April 24, 2016
Street art by Nitzan Mintz, Jerusalem, Israel, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/zeevveez/8765164478/, Author zeevveez https://www.flickr.com/people/29001414@N00 (CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)
I curled up on the couch a few nights ago, expecting to watch a good old-fashioned whodunit on television.
Unfortunately, I discovered too late that the corpse in the story belonged to a child molester. A woman sexually abused as a girl had killed him, in her effort to protect another child from abuse.
Suddenly the program was deadly serious — raising all too familiar issues of credibility, deception, violence, guilt, and justification.
The Lens of Abuse
Though this blog regularly deals with the topic of abuse, victims must strive not to view the world through that lens only.
There are countless good things — and good people — in the world. Victims deserve better than to be robbed of those, in addition to having been battered and violated.
A Happy Face
There is a deep and pervasive sadness associated with abuse. Our childhoods were stolen from us, our lives shattered. We cannot pretend our abuse never occurred; cannot just wish our depression or PTSD away, and put on a happy face.
The Apostle Paul encouraged believers this way:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Php. 4: 8).
So we have every right to incorporate good people and good things into our lives. They are a reflection of God’s own love.
The problem is that we cannot do this by act of will alone. The victims of sexual abuse cannot simply choose to “think less about sex” . If our abuse was sexual, everything has become sexualized, whether we want it to be or not .
Tears in Heaven
“Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?”
– Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton
How will heaven handle these issues?
Will we forget all the painful events in our lives, and the people who caused us that pain? What if those events were formative, shaped our character and aspirations? What if the very people who caused our pain were, also, our loved ones?
How can the slate be wiped clean? Will God arrange it so that we can remember the events, but without the pain formerly associated with them? Won’t that change who we are?
And what role does forgiveness play? Does it perhaps drain our wounds, allowing them at last to heal?
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21: 4).
Scripture promises us there will be no tears in heaven. The children whose lives were ended too soon by abuse left their sorrows behind.
For now, our aim as abuse victims should be to live our lives to the fullest; to speak out against the evils of abuse, if we can find the strength; and to remember we were not at fault.
The rest we will have to trust to God.
 More information about sexual abuse can be found at: Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), “Common Victim Behaviors of Survivors of Sexual Abuse” by akulikowski, 3/26/13, http://www.pcar.org/blog/common-victim-behaviors-survivors-sexual-abuse; and The National Center for Victims of Crime, “Effects of Child Sexual Abuse on Victims”, http://www.victimsofcrime.org/media/reporting-on-child-sexual-abuse/effects-of-csa-on-the-victim.
 In sexual abuse, children, themselves, are objectified, i.e. treated as objects for the sexual use of others. Victims learn to see themselves in this limited and highly destructive way. Objects in everyday use can, also, acquire a suggestive connotation.
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