Monthly Archives: April 2014

Fault Line

A 7 y.o. Philadelphia girl is reported to have been sexually assaulted by her 59 y.o. foster father [1].

A first assault had been reported. However, the child’s natural mother and the child, herself, were not initially believed. The girl was placed in foster care after her natural father accused the mother of abuse she adamantly denies.

The story is much like thousands of others across the country. A governmental entity charged with the protection of at risk children removes them from one perilous setting only to place them in another.

Often this is not the result of neglect and callousness, so much as overwork. Caseloads can be overwhelmingly high, even for the most dedicated social workers.

Funds for human services departments are chronically inadequate and foster parents few, trustworthy or not. Other governmental (or political) obligations are routinely viewed as more pressing, and given priority in budgets. There are not many well-heeled lobbyists for at risk children. Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Politics, Sexual Abuse

Restored to Life

Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live…’ ”(John 11: 25).

Jesus actively ministered to women. He not only healed women (Matt. 8: 14-15), He fellowshipped with them (John 12: 2-3). And He forgave women their sins (Luke 7: 44-50).

Jesus taught women (Luke 10: 39; John 4: 6-26), upheld their rights in divorce (Matt. 5: 31-32, 19: 3-9), and ignored the laws of ritual purity to address their urgent needs (Matt. 9: 20-22). Jesus used a Gentile mother, begging for intervention on behalf of her daughter, to illustrate faith (Matt. 15: 22-28), and a poor widow to illustrate generosity (Mark 12: 41-44).

Jesus defended the woman caught in adultery (John 8: 3-11). Out of compassion, He raised both Jairus’ little girl (Matt. 10: 18-19, 25), and the only son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7: 11-15) from the dead.

And women ministered to Jesus (Luke 8: 1-3). When all the Apostles but John had fled or gone into hiding, women remained faithful at the cross (Matt. 27: 55-56). While women were not considered reliable witnesses at the time, it was to women Jesus first revealed His Resurrection (Matt. 28: 1-8, Mark 16: 9-10).

Jesus still ministers to women today. Deadened though we may feel, as a result of abuse, Jesus has the power to restore us to life. We need only place our trust in Him.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Prostitution, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

Defilement

When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, ‘Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man” (Matt. 15: 10-11).

Abuse victims are violated by every possible means. Children are forced to engage in unspeakable acts, are subjected to violence of every kind and made to feel invisible, voiceless.

Their faith is shattered, their trust betrayed.  Their basic needs are unmet – frequently by the very people who should nurture and protect them.

Consciously or unconsciously, victims draw the conclusion that they are deserving of abuse.  Often, that belief is experienced as physical and moral uncleanness.

For reasons they cannot explain, children may abandon hygiene, even soil themselves.

Alternatively, they may become obsessed with cleanliness.  But no amount of scrubbing will erase the abuse.  Since the fault is with the predator (not his victims), purification is never successful and must be repeated, again and again.

When the abuse finally ends, these precious little ones will bear the scars into adulthood. Boys and girls who believed themselves “dirty” may view themselves as worthless (even “bad”) men and women.

As a result, they are likely to submit to further violation. This can take the form of abusive relationships and debasing activities.  With each such relationship or activity, new shame is heaped upon the old.

Christ does not, however, see victims as defiled. He made clear that defilement is not external. It stems rather from the heart.

Nothing, in other words, can be done to a victim which results in defilement. NOTHING.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

 

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Prostitution, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Shared Suffering

Abuse victims often withdraw into themselves:

• For some, this reflects an understandable mistrust of the world, a common result of abuse. Withdrawal, in this connection, is intended as a self-protective strategy, though at great emotional cost.

• Others may withdraw from close contact, in an effort to keep the abuse secret.

• Many of us view ourselves as damaged in a fundamental way by the abuse. Not just injured, but mutilated.  Defective.  This is not a true assessment of our value, but does express the pain we feel.

Self-protection, secrecy, shame.  We deserve better.

Surprisingly, our suffering may become a means of alleviating the suffering of others. As former abuse victims, we can understand and empathize with fellow victims. Shared experiences may actually help us to heal.

But this is not a hard and fast rule. Wrestling with our own grief, we may find interaction with other victims too painful.

God can still use us in any number of ways unrelated to the molestation. Even in isolation, His love surrounds us. Even in isolation, we can pray for the world.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse