“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.
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