Friday, October 7, 2011

It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men

Last night I started reading my latest magazine from Compassion International & there were some statistics that really stood out--and then some profound (or so I think) thoughts occurred to me. Here it is: 1 in every 3 girls and 1 in every 6 boys is sexually abused before their 18th birthday*. Get this: IN THE UNITED STATES! My first thought was thank goodness my kids stand a slightly better chance since they are boys. My second thought was that my kids are practically going to grow up in a prison because I don't want them to ever have to deal with something of this nature. But of course, will that really work since most of the perpetrators are known & trusted by the family? I'm sure everyone reading this has had these thoughts.

Then I recall my husband once had a client who was sexually abused at the age of 14. Also when she was a preschooler someone walked into their apartment at night & she woke up to someone fondling her. He ran out when she screamed & they never figured out who it was. Using this as an example, I'd say (and I think its been proven) that some people are more vulnerable than others. Of course that's not the case with all victims. But, if you could pick apart the statistics, what would the difference be between the "haves" and "have-nots"? I don't think money buys you safety. I do think that people without money have to rely more on others to help take care of their kids and they have less time and resources to help their kids build confidence and other characteristics that help keep them out of more vulnerable situations. My gut tells me that the stats in my school district are significantly better than the stats in a more urban school district.

The magazine then goes into articles on the sex trade and there are more staggering numbers. It's overwhelming. How do you fix it? Where do you start? Here's a quote: "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." -Frederick Douglass

So my thoughts resonate with the idea that we have to build up our kids and do things to support them & their families. Another excerpt from the article:
"But for a girl to be enslaved in a Bangkok brothel, an awful lot of things had to have been wrong upstream in her young life, and we at Compassion believe there is an equally compelling, powerfully strategic approach called prevention."
Sponsoring a kid through Compassion or supporting one of their other programs certainly helps build hope for their futures and helps them with necessities today. But, there are also obviously kids in the U.S. who need help too. I have a good friend who started a charity called Baby Grace that provides free baby & kid items to teenage moms. They also have Bible studies and other activities designed to show them the love of Christ. I donate all our old things to them, even if its something I could make a decent buck selling. Why? Because they are still in the category of children we can build. They haven't entered broken yet. Maybe I should be asking why I'm not doing more? There are lots of other great programs out there, to include mentoring programs. Please feel free to comment on this post & provide other ideas of ways one person can make a difference, no matter how small. It all matters! If we all work together we can build strong kids and put a stop to predators.

*Statistics: Free the Slaves & Survivors Healing Center

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