On My Soapbox

The cynic in me finds the following quote absolutely hilarious: “Mark Foley wants you to know he is a gay man.”

I laugh, not because former Rep. Foley is gay, but because in light of all that has happened in the last week with regard to heinous sexual assaults on young girls, followed by murders, one of our elected officals who is caught having internet sex with pages and grooming others for future who-knows-what offers in his defense? that, “I don’t even like girls!” Give me a fucking break!

Let’s see if we can connect some dots here:

Mark Foley:

  • molested by clergy, ages 13-15
  • has internet sex with teenaged pages
  • sends inappropriate emails to others, arguably grooming them for the future

Duane Morrison:

  • suicide note alleges he was molested
  • sexually molested all six girls before killing one and killing himself

Charles Carl Roberts IV:

  • molested children 20 years ago
  • dreaming of doing it again
  • brought KY Jelly lubricant with him to the school where he kills 5 young girls

You would really have to live under a rock this week to deny the horrid, disgusting fact that sexual assault happens every single day, in every single town, in every single corner of the globe. You would really have to be moron to deny that children are the most vulnerable and therefore the most likely to be sexually assaulted.

Here are some facts:

FACT: Most sexual assaults go unreported. (RAINN)

I am glad that these stories in the news bring publicity to this issue, but I work with survivors every single day who because of shame, fear, mistreatment by authorities, disbelief of loved ones and a hundred other reasons choose not to report their victimization to the police. If they don’t report, they aren’t counted. I am a survivor. I am not included in the statistics. Not any of my assaults.

FACT: Among female rape victims, 61% are under 18.
American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Adolescence. “Sexual Assault and the Adolescent.” Pediatrics. 94 (5) 1994.

FACT: Most victims are sexually assaulted by someone they know.

MYTH: “We live in a beautiful, safe neighborhood. None of these children could be victims of sexual abuse, right?”

 

 

It is highly likely that you know a child who has been or is being abused.

  • Experts estimate that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthdays. This means that in any classroom or neighborhood full of children, there are children who are silently bearing the burden of sexual abuse.
  • 1 in 5 children are sexually solicited while on the Internet.
  • Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under.
  • The median age for reported sexual abuse is 9 years old.
  • Approximately 20% of the victims of sexual abuse are under age eight.
  • 50% of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are under age twelve.
  • Most child victims never report the abuse.
  • Sexually abused children who keep it a secret or who “tell” and are not believed are at greater risk than the general population for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems, often lasting into adulthood.

It is also likely that you know an abuser. The greatest risk to children doesn’t come from strangers but from friends and family.

  • 30-40% of children are abused by family members.
  • As many as 60% are abused by people the family trusts- abusers frequently try to form a trusting relationship with parents.
  • Nearly 40% are abused by older or larger children.
  • People who abuse children look and act just like every one else. In fact, they often go out of their way to appear trustworthy to gain access to children.
  • Those who sexually abuse children are drawn to settings where they can gain easy access to children, such as sports leagues, faith centers, clubs, and schools.

“It can’t happen in my family. I could tell if someone I know is an abuser.”

 


Yet in more than 90% of sexual abuse cases the child and the child’s family know and trust the abuser.

Consequences to children and to our society begin immediately. Child sexual abuse is a direct source of a number of problems facing us.

  • Consequences to children and to our society begin immediately. Child sexual abuse is a direct source of a number of problems facing us.
  • 70-80% of sexual abuse survivors report excessive drug and alcohol use.
  • One study showed that among male survivors, 50% have suicidal thoughts and more than 20% attempt suicide.
  • Young girls who are sexually abused are more likely to develop eating disorders as adolescents.
  • More than 60% of teen first pregnancies are preceded by experiences of molestation, rape or attempted rape. The average age of the offenders is 27 years old.
  • Approximately 40% of sex offenders report sexual abuse as children.
  • Both males and females who have been sexually abused are more likely to engage in prostitution.
  • Approximately 70% of sexual offenders of children have between 1 and 9 victims; 20-25% have 10 to 40 victims.
  • Serial child molesters may have as many as 400 victims in their lifetimes.

