For Shame

Posted by Roberta Grimes • May 25, 2024 • 23 Comments
Jesus, The Teachings of Jesus

You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord, who abide in His shadow for life,
Say to the Lord, “My refuge, my rock in whom I trust!”

And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings, bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun! And hold you in the palm of His hand.
The snare of the fowler will never capture you. And famine will bring you no fear.
Under His wings your refuge, His faithfulness your shield!

And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings, bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun! And hold you in the palm of His hand.
You need not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day.
Though thousands fall about you, near you it shall not come!
Michael Joncas, from “On Eagle’s Wings” (1977)

The moment when I found this article about a ten-year-old boy who killed himself because he was being bullied at school felt to me like the worst moment of my long life. I kid you not. I still haven’t managed to make myself read the whole article, so I don’t know what method little Sammy chose to end his life. It was just the picture of that very little boy that did it for me. That small, dorky face. And his age, for heaven’s sake! How does a ten-year-old child even conceive of the concept of suicide? And his parents repeatedly asked his teacher and the school system to protect him, but there was not a single person who did anything for him? So, why didn’t his parents pull him out of that school? Why did no adult protect that child?

It was left just to Jesus to prove to Sammy how very much he was loved, so Jesus came and took him home. That was all I could think as I wept for that little boy. And I look at his picture now, and I see Albert Einstein perhaps, when he was small. He could so easily have looked as dorky as that little boy looks. Or maybe Bill Gates, or another of the modern tech giants. Just think of all the wonderful things little Sammy might have done for this world, as bright and sensitive as he possibly was, as kindly as perhaps he was, or even as simply normal as he was, if he just had been given the chance to live his life. But he never had that chance. And of course, I blamed myself first of all. That I wasn’t there, somehow. I wanted to be there so I could bring him home with me and protect him, so no one ever could hurt him again.

I got over my initial emotional crisis. I don’t so much blame his parents, who must be devastated. But I do deeply blame that school system! And I blame all elementary school systems that allow any bullying at all to happen to children who are too young to defend themselves. I recall that there was bullying when I was in a public school a million years ago, and that was the reason why we sent our own children to parochial schools at first; and when I learned that there was some bullying even there, then we switched them to private schools. But when I was in public school so long ago, a few children in each class were always targeted, so retroactively now, I do blame myself for never having defended those classmates. I even recall one bullied girl by name. Edna had that clumsy name, and her family lived in a little trailer on a field that was littered with salvaged auto-parts. I wish now that I had been strong enough to stand up to the bullies who teased Edna about her shabby life and her thrift-store clothes. And I also recall my long-ago sense of satisfaction when our worst school bully got pregnant and had to drop out of high school. I realize now how wrong of me that was, and I feel retroactively sorry about her as well.

After a couple of days, I was partway over the shock of that dreadful news about Sammy, but still not past the horror of his death by suicide when he was so very young. And then as I was clearing emails on Wednesday morning, I came across an obituary for a mother of a boy who had killed himself because at the age of twelve he had been sexually abused by a Catholic priest. So then she had spent the whole rest of her life fighting the Church over its silence about the extent of sexual abuse by priests that happens within the Catholic Church. And Thomas said to me at once, “How many little boys have killed themselves because they were sexually abused by Catholic priests?” I said, “What?” I never had thought about that. “But surely they were older?” He bitterly said, “Not by much.”

At Thomas’s insistence, over the next few days I  tried to squeeze myself down a slimy rabbit-hole  that until now I have ignored. Omigod, my Thomas is so right! This is a horrific scandal that long has harming the most vulnerable children. A few girls, but mostly boys. And it probably rivals worldwide the American school-bullying scandal in terms of the number of victims who are severely damaged by it, and the intensity of the harm that has been done to them.

In the specific case of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy:

  • The perpetrators are clergy who are completely trusted by the children and by their parents, and those clergy are protected and defended by their church superiors. Until very recently, children and their parents who complained about the sexual abuse of children by their priests would be instructed to keep their complaints to themselves, and they could generally be silenced.
  • For decades, going back as far as the nineteen-forties, the children might even be blamed for what had happened to them, and called actually sinful. Children, and even their parents, could generally be controlled by clerical superiors who held over their heads the supernatural powers of heaven and hell, and they could be told that God would punish them for tattling.
  • Whenever too many complaints were received about any one particular priest, he would simply be transferred to a different parish, where he would continue to abuse children for many more years. The documented histories of this having happened in the cases of some of the most egregiously offending priests are only lately coming to light, and they are appalling to read.
  • The secrecy that surrounded these clerical abuse cases would not have been possible if the priests had been in any other profession. Had they been doctors, say, or teachers, these stories would much more easily have come to light. But the superstitious fears surrounding priests who could call down hellfire on you if you got on their bad side was enough to allow this horrible destruction of the lives of children to go on for seventy well-documented years, and perhaps in some cases for a century or more.

