The Dirty Work of Childhood Molestation
A loved one within my own family is a victim of this tragic crime. In the last month I have heard friends who were speaking of their own painful journeys, and news abounds about the latest serial rapist who has destroyed numbers of children and teenagers with his orgy parties. I've heard the reports of the border crises...most especially the child trafficking and raping of children and women who have paid an exorbitant and lifelong price to cross into the US.
Then last Saturday night, I was looking for a good mystery on PBS or on my DVR. I first watched Law and Order SVU, then PBS' 4 week series, “Unforgotten”. Once again, with gripping reality, the heart wrenching victims of childhood molestation and rape, and young women and boys who are lured into sex parties where unspeakable atrocities are performed on them were told. But it's not just what happens to them in these dark torture chambers (which, thankfully were not shown). These two shows clearly spelled out the life changing effects for those who were now middle aged. How do these things change their lives? I vaguely knew, but now I was being shown.
What happens to them after the perpetrators have had their fun? These victims are then turned out into the pasture of their lives to try to make sense of it all, to smother the tortuous feelings of guilt and shame (for it must have been their fault that “I was afraid but I felt something good....well not really good, but like a hot pepper that burns, but you go back for another taste”). Or it may have been immensely painful and no one listened to their cries. Then came the anger....anger against those that allowed them to get themselves into these situations, or the anger at the pervert who disgusted them but may have been a family member, or the anger at themselves because they let it happen. Some may have physical pain in their most intimate parts...will it get better?
Next question they ask is “should I tell someone,....mom?.....dad? Would they believe me? Would they blame me? Would they tell everyone else? “ Then how do they deal with the results of the stares, the quiet sneers, the gossip that would most certainly accrue. So most say NOTHING for years, or decades, I mean NOTHING!
Children forced into these nightmares, especially when they live in fairly stable homes, may seem to recover, but not really. Often PTSD is just as real for them as for a marine coming off the battlefield... nightmares, sleeplessness, rage, anger, depression, withdrawal, insecurity, and rebellion are common mechanisms for coping with the pain of the memories... if they are not revisited by the same relative, teacher, coach, or other sicko. However, if there is a chance of repeat performances, fear becomes a constant companion. How do you explain that you don't want to go stay at Aunt Nikki's house during summer vacation? How can you lock your bedroom door and keep him or her out?
There's another whole aspect that can also bring pain, or relief. That is how parents handle the thing their child has just tried to tell them, if indeed they ever do. Parents are all different and their reactions are all different. Going to the police is the obvious next step. But the anguish and the realities of infrequent convictions because nothing can be proved, the unwillingness of the victims to expose their already violated privacy, and the daunting aspect of confronting the monster in the room make this a difficult choice.
I'm sorry to expose you, my reader to these ghastly realities of the fruit of acts that at least 30% of our population experiences. These are only a fraction of details that describe the lives of victims of childhood molestation. We may have a friend or relative who has shared some of the nightmare with us, but most of us hear the stories, then, because we too, are pained by them, we go on to something else that will make us feel happier. But I implore you to keep reading and allow God to bring the Truth into your life. You may be able to pray more effectively for someone, or be a source of wisdom and help when most aren't comfortable to even talk about it.
For me, this was an answer to prayer. I wanted to understand more, I wanted to be honest with myself as to how I dealt with this in my own family. I wanted to enter into the reality of my loved one's sufferings. I wanted to understand more. I was seeing the devastation all around decades later. “God, help me understand”.
I'm not one to run from conviction. Conviction is a true sense of sorrow and regret and acknowledgment that I am at fault in some of my decisions even if I thought I was doing the best I could. I wanted to feel the extent of the pain and devastation that my loved one has borne for decades. I wanted healing, forgiveness for us all. Conviction should always lead to confession and God's forgiveness,,,,so that I can live without the pain of condemnation so that I, too, don't make things worse. I didn't want to live in condemnation.
Condemnation is NOT from God. It torments and twists its way into every part of these stories...the victims, the loved ones of the victims, and the perpetrators. Condemnation is a poison that weaves itself into our relationships, often those most important to us... parents, love relationships, siblings, and later our own children. It accuses, blames, fabricates, twists the knife deeper, then starts all over again.
Jesus came to us, as God's heartfelt gift, so that He could not only show us the Father, but that He could suffer and die for us. His sacrifice has purchased our forgiveness, miraculously bringing healing and restoration and reconciliation. This is the answer for everyone swept up in these horror stories. God cares, so much so that He's given us a way to recover, be healed, be free from pain, and be made new. That's why He gave us Himself, Jesus.
I believe and pray that many of you that read this will hear the heart of God in this writing and prayerfully ask Jesus to lead you through this process. I know of no other counseling, treatment, or book that will do what only our loving God can do.
Please share with me your thoughts about this.