Archives For teen sexual abuse

Sexual Abuse Prevention week for homeschoolers button 175x175 option 15

This is big. In fact it is one of the most ambitious projects I have ever attempted. And I am looking to your help!!!

After the huge interest in the article I wrote titled An Open Letter To my Fellow Homeschool Parents, I knew we were called to do more to protect kids and families. So we have been working very hard to put together a nationwide event.

We have secured extremely qualified experts.

Put together a line up of powerful topics.

And are now passing the word to everyone we know.

WILL YOU HELP US GET THE WORD OUT TO YOUR CONTACTS BY SHARING THIS PUBLICITY?  (Friends, family, coop groups, churches.....)

If we will educate ourselves......and upgrade our policies.....we can keep our kids safe!

Make your plans to join us for the live interviews. And for the ones you can't make, make your plans to check out the archives on our site later.

Schedule for the week: http://frontlinefamilies.org/home/sexual-abuse-prevention-week-for-homeschoolers

Here is a link to Kalyn and Lisa's  interview on The Herman Show:
http://youtu.be/fNHgt_Mf-_E?list=PLvh66C3m2Ft_t5nsCU706Rros9aB3aHUg

Call or email me if you have questions about the event or special ideas about spreading the word about the event. lisa@frontlinefamilies.org.       800 213 9899

Thanks!

Lisa

Gratefully linked to:
Teaching What is Good
Good Morning Mondays
Modest Mondays
Titus 2 Tuesday
Finishing Strong Homeschooling Through Middle & High School

 

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
License: Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

I was cleaning out my dresser last week when I ran across some papers I had hidden in the back of the drawer.

They were the dialogues we found nine years ago in our computer’s history—the sordid record of how a 46-year-old family friend wormed his way into the heart of our then 15-year-old daughter Kalyn.

My heart sank as I read those sickening words once again. I love your beautiful hair was intertwined with sweetie and I love you.  My stomach churned afresh as I read it. I suddenly remembered why I had hidden them back in the deepest corner for no one to see.

As the Sandusky trial begins this week, I was not a bit surprised at the news today of the "love letters" that would be presented by the victims as evidence of Mr. Sandusky's illegal activity. I remember hoping that those same internet letters I had buried in my drawer would have been entered in our court proceedings.

I wanted to scream to the jury, "Can you not see how this man tricked my child? His subtle tactics of attention, flattery and ‘neediness’ lured her into his web of deceit?! Her teenage mind was defenseless against his charm."

I can only imagine what the victims and their families are going through as they enter into the world's stage. Will their stories be believed? Will the public laugh at the manipulation that defiled their young souls?

I am sure we will in the coming days hear more of the grisly details than we need to hear. But before we just sensationalize the plot for the sake of sordid entertainment, perhaps we could redeem some of the proceedings for the Lord's purposes.

Perhaps we, as parents, will come to recognize what my husband and I did not understand...the trail of missed clues of the grooming behaviors that would have uncovered the predator in our midst.

I will be watching this case and praying. Watching to learn and praying for both the victims in Pennsylvania as well as the victims hidden in every corner of the globe. Will you join me?

Perhaps your family has been touched in some way with the tragedy of abuse. If so, I want to hear from you. I believe the Lord is calling us together to say...NO MORE!

By Lisa Cherry, author of Unmask the Predators: The Battle to Protect Your Child

Watch the trailer.

Linking up with Living Well Wednesdays, Thought Provoking Thursday, Deep Roots at Home, Weekend Whatever, and Visionary Link up.

By Lisa Cherry

Until a few years ago, I would have dismissed the Penn State scandal as a rare and bizarre problem ripe for the AOL news feed, but remote from my small-town life. Until one day in 2002 when my own family’s world was turned upside down. An $800 cell phone bill revealed a secret abusive relationship between our 15-year-old daughter, Kalyn, and a 46-year-old “responsible” man from our church.