(Darkness to Light)

Now, I challenge you to compare the facts with the statements in the media regarding these 3 offenders. In my opinion the community has a role in this. We have a resposibility to protect kids because, so often, this is where the abuse starts. But we have a larger responsibilty.

We have the responsibility to take our heads out of the sand and look at what is happening around us. We have to allow people to tell their stories. All people. Even men and boys. When we silence them by turning their victimization into an issue of whether they are gay or not, we drive their pain underground where it festers, and worse.

I am so angry about this Foley mess for so many reasons, but nothing burns me more than him appealing to his sexuality as somehow a defense for his actions. It clouds the waters, I think intentionally, and it attempts to somehow put pedophilia, rape, and sexual assault in the same category as sexuality. One’s sexuality is not a crime. These other behaviors are.

Guess what Foley? Perpetrators are gay and straight and anywhere in between. That has no bearing on who they assault. But somehow, I think you already know that.

 

My heart aches for the families of the girls who lost their lives in the past week:

  • Naomi Rose Eversole, 7
  • Marian Fisher, 13
  • Lina Miller, 7
  • Mary Liz Miller, 8
  • Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12
  • Emily Keyes, 16,
  •  

    And for the unnamed victims whose lives have forever been changed by the hand of evil.

    We need to wake up!

     

     

     

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    19 thoughts on “On My Soapbox

    1. We shall know the truth, and the truth shall set us free. Child sexual abuse, like any atrocity, will continue as long as it is hidden. Thank you for shedding light.

    2. Brilliant post!! You rock. Anyone who can read what you have set forth here without vowing to help make this atrocity go away is less than human.

      Thank you. And thank you again.

    3. Wow. Thank you for gathering these hard to swallow facts. I hug my daughters a little tighter now ebfore I send them off to school. God, you just never know these days. I grieve for their innocence that I think they are losing as a result of this sick and warped world we live in.

    4. I counselled sexual assault victims years ago and what’s happened the past week sickens me. My heart goes out to those babies.

    5. Everyday when I send my daughter to school as I watch her walk away I pray that she will be safe. Having a child is like having my heart walking around outside of my body. My family and friends often joke about how I never let her stray too far away from me. Other then when I am at work, I need to be able to see her or talk to her and know that she’s okay. After the story of the five girls broke, I called my sister in Italy and told her how much it scared me. We even jokingly discussed me sending her to Italy where my sister could watch her 24/7. It’s enough to make me want to quit my job and home school her so that I always know that she is safe. But we live in a world where the only way to make a decent life for your family is often by having two working parents in the house. Sending her out in the world to fend for herself, even if it is only to go to school breaks my heart everyday. I long for the day that I no longer have this worry but somehow I know that it will always be a concern even when she is woman with children of her own. Let’s keep our children close. Always remember that every child that has been or is being abused could be yours.

    6. Nichelle, my mother was overprotective, and it worked in the sense that I was not assaulted or abused.

      Lex, thank you for this thorough but of course chilling post. Calling Foley gay – whether true or not – is of course a strategy to save Republican face. I would hope that the public can see that caring for families is also a pretense and political strategy, but I don’t think that will happen.

      There aren’t any children in my life. I grew up watching child-in-peril movies and crime shows. I still suspect that I’ll be the kind of neighbor who’s considered too observant or downright meddling or nosy, and that I would call the police so much that they would cease to believe me. What can I do?

    7. me again. you say i exist only to piss you off. well here i go again.

      Something that’s bothering me. When i first started talking to you again. I asked you flat out if you were lesbian. Of course you were flabberghasted and said “of course not” and we moved on. But we’ve had many conversations later where you were very adamant that gays and lesbians don’t make other gays and lesbians and that they are not all pedophiles. Many people think i’m nuts for wanting to shield my children, but honestly look at the statistics, the hardcore facts. Most of them indeed were molested as children and most turn around and do the same thing. A child who has been molested will turn around and molest others. History has proven it. It will continue to cycle UNLESS and I believe this w/o a shadow of doubt God himself directly interferes.

