#RiskRejection: Let’s Talk Taboo…

The subject makes me physically ill – and angry. Every one of us should be held accountable – because we can all do more to prevent it. To stop it. It lurks closer to home than many of you think. Trust me…

 

So what’s the problem?

 

We’re not comfortable talking about it – and so we don’t.

The most innocent among us are paying the price for our silence.


The “unspoken” ill that puts its black eye on society?  CHILD ABUSE.

 

At a time when children should be having experiences that add beautiful, happy colors and texture to their life’s canvas…

… many get danger, neglect, and pain instead. Their lives are messy. Their young minds can’t process how wrong their situation is because, often, it’s the only reality they’ve ever known. And we wonder why they’re not doing better in school.

Where are the adults – the society – responsible for protecting them? Where is their bright and hopeful future?

It’s a worldwide epidemic, but today let’s not think about the problem as “someone else’s.” Let’s think about it as ours:  April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month here in the United States.


What are you going to do this month to educate yourself… get involved… stop ignoring the reality of your community’s most vulnerable citizens?

As I told you a few weeks ago, my personal desire for dirtier hands led me to volunteer as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children), and I’m just beginning the training. While I’ve seen a lot of child abuse in our work with Hope Unlimited for Children, I know I’m getting ready to get a rude awakening about the realities of children in my own community. Children who are already “in the system”.  I’m nervous, but I’m trusting God to give me the strength to do my job well – for the sake of the children.

There’s another organization you may not have heard of, whose goal is to provide support for families in crisis before their stresses get out of control. Before the children are abused and are added to an already over-crowded, under-served system. Doesn’t that make sense?  It’s called Safe Families for Children.  I hope you’ll check it out. See if it tugs at your heart the way it tugs at mine…

 

Next month I’ll be meeting with a group of my own community’s agency heads and church leaders to introduce them to Safe Families… praying that enough people in my small town will care enough to stop treating child abuse as taboo – and start talking about how we’re going to fix the problem.

You see, I know lives can be changed… and families strengthened… and children protected when someone cares enough to get involved. When someone cares enough to risk a broken heart. To risk rejection. I’ve seen it time and time again with our kids in Brazil.

 

Two weeks ago when I was there, I spent time with this precious young family. The parents were both once children who lived at Hope Unlimited. They were abused and neglected… and the court ordered them into our care.


Today, the cycle of abuse is broken. Of course they still grieve on occasion from the realities of their own lost childhood, but God has miraculously transformed their futures – and the future of their daughter. This little girl’s parents care for her in ways their own parents never cared for them. She knows love – and protection.

She gets to paint her blank canvas of childhood with brilliant and bold colors – to reflect the happy, godly home in which she’s being raised.


She has what every child deserves…

 

I’m curious…

Are the churches and city officials where you live speaking up about child abuse and prevention –

or is the subject “taboo” … and left to the professionals?

 

I’m joining Amy Sullivan for the “First Thursday of Every Month” #RiskRejection Challenge. Why not consider adding your own link next month?

Also joining, Beverly @ How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday AND Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory.

Comments

  1. Your pictures and stories always draw me in and I definitaly interested in hearing more about your work with CASA.

    I have a lot of frustration related to this topic. Working for the school system, I am always astounded about how much we see and hear and how little is often done even with reports filed and everyone going through the proper channels. I’ve also seen the other side because my husband worked for social services before, and I know how TOTALLY understaffed most counties are…not an excuse I know.

    I feel like this isn’t a topic which is shoved under the table, but it is definately one where not enough is being done. No I haven’t heard church officials speak against it and no I haven’t heard city officials speak up about it either.

    I always enjoy the dialogue and questions you push us to think about, Susan. Thanks for sharing about your risk.

  2. Susan, so great to meet you through Amy! My husband and I serve overseas in Hungary. We work with students & so many stories are sad–almost all divorce, many abandonment & I don’t think we begin to know abuse because society hasn’t defined it as such. So much apathy and children left to figure life out with no one to guide…it is a less violent culture but no less tragic. Alcoholism & suicide are high as are depression & hopelessness…this is why we are here to live a Gospel & truth of God that so few have ever seen. The Lord bless you in your work & may God stir many around you & through you to great awareness & change!

  3. Here in Manila, this is not a subject anywhere with anyone at anytime. Life here is so very cheap.

    Prayers.
    Kelley~

  4. Also here from Amy’s #riskrejection — I was just playing with my nieces last night and we are working on our own production of “Frozen” (if you’re in the US, you can guess the general ages as it seems all girls around their age are SMITTEN). And that’s how it should be for kids — smitten with stories and playing and things of childhood. Thanks for pushing back in this area!

    • YES, Amy! That’s exactly how it should be with children… “smitten with stories and playing and things of childhood.”

      I do live in the U.S., but my husband is president (running the U.S. side) of Hope Unlimited for Children, and we work closely with mortal-risk children in Brazil. Some of our kids have NEVER experienced what it means to be a child — and so we give them the experience! Birthday parties, trips to the mall, movies, amusement parks, swimming, Summer camp… I am so very thankful your nieces have YOU in their lives. Enjoy those girls!

  5. I love how you call what the little girl has a blank canvas for childhood. That’s the perfect goal, too. To unlearn what was learned or to learn what was never learned are the two hardest areas that we deal with around here. While I am like others with a heart for the “obviously” abused, my deepest pull seems to be toward those whose abuse is so subtle that it falls through the cracks. It seems that there is no voice for those kids. They are so hard to find and what they learn or don’t learn just gets cemented into their hearts and minds as acceptable standard of behavior. To change or open minds is to diminish or disparage their families so it isn’t well received, even by the child who is the victim of the abuse. That is the part that has always frustrated me and grieved me and (honestly?) made me tend to retreat when it gets difficult.

    Sorry for the mega ramble. I am just getting back to computer time so I have so many things swirling around in my head that I can’t keep them all in. .

  6. thanks for bringing light to this subject. there are so many kids hurting out there.

  7. Thanks for your blog visit and encouraging comment and a very heartfelt thank you for your post here. I was somewhat familiar with the basics due to time spent working in a local middle school and many years in a clinic setting but nothing prepared me for a battle my sister faced regarding her child and the broken court system. Workers like you are VITAL. I will be praying for you as you step out into this new venture. You are brave to speak out on a subject many want to sweep under the rug and strong to want to make a difference. Bless you and your work Susan! I will follow you on Google to keep up.

  8. My church just stepped up and held an interest meeting for foster care in our county, and the pastor and his wife (of two grown boys) are right in the middle themselves. He has challenged us as a church to answer the call of caring for the orphans and the widows by becoming foster families, to relieve the burden where we live. I’m proud of my pastor, and my church 🙂

  9. What a wonderful and blessed job you were called by our Lord to do. What a great story and with the right help future families can turn around the sad fate other children might have. I hope it’s not taboo anymore and more and more people start to address it!!!
    Our church here helps many Young boys who have suffered abuse and put them in the right track so they cannot be abusers and learn from such a grueling experience and heel if that is the Word. Thank you for sharing.
    Hugs,
    FABBY

  10. Thanks for all you are doing. Oh my, I see way too much child abuse. It is a huge problem and if we could all just step up and be a voice — at least the children would know they have someone on their side.

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