Today I’m posting at She Stands. Stop for a heart check!
If you didn’t read Tanya’s inspiring story posted this weekend, read it here. It’s a beautiful story of hope and redemption after a life of child abuse and rejection. If it touches you, feel free to share that with her here
As a counselor for elementary students, former teacher, and a professional counselor, here’s a note in response to Tanya’s story of abuse.
A reader commented they realized how sheltered their life has been. This comment could come from many, many people. When it comes to abuse there seems to be two camps: those who experience it and those who are unaware of it. As a reader, you fit into one of those categories. Those who are unaware of it, it’s with you I share my heart.
As I read Tanya’s story, I see a young girl, boy or teenager in a classroom. I see them in a desk, trying to master angles of an isosceles triangle. I see them lashing out or standing in the corner by themselves at recess. I see them trying to listen to a classroom teacher when their mind keeps going back to the night before. This is a child you know.
Statistics say one out of every four women will be sexually abused or assaulted some time in their lifetime. Statistics for men are anywhere from one in seven to one in five. Statistics would be higher if all incidences were reported. Most of them are not. As a professional working with people in a counseling relationship, the disclosure of childhood sexual or physical abuse is common. Too common. Adults have the capacity to work through the damage from childhood. But each adult was once a child. A child you know.
Each one of us lives in community with others. But I wonder how many of us live in “the bubble.” The sheltered-life bubble. You may not work in a school like I do, but you interact with people. You’re in a work setting, a church sanctuary, a check out line at Walmart. Where ever you are, there is one in four or one in five who have been, currently are, or will be abused. It’s around us. It knows no boundaries. Gender, socioeconomic level, education, religion or race does not determine where abuse happens. If you think it does, you’re deceiving yourself.
I want you to do more than read Tanya’s story and say you’re inspired. I want you to see people, to hear people, to reach out when someone shares their past with you. If a child discloses they are being harmed by someone, legally and ethically you have a responsibility to report it. Don’t be afraid of this. For more information, click here. A great advocacy site for children can be found here.
For those of you who have people in your lives who’ve been abused, don’t shrink back. For male survivors, Cec Murphy has a wonderful ministry both for men and those who love them. Visit his ministry here. For women, feel free to reach out to Tanya or other sexual assault agencies nationally or in your community.
Abuse is complicated because it usually involves family members or friends. It’s usually not the creepy guy hanging around the mini-mart. You need know this.
Life is not simple.
We are called to be givers of life and hope in the darkness.
Pop the bubble.
Reach Out. Listen.
A person you know needs you.