      I dont know it just seems like a double standard. You beat me down for my view and then turn around and post your rants which display facts that are right in line with my views.

      It’s obvious why all this stuff happens. We are absolutely 100% dead and rotten to the core, every single one of us. Everyone of us inherit it from our parents all the way back till the original 2 humans, who fucked it up.

      Unless God interferes we cannot and will not ever get better.

      These atrocities have existed ever since that first sin and will continue to exist until the end of time, when God sets it all right again. It’s why we so heavily need to rely on His ability to save us not our own. Trying to make sense of it all w/o Him causes nothing but madness.

      I have a method that i’ve adopted that helps me to not go crazy and get depressed every time the news comes on. I learned it very young. If you get burned when you touch the stove…dont do it. If you get depressed and upset every time you turn on the news…dont do it. It doesnt change the fact that these things are happening. BUT it does preserve you to function and accomplish what you need to do. My goal (obviously different than yours) is to take care of my family, until they are old and mature enough to take care of themselves. If something hinders me from functioning and accomplishing my goal then i avoid it like the plague.

      I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again. (even though i fully expect to be blasted from all angles and people) You’ve been damaged and damaged terribly growing up. I was damaged growing up as well. Re-living the old memories only make it worse, it doesn’t help. Living vicariously through others’ hurts doesnt help either. It puts us in a depression loop. And it continues to cycle until we either give up and stay in it or get angry enough to do something about it and leave the stimuli behind.

      Your job and the news are hurting you more than you are helping them.

      It’s frustrating to watch a friend that i love be stuck in this cycle.

    8. Mutt,

      Most victims of childhood sexual abuse do NOT turn around and become child sexual abusers, as you stated. Most child sexual abusers have probably been abused themselves, but that’s a totally different statement.

      As a victim of childhood sexual abuse myself, I felt I needed to clarify that. Never once have I wanted to inflict the same pain on anyone else that was inflicted on me.

      I think the very point is that you can’t blame your sexual preference or your inability to deal with your sexuality for being a PERVERT. Every gay person I know would be offended at you right now.

      If you, like me, want to protect your children, your most likely suspects are your heterosexual uncles, grandfathers, brothers and cousins who come to the family reunion and to Thanksgiving dinner shaking your hand and smiling in your face.

      Sticking your head in the sand about these issues will not help your children. They aren’t going away and they need to be aware.

      And why would you publicize such a personal conversation here?

      Sorry, Lex, for highjacking your comments.

    9. Lexi, great post.

      Mutt,
      Something that’s bothering me, I can’t believe what I just read. I’ve never heard more of a painful and ill-informed piece of advice, ever.
      To assume that all people that choose to have sex with a person of the same gender will (make) other people that make the same choice is to deny the individuals power of choice. If that is what you really believe then your question to all that you meet and are interested in having a relationship with should be; have you been molested. If you really believe that all people that are gay or have ever been are pedophiles then you are, what we called paranoid.
      You say “A child who has been molested will turn around and molest others. History has proven it. It will continue to cycle UNLESS and I believe this w/o a shadow of doubt God himself directly interferes.”
      History has proven no such thing. History has proven that a person that has been molested is a victim not a predator. You effectively make every survivor a predator, every person that has had to live through the hell, the pain, the shame, the uncertainty, and the confusion. Unfortunately also has to (God forbid) deal with people who are willing for the sake of fear to make them all out to be nothing less than pedophiles.
      If I’m not mistaken, God himself has already interfered. Many a victim has come into a relationship with God.
      I know for one to take such a position they most also create a loop hole that excuses them from their own, as you put it messed up childhood. In your case, I guess that would be that God has directly interfered in your life? Has he only interfered in your life?

