‘The Week’ website recently published an article by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry entitled, “How Christianity Invented Children”. http://www.theweek.com/articles/551027/how-christianity-invented-children

Gobry claims that one of the notorious practices in the ancient world was the sexual exploitation of children and points to paganism as the original perpetrator of the sexual exploitation of children. He goes on to say that “Christianity’s invention of the cultural idea of children as treasured human beings was really an outgrowth of its most stupendous and revolutionary idea: the radical equality, and the infinite value, of every single human being as a beloved child of God.”

But if that is true, then it seems that we have reverted back to the culture of ancient Rome.

1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are now sexually abused before age of 18. Child sexual abuse is a prevalent issue in the United States even within the confines of our schools and churches—The very places where our children should be the safest!

Nonetheless, there’s one form that is especially revolting and shocking—The act of sexually molesting a child by a family member. And it often occurs to children in a blended family. Statistics show that a child is 33% more likely to be sexually abused in homes where their biological parent is living with, or married to someone other than the child’s biological parent.

When a child is molested by a family member, denial is a natural response since no one likes to think about a family member abusing their own children this way, but worse yet, is when the child victim is accused of making it up and is pressured into recanting the abuse.

It’s important to remember that although the abuse was done by a close family member, it does not erase criminal liability. In fact, this type of molestation should carry the greatest punishment among all forms of child abuse. If this happens to your child, do not hesitate to call the police, because when a molester is tolerated, it’s guaranteed that he or she will do it again. And you could be charged with child neglect and/or child endangerment.

It is also important to remember the damage this causes to a child’s life and soul. Many victims become depressed, have feelings of guilt, shame and distrust, and may cause them to fall into all kinds of risky behavior. Especially as long as lenient judges continue to pass down soft sentences on perpetrators of these types child sex offenders.

Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

Although it is important to address the issue of forgiveness when the abuser is caught and confesses and then asks for forgiveness, this can be difficult for not only the victim but also for other family members.

Certainly we should forgive; However, it is important to remember that molesting and sexually abusing children is a type of sin that, even after repentance and forgiveness, there has to be accountability and justice to ensure the safety of all children that the abuser could come into contact with.

If someone shoots one of your children you must forgive them—but it doesn’t mean that you invite them back into your home so they can shoot the other ones.

How can you protect your children?

Watch your kids – Keep a watchful eye on your children. Kids get distracted and often don’t think about something that’s happened to them while at play. Know what to look for.

  • Changes in behavior, extreme mood swings, withdrawal, or fearfulness
  • Bed-wetting, nightmares, fear of going to bed, or other sleep disturbances
  • Acting out inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Changes in toilet-training habits
  • A fear of certain places, people, or activities
  • Bruises, rashes, or poorly explained injuries
  • Pain, itching, bleeding, fluid, or rawness in the private areas

Talk to your kids- Parents are one of the single most effective tools in the fight against child sexual abuse. Set time aside to sit down and have a discussion. This may be an uncomfortable subject, but remember, you aren’t talking about sex, you’re talking about personal safety. You can use other safety issues as a ‘lead in’ to this topic.

Listen to your kids- Even very young children need to be able to tell you their feelings, thoughts and fears. Make sure that you take the time to listen to your children and assure them that you’re there to protect them.

Teach your kids- Teach them about “good touch, bad touch” and make sure your children know to tell you if something does happen, or even if someone just makes them feel uncomfortable. Teach them to trust their own feelings and instincts. Tell them it’s okay to say “no” and to be rude to anyone in order to protect themselves. Teach them that keeping secrets is not only wrong, but dangerous. If you don’t teach these things to your children, then you are leaving them open for the predator to continue molesting your child unrestrained.

Let your child know they can trust you- It is difficult for a child to come forward with accusations of sexual abuse. So the worst thing you can do to a child who has been sexually abused is to question them or doubt that what they experienced really happened. They need to know that you believe them and that you will protect them from further abuse. They came to you because they trusted you. If that trust is broken because you refused to believe them, chances are slim that they will report future abuses that may go on for years.

While physical abuse might be the most visible, child sexual abuse leaves deep, lasting invisible scars that can carry over into adulthood. There are signs you can look out for that a child is being sexually abused:

  • Excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious.
  • Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home.
  • Trouble walking or sitting.
  • Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age.

Many people are reluctant to get involved in other families’ lives, but by learning some of these common warning signs of sexual child abuse, you can catch the problem as early as possible and get both the child and the abuser the help that they need.

Of course, just because you see a warning sign doesn’t automatically mean a child is being abused. It’s important to dig deeper, looking for a pattern of abusive behavior. But if you do notice a pattern, report it.

For more information visit: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect.htm

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