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…
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?