Giving A Voice To The Victims

“My job is to take care of you. I was appointed to do that by God.”   – Cormac McCarthy , “The Road”

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.”    – Psalm 127:3 NLT

“But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the sea. – Jesus Matthew 18:6 NLT

I pray daily.

I pray from the depths of my heart. Often my prayers go something like this:”Lord give me the wisdom that will enable me to write words that will somehow make a difference in someone’s life. Illuminate my path and lead my heart and my hand to a way of communicating that will help me to do my part to leave this world that you created, and the people in it, in a better way than I found them.”

I struggle with that concept, for the world and the people in it are in dire need of God Himself. What can a mere man do – a man who is in prison, no less – to change or improve anything for anyone?

Praying for an answer to that question, the path is suddenly made clear and I am led to the words of Helen Keller: “I am only one. But still, I am one. I cannot do everything. But still, I can do something. I will not refuse to do something I can do.”

With the encouragement of my editor and inspired by the courage of a very special individual who wrote to me and wishes to share thoughts about their own struggle with being sexually abused, I have decided that I can do this: I can, in a very small way, give a voice to victims of sexual abuse.

Some cannot or will not speak for themselves, so I will humbly – and most likely inadequately – endeavor to use my voice on their behalf. Others, like the young person who I am sure God is using to help me find my way, will speak for themselves.

That is my hope.

That is my prayer.

That collectively, all of our voices will be heard clearly around the world with the knowledge that, together, we are more than one and with God lighting the way, the something we can do can change things, if only just a little.

We cannot change the whole world. We cannot change everything.  But we can change something. We simply must not refuse to change the something we can.

WHO ARE THE VICTIMS?

–  According to an Associated Press story I read some time ago, forty eight women are raped hourly in the Congo. The article went on to state that 400,000 women were raped in a twelve-month period between 2006 and 2007.

–  A more recent· AP story showed a horrific photo of a fifteen-year-old child bride in Afghanistan who was viciously tortured and sexually abused in her in-laws’ basement for six months. They ripped out her fingernails, broke her fingers, and tortured her with hot irons – all in attempts to force her into prostitution

–  According to a report by RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network, in which statistics from the U.S. Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and various others quoted, there are 207,754 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in this country. That’s the equivalent of one every two minutes.

– Also according to RAINN, in 1995 (the only year for which I had statistics) local child protection agencies identified 126,000 children who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse. Of that number, 75% were girls. 30% of them were between the ages of four and seven. Of the assailants, 34% were family members, 59% were family acquaintances. Only 7% were strangers to the victim.

The first person to lend their voice here knew the assailant very well. While the victim does not offer specifics about the abuse or the individual responsible, the victim’s Christian-based thoughts are centered on healing and forgiveness – a healing and forgiveness made possible by a strong support system and the understanding that sustained, professional counseling will help with the pain and suffering, the life-long wounds sexual abuse leaves on a person’s soul.

As society struggles to determine how best to deal with the perpetrators of sexual abuse, the victims struggle to deal with recovering from the abuse itself.

How does one go about reclaiming something that has been taken in a way that leaves the victims feeling responsible somehow? Leaves them feeling less than whole? Leaves them feeling alone, isolated, abandoned and ashamed?

Here, then, is the voice of a victim:

I applaud the courage and determination of the person whose words you find in the next article in this series.  I applaud the commitment to heal and help the one who wronged.

If anyone would like to share a story in a future article or comment without your e-mail address being published, please write to: oakdaletoc@gmail.com.

We did something at least. We can do more.

I thank you.

Send your stories to:      oakdaletoc@gmail.com

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