      You access that by facing ones experiences head on, we do more harm than good.
      Jesus says in Luke 10
      “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
      Please, please, Mutt,
      Be careful, because you choose to cross the road and walk on the other side, don’t condemn those that choose to get dirty and have pity on others. Avoid it like the plague.

      Lex, I’m so sorry, but I was bothered.

    10. Your right that the ones most likely to do the damage are the family members. why do you think i’m so damn selective about who spends time with my children? Why do you think i dont leave any of my family alone with my children?

      For those of you who don’t believe that history has proven this. My dad being a pediatrician was priviledged to see into the lives of thousands and thousands of families. Many, many, many of these kids were molested and then turned around and molested others. In every instance if you trace it back far enough (usually only 1 or 2 hops)it lead back to an adult who was molested as a child. Now regarding the homosexual thing. I dont give a care if i offend people. What i say is truth. Again every single one of the children in my dad’s practice that turned out gay it was because they were introduced to it from someone else. Every single one. NO exaggeration.

      I’m not the one putting my head into the sand. I see fully well what is going on. But i refuse dwell on what i cannot fix. yes i feel bad about all that happens to women and children and even guys. (somehow people always seem to leave out the hurting guys) But for me every single time i try to help i get sucked into the same mess and more damage ends up happening to me and my family than good for them. But not only me i see it happening to friends too.

      Kwesi i didnt mean we do more damage than good. I meant we often take on more damage then we do good to them.

      Over the course of the blog, it appears that lexi is getting more and more upset and confused with the world. And i believe it’s directly related to her job and the news. The stuff on the news we can’t control. Yeah it’s more and more depressing every day, but i refuse to just sit there and watch bad news. It disabling. Heck it borders on brain-washing. The news never reports all the good things that are going on as well. Why? because our human nature is drama. There are no ratings in non-drama.

      Many of us here are believers. Have we forgotten about Phil. 4? specifically 6-8? Just in case here are those 3 verses. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 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. “

      Some call me hiding my head in the sand, i dont mind, i’d rather “meditate” on the good vs the bad. Why? garbage in –> garbage out.

      The way i see it, if something catastrophic happens that i really need to know, I’ll hear about it from someone else who is slaved to the news.

      Now if i kept my mouth shut and just walked away, then i’d be hiding my head in the sand.

    11. OK, MC_Mutt

      Before I read anybody else’s responses to you. Let me make my own.

      I am neither depressed nor living vicariously through other people’s pain. I really can’t bring myself to comment on anything else you’ve brought up because this summation of my decision to be ENGAGED in the world I live in and to GIVE A DAMN for people who’ve been hurt really shows me how incredibly different we are.

      Are worldview’s are very different. You seem to think that God pushes all the buttons, we just sit back and watch what happens. I believe God calls me to care and to get my hands dirty and he, through his people, brings salvation to a dying world.

      I will never turn my back on victims. I will never stop caring. I will never stop being affected by their pain. I will never stop talking about my story. I will never stop believing that there’s hope for individuals who’ve suffered this way. I will never turn a deaf ear to what’s going on in the world around me.

      And I will never make half-assed, unsubstanciated conclusions that are NOT supported by any evidence like, “children who were molested molest others”. WRONG!!!! That is NOT what the data says and damn it, kids are dead. I refuse to use this post to debate this with you. And GAY does NOT equal pedophile.

      I’m really sorry that this is what you’ve learned from Christianity. I’m so glad I disagree with you.

    12. And again, to say that most molesters were molested is a VERY different thing from what Mutt said. He said that most victims become molesters and that is simply not true. Many of us heal from our scars and proceed to try to help others.

      “They will know we are Christians by our love.” Not by our apathy or by our hate.

      And still, I can’t believe he brought up a personal conversation the two of you had for all the blogworld to see.

    13. @ MC Re: your second comment

      I am not the least bit confused about the world! What are you talking about?

      And, being concerned about other people is not an attempt to “fix the world”. It’s called compassion. I do believe you could use a healthy dose.

