Archives For Sexual Abuse

 

Today I want to answer a question I am frequently asked when people hear of our story of Kalyn's sexual abuse. (Welcome to our many new readers who have probably not heard our full story as recorded in Unmask the Predators.)

Here is the two-part question I hear:

1.)  When you discovered the problem with Kalyn, did you call the police?

2.)  And what happened to the sexual predator that abused her?

So here are the short answers for you.

1.) We discovered an $800 cell phone bill that revealed a secret relationship between our then 15 year old daughter Kalyn and a 46 year old man from our church. The opening scene of that discovery was not pretty at all.

Over the next season, she fell into a crazy mixture of depression, rebellion, denial, eating disorders and suicide threats. It was a nightmare.

And YES we did call the police. Once we realized what had truly happened, (which was confusing initially) we called our authorities (which in our case, was the sheriff's department.)

2.)  The perpetrator was eventually arrested on a felony charge. Three years later he was brought to trial before a jury, and  Kalyn and our family had to face him in court. He was convicted of solicitation of a minor which would have listed him on the sexual offender registry and resulted in some type of jail or parole sentence.

But at the sentencing hearing a couple months later, he had hired two new lawyers who discovered an error in how the jury was instructed at the trial. The case was sent to the appellate court for four more years.  When the decision came out, it was ordered for re-trial. The re-trial never happened. Then it was dropped.

The man was released from the charges as if the case never happened. No registry and no criminal records were recorded against his name. The last we knew he is still working at a Christian organization.

Obviously, it was quite shocking.

So why did we call the police in the first place, and would we do the same thing again?

We called our authorities because it was the right thing to do on every account! We are law abiding citizens so we reported the crime. We wanted the truth to be told so others would be protected. We knew Kalyn needed to understand that she was a victim and hear others, especially the authorities, acknowledge that a crime had been committed.

We want dangerous people marked so they do not show up in other settings to hurt others. And because pastors are mandated reporters, Doug made that call.

I have no anger or resentment with the law enforcement team. They were kind and helpful. They did the best they could with the limitations of these type of cases. They treated Kalyn with gentleness and respect, and earnestly believed her report. So I am glad we called.

At the same time, I hated the whole process. It was just as painful and traumatic for Kalyn as what you have ever imagined. And yet, in the end the reality of surviving having to face her abuser helped to set Kalyn free from her pain.

I sometimes cringe when I hear people talk about reporting sexual abuse as if reporting it will somehow solve all the problems. Oh, if it were just that simple! These situations are generally very complex and I, after living this nightmare, do not blame victims and their loved ones for being conflicted, worried, and confused about the issue of reporting.

Reporting is critical, but it has so many limitations that must be noted:

abuse cases are extremely difficult to prove

evidence is usually lacking

abusers generally manipulate victims and are good at hiding evidence

victims are often re-victimized by the whole process

courts processes are very slow and....

the odds of a conviction are stacked against you

In fact, it is estimated that only 3% of sexual offenders ever see jail time. (See Unmask the Predators for more statistics and facts.) Shocking, huh?

So why even bother to report?

Because it is the law, and it is the right thing to do!! And God honors us when we do the right thing. And it is very important that we continue to enforce laws that are still designed to protect our kids! (Even as we see sexual ideas about children shifting in this generation.)

So if you, your family, or your church face issues of sexual abuse, I urge you: Do the right thing! Learn your local laws. Report crimes and follow appropriate procedures. Have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness but rather expose them.  Ephesians 5:11  

I am so sad when I hear stories of people who have heard bad advice like...

....don't tell or you might wreck the family.

....he says he is sorry, so it will probably be OK now.

....I don't think it was that serious so let's just forget it ever happened.

 Hiding sin is deadly. It never prospers, and it causes lifelong wounds and destructions. Sexual abuse wounds that are buried alive cause terrible side effects. I find the devastating evidence in a trail of people who share with me their stories.

So that is why I am doing all I know to do to help all families PREVENT abuse in the first place! That is our much more hope-filled solution. We don't want anything happening that we need to report.

PLEASE get a copy of Lisa and Kalyn's book Unmask the Predators. In fact, if you cannot afford a copy, call us anyway. We want to help you!  800-213-9899

If you are in need of help with sexual abuse issues, click here for more information.  

