If someone tells you they have been abused

Worth repeating.

Worth putting on your refrigerator:

When I first found out that my adopted son had sexually abused children I was in shock. The hours and days that followed were filled with anger, pain, and terrible questions.

They were also filled with calls to the state to report him and forensic interviews.

I understood that I had to revise my view of my son–he was capable of unspeakable harm.

How do we handle stories of unspeakable harm? Not well. We handle them with avoidance, ostracism, excuses, and silence. We blame the victims.

Don’t. Don’t do these things to a crime victim. Do this instead:

Be there and listen. Victims of abuse are all around you. Most will not share their stories because they know if they do they will be viewed as contagious.

Abuse is not sui generis contagious. Ignorance is. Refrain from perpetuating any stereotypes about the abused or their families. Remember, they are the victims.

Explaining to a child how and why an older person would take their innocence is a heartbreaking conversation, but it starts with repair–

What I told my kids was this–sex is like driving a car, good but challenging and not for kids.

Kids should not have to deal with sex–either in advertising, media, a bikini culture, pornography, or abuse.

It is our job to protect them, and we can’t do it by keeping our heads in the sand.

And if they have been hurt by sexual exploitation it is our job to be there to heal what has been broken–the human heart.

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