Image courtesy of Dave Dyet

That day we officially joined the throngs of those asking “How?” How could something so ugly happen to our child when we thought we were going to extraordinary measures to protect her? How could a trusted family friend face us with a smile, knowing what he was doing to our daughter in secret? How could our intelligent, bright, high achieving girl fall into such a dirty trap and still not ask our help to get out?

Kalyn’s own words penned while still in her teen years provide us some clues…

“I had fallen in a pit over my head, and it was beyond my ability to climb out. Unable to escape the cycle of excitement, guilt, pleasure, and deception that tormented me, I felt trapped—not just by a person, but by the powers of darkness seeking to destroy my life. I was torn. I had seemingly found the acceptance my teenage heart so desired, but with it came the devastating effects of sexual abuse day after day.

I lived in a fantasyland within my own mind. Whenever my thoughts wandered into reality, I felt trapped in a predicament with no way out…

I learned to pretend as though I enjoyed the sexual exploration and desires communicated to me by this much older man. Terrified of losing his “love,” I went along with all his perverted ideas, even when they made me feel filthy, violated and used. I believed the lie that he needed me to meet these needs in his life lest he be lonely and miserable…

This perverted man had found a way into my young life, shattered my values, and convinced me to believe his sick lies. Yet instead of running from him, I ran to him night after night, giving him my fragile heart and all my trust. I was no longer my own, but I was possessed by this horrific monster whose manipulation had overtaken my life.

This was my secret hidden from the world, the source of my secret pleasure and my inner turmoil. I would do anything to keep it from being exposed, yet deep down I longed desperately for someone to detect it and pull me out of this sinking pit.”

                                                            from Kalyn’s Secret, page 42-43

If only someone had known about Kalyn’s abuser and had blown the whistle...but would they have done it? Would they have been able recognize the abuse for what it was? Would they have had known what to do, and had the courage to do it? Or would they have been intimidated and fearful of offending the perpetrator?

Ignorance is one of my greatest mothering regrets over my daughter Kalyn’s life. I had lectured her well about saying “no” to bad touch and running from the trench-coated in the park. But like 90% of abusers, he was known to her. We trusted him. We didn’t realize he had groomed Kalyn and us for his evil purposes.

As the story continues to unfold from Penn State, I believe we will learn of the recognizable predator characteristics that were missed and the long trail of clues that were ignored. The questions we have should cause us to face head on the silent monster of sexual abuses lurking in the shadows of our hallowed halls.

All around us are others waiting to be rescued from their tormenting pain. With estimates ranging from one in three to four girls and one in five to six boys being sexually abused in America by age 18, obviously thousands are in desperate need of help! Are we, as the church, prepared to hear their cries and respond? Who will be Jesus’ voice of compassion to them?

Protecting our children and healing our walking wounded will require a special grace from our Heavenly Father. The church—not just the government—must prioritize this issue if we are to see a generation made whole. Ignoring the epidemic and pretending it would never happen to us “good Christian folk” is both naïve and dangerous!

Will you begin sharpening your understanding and alertness even today? Start by taking the Sexual Abuse Awareness Test which shatters some of our long-held views.

God, help us to know our kids’ world and constantly stay alert to hidden dangers that they cannot see. Help us to extend Your healing, redeeming hand to those we encounter who are trapped in a secret world of pain.

Lisa Cherry is the author of Kalyn’s Secret: Every Parent’s Battle to Save Their Children, and co-founder of POTTS (Parents of Teens and Tweens). She speaks to parents at Acquire the Fire events, and co-pastors Victory Dream Center in Carbondale, Illinois with her husband Doug. They are the parents of ten children and the grandparents of three. Follow Lisa at POTTSgroup.com and FrontlineMoms.com.

iStock_000013854225XSmallChild abusers are always looking for their next mark.  But it’s not just the latchkey kid or the child of the single parent who’s at risk.  All children and teens are at risk.  We don’t want to think about it, and most of us don’t believe it, but it’s true. Your child is at risk. My child was at risk, and I didn't know it.