Image:  Hartwig HKD “Monster and Angel” via Flickr Creative Commons
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This is a letter I have written to any of our Frontline Moms subscribers who happen to be homeschool families.

Please share this with your homeschool friends.  Here is a print friendly version.

FLM Homeschool post open letterAn Open Letter to My Fellow Homeschool Parents

by Lisa Cherry

As a homeschool mom of 25 years with ten kids, I am writing today to express my concern for the safety of my fellow homeschooling families, the protection of our freedom to homeschool, and my own personal reputation as a homeschooler. Like many of you, I am both heartbroken and disturbed by the recent alleged sexual scandals involving Vision Forum and Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles.  I join with all those praying for the recovery of those who were affected.

As sexual abuse allegations within these ministries have attracted media attention, I am also greatly concerned about how these scandals could negatively impact all of us in the homeschool community. Please allow me to share with you seven vulnerabilities and nine suggestions for action in light of recent developments. (Since the nightmare of sexual abuse happened to our own family, it’s an issue that’s very close to my heart.)

 

 

 

Potential Vulnerabilities of Home School Families

1.  Misperception That Our Homes and Families Are Immune

After our own 15-year-old daughter was abused by a 46-year-old man in our congregation, we ended up in a jury trial. I still cringe when I remember how the prosecution portrayed our family and Kalyn as being "naive" about these issues. It also shook me to realize that, perhaps, in some ways he was right. We should have been aiming to be as "shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16, NASB). With one in four girls, and one in six boys, being sexually abused in America by the age of eighteen, it was naive to believe we were somehow immune to risk.

2.  Lack of Sexual Abuse Prevention Education

I am the first to admit that while Doug and I thought we had taken all the necessary steps to protect our family from sexual abuse, we were sadly misinformed. We were ignorant, before it happened to us, of the deceptive power of the grooming behaviors employed by abusers; and we believed that our family members—adults and kids alike—were too "smart" to be tricked. In researching how to help our wounded daughter, we discovered important keys that we now use to protect the rest of our kids.

3. Suspicious Behaviors

When people appear to be "hiding" or "protecting" known abusers, they bring suspicion upon themselves. No one wants to ever falsely accuse someone of sexual misconduct. However, once an accusation has been validated, we must establish an environment that encourages truth-telling, if victims are to heal and others are to be protected. If we silence or soften the truth, or  allow leaders  who have fallen into sexual sin to remain in their positions simply because they are good teachers, we contribute—either accidentally or intentionally—to the culture of grooming and lies.

4. Lax Attitudes and Systems

Mandatory reporting and sexual abuse prevention systems are the norm in schools and other institutions now, and rightly so. Because of some very public legal cases, and the increased liability of churches, schools and organizations, sexual abuse policies are much more strictly enforced nowadays. If we, as homeschoolers, do not also deal with this issue in a similarly forthright manner, we could appear to be negligent. This could attract further attention to us in two ways: (1) Child abusers will target our kids as easy marks, and (2) The homeschooling community will be under greater scrutiny in a way that invites regulation.

5. Public Perception

Homeschoolers are frequently viewed as a single group, implying that our community is ripe with such predators. In every article I have read on the ministries mentioned above, the media has emphasized that they are "homeschool leaders." In my experience, most people in education, media, government, and social services do not understand homeschoolers. Recently Michael Farris, president of HSLDA, issued a strong statement clarifying that we’re distinct individuals, and countering these misperceptions. While commenting on his recent interview in World News Daily condemning the actions of Doug Philips, Mr. Farris said on his Facebook page, "I have admitted my errors in failing to speak out....I am convinced that this [patriarchal] movement is harmful to people—children, women, and even men who buy into these deceptive ideas. The freedom of the homeschooling movement is threatened if this kind of dangerous legalism is allowed to become the dominant view. I have tried to distance myself quietly and imperfectly for a long time. I am now convinced that I need to be forthright and say out loud what I have thought for a long time....It would be easy to contend that Doug's sin was separate from his patriarchy views. I am saying the opposite. His views of women were integral to his actions." (April 15)

Mr. Farris's statements are strong and clear. But, sadly, it will be hard to counter the hostile public perceptions created by these scandals.