Even now, the Catholic church and its clergy are still being powerfully protected. I have spent three days, off and on, trying to find reliable hard statistics on the numbers of children who have been sexually abused by Catholic priests worldwide, and such numbers are still fragmented and largely anecdotal. What I have found are pages and pages of Google links to articles that were what amounted to very limited admissions at first, kind of “modified limited hangouts” by bishops and by the Vatican over decades of time, as the secular law at last got involved in all the various countries. The Catholic church never once came out in front of any of these investigations, and never once tried to own this situation, insofar as I could see! But instead, and shamefully, the Catholic Church continued to recruit generation after generation of starry-eyed altar boys with no warnings to them, and no warnings to their parents, and it gave all those adolescent boys over to the tender mercies of clergymen who were forced to live outwardly celibate lives. You and I would of course assume that back in the sixties perhaps, as this all started to come to very limited light, the Vatican must have right away come down hard on all its priests and insisted that every bit of abuse must stop. But they were already suffering a priest shortage, so they seem not to have done that, amazingly enough. Instead, they offered just some discreet counseling.

Extrapolating from what has been reported in a few countries, since 1950, more than a million boys and men worldwide have already come forward and reported that during their childhoods, they were sexually molested by a Catholic priest, and these boys and men have been believed. But these were only the ones who were believed! It seems clear from browsing in older articles that very many more were coming forward in the forties through the sixties who were not believed, but instead they were shamed into silence. And seeing that, one assumes that there likely were still more who were abused, but who chose to keep that fact to themselves. We are told, too, that boys made up only about eighty percent of the priests’ total child-victims. I think it is therefore likely that the total number of children worldwide who were sexually abused by priests since 1950 must have been perhaps three million.  

And unlike schoolchildren who are bullied only by other children, even one instance of sexual molestation by a powerful adult like a priest is going to have a fairly severe effect on a young child. In the little time that I had in which to research and write this post, I couldn’t do much research on the effects of priestly sexual abuse on its victims, but the results of the bits of research that I managed to do were horrifying. In one case of a priest who had abused five altar boys when they were twelve years old, four of the five had initially wanted to grow up to become priests themselves, which was why they had become altar boys in the first place. But after having been abused by that priest, all four boys who had wanted to be priests had instead killed themselves as teenagers. I couldn’t find much in the way of studies done on abuse victims as adults, but in general, the effects of childhood sexual abuse seem to be at least to some extent lifelong.

All of this looks like a major indictment of Roman Christianity. And when you consider this rampant sexual abuse of children by priests, and the way the Catholic Church has mishandled its latest scandal by covering it up for as long as possible rather than at once protecting its children, and you add it to Roman Christianity’s many other abominable sins, you must be as horrified as I am horrified.  You can see why so many people are concluding now that the modern Christianity that was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine and not by Jesus seems to be dying now what looks to be a well-deserved death. My goodness, I don’t think I ever really understood the following passage from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, and its precise application to the modern Roman Christian religion, until I saw how the Catholic hierarchy has been fussily protecting its own Precious, rather than truly serving the Lord Jesus and caring for Jesus’s children in this clergy sexual abuse scandal! Jesus ever so wisely said:

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (MT 7:15-23)

Jesus never had much use for the clergymen of any religion. Now you and I can pretty clearly see why!

And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings, bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun! And hold you in the palm of His hand.