      Villifying whole groups of people because of how you experienced one or a few is wrong. No matter how you justify it.

      Your logic continues to be flawed. Let’s say for argument’s sake that all of your father’s homosexual clients report being sexually abused. How the HELL does it follow then that all gays are pedophiles? And you’ve got 3 people who were molested as kids responding to your comments who have NEVER molested anybody. There ain’t THAT much coincidence in the world.

      I understand that you’re scared for your kids.

      At this point, so am I.

    14. What happened to these children is horrible. It could be any child. Any child. Even MC’s, unfortunately.

      I really don’t want the issue to get lost because of MC.

      I wrote the post because I care. I love people and hate to see them hurting.

      I love people. Period. Gay, lesbian, straight, alcoholic, prostitute, perpetrator.

      There’s even a drop of compassion in me for the murderer/rapists this week.

      I refuse to live my life in perpetual hatred for anyone. Including those who have hurt me.

      Wounds heal. Hate impedes healing.

      I love you all. You too MC.

    15. Okay, I am amazed at how this comment trail spiraled out of control. When I read this post, what I took from it was that there needs to be a greater sense of awareness of child sexual abuse and a greater sense of urgency from society as a whole to protect our children who cannot protect themselves. I thought that Lexi was trying to give us all a keener sense of what the statistics really are out there. How the hell this fool got LESBIAN and CONFUSED out of this I will never know. I too fear for his children. Lexi as someone who has known you for more than 25 years, I find that you not only gain more clarity with each post that you write, but I gain more clarity with each one that I read. Ignore the ignorance and fear that others would like to project upon you and continue to share your powerful thoughts, your statistics, your knowledge and HELL YES even your rants!! Know that I understand and appreciate them.

    16. Not all pedophiles act on it. I don’t think one can assess the orientation of a pedophile as regards adults. A pedophile or molester who has an opposite-sex adult relationship can’t be said to be straight – the pedophilia clouds the issue.

      In contrast, straight/queer is based on healthy relationships and equality, not on abuser/victim, adult/child or other criminal or skewed power dynamics.

      A man who molests boys is not gay, he’s a molester. Foley is not gay; he’s lying to save his party.

      If everyone involved in the Civil Rights Movement had let God take care of things, we wouldn’t be here, discussing anything.

      You’re not supposed to keep to yourself and only care about your immediate family. You’re supposed to help and look out for everyone around you. The strong protect the weak, the big the small. People are so obnoxious about being better than “animals,” but animals look out for their own. Even solitary creatures take part in community.

      Power and ability are illusions, just as authority is. You can/can’t do what you believe you can/can’t do. If you can’t be part of your community, it’s not because people are dangerous or it’s not your job. It’s because you’re afraid or you can’t be bothered to find a way to do it. I believe we learn and act when we’re ready. Caring hurts, and if your attempts leave you drained, that doesn’t mean you should give up. What about pulling back incrementally?

      Perhaps this post or the next one sounds less strong than Lex sounds in her response above. But she couldn’t have written so well and so thoroughly if it hurt so much it left her helpless to act. In its journal aspects, a blog entry is a moment in time. Working things out in writing can be cathartic. No matter how depressed a post seems to the reader, it’s possible the writer walked away from it refreshed and renewed.

    17. Lex, The realization of so much abuse, by those in power is heinously nausious. Jesus said that to anyone who would cause a little one to stumble, it would be better for them to have a millstone tied around their neck and tossed in the sea. Our culture is selfishly charged and teaches people to use others for their own pleasure. People are not objects but are created in the image of God. When we see news like this week it should grieve our hearts and draw us back to the place our hearts were suppose to inhabit and that is in the communion of our heavenly Father. Our Savior Jesus Christ instructs us in His Life Death and Resurrection we are utterly dependant on God for Him to change our heart. We walk in the power of the Holy Spirit preaching the Good News that Jesus has come to by us back from the marketplace of sin. God is good let us worship and rest in His goodness. In spite of trials we are of good cheer for Jesus has overcome the world.

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