10 May 2006
Help for Adult Victims Of Child Abuse.
A non-profit making organisation based in the UK dedicated to provide help, support and information to any adult who is suffering from past childhood abuse.
Child Molesting—Every Mother’s Nightmare
FOR the young mother, it was a nightmare come true. When her four-year-old daughter complained of abdominal pains, she took her to see a doctor. The doctor, after a thorough examination, gravely told the mother that her little girl was the victim of sexual molestation. She had been raped. The mother informed the New York City authorities, who quickly determined that the abuse occurred at a Bronx, New York, day-care center.
Investigations at the center yielded horrifying results. First one, then another, then still another child revealed that they, too, had been molested. At least 30 children eventually claimed that they had been abused in that same center. One of them had gonorrhea. Then reports surfaced that children had been molested at another day-care center. Then at another. Eventually seven day-care centers had to be investigated in the New York City area alone.
As each new case was publicized, reports of child molesting started coming in from other parts of the country. The scandal spread. Parents asked one another: “What’s happening?” What indeed! Was this just a freakish rash of molestation incidents? Or was it something very widespread that was only now being noticed?
A Widespread Problem
The fact is, sexual molestation of children has been going on for a long time and today it is widespread. In 1983, the head of New York City’s Advisory Task Force on Rape reported ‘a dramatic increase in the number of young children who are victims of rape, incest, and other forms of sexual abuse.’ Dr. David Finkelhor of the Family Violence Research Program at the University of New Hampshire conducted a large-scale study of the subject. He found that the children of 9 percent of the parents interviewed had been sexually abused. Fifteen percent of the women and 6 percent of the men had themselves been sexually abused as children!
Exact statistics are difficult to come by. In the United States, the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect has records of 55,399 cases of children being sexually molested in one year. But these are only cases of incestuous abuse. Abuse by friends, neighbors, teachers, and so forth—as well as by strangers—would increase that figure to a considerable extent. And a spokesman for the Child Welfare League of America told Awake! that “the figures we have are only the tip of the iceberg.”
A report in the magazine Ladies Home Journal estimates: “Sexual abuse of young girls is four times more common than rape of adult women. Between the ages of five and 13, one in four little girls falls prey to some form of sexual abuse by adults—whether it be exhibitionism, inappropriate fondling, rape, or incest. Although young females are the most common victims, 20 to 25 percent of those attacked are little boys.”
Doctors are convinced of the harmful and long-term effects of such abuse. Hence, parents wonder: ‘Are my children at risk? What steps can I take to protect them? What sort of person would try to harm them?’
From Our Readers—Response on Child Molesting
THE January 22, 1985, issue of Awake! carried a three-part series entitled “Child Molesting—You Can Protect Your Child.” In today’s world, this unpleasant subject is one of which parents must become aware, and many of our readers wrote letters expressing gratitude for the information presented. We would like to share some of their expressions.
“Your Suggestions Were Very Helpful”
Here is part of a letter from the United States: “Thank you so much for the information on child molesting. As children, both my sister and I were molested by a cousin. Now we both have families and want to do all we can to protect our children. We will surely be applying the sound advice found in this article.”
From the United States: “I really appreciated your article ‘Child Molesting—You Can Protect Your Child.’ Your suggestions were very helpful and simple. I have a couple I would like to share with you: It can be dangerous for children to have their names on their shirts. They are more likely to go with a stranger who knows their name. Also, when children are naughty, parents often threaten them, saying: ‘The police will get you!’ This makes children afraid and perhaps unwilling to approach the police if they ever need help.”
From the United States: “After having re-read the January 22 issue of Awake! on child molesting, I want you to know that it is one of the best I have read. Naturally I wish we had had this information several years ago, before my two beautiful granddaughters were so terribly and unmercifully abused. But if it prevents some other child from suffering as they have, I shall be glad.”
“I Was a Victim”
Many letters confirmed the terrible damage done by child molestation. For example, here is a letter from England: “Thank you for the recent articles on the subject of child molestation. I was a victim of child abuse and experienced feelings similar to those reported in your article. Even now, after so many years, I have to restrain myself because I get very emotional when I read or hear of these things happening to children.”
Another letter from England says: “I was a victim of incest over a period of years beginning when I was about five. The offender was my stepfather. What I experienced at his hands was so traumatic for my young mind that much of it was submerged in my sub consciousness until only a few months ago. The memories, once triggered, emerged like some sort of nightmare.
“Some people may regard your article as an overreaction and may feel shocked about telling their little ones about what to do if someone—even a close relative—should touch their private body parts or ask them to look at or touch theirs. I have a message for those people: ‘The advice in the article is excellent.’”
“Who Would Believe You?”
Some letters shed light on the tactics of molesters. A reader in England writes: “As a young child, I was abused by an older man whom I had a lot of respect for. As your article brought out, the indecent fondling (which is what it was restricted to) was disguised as playing and tickling. It left me with tremendous feelings of guilt and shame.”
A reader from the United States reminds us that it is not only adults who molest children. She writes: “I warned my children about adults, never imagining that it would be a nine-and-a-half-year-old girl who would improperly fondle my four-year-old daughter.”
Another reader from England tells us: “My foster father was a judge; therefore, when he started to molest me, I didn’t think there was anything wrong. When I got to the age of 12, I knew it was wrong but was unable to tell anyone, for he had drummed into me: ‘Who would believe you? And don’t be ungrateful. Look at all the things you’ve got.’ In my early teens my brothers and an uncle abused me. So by the age of 14, I was using drugs, thinking this was my only way to happiness. I grew up being very promiscuous, which was the only way I could afford the drugs. I’d like to thank you again for the article. I can now make sure my son will never have to go through the pain I had.”
A reader in the United States writes: “I just finished reading the article on ‘Child Molesting’ in the January 22, 1985, issue of Awake! I could not hold back the tears from my eyes because I, too, was molested. It happened when I was five. The molester was a man that my mother was dating. While my mother was away and my brothers were out playing, this man would take sexual liberties with me. I have been trying to forget, trying to blot it out of my mind, trying to pretend that it was a bad dream, but it was not a dream. It actually did happen, and for all these years (I am now 27) I have never told anyone. Thank you for the article on child molesting. It gave me the courage to write this letter.”
These are just a few of the many letters received that show the frightening scope of the problem. We are living in truly decadent times. (2 Timothy 3:1, 3) There have even been cases involving Christian families, which had to be handled by the congregation elders! Never forget that while child molesting is usually a sin committed by adults, it is children who carry the burden. It is tragic that adults who have no self-control are robbing so many children of their childhood. The emotional wounds inflicted on these young ones may last a whole lifetime!