Category Archives: Child Molestation

Resilience, Part 2

Baby birds in nest, Author Tony Alter, Newport News, USA (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”

-Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Though the Childhood Experience Study (ACES) identifies overall exposure to stress, it cannot assess resilience, the capacity of individuals to respond to stress [1A].

Resilience Factors

“A decent self-image comes from somebody paying attention to you as a person and respecting everything you do.”

-Berry Brazleton, world-renowned pediatrician and child development expert [1B]

“At the top of the list is always the presence of some kind of supportive relationship.”

-Jack Shonkoff, Director, Harvard Center on the Developing Child [1C]

Our capacity to respond to adversity varies widely [2].  Some of that capacity is genetic.  Some of it involves choice – the determination to overcome obstacles.  Some of it involves energy, effort, and tenacity.

Always at the heart of resilience, however, lies a caring relationship [1D].  Children abused by a parent may have a loving grandparent for a short while or a sibling who shares their suffering.  That may be enough to keep them going. Continue reading

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Resilience, Part 1

Dandelion, Author Robert Flogaus-Flaust (CC BY-SA

“There are children who like dandelions can thrive almost in any environment…They do well even in conditions of stress and adversity.  There are other children who are like orchids, who are extremely sensitive…Under the right nurturing conditions they thrive…But under conditions of adversity…they wilt and they don’t do well.”

-Dr. W. Thomas Boyce, Division of Developmental Medicine, UCSF [1A]

In the wake of World War II, 300 children who had survived the Holocaust were brought to an English estate for rehabilitation [2][3].  Children who had been torn from their parents’ arms; children who had been imprisoned, beaten, and starved; children who had witnessed murder and atrocities were taught to be human again.

In our inner cities, single mothers struggle to raise children in poverty.  Children under the age of ten are killed in drive-by shootings.  Children already victimized are further abused in foster care, their parents lost to addiction.

How do we survive tragedy and evil?  Why are some broken by circumstances, while others endure? Continue reading

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“Abuse Victim Has a Message for Attackers” by Kegan Wesley

WARNING: Graphic Images

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5: 17).

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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Witness to Evil

Children at prayer, Author Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/99247795@N00/3750019119 (CC BY-SA 2. 0 Generic)

The Catholic Church sex scandal is well-known.  Tragically, it is not isolated.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Jehovah’s Witnesses – considered a cult by mainstream Christian denominations for their failure to recognize the full divinity of Christ – maintain what is believed to be the world’s largest database of undocumented child molesters [1][2][3].

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the non-profit which oversees the more than 8 million Witnesses, has repeatedly refused to comply with Court orders to release that database.

The Watchtower’s Office of Public Information indicates that its policies on child protection comply with the law.  Barring a confession, however, no member can be formally accused of committing a sin without two credible witnesses.  Of course, sexual abuse is not generally a public event.

When child molestation is uncovered, the Witnesses do not routinely notify police [4].

Substantial jury verdicts have been handed down against this religious organization.

The Amish and Mennonites

Investigation into sexual abuse among Amish and Mennonite communities has revealed abuse as “an open secret spanning generations” [5].  At least 52 cases have come to light in the past 20 years, across seven states.  But that number does not reflect the true scope of the problem.

Victims who report rape and incest may be sent to “mental health” facilities or threatened with excommunication. Continue reading

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Domestic Abuse in a Time of Corona

Indications are that the coronavirus pandemic is increasing domestic violence [1A].

Arrests for domestic violence rose by 27% in Portland,OR in March. Domestic assault and battery reports rose by 21% in Seattle, WA and 22% in Boston, MA during the same period.  The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline has experienced its highest call volume in 20 years.

“Domestic violence is rooted in power and control, and all of us are feeling a loss of power and control right now.”

-Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of National Domestic Violence Hotline [1B]

With stay-at-home orders in place across the country, the isolation victims typically endure has only been heightened.  Fear of infection, job and financial losses exacerbate the stress on victims and abusers alike.  The fact that gun sales have  spiked is not helping the situation [2]. Continue reading

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“Easter Peace Meal” by Joseph Veneroso

“Head of Mary Magdalene” by Alexander Ivanov (1834), Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia (PD-Art, PD-Old)

“Mary Magdalene mourns alone.
‘Woman, why are you weeping?’
the…Gardener asks.
‘Sir, if you have taken him,
tell me where he is.’
Lightning illumines her darkened soul
when she hears her name
spoken with such tenderness:
‘Mary’…

We are Emmaus bound,
downcast and discouraged,
without hope or happiness
till a Stranger opens our minds,
sets our hearts on fire,
sits with us at table,
and breaking bread,
bestows on us
and all the world
amazing grace.”

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse https://avoicereclaimed.com

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Hallelujah

The poet Leonard Cohen spoke of love more powerfully than I ever will.  His ode to lost love, “Hallelujah”, seems somehow appropriate to these difficult times.

Abused or not, we have all known heartbreak.  The pain can be so bad we find it difficult to breath.  But keeping faith is the hard part.  Faith in love.  Faith in God.  Faith that life will once more be worth living.

It is that kind of faith we must find within ourselves right now.

It is easy to shout “hallelujah” when we are in love.  Easy to praise God when times are good…though often those are the very times we forget Him.  We have to dig deeper when times are tough. Continue reading

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Those Who Care

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to ravage the globe, the world applauds the efforts of healthcare workers on the frontlines of this pandemic.  Those who care – whether the context is war, crime, natural disaster, illness, or abuse – rarely receive the credit they are due.

But they make a world of difference for the rest of us.

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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Grenade – The Impact of Incest

WWII grenade, Author J-L Dubois (PD)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

A romantic dream unfolds lazily.  A man and woman who are obviously attracted to one another banter playfully.  The scene shifts and they kiss passionately. 

Then a grenade goes off.  The man’s image is replaced with that of the woman’s father.  He states blandly that she initiated their sexual encounter, that the fault for the incest is hers. 

Though she knows the accusation is false, though the incest was years in the past, though she was a child at the time, though there was never any “romance” involved, the horror is overwhelming.  It continues even after the woman awakes.

Incest is rarely discussed in polite company, and then in hushed terms.  The damage it inflicts is like that of a grenade going off.  Hopes are shattered.  Lives are destroyed.  And the grenade never stops inflicting damage, leaving lifelong scars.

The metaphor may sound extreme.  Tragically, it is not.

The victims of incest experience enormous guilt and shame.  But the fault is NEVER theirs. Continue reading

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Beautiful in His Sight

“Figure of Christ” by Heinrich Hofmann (1884), Source https://i.pinimg.com/originals (PD-Art, PD-old)

Abuse frequently destroys the faith of victims, undermining our capacity to trust.  While we may reject God or despise Him, He loves and values us.  It can be difficult for us to reconcile God’s love with our experience.  But that love is real.

Let me try and explain what I mean.

Self-Worth and the Cross

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3: 16).

As abuse victims, we were taught at an early age that we were worthless.  Our needs were insignificant.  Our feelings did not matter.  Our bodies were not our own.

These were the inferences we drew from our experience with those who rightly should have loved and cared for us.  God, however, sees things differently.  To Him, we are of infinite value.  He proved it by giving His Son, Jesus Christ over to a death on the cross for our sakes.

Our value is not governed by a predator’s opinion of us.  It was established for all time at the cross.  No one need add to it.  No one can detract from it.

God’s Unconditional Love

Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies” (Ps. 36: 5).

God’s love for abuse victims is limitless and unconditional.  The concept of unconditional love may be foreign to us.  We were taught that love was unreliable.  It had to be earned, over and over again.  Most of us paid a high price for a counterfeit version of love.

Sin and Our Relationship to God

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8: 1-2).

God’s love is not withdrawn when we make mistakes or fall short.  We grieve His heart at such times, but He does not turn away from or reject us.  We are His beloved children.  Even when our relationship with Him is rocky, He continues to love us immeasurably. Continue reading

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