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Friday, February 17, 2012

The Abuser and The Abused

     Statistics record that one out of every three women has been molested or sexually abused at some time in their lives, though the statistics are believed to be underestimates as women don’t want to admit that they had experienced the abuse. My first such experience happened when I was only six years old. (The links for that series are listed below, if you missed the account.) As children we were told not to get into a car with anyone we don’t know. Sadly, it has come to light that most of the sexual abuse of children occurs from someone that the family does know, even a relative. We were always told not to accept candy or cookies from a stranger. The implication there was that someone would hold candy out to us to lure us into his home or close enough that he could grab us. All of these things were good rules and I cannot begin to count just how often my mother reminded us of these rules every time we left the house to go anywhere, especially the seven blocks to school.
     The one thing that we were never warned about, though, was that small animals such as puppies and kitties might also be used to lure us into a place we should not be going. I don’t think my mother had even thought about the allure a puppy or kitty might be for me. I would say that it held a lot more possibility than any piece of candy or cookie! I could get a cookie from my mother but a puppy was quite another thing.
     I did run away in fear at my first opportunity but, unlike many of the older members of this not-so-rare group of abusees, I left with a determination to enact my revenge on my abuser. I had no idea just how my plan for revenge would affect me.
     The fact the Lord had interrupted what the teen had planned to do to me, made a huge difference in how this event was remembered and I will, forever, be grateful to God for that intervention! Nevertheless, one of the greatest lessons I learned from this episode in my life was that sin brings a really tangible sickness and it is only released when it is dealt with in the manner God has designed for us, confession and repentance. How marvelous of God to have thought of such a thing and to have freely offered it to us! Counselors, both secular and Christian, know that the wounds of abuse can not truly be healed unless the victim is able to forgive the abuser. It is hard to measure this freedom but the lack of it can be seen in the continuing suffering of the victim. I was blessed to have learned this principle at such an early age.
     I, certainly, do not advocate “revenge” as the solution for abuse; but, on the other hand, I am most definitely in favor of prosecution and punishment for the abusers. The Bible says that vengeance belongs to the Lord and this is an absolute; it is not for us to exact. Most of the time, it is not the abuser but the abusee who ends up getting hurt or imprisoned. It is just not worth it! Forgiveness is the real key and, whether we see it in this life or the next we can be absolutely certain that God will bring justice to the situation. The abuser will not go unpunished.
     There are just so many really important lessons the Lord allowed me to learn in that first decade of life!
  Here are the links to the story if you missed it:

**** Have a great weekend!

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