6.   Unnoticed Actions

The alleged immoral acts within these ministries appear to have gone unchecked for years. Surely someone saw something that caused concern.  But in their “trust” of the ministry leaders, most did what is all too common: they ignored or discounted what they saw. (Or perhaps they were ill-equipped to interpret what they observed.) This is truly unfortunate. The protective systems within these ministries were either inadequate, or they simply failed.

7.  Hostility toward the Homeschool Community Is Increasing

Online responses to these stories are flying—especially by those hostile to homeschooling. Honestly, I had not paid any attention to these anti-homeschooling voices until I saw them chiming in during the aftermath of these ministry scandals. But they are very real and very vocal. The implication that we, as homeschoolers, might need to be "watched more closely" is alarming. I do not want to dignify these comments further by providing a link, but I have seen them on several sites, and it is frightening. The hostile momentum that’s building—driven by those who would love to stop homeschooling or deeply regulate it—could be devastating to us all.

 

So what can we do, in the face of these challenges?

 

 

 

 

9 Suggestions that I Believe Are Critical

1.  Pull Our Heads Out of the Sand

We can’t ignore this issue any longer. We must address it, both personally and publicly. The problem of sexual abuse crosses all segments of society. We are not statistically at greater risk; but neither are we immune. (I have heard the stories from other affected homeschool families myself!) We must be willing to understand and confront our own unique set of risks.

2. Intentionally Include Sexual Abuse Training in Our Homeschools

The best abuse prevention for children is well-informed, alert adults. Parents must make the effort to study sexual issues that are prevalent in our society and dangerous to our kids. Read our story to see how we were tricked. Then do what it takes to launch your own protective strategy.  (Click here to find resources to help.)

3. Address the Issue of Sexual Abuse with Your Homeschool                   Co-op/Support Group

 

I suggest we launch a strategic effort to educate our families. It would not be that difficult. (Click here for recommended materials.) Homeschool group meetings on this topic could prevent a great deal of pain. At the same time, our homeschool co-ops need to review their own policies. Just as wise churches screen their own children's and youth workers, we should also. A good system of prevention is one of the best deterrents to abuse. Let's improve our own accountability so we are always above reproach.

4. Be Clear in Labeling Abuse as Abuse

We must call sexual abuse by its real name. Abuse is not limited to just rape or molestation. Here is an official definition from a reputable Christian book on the topic:

"Sexual abuse is any contact or interaction (visual, verbal, or psychological) between a child/adolescent and an adult (or older teen) when the child/adolescent is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or another person." (Dan Allender, The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse)

 

Let's face it: the term sexual abuse is loaded and ugly. So often people try to mislabel abuse as "inappropriate behavior" or an “indiscretion" or "immorality" to help remove its stigma.  But renaming something just confuses the issue at hand and prevents us from dealing with the reality of its dangers. Children and youth who have been damaged by abuse—even if the abuse seems "minor" to us—will often live their lives through the lens of that experience; and frequently make poor relationship and spiritual choices as they mature. They need our help for recovery.

5.  Support Organizations Fighting To Protect Us

We believe it is vital for homeschool families to stand together in this difficult hour, as we respond wisely to policies and laws that could challenge our freedoms. We must actively support those who stand up for our families. But while the legal teams have been wonderfully responsive to our homeschool community needs over the years, we must also recognize that they are only able to help us collectively when we choose to take personal responsibility. In other words, sometimes we need to take the initiative to police ourselves in private.....before they must represent us in public.

6. Permanently Remove from Your Group Or Sphere of Acquaintances Any Sexual Offenders

 

It seems like this would go without saying, but it does not. In the world's eyes, sexual offenders are considered "non-reformable," due to the nature of their problems. As believers in Jesus Christ, we know that God can deliver people from very complex problems. So, often, in our efforts to show mercy to these perpetrators, we give people the benefit of the doubt. We allow them second chances. Unfortunately, this has proven disastrous in many cases.

 

I propose that anyone who is truly repentant and reformed of sexually abusing a child should have no problem being under accountability, limits, and supervision. They would acknowledge their own risk for relapse, and not put themselves in a position where they could be even falsely accused.

