Sunday, February 24, 2013

Setting Boundaries: Protecting Your Children from Sexual Abuse

"Mommy!  A snake is trying to bite Smokey!"

Probably just a harmless grass snake, I thought. But, as I drew near to the back of our house, our cat crouched low. Thin snake with markings on its back lay coiled a few feet away from him. 

Smokey was smart enough to lie there motionless.

As one of the children moved closer to the snake, it reared up and it lurched forward, ready to strike.

The common garden snakes I've come in contact with are usually shy of people and slither away quickly, but this one took its stance. 

Poisonous or not, it was vicious, and I couldn't take any chances of it biting my children.

Rather than let it get away and strike again later, I had to strike first.

Time was of the essence.   

Grabbing the nearest weapon, a hockey stick, I let it have it. 

Needless to say, afterwards I broke down and shed many tears. I don't like killing anything. 

But, I must protect my children.

Thankfully, I had trained the children to stay away from snakes and come get me if they find one.

I don't like to think about it, but, this world can be far from safe, full of of myriad of things that can harm our children. 

Turn on the news at any hour and you will soon find that our world is very broken indeed.

For example, Human trafficking.

According to World Vision, all throughout the world, including in the United States, at least 2 million children are trafficked annually for child labor or sexual exploitation.

Like a mother hen, we long to take our children under our wings and keep them safe.

Safe from the snakes, the evil-doers, who take advantage of the helpless and the weak.

Burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the problem isn't going to make it go away.

We must be wise and train our children about the dangers and pitfalls of this world, and do our best to keep them safe.

Some ways to protect our children is to teach them  about "stranger danger."

Teaching our children to

<<run away>>

from people who offer them candy,

need help finding a lost pet,

or anything that would trick a child into getting in their vehicle. 

Or that there are "safe people" to run to when they get lost or separated from Daddy and Mommy.

"Safe people" are:

 a mommy with her children,

a worker at a store,

or a teacher.

Sometimes a sexual predator can be a stranger, other times, it could very well be someone you know and trust, which I know is extremely unsettling.

In letting others watch your children,

Trust in God and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit,

Keep open communication with your children, and

If someone doesn't feel right you can always say "no."

If that isn't unsettling enough, children can also be sexually abused by older children who may be acting out the same abuse that has been inflicted on them.

It is important to teach our children the proper boundaries over their body--what is appropriate touching and what is off-limits.

Some products available to protect your children are:

My Body Belongs To Me is a good picture book with rhyming text about what a child can do if someone touches them inappropriately.

God's Design for Sex is a series of books that teaches children about boundaries and what is sexual abuse.

Net Nanny is a great webfilter to protect kids from online predators and unwanted sexual images (age 11 is the average age children are for the first time exposed to pornography).

For those who have children who have experienced sexual abuse:

My heart goes out to you and your children.

There is a southern saying, "Love your children up."

Love helps your children grow, and when they're hurt, it helps them heal.

And by the grace of God they can heal.

"for love covers over a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)

Some things that you can do for children around the world who are at risk for sexual abuse:

Speak up and speak out against child trafficking,

Support children in poverty,

Pray for the restoration of this broken world.

This world is not our home.  Before sin tainted it, through the craftiness of the snake (who was the devil in disguise), it was a beautiful, glorious place to live. 

When Jesus, our King, returns, He will make all things new.

Until then,

Be watchful,

Be vigilant, and

Keep the faith.

 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.   Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” (Luke 21: 25-28)