When I began this blog 10 years ago, my aim was to encourage the victims of child abuse to step out of the shadows and live full lives. Many, when I was a child, still blamed themselves for such abuse. Gradually, that attitude is changing, at least in Western society.
My message has been simple:
- that the emotional scars of abuse are not signs of “weakness” or “insanity” but the rational response of human beings who were systematically traumatized as children, whose basic needs were not met;
- that abuse victims remain precious children of God, regardless of what they may have felt or been taught.
In sharing my personal experience with childhood abuse, and the insights drawn from that experience, I have moved forward with my own recovery.
A Wider Scope
In the process, the scope of my interests has widened.
Over the years, I have increasingly felt called upon to address situations of abuse in a variety of forms. The blog now discusses child labor, domestic abuse, elder abuse, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation (FGM), honor killings, human trafficking, and more.
My purpose has never been to sensationalize the topic of abuse. I strive not to overwhelm readers with the horrors of abuse, while still acknowledging its powerful and long-lasting negative impact. My goal is rather to increase awareness and involvement.
A Call to Arms
This blog has, in other words, become a call to arms.
Those of us concerned for the welfare of children and the world at large must do more than shake our heads in pity, when we encounter a story of abuse. We must do more than simply throw up our hands, in a gesture of helplessness.
- We must be vigilant against abuse in all its forms – against child abuse, against domestic abuse, against elder abuse, and the rest. That includes vigilance in our schools and online.
- We must report abuse without deference to wealth, power, or fame. This is not to suggest we engage in witch hunts or violence. We must, however, confront abuse with courage.
- We must monitor the organizations to which we belong – the churches, the clubs, the fraternities – and the corporations by which we are employed, to make certain that safeguards are in place against abuse, and that the responsible parties are held accountable, when infractions do occur.
- We must contribute to and/or volunteer with the shelters and other organizations which serve victims. We must reach out to our neighbors and friends, especially those who are isolated.
- We must speak out against abuse. That requires more than marching with placards for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. It requires informing ourselves about tainted supply chains, and boycotting products created by slave labor, even when that is inconvenient.
- We must dedicate the necessary funds to law enforcement and social services.
- We must lobby for stronger regulations regarding abuse, and stronger penalties for predators and traffickers. And we must vote accordingly.
We must, in short, devote our time, attention, and resources to the urgent matter of abuse in whatever ways we can.
As a Christian, I would add that we must fervently ask God to turn the eyes of our nation once again to Him. He alone can transform hearts on a fundamental level. That is what is needed most, in this spiritual battle.
Healing the World
“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”
-John F. Kennedy
The shift from a focus on internal issues to external issues is perhaps progress. In healing the world, we heal ourselves.
May God give us strength for the fight.
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Copyright © 2021 Anna Waldherr. All rights reserved.