Thursday, July 17, 2014

Child Sexual Molestation & Christianity's Completely F'ed Up Response

I was saddened but not surprise to hear this morning that actress-singer Vanessa L. Williams (my favorite on the show "Ugly Betty") had been sexually molested at ten years old. She came out and told the story on "Oprah's Master Class"

Vanessa explained how her experience had played out in the rest of her life, her early sexual experiences, bad choices in relationships, the guilt and shame, the bout of promiscuity.

For the record, Vanessa is 51 years old now, at a point where she can look back and see the bends and turns on the road that tripped her up. I'm a few years older than her but that's where I am too.

Her admission was a huge thing for me, because, really a celebrity admitting to the whole world that she'd been victimized as a young age, knowing everyone would be talking about it? That takes real bravery, huge cajones. For her there may be consequences, it could be that she'll get less roles now, or public blowback. So far the world seems to be sympathetic.

Except for, you guessed it, Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians. You know, all those 'legitimate rape' folks, or insisting if you're raped you were obviously asking for it by your attitude or the way you were dressed, your 'worldliness' seducing those poor weak-minded men that cannot control their thoughts or their peckers.

From a man on Facebook going by the disgustingly inaccurate name "Love All" -

This is why so important to communicate with our kids in a world of SEX(FLESH). ABOUT 90% OF KIDS ARE MOLESTED BEFORE THIER AGE 18...Maybe by a parent or friends BF,GF..Youare suppose to be VIRGINS until you get married. This is why we are in the state of emergency in the country. You see it on tv and on the internet. This why the lord said ONLY a woman or man should be married as a VIRGIN.The flesh is very very weak when it comes to sexual advancements and sexual immorality.. This is why God is angry with his children. This is why he destroyed the world and Sodam and Gomorrah. This is why he hates fornication, adultery and anything related to sex outside of marriage. We have more kids born today in single parents homes.. God didn't intened for it to be that way. This is why he gave Adam and woman. To fulfilled his desires. One could only imagine why God got angry with Adam. King DAVID was punished by God because of his sexual advancement to Barsheba.

Debi Pearl has also stated many times that those who are molested as children are worthless, dirty, diseased things. This seems to be the stance of most in the Evangelical Fundamentalist world, that 1) you did something to cause what happened to you and afterward 2) you are beyond cleanliness or redemption.

That stinky false belief system is something that every single one of us that was sexually abused as a child has to deal with in Evangelical Christianity, not just famous folks, everyone that admits that something like this happened.

And the Evangelical Christian world frequently gets their facts wrong on this issue. Love All states that 90% of kids are molested by the age of 18. Not so, according to the Dept. of Justice it's 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys. Not even close to 90%.

Here are the rest of the statistics about child sexual abuse from their site -

  • As many as 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be sexually abused at some point in their childhood. 1
  • Most perpetrators are acquaintances, but as many as 47% are family or extended family. 1
  • In as many as 93% of child sexual abuse cases, the child knows the person that commits the abuse. 2
  • Approximately 30% of cases are reported to authorities. 3
  • Approximately 1.8 million adolescents in the United States have been the victims of sexual assault. 4
  • 33% of sexual assaults occur when the victim is between the ages of 12 and 17. 5
  • 82% of all juvenile victims are female. 5
  • 69% of the teen sexual assaults reported to law enforcement occurred in the residence of the victim, the offender, or another individual. 5
  • Teens 16 to 19 years of age were 3 1/2 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. 6
  • Approximately 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. 7
  • Approximately 1 in 7 (13%) youth Internet users received unwanted sexual solicitations.8
  • 4% of youth Internet users received aggressive solicitations, in which solicitors made or attempted to make offline contact with youth.8
  • 9% of youth Internet users had been exposed to distressing sexual material while online.8
  • 9.2% of cases of maltreatment of children in 2010 were classified as sexual abuse. 9
  • Over 63,000 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in 2010. 9
Having something like that happen to you that is beyond your control as a child doesn't make you 'diseased', 'dirty', 'disposable' or 'worthless' any more than something innocuous does. It happens to you, you're not a willing and able participant. It's like trying to say that people who get wet in a sudden rainstorm did anything to bring the rain down on them. It's not possible.

It doesn't have to 'wreck' the rest of your life and it doesn't disqualify you for marriage or God's blessings. You have nothing to feel guilty about. The only ones that should feel guilt are the abuser and those folks lacking any common sense or compassion that want to blame you for it. Evangelical Fundamental Christians, I'm looking at you.

The second reason I think what Vanessa did in telling the world about her molestation is that it took me till almost her age because I could admit to anyone that from the ages seven to nine I'd been molested by the family dentist. I tried to tell my mother, but had no real frame of reference to even explain it to her. It took two full years of me acting out, becoming uncontrollably upset and throwing up before every time I had a dental appointment for my mother to think that perhaps something was going on. To this day she thinks the dentist was rough and lacking any bedside manner, that is why I reacted as I did. We weren't close and she's never really understood me very well.

She doesn't know and I'm not about to tell her at this point because it would only make her feel guilty. I really don't see the point in inflicting pain on her now. But I think it's a good example of how we deal better in our society with childhood sexual abuse. Make sure you have the kind of close and open relationship with your child that they would immediately come to you and share with you what happened.

When my kids were little I hovered and never allowed them to be alone with just anybody. Dentist appointments, doctors, you name it, one of us always accompanied them. Our house was one of those places where all the other kids came and I was careful to keep watch over everyone under my roof. Hyper vigilance and fear.

That also means that the Evangelicals that want to lay blame on the victim just need to shut the hell up!

Debi and Mr. Love All don't know what they are talking about either. It is possible to get help, push past what happened to you, deal with it and refuse to allow it to ruin your life. I'm managed and so have many others. However, we refuse to allow anybody to treat us as a less than or ruined person over something that happened ages ago we had no control over.