whether or not Your lips move

You speak to me

this is for you. July 22, 2011

Today I defend my thesis.

It took me a few months to write it… I have been preparing to write it for about 2 years… and my whole life has led up to it.

Today I will be asked why I chose the topic I did. And this is my answer, the one I must write out right now while I can’t stop the tears and can’t speak coherently. I’ll have to save coherent for later when I’m on the phone with the graduate research council.

Why did I write “Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: Does Prevention Exist for the Potential Molester?”

I wrote it for every friend and family member I have who was molested, sexually abused, touched inappropriately by an adult or another child, or exposed to pornography at an early age. I wrote it for those who have entrusted me with their stories of these incidents, so many now that I have lost count. I wrote it for their broken hearts and stolen childhoods. I wrote it for every adult who has never, ever told anyone what happened to them, because they aren’t sure that it wasn’t normal for everybody and they aren’t sure that it is really that big of a deal. I wrote it for those who have told, and who have been disbelieved. They suffer depths of nightmares that will take years to unravel if they seek help again at all.

I wrote it so parents can be educated and know how to protect and educate their children. I wrote it so those parents can know that if their children are molested, sometimes it isn’t their fault as parents if they have done everything they possibly knew to do. Some parents need to know that they did the best they could with what they had. Other parents need to be arrested and rehabilitated so they can learn how to be parents.

I wrote it so that maybe someday we can stop the cycle of abuse that exists in this nation, and so that these evil deeds can be brought to light. So that counselors, social workers, law enforcement officers, law makers, judges, lawyers, doctors, teachers, and ministers can perhaps be educated about the unique and devastating effects of sexual abuse for children, so they can save a few from the destruction of their sexuality and self-concept. I wrote it so that more research will be done into the mind of the molester and what can be done to prevent recidivism but more importantly, to prevent the first offense. I wrote it so that maybe someday curriculum to educate children and adults about abuse prevention will be taught in multiple venues and in multiple sessions, so that every parent and child is equipped. I wrote it so maybe someone will investigate the underground pedophile rings and enabling groups that exist in this country, the ones that operate online and in the sex industry. Especially the ones that are protected by the ACLU and the first amendment.

I wrote my thesis to discover if something could have been done to prevent me from ever having been molested. What signs were those teens and adults showing that someone else should have recognized? What should have been done? What help could they have sought and at what stage of their progression into child molesting? The people around me did the best they could with what they knew, but these persons still slipped by. These were people they trusted. They were very good deceivers, and now I know some of the reasons why–they had been down a long road of damaging experiences themselves, they likely had some psychological illness, they had slowly traded in rational thought for distorted thinking, and they had become skilled manipulators. And nobody ever made them get help.

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”

So, why did I write this thesis? I wrote it for me. But even more so, I wrote it for you. The victims who are still living as victims. The victims who are living as survivors. The people who love those victims and survivors. The children who right now are at risk.

And yes, even for those who fear they may become child molesters. If you fear it, this is a sign there is still time for you to get help.

Was writing this thesis painful? Yes. There were things I read in research that literally made me sick. But was it worth it? Yes.

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”

This is for you.

 

 

I shouldn’t be alive. September 25, 2010

I’ve been fairly open about my childhood experiences and past traumas among friends, family, and church family, but not so much online. I don’t think it is wise to put too much about yourself out there for the whole world to have access to. But the more I learn about child development for my master’s degree and the deeper I dig into different types of research, the more apparent it becomes that my past experiences will play a part in my destiny.

Without airing the gory details, I will let you know that I was neglected and abused as a child. Some of that abuse was sexual, and it happened more than once and came from more than one adult. I have always had vivid memories of parts of that abuse; God has mercifully allowed my subconscious to block the rest of it. I went through most of my life overcompensating for the feelings of powerlessness, fear, abandonment, and helplessness that stemmed from those experiences. I “learned” that being alive meant being in constant danger on some level and that I was on my own. Later I would learn that, too, was a lie. Praise God that He had His hand on me from an early age and had instilled in me a love for Jesus and His Word practically from the time I learned to talk– otherwise you’d likely be reading the blog of a staunch atheist.

People with a past like mine are several times more likely to commit suicide, have 30 or more sexual partners, be drug addicts or alcoholics, and be abusers themselves. If I’m doing my reading right, the “post traumatic stress” sexual abuse victims experience can parallel what war veterans experience. As I look at these statistics of what is “normal” for someone with my experiences, I become more convinced that there is only one reason I am alive. One reason I have an ounce of compassion in me. One reason I am able to rise above all the (insert choice word here) I have gone through in my almost 30 years. And that reason is JESUS. God’s love and grace.

I think that it would be easy, and even expected, for me to use all the trauma of my past as a REASON not to believe in a loving, protecting God. I bet some people would expect it and maybe even think I had a right to it. But you know what? God didn’t MAKE those people do those things to me. Did He allow it? Yes. For only reasons He knows and perhaps has yet to reveal. But, as I live, I trust Him. I can’t always explain it. But I do.

I have had personal, close encounters with the living God that are undeniable. Beyond and through what I consider to be the total truth of the Scriptures, I have personally experienced peace that is totally and completely illogical in the face of my past. I choose to forgive the people who molested and hurt me, even though there are days I would rather not. I am not living in denial of the things that have happened to me. I am forced to deal with that reality nearly every day. The only explanation for my being alive and my being effective in any sort of way is because the power of God is in me through the Holy Spirit.

I still have problems. I still struggle with this stuff. There have been times that all I can do is scream bloody murder because I can’t handle “it,” whatever “it” is. I may always wrestle that demon of depression, but after each match it stays down for the count a little longer. Studies show that I may always have overactive fear responses and not handle stress as well as a “normal” person, which can lead to chronic health problems (anyone who knows me can see that is true). But I know that ultimately, I win. Because God wins. And I’m not talking “end times” here, although that’s obviously true. But I mean in the here and now– in whatever length of years God chooses to give me on this hunk of dirt we call earth. I have to cling to this– that He has a purpose beyond what I can understand for all the awful things I have experienced in my life. That He will use me in someone’s life– yours– to point the way to Him.

How the traumas I experienced will play out in my destiny… I don’t know what it’s going to look like. I know I have a choice in the matter though, at least as far as my attitude and response. What Satan intended for evil, God can use for good. I can allow the memories and facts to weigh me down and render me useless. Or I can use them to help myself and others.

I’m gonna have to go with the latter.