For to His angels He’s given a command:
To guard you in all of your ways. Upon their hands they will bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings, bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun! And hold you in the palm of His hand.
And hold you, hold you in the palm of His hand.
Michael Joncas, from “On Eagle’s Wings” (1977)

Roberta Grimes
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23 thoughts on “For Shame

  1. Dear Roberta,
    When I saw the title to this week’s blog, I was very curious. My heart sank, but I also know it’s an issue that must be faced head on. I know what it’s like to be bullied-1)for being one of those “Catholics” ( grew up in a predominant Lutheran town) and from a big family, wearing hand me downs, always working, and always having to live up to “perfection” and not “shame” the family. 2) For including outcasts in my friendships. I made a point to reach out to and play with the kids no one else played with. I was bullied for it.
    My kids have been bullied for various reasons, most stupid (a “nerd” because they’re smart, wearing glasses, not having super fashion clothes) and this year was very difficult-my eldest grandson was finally “set free” when my daughter took him home to home school. He had been hit, pushed, knocked (had a concussion one time). When confronted, one bully said he “didn’t like him”-his clothes, his hair, his personality. My daughter had to fight so hard for justice.
    As to the Catholic piece, I cannot fathom how anyone in their right mind can support this as “the ONE TRUE Church”…I have siblings who do and when confronted by all the violence, injustices, etc, there’s always the “forgiveness” speech they make and how “we are ALL imperfect”. My gosh…some of the saints who really left a mark in the world blazed their own trail! A good lot were “imprisoned” under suspicion of heresy! And that does still happen! I know a priest who had to stop doing traveling masses of healing, because he was being “investigated”. People loved him. That was just 10 or so years ago.
    The abuse seems to perpetuate the cycle, don’t you think? Isn’t that what they say-that an abuser was most likely abused? Perhaps we are in the times of enough waking up to end the cycles and the ways they are perpetuated.
    Powerful blog this week, Roberta…very powerful. Thank you. Fran

    1. Oh my deer wonderful Fran, thank you so much for this! I was sure when I posted this that no one would comment, but I just felt that I had to say it, so I was surprised and delighted to find you commenting before this post even went to subscribers! And you spoke so beautifully, my dear one.

  2. A very good friend of mine also lost his 17-year old teenage son to suicide, due to bullying, which led him to wonder deeply if his son had descended into Hell, as his Catholic upbringing had taught him, even though he couldn’t quite believe that in his heart. This search led him to a medium, who assured him that after a lot of healing by angels, his son was fine. He went a step further and studied with the Morris-Pratt Institute and became a mystical medium himself. In his case, he was able to turn such a devastating experience into a meaningful way to help others, which he is doing now for the past two decades, with a main focus on suicide prevention.

    Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church happened in the church I was playing for as organist, when the main priest was arrested for child molestations. I have seen many young homosexuals entering into the priesthood, and there is such an underground gay culture within the clergy as well. I discovered that the gay choir director also had sex with this arrested priest. After this arrest, the church made no announcements, no apologies, and acted like nothing had happened and just carried on with the remaining priests, and later with a newly appointed one. Yet, everyone knew, because it had been on TV and in the newspapers, and I heard it on the radio. I think I should have left; anyways, later one, a new and gay choir director fired me to get his male friend to replace me.

    That brings me to this: In America there is also an enormous gay culture among organists/music directors, which eventually led to the arrest of one the most famous and powerful organ teachers in the USA, for having abused his students. Graduating under him from that particular conservatory of music promised jobs in large churches with good salaries, until one a few students got together and filed a complaint with the school. He was fired immediately and also lost several awards and standings. In this case, abuse was exposed, which was a good thing, even though it took time for the abused victims to have the courage to say that enough was enough.

    But there is also sexual abuse in Protestant circles, but not necessarily of the pedophile type, but e.g. between a minister and a distraught woman he is counseling. There is also sexual abuse between yogas and students, and by other religious leaders in Hinduism, by Sheiks and religious leaders in Islam, and there is child abuse by Buddhist monks.

    We live in a time where all such activities that are carried out “in the dark” will be bright out into the light so that it can be cleaned up and both victims and perpetrators alike can be healed by a higher love. It also helps to finally bring about the end of all oppressive, fear-based and false teachings religions. Beautiful temples, churches and synagogues can be turned into music and art centers. This is already happening here and there.

    1. While there is much in Adrian’s comment that I agree with – I too am a “recovering Catholic” and am appalled at the abject failure of the Roman Catholic church to deal with that terrible plague – I must express my vigorous disagreement with the common misconception contained in the comment to the effect that male pedophiles are gay.

      There are respected scientific studies debunking that view. While I agree with the observation that significant numbers of gay men work as church musicians (I have known several), I am unaware of any instance of sexual abuse perpetrated by any of them. I had two sons in church music programs with gay directors or organists, and I never had any qualms about their safety. I also know that there were no complaints arising out of any of those programs. In my 35 years of church involvement, the only sexual abuse claim for any church of which I was personally aware related to a male youth pastor and a teenage girl.

