I'm writing an ebook. I know, when do I have time for this? Well, it's been rolling around in my head for some time now. I've been talking to my girls about it now for a few years and now I'm going to put it down in print so that hopefully others can benefit. I've always wanted to write a book and been encouraged by some to do so- so here goes (gulp).
I'll be posting portions of each chapter as it comes and would LOVE your comments, questions, encouragement, concerns.... to help me clarify and develop the material further. My plan is to follow up this ebook with a practical guide. It will contain a series of four lessons that families can do together to talk through this topic, ask questions and come up with a plan of their own.
Statistics predict that one in four girls will be sexually molested or compromised in the childhood years. The median age is 9 with 50 % of assaults occurring before 12 years of age. Coming from a family of four girls, that means that at least one of us should have be victimized. Thankfully, we did not have this life changing experience and until I went to college I had never known anyone who had.
I attended a small Christian college with what some would call the “cream of the crop” spiritually speaking. But as I began to watch my acquaintances and friends struggle in the area of relationships, many of them revealed to me that they had been molested as a child in one way or another and that their lives had been radically changed. Some of them had informed their parents who responded in different ways. Sometimes it had been acknowledged and other times not. Others had kept the secret for years and were only beginning to realize the devastation. Sadly, I have found the same reality to be true in my adult years. Many of those I love have been victims of molestation and worse.
Having five girls of my own this is a special concern of mine. If statistics ring true then my own children are at risk. How can I possibly be everywhere at once? Should they just stay at home where we can watch them every second? Would it be right to tell them everything there is to know about sex at a young age so that I feel they are protected? When should this subject be addressed and by whom?
I remember when my oldest was invited to a friend’s house for the first time to spend the night. She was seven and the typical responsible, mature firstborn girl. She had known this friend since preschool and we were well acquainted with the parents. I had no particular concerns about her behavior, but suddenly I was struck with a panic that I had not spoken to her yet about her own personal safety.
I looked for some material to guide me and found nothing. There are countless books about parenting, praying, mothering, but I was coming up empty handed in this area. It weighed heavy on my heart. I teach my children to protect their heads with a helmet. I make certain that they are buckled in the car correctly. I take them to swim lessons to prevent drowning. I do my best to restrict their exposure to provocative media. Why would I not equip them properly to prevent and/or respond to the indecency of others?
This has been an unfolding journey for myself as I continue to send my children out slowly and carefully. The media has caught on to the problem and nightly there are shows centered around the abuse of children. If I let it, this can drive me to fear instead of faith. God is all-seeing, all knowing and above all powerful to intervene on behalf of my children. But I have also been given the responsibility to raise them into adulthood.
It is my desire in this book to put into the hands of parents some of the tools that God has provided me in discussing this delicate issue frankly with my kids. I am not an expert in child psychology nor do I intend to dictate standards for your family. But I pray that the information put forth in these chapters will serve your family well as you send out your children into the world remembering to be prayerful, to be careful, to be modest and to be honest.
"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”Matthew 10:16