iBelieve

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Archive for the category “Child Abuse”

Seven Minute Snippet In Time


I had an uneventful drive to work yesterday morning.  That is, until I sat at a stop light.  I noticed the people behind me as I checked my rear-view mirror.  I noticed them for three reasons.  

Reason 1:  Skin color, hair color, and facial features made it obvious they were family.  Mother at the wheel, teen-age son riding shotgun. 

Reason 2:  They were not smiling.  I could not read their lips, but their non-verbals were deafening.  The pursed lips on the mom and the squint to her eyes told me she was angry.  The boy looked down and when he looked back up, he just stared forward.  The boy’s lips moved, they both stared forward.  It almost looked like they were both taking in the moment, both longing to be elsewhere.  

Reason 3:  The short-lived silent moment ended when the mom sucker-punched her son in the left temple.  Her lips moved and she gave him some more words.  He didn’t flinch, he didn’t guard himself.  Was he used to this behavior from his mom, or did he not expect it?  His sad eyes shifted to stare out the passenger side window.  I know that stare out the window; I have looked there myself during unpleasant car rides.    

My jaw hit the floorboard.  I tried to make it obvious I saw what she did as I physically turned around to look at them, but neither noticed me.  My heart broke for the son. I have no idea what aggravated this assault, but it sure had me full of emotion.    

My heart felt sucker-punched.  I wanted to let this car pass me so I could follow them and find the place where the mom gets out of her car.  I wanted to give her a piece of my mind.  I even thought of more violent things I could do to her.  Lucky for that mom, we were on a two-lane road with construction and I could not let them pass and I could not follow them.   

I could not physically help that boy, but I was able to bring in the big guns and help him Spiritually.  I prayed for him.  That was all I could do, but it was more than anyone could do at that moment. 

 Psalm 127:3

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.

April – Child Abuse Awareness Month


I was present at the birth of my great-niece almost eight years ago.  I was standing next to the crib where she was placed within seconds of entering the world.  I watched wide-eyed in amazement at how the nurse cleaned her up, cleared out her nostrils, mouth and eyes.  She was so little and dependent on everyone around her.  This precious child of God will need food, clothing and shelter, I thought, and I knew her needs would be met by the loving family who waited for her arrival. 

Under the veil of protection, some children do not receive the proper food, clothing and shelter they deserve.  Some families do not realize children are a gift from God and so the children are mistreated as objects instead of humans. 

My first encounter with child abuse was by reading the book A Child Called “It”: One Child’s Courage to Survive, written by Dave Pelzer about his own experience.  Dave’s mother was mentally disturbed and an alcoholic.  She mentally and physically abused him with tortuous games only she thought were amusing.  Child abuse is often cyclical.  Once abused, that person will abuse and that person will abuse, and so the ripple effect moves on.  Dave was able to overcome and broke this chain of destruction in his family.

Some children are sexually abused.  Usually the abused knows the abuser.  Sexually abused children are threatened to remain silent and this silence may bring about behavioral changes.  The following is taken from http://www.stopitnow.org/warning_signs_child_behavior   April 9, 2011. 

Behavior you may see in a child or adolescent

       Has nightmares or other sleep problems without an explanation

       Seems distracted or distant at odd times

       Has a sudden change in eating habits

       Refuses to eat

       Loses or drastically increases appetite

       Has trouble swallowing

       Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity or withdrawal

       Leaves “clues” that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues

       Writes, draws, plays or dreams of sexual or frightening images

       Develops new or unusual fear of certain people or places

       Refuses to talk about a secret shared with an adult or older child

       Talks about a new older friend

       Suddenly has money, toys or other gifts without reason

       Thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty or bad

       Exhibits adult-like sexual behaviors, language and knowledge

Signs more typical of younger children

       An older child behaving like a younger child (such as bed-wetting or thumb sucking)

       Has new words for private body parts

       Resists removing clothes when appropriate times (bath, bed, toileting, diapering)

       Asks other children to behave sexually or play sexual games

       Mimics adult-like sexual behaviors with toys or stuffed animal

       Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training

Signs more typical in adolescents

       Self-injury (cutting, burning)

       Inadequate personal hygiene

       Drug and alcohol abuse

       Sexual promiscuity

       Running away from home

       Depression, anxiety

       Suicide attempts

       Fear of intimacy or closeness

       Compulsive eating or dieting

You cannot pick a child abuser out of a crowd, but you can pick up on the warning signs listed above.  Reach out to a child or adolescent, they need you to be their silent voice.  

I witnessed my beautiful great-niece coming into the world and I know she is a gift from God.  I would do everything in my power to protect her and her siblings. 

 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 (New International Version, ©2011)

And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

 

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