Our world was rocked when we received an $800 cell phone bill that unveiled a secret, sexually abusive relationship between our then 15 year old daughter Kalyn and a 46 year old man from our church.  The damage of the abuse and its aftermath was horrifying.  Overnight our model daughter became a depressed, rebellious, suicide-threatening, eating-disordered teen.

I would give most anything to have averted that pain in her life. I can’t go back and do that, but I can share with you what I have learned.  Take three minutes to read this list and you will have the keys to preventing this from happening to your child.  Do you know other parents who need this information?

The Top 10 Things I Wish I Had Known About Sexual Predators

10.  Recognizing a sexual predator is difficult.  They are secretive, devious, and shrewd.  Many are able to go on abusing a child or a series of children for years without being caught.  Because they come from all economic, social, age, racial, ethnic, and religious groups, they cannot be identified by a particular stereotype or profile.

9.   We expect strangers to pose the most risk. Actually 90% of child and youth victims know their perpetrator.  Abusers are usually not strangers, but rather relatives (30%) or nonfamily authority figures (60%) such as neighbors, family friends, babysitters, clergy members, teachers or coaches.  “Stranger danger” training is important, but will not protect our children from most abusers.

8. Most sexual predators "groom" their victims over a period of time.  Grooming is a very tricky psychological process by which the predator gains the child or adolescent’s trust while systematically moving the boundaries of the relationship toward the sexual.

7.  Adults around the victim are groomed too. The predator uses public displays of trustworthy and kid-friendly behaviors to insure that NO ONE would believe that he/she would ever hurt a child.  That is why, according to law enforcement officials, the predator’s suspicious behaviors are often ignored by the supervisory adults.

6.  Sexual abuse of a child is not limited to physical sexual contact such as fondling or intercourse. Even if it’s visual, verbal, pornographic, emotional, or by phone or internet, any sexual contact between any adult (or older teen) and child or adolescent is abuse.   And therefore, damaging.

5.  Sexual abuse traumatizes adolescents as well as young children. Today’s youth culture is so oversexualized that, in popular thought, developing teens’ sexual relationships (even abusive ones) are considered rites of passage.  The truth is that sexual abuse has long term effects that are devastating.  These include promiscuity, substance abuse, depression, eating disorders, cutting, and rebellion.

4.  Kids and adolescents feel powerless to stop abusive behavior.  They are usually under strong threat not to tell, and will often protect an abuser because he/she is a "trusted" adult.

3.  Sexual abuse is never the fault of the child or adolescent.  Often they are blamed with questions from us such as "Why did you let him do that?" or "Why did you not tell me this was happening?"  Victims’ worst fears are realized when subtle accusations of responsibility are levied against them.

2.  Children are not able to handle sexual abuse on their own. We can teach children and adolescents to say "no," but this is not enough.  Children are especially vulnerable; we cannot expect them to fully understand what’s being done to them and to reason as an adult. Adults have the responsibility to prevent and recognize sexually abusive behavior.

1.  Child sexual abuse is very common.  Today 1 in 3 or 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by age 18.   One study reports that 500,000 children and adolescents are sexually abused every year. These staggering numbers indicate that our stereotypical views of the "perpetrator lurking in the park" must be expanded to the real dangers of perpetrators within our sphere of relationships.

The battle rages, and our children's minds, hearts, and souls are hanging in the balance.   Understanding the dynamics of abuse will enable us to protect our children more effectively.  Sexual abuse is but one tool of destruction.  As parents we must be better prepared to lead our children in difficult times.

Update:  I invite you view the trailer of our book, Unmask the Predators: The Battle to Protect Your Child and to buy a copy here.  Join our coalition of concerned parents by subscribing to my blog, Frontlinemoms.com. There is no cost to join, and you will receive updates by email to keep abreast of this critical issue.  Or follow me on Facebook.

Linking up to  The Better Mom,   Modest Mondays, and  Many Little Blessings.