 

Just as wise leaders would never send a former alcoholic into bars to do ministry, former abusers should never be entrusted with children alone. (This applies to families, as well as ministries.)

7.  Pray

The battle of sexual abuse is part of the spiritual warfare being waged against this generation. Pornography has simply taken that fight to a new level. As believers, we recognize that we are not wrestling with flesh and blood here, but with powers and principalities and rulers of wickedness in high places (see Ephesians 6:12). The battle over protecting our children, and leading them to purity amidst a perverse generation, will be won or lost on our knees. Pray for your kids. Pray for all our kids. Maintain holy alertness in accordance with Ephesians 6:18. Intercede for your leaders. Receive from the Lord the wisdom you will need in this hour. And most importantly, please pray for the healing of families who have already been affected by abuse.

8.  Support Your Local Church Leaders

It is amazing to me when I hear church members complaining about protection policies implemented by local church leaders. Sure, I long for the "good ole days" when we didn't have to be so careful. But those days are truly gone, and it is time we adapt. Extra staffing and volunteers will be needed. Are we willing to sacrifice our time to serve? Our pastors and leaders deserve our support as they do their best to protect our families.

9. Pass This Letter On to a Homeschooling Friend

Together, we can take the steps necessary to protect our families...but only if enough of us are on board. Would you consider forwarding this article to 10 of your homeschooling friends? Would you consider sharing it on your social media site, posting it on your blog (link available at www.FrontlineMoms.com) passing it on to your homeschool group? Let's stand together as a community and continue to make homeschooling the safest option for our kids!

Related post: Why We Called the Police and Why You Should Also

Update: Almost 30,000 homeschool families have seen An Open Letter to My Fellow Homeschooling Families: Sexual Predator Accusations Among Homeschoolers?  Lisa will be doing further updates on this topic.

To receive updates by email, go to Frontline Moms and Dads

Click on the link on the side bar that says:

Get a free copy of my ebook: Straight Talk in a Sex-Saturated Culture.

Subscribe to the blog (it’s free) and you will then get regular email updates about two or three times a week....  and you will be able to download my ebook, also free.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cherry family ch_ 12

Lisa & Doug Cherry are speakers who travels across the nation addressing parents, teens, and Christian leaders on the growing spiritual culture war. They are the parents of ten, grandparents of four and have enjoyed homeschooling their family for the last twenty-six years. Lisa is also the author of Not Open: Win the Spiritual Culture War and Unmask the Predators.  Her articles have appeared in The Christian Post, World Net Daily, cbn.com, and more. For additional information about Lisa, go to www.frontlinefamilies.org; and find her on her Facebook page.

Lisa will be a featured speaker at the following upcoming events:

June 12-14
Alabama Homeschool Expo
Montgomery, Alabama
Toll-Free: 1-888-553-8914

July 24-26, 2014
Southeast Homeschool Expo
Cobb Galleria Centre
Roswell, Georgia
Atlanta Area: 770-594-1266
Toll-Free: 1-888-264-7763

 

 

handcuffs large7606416730_26cb8b5536_b

By Lisa Cherry

No way, we would all scream! Preposterous! My child would never be so inclined! We have raised him/her to behave better than that!

Right?

Three recent events cause me to write this post:

One is the sad account of recent parents in the news whose children committed heinous crimes and the parents were left in horrified disbelief.

Two was an email I received from a precious family asking for help with the issue of sexual abuse. Only this was a new twist. Their child was the repentant abuser.

Three was the recent news report that states 9% of teenagers polled admit to forcing or coercing someone into some form of sexual behavior that they did not want to do.

Almost one in ten? What is going on? Even the researchers were shocked at their findings.

But why should we be surprised. We have flooded our kids’ ears with images and stories and then stoked their sexual desires with sex-saturated airwaves. And so they act to get what they think they want.

Parents, I am thinking we need to take note in the following ways:

1. We had better step up our efforts to protect our kids from their own peers....not just out-of-control adults. More supervision will be required! Education and training will be mandatory.

2. We must instill a higher view of romance that makes forced sexual activity look absolutely ridiculous to consider. 

3. We must take an honest look at our own kids’ media exposure. Are they internalizing a violent/selfish form of sexuality as normal?