      Gay and lesbian persons have to deal with far more than their share of prejudicial views in our society – this particular view is widespread, but not based on facts.

      1. Thank you for this, my dear Steve! I don’t know about music circles, but when I did my research last week it seemed clear that a lot of the priests who were abusing altar boys were gay. I further think as a student of Christian history that the Catholic Church has had no theological reason whatsoever for its mandate that its clergy must be unmarried males, and in fact that mandate has had some very tragic results.

      2. You’re right, I should have expanded my comment a bit to include nongays as pedofiles, but my point stays that within some Catholic circles there is a distinct gay culture going on, which I have witnessed with my own eyes in churches and seminaries. Some gay men are attracted to becoming priests. And, for example, in Washington DC there are gay churches, Catholic and Episcopal, and there is a gay culture on Capitol Hill. I am not antigay by any means, just reporting here, but I am definitely horrified by sexual abuse at any age. You nevertheless have to ask yourself what kind of influence and agenda the LGBT community has at large.

        1. Thank you, Roberta, for a very interesting post. You addressed two very challenging social issues in our culture, bullying and sexual abuse, both of which have been occurring throughout history without any real end in sight. Both result in negative impact on victims, such as low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, depression and anxiety, a mistrust of others, and as in your examples many become suicidal. Although your research was specific to the long-term abuse (and cover-ups) occurring in the Catholic Church, I want to point out the wide-spread nature of sex abuse in all segments of our culture, both in institutions and in our homes and neighborhoods. After I worked through my own issues of childhood abuse, I became a practicing psychotherapist who worked for 30 years with victims of sexual abuse, trauma, and PTSD before I retired. My clients ranged from age 3 to 83 and were both males and females. The teens and victims older than 20, I worked with were usually woman since young men, generally speaking, did not seek therapy as much as women due to their own feelings of shame and self-blame. Most children are molested by someone they know, family member, older sibling, extended family, or family friends. It is often a crime of opportunity, and in the case of priests whether they are gay or not really shouldn’t matter, as an adult homosexual individual is attracted to another adult, not a child as in the case of pedophiles. I agree with Steve who stated that it is a misconception that (all) male pedophiles are gay, and there are studies that have debunked that. As you mentioned, the requirement that Catholic priests not marry is a major issue, and eager recruits and volunteers for acolyte servers sadly become unsuspecting victims of abuse. It is a total abuse of power: the priest, the deacon, the teacher, the boss, the parent, the uncle, the grandfather, the neighbor are all able to molest children (and vulnerable adults) because they are more powerful than their victims. They groom them with favors and gifts, make them feel special, make them dependent on them, have secrets together, etc.) and sometimes feel they will get away with it (and many do). I did my own research today before writing from my memory regarding victim statistics, and unfortunately, it still seems that the numbers are as staggering as I learned years ago; one in four girls and one is six boys are sexually abused before they turn 18. Different sites reference slight variances, but suffice it to say, it’s too many! Also, some victims who never seek (or receive) help as children, unfortunately go on to have repeated victimization, such as assaults, and rape experiences as adults, including in their married relationships. But there is help and hope for healing and growth. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop for now and take a deep breath. Thank you for bringing to light this painful and shameful piece of history.

          1. WOW to your cited numbers, my dear Lynnette! I really cannot get over those numbers – it boggles my mind to think that so many children and young people are damaged that way!! Wow, have I been naive. This is really something that a lot more people need to know about!!

        2. My dear ones, I have been able to do a little more research this weekend, although not much. What I don’t understand is why the Catholic Church still clings to what is so obviously a damaging and damaged system! There is no doctrinal reason why married, and even female clergy cannot serve as priests equally well, as they do in other denominations. There is some evidence that the reason is that the Vatican is run now by a gay male hierarchy which resists making such changes. Is that true? Who knows?

      3. Dear Steve –
        Well thank you for that. Guys like you who are not gay, really should be commended for your sincere, selfless effort to dissolve prejudices, stereotypes and scapegoating that lead to violence against the few.

        Thank you for your humanity.

        I’m happy to share that I am a gay man, and a teacher who has taught at high school and college level. For many years I have been an educator of, and responsible for, thousands of teenagers. All of them have been duly protected by the oath of professional service I took.

        Ordinarily, this should not need to be said. And yet incredulously here it is:
        Not one student has been abused by me at any time or in any place.

