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Kraków, Poland; Anti-paedophilia logo from the...

This is an anti-pedophilia logo from Poland Image via Wikipedia

I’ve went back and forth about writing this post for a day or two now, but I realize it has to be written. Too many times has this topic been laid on my heart for me to simply pretend as if I don’t hear it calling out to be broached in a public forum. Since it involves minors and some unsubstantiated charges, I won’t go into the specific details, but I think it’s important to share.

Twice this week, I’ve been confronted with news of children being molested/ exhibiting signs of sexual abuse. This breaks my heart, but it’s not new to me or my family. Unfortunately, many of us know of family members or friends who have been sexually abused. The stories of these atrocities aren’t always coming from poor third world countries; they are in our homes and communities.

I’m not a victim of sexual abuse, nor am I a parent, so I can’t really imagine the devastation that being a victim of sexual abuse or learning your child has been sexually abused can bring someone. I remember learning about good touching and bad touching as a child. I remember one book in particular (that I still own–it’s in my mom’s house) called I Know My Body is Private. I remember when things would happen, things I wasn’t really aware of, as the adults in my life were “old school” and didn’t discuss certain things in front of children, my mom would pull me aside and we would have “the conversation”:

Have you ever been alone with so and so? Has so and so ever did something that made you uncomfortable? Has so and so ever touched your privates? Has so and so tried to show you their privates or get you to touch them?

I always found these conversations uncomfortable. No one had ever tried to do any of that; if they did, I’d tell. That was gross. I was confident that my parents would always protect me, and no matter what anyone said, I wasn’t going to believe it. But that was easy for me to tell myself because that belief was never tested.

I can’t imagine the type of mentality one has to have to take a child’s innocence away. I don’t know what types of abuse or mental illness they have suffered. I don’t know who hurt them or taught them it was OK to hurt other people. I just can’t imagine any of this.

When I was little, a girl I know was beaten to death by a couple that was babysitting her. I remember it being on the news and following the case. But what I remember more than that is the little girl. She was years younger than me, so I would look out for her. I would help her cross the street over to my house and back. I would walk with her to the store. I looked upon her like a little sister. I couldn’t imagine anyone hurting someone so small and defenseless, someone so happy with a 25 cent bag of chips and a 25 cent juice. These were people that her mother trusted.

How many people do we trust without knowing if that trust is misplaced? We think everyone has our best interests at heart sometimes, but then things like this happen and we learn they don’t.

I couldn’t imagine having to deal with my child being abused, or even with the possibility. I can’t imagine having the conversations my mom had with me with a child of my own, let alone that child confirming what has to be one of a parent’s worst fears.

What do you teach your child about sexual abuse? How do you/did you deal with instances of sexual abuse? Was this talked about in your household? How can we stop this from continuing?

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