****THIS ARTICLE is also posted at this blog today.****
Today I read about a Homeland Security honcho getting arrested for trying to seduce what he thought was a 14 year old over the Internet. The terrible story is here. And congress is now (finally!!!) investigating this.
Every time I speak to a group of people and bring up childhood sexual abuse, I get knowing glances from many, many folks. My guess, though, is that the incidents of this abuse is much higher today because of the Internet and the further breakdown of communities and families. It makes me sick. Angry. Livid.
Children are our future, but they are systematically victimized on the altar of sick pleasure. I’ve had to endure years of pain because of my own issues dealing with childhood sexual abuse from neighbors. I ache for every single person who has had to live through that hell.
I wrote Watching the Tree Limbs as a response. I wanted to offer hope to people who had been violated as children. I wanted to portray an honest wrestling with a God who seemed far away. I wanted a character to grapple with, “Where was God when I was being abused?” I wanted, through the vehicle of a page-turning story, reveal God’s tender mercy toward the abuse victim. I hoped to put the reader in a victimized girl’s flip-flops, in a similar way Harper Lee walked us around in Boo Radley’s shoes.
I recently received this email: “I finished Watching the Tree Limbs last night and was totally captivated by the book. Besides the beauty of your writing, I was impressed by the realistic reactions of the children to the abuse and circumstances. I did lose some sleep this week, since I couldn’t put it down.” That helped me to know the book is helping readers understand this issue through the eyes of nine-year-old Mara.
So, yes, I’m sickened by these recent reports. It makes me mad. The Bible says Satan comes like a thief to steal, kill and destroy. I have a sinking feeling childhood sexual abuse is one of his most powerful tools to destroying humankind.
There’s a song, “Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord,” I love to sing. In the bridge it repeats, “I will not be silent, no. I will not be silent anymore.” That’s how I feel about this issue. Silence is deadening our children. It’s time to speak up.