hurting because your child was violated, talk about it with someone you trust. And seek the truth. It sets us free.

Caught in the Ripple (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Advice from a Survivor Momma, by Christy

I wish children came with an instruction manual.

Navigating the complexities of parenting is a considerable task. From the moment my children took their first breath, mothering them was about caring for their needs and keeping them well protected.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse (Christy's Story), balancing protection and care without becoming paranoid is not always an easy feat. I find that my biggest parenting fears are usually tied to issues from my abuse. But my sexual abuse history also provides me with awareness and an intuition that I have come to value.

As a Momma, I fear that someone will hurt or take advantage of my children. Instead of letting this fear create anxiety in my heart – lest I lock my kids in our house until they turn eighteen – I take a more proactive approach, which I would like to share with you.

  • ·         We started very early talking to our son and daughter about modesty. These conversations included why certain parts of the body are for them only. It was important for us to establish early body boundaries and to let our children know that they are entitled to body privacy.

  • ·         We don’t leave our kids with people we don’t know well — coaches, other parents, teachers. No matter the inconvenience, I will often accompany my child to a practice or a play-date. I want other adults to know that I am an involved parent.

  • ·         We expect organizations – churches, sports clubs, kids programs – to perform semi-frequent background checks on their volunteers, and we are not afraid to ask what protective procedures they have in place, such as, "Will my child ever be alone with an adult?”

The people-pleaser in me can feel tempted to trust adults just because I don’t want to hurt their feelings. But in my experience, anyone who shares a concern and care for my child is willing to do whatever it takes to keep them safe.

My kids don’t need a protective bubble. As a parent, it is my desire and ultimately, my responsibility to teach and guide them, so they know what to do when I’m not with them.

Finding a balance between under and over protecting my kids is a constant challenge. But I have learned to trust my instincts as a mom and am willing to enlist others to help me in this cause.

Please join us on Tamar's Redemption Thursdays: Parenting with Purpose, Parenting without Paranoia. Because parenting is hard, for survivor parents, and all parents. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Mother’s Voice, Caught in the Ripple (Part 3)

“As you grew we wanted to protect and love you always.  We thought we had done that, but now we find out that we did not protect you from sexual abuse.  We had no clue, especially by the adult we all trusted so completely.  I feel I failed you.  I did not see any signs.  The person who did this was one of the last people I ever would have thought could betray you and us.  You see, you are the major victim here, but there are those others who are victims, too.  The pebble in the water creates vast reaching ripples, taking in victims all along the way.”  A mother

Photography by Christy Mae, Used by permission, Copyright 2012

The heartache of a mother and father. They love their baby girl. They loved the perpetrator. Never in a million years did they think he was capable of such a heinous crime. He had been a safe person with some, but not with others. And they never knew.

Jerry Sandusky. Father. Coach. Philanthropist. Many knew him as a good man. But now we all know. He was safe with some. Not with others.

How does that happen? We could try to understand it. And there are those who study it. But even if we knew the answer, would it take away the pain?


A parent is still left riddled with guilt and haunted with questions: How could he? Where was I when this happened? Why didn’t I see it? How could this happen? Why didn’t she tell me? Was I a distant parent? And on and on.

You can’t identify a perpetrator by his looks. And cases show many are adept at hiding their actions. Warning signs are hidden beneath merit badges, charming personalities, and the accolades of others.

We want to believe sexual abuse only happens to kids in bad families filled with abuse and neglect. That is simply not true.

Sexual abuse can happen anywhere, in any faith, and yes, in any family.

Perhaps some parents are only guilty of trusting.

I believe in grace. I believe as Maya Angelou says, “When you know better you do better.” We know now that the best defense we have against childhood sexual violations is to talk to our kids. Begin the conversation. Build the bridge. Be the hero. Learn more at

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...