4. We must have the courage to not only address the problem of pornography with our kids but also to assist our kids with recovery if they have been exposed. Tainted appetites are dangerous appetites. Two great sites to help us as parents: Purehope.net  (do not go to purehope.org!) and covenanteyes.com.

5. We must pray for a generation caught up in a whirlwind of sexual sin. Pray for your child, and while you are at it, pray for your neighbor’s child too!

For more tips for protecting your child see our book, Unmask the Predators.

Image: “Handcuffs” by Victor Casale – Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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Richard Dawkins 2351372974_64e5501094

By Lisa Cherry

This is Richard Dawkins, British evolutionary biologist, strident critic of creationism and the most famous atheist of our time.  (Perhaps you remember Richard Dawkins from Ben Stein’s popular movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.)   

In a recent interview with The Times magazine, Dawkins disclosed that he was sexually abused by a teacher. He also knew of classmates who were abused by the same man. 

Then he made this outlandish statement:

“I don’t think he did any of us lasting harm.”

Further he said that he could not condemn the “mild pedophilia” that he experienced.

His remarks line up with a growing trend to normalize the practice of adults having sex with children.

Are you as concerned about this as I am? Even while our families are standing firm with Jesus, we are witnessing a culture sliding further and faster toward secularism, perversion and atheism.

The sexual exploitation of our young children is potentially the coming new threat. Consider this quote from an “expert” in Canada (which as a culture is running a few years ahead of us in the moral/sexual slide.)

“True pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation. You cannot change this person’s sexual orientation.” 
--Dr. Hubert Van Gijseghem, retired psychologist, University of Montreal

In his article “Pedophiles want same rights as homosexuals,”  Jack Minor writes:

Using the same tactics used by “gay” rights activists, pedophiles have begun to seek similar status arguing their desire for children is a sexual orientation no different than heterosexual or homosexuals.

God help us!!

We will need courage and wisdom like never before, parents. We will need to be prepared to strongly resist this mindset as it infects not only our culture "out there" but also our culture "up close."

God made His will and ways abundantly clear in His word. Even as He wrote out the laws for His people in the book of Leviticus, He knew what was in the perverted unrestrained heart of man.

I encourage you to look soberly at this disturbing new trend of thinking “a little sex with our kids is okay.” I, for one, would prefer to stick my head in the sand and wish it away.

But, many are proposing that is what the body of Christ did to the homosexual issue a decade ago.  I think we can all see where that plan got us!

We must face this new threat in the power of the Holy Spirit. What do we "do?" Well, I am not sure!!! But resisting in the name of Jesus is a dandy place to start!

     →What do you think about this?  Leave a comment here.

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middle school 490772308_3352658e56

By Lisa Cherry

 The man was labeled a pedophile. He was a middle school math teacher who repeatedly molested one of his students. He’s now serving a 15 to 30 year sentence in the Michigan Department of Corrections.

It was a life-altering tragedy for the victim and his family

And the article about this case caught my attention: Student exodus in Michigan school district where teachers defended child molester Did you see it?

Even after the teacher was convicted of the crime, many of his fellow teachers and school officials defended the man....to the point where the parents in the school district took drastic actions.

Why would I call this story to your attention?  Four reasons:

First to continue to issue a strong alert about watching over our precious kids in this new school year, in a world where too many are being damaged by sexual predators.

Second, to encourage you to consider the decisive actions taken by these concerned parents—and judge

Sometimes it is hard and lonely to stand for the right to protect our kids. Sometimes we may even have to sacrifice and suffer.

Third, to stand strong with our fellow Christians who are teachers and administrators. Many of them are facing increasingly difficult situations in this spiritual culture war.

Fourth, to remind us how difficult it is for people to label someone as a dangerous person ....even when they are faced with overwhelming evidence.

Apparently the parents in the Michigan school district meant to send a loud message to their school district of no tolerance for sexual perversion.

Could we pray for the victim and his family, their school, and families affected by the case (including the perpetrator's family) even as we listen for the Lord's counsel for how to protect our kids?

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Related posts:

The Top 10 Things I Wish I Had Known about Child Sexual Predators Before it Happened to our Family
The Penn State Sexual Abuse Nightmare: How Could This Happen? Let Me Tell You…
Beware: Sodomy Hazing Somehow Called “Normal”!

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