        Add this to the total number of kids and teens everywhere, who are ethically assisted by gay and lesbian; teachers, doctors, caregivers, social workers, health and career advisers, transport service providers and others all over the world.

        The collected ‘good’ homosexual fellow-human-beings contribute to humanity outstrips the criminal abusers astronomically I’ll bet!

        As you correctly say male pedophiles – who prey on boys – are often not gay. They may have purely heterosexual desires, they may even be married with kids but may single out one child and abuse him.

        Thank you Steve, for presenting an alternative to the all-too-vicious stereotype of a dark cabal of officiating gays out to destroy the lives of boys.

        Without an alternative to reflect upon, readers are abandoned to the dark implications raised by someone who does not care to present any balancing view.

        1. My sweet beautiful Efrem, after having done this research on priestly abuse of altar boys, I think that the reason why it happened so broadly was that the priests knew that the Catholic Church worldwide was condoning such behavior and would protect them for doing it. I completely blame the church! If there had been a published policy saying, DON’T! and perhaps a couple of priests here and there had been defrocked for it way back in the fifties, then it would never have happened again. But instead, the Bishops did the opposite. They turned a blind eye to it, and allowed it so long as it was done discretely. The result has been this absolute abomination of millions of damaged and destroyed lives, and a Church that has turned itself into this pit of evil abusers of children that disgusts even my husband, who is the most devout Catholic that you can imagine.

    2. Oh my dear Adrian, I hadn’t thought of the gay aspect of it in the Catholic church, but I do agree that it is a terrible and unnecessary problem. The Catholic Church only started to prevent its priests from marrying in the first place because Jesus was never married, and because as the Church accumulated wealth and they wanted to keep that wealth within the Vatican. But normal sexual urges have to have an outlet! And this limitation of Catholic clergy to only unmarried males has had a number of negative effects, the sexual abuse of so many children being just one of them.

    3. Hey Adrian 👋
      I’m sad that you had to deal with a gay cabal of abusers and nepotists. It’s a horrible feeling when you realize what evil a criminal cluster does. Also it would feel awful being fired so the choir director could bring one of their cronies in. You deserved better my friend.

      Also, I’ve researched lately and there does seem to be gay position/power cliques at high levels in the Catholic Church. Who would have guessed?
      It seems just as you say! 😖

      I also hope that these cabals are exposed to the light and expelled forthwith. The abusers and enablers among them need to face the full force of the law.🙏🏼

  3. This may sound a bit harsh but it is virtually impossible to eliminate all bullying among children who too often exceed the limits of friendly teasing. Most of the bullies in the world are adults anyway; you can meet them at work, on the roadways, online etc. That should not be a big deal as these encounters are opportunities for spiritual advancement. A more productive approach might be teaching children early on that suicide does not end problems, it just transfers them to another level

    1. Yes, my dear Thomas. True enough. But responsible adults MUST protect young children from bullies! There is no excuse whatsoever when a young child, or even a teenage child is not protected from bullies. Teach them coping mechanism, sure. But PROTECT THEM, first of all!!

  4. Dearest Roberta,
    This is an agonizing blog post. You talk of a crime beyond evil, methinks. Lucky was I, that my parents protected me and always knew where I was. They discussed the risks of bad people with me; they told me how perpetrators hide among others until they are ready to strike. (IE: Wolves in sheep clothing.) Hence I am fortunate not to have been abused by anyone due to excellent parenting.

    As for institutional child abuse, this is the original egregious evil magnified. It’s beyond words really. I’m just so sad that Catholic clergy, and those of other religions, committed such crimes and/or enabled these abusers in perpetuity!

    To me each child is God’s child – and that’s it. Therefore their soul must be respected and help must be given when needed. No harm should be done at any time.

    To be open, child abuse is one of the main reasons I’ve come to eschew much of the human species. It’s just too dark for me. (That and war.) I have withdrawn from it on the inside.

    Sadly, even a clergy-based, gay cabal of abusers in the Catholic Church is only the part of the iceberg that’s above water. (NB: I am aware that most gays are not pedophiles and most pedophiles are not gay.) The sheer bulk of abuse is under the surface. Namely relatives, parental friends, associates, some teachers or coaches and some fathers who abuse mainly girls they have access to. The vast, undeclared abuse happens at home.

    I can only hope that in this age of Public exposure, we can change and protect children much more effectively. The quicker the better.

    1. Oh my dear much-beloved Efrem, I never even knew of such things at all! I have been a babe in the woods for most of my life, I am horrified now to say, which was why little Sammy’s suicide hit me so hard; I could not imagine a child so young being bullied to such an extent and not being protected by adults. I had no older male relatives either who molested me or made me feel unsafe. I didn’t grow up as a Catholic, so I wasn’t aware of what was going on in the Catholic church. Doing this research now, and finding that so many children are losing their innocence when they are so young absolutely sickens me now to my very soul. Wow.

  5. I am not one to normally comment on blog posts, but I have rather passionate feelings about this topic having been raised Catholic, attending their schools, working in the convent (preparing and serving supper to the nuns), and having been sexually molested as a child and teen. As Efrem has suggested what you see is only the tip of the iceberg. Children are powerless and need protection. We cannot assume that every adult that we entrust with our children’s care will not hurt them. I am grateful that both Roberta and Efrem were shielded from the vicissitudes of abuse and did not have to undo the harm it causes. Some people are never able to, and live lives of quiet desperation, if they live at all. Sexual abuse is often intergenerational as well as ancestral. The messages children got in the 50’s, 60’s and beyond were more likely, “stay away from him”, or even “don’t dress that way”, relaying the message that it was somehow your fault. Children are often silenced by the threat of harm or death to someone they love. In my “broken” family my three older sisters were abused by different men. Our father had died tragically and was not there to protect us and our mother withdrew from the world herself. I found out in my 30’s that she was molested by her bus driver. My younger brother told me just one month ago that he had been molested as a child, and wanted to know if I was. Sadly, my siblings and I never discussed the horrors we experienced as children and our silence has perpetuated into our senior years. I lived with my secrets into my 20’s hoping and praying that my perpetrator would not hurt my nieces, but unfortunately, he did for years. I was able to heal from my emotional wounds and went on to become a therapist for children working for 30 years with victims of sexual assault. I hope (and believe) that I somehow made a positive impact on the healing journeys of those children, teens, and adults who were courageous enough to face their abusers, either in the present or years after the event(s). As for myself, I know that even though my personal journey was difficult and painful, I was always guided somehow, and it was the greatest spiritual growth I could have ever achieved. We can all do our part by recognizing the depth of this societal scourge, by educating ourselves as to signs and symptoms of an abused child, and by always believing the child who tells you something is happening. And I do feel that there is so much more awareness and training that takes place in multiple facets of the helping professions today than ever before, so hopefully with this change is occurring. But not soon enough for the countless victims who have suffered in silence throughout their lives.

    1. Hi Lynnette,
      Oh my God. I am so sorry you went through such terrible abuse, and I’m sorry for your family members too.
      It is painful even to begin to realize how much you have suffered. (I find myself unable to really understand what you have endured.)

      I am in awe of you. You have so much courage, wisdom and compassion as well as resilience. (I don’t think I could be that strong.)

      Your work with children suffering sexual abuse must have been extremely effective, as you had lived through your own trauma and healed yourself beyond it. Hence you were able and well equipped to help many, many children greatly.

      Thank you for sharing your own story.

    2. oh my goodness, dear beautiful Lynnette, what an amazing and powerful story! I do realize that I have been very fortunate that I never was harmed that way. It could so easily have happened. Thank you so much for trusting us, and sharing your story here!

    1. Oh my dear Rick, no one here has the authority to throw out anything! Jesus does, however, tell us that the whole Law and the Prophets boil down to the command that we love God and love our fellow man. And He certainly has the authority to give us new revelation! Or don’t you think so?

  6. Dearest Roberta,
    Based upon my experience as a student in a church-related school I have to either assume that the number of those sexually abused is too low, or I am trying to describe a group that really doesn’t exist to any extent.
    At my school we had mandatory sports in the afternoon, some of which required sports equipment such a cleats which we wore when playing soccer. The school did not ask my parents to pay for those cleats, so the school bought them in various sizes and registered them and then locked them up as we came in from our sports.
    As I came in from the field and gave the cleats to the registrar tout them in the lockable cubby holes he wanted me to understand how wonderfully “hard” he was. I was not interested a in assking why he thought that was so important so eventually he just gave up trying to influence me.
    I can now se how at the appropriate time, early sixties, if asked the right questions I could have been listed as suffering a form of abuse. I can’t believe I was the only student in that situation.


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