It’s my job to protect. It’s my job to preserve. It’s my job.
These little gifts that God has entrusted to me…I get to keep safe, hold sacred, treasure and keep pure their sexuality.
God gave me five gifts. Innocent, clean, undamaged gifts. Five children.
Five sexual beings.
I will not allow them to live with Unprotected Sexuality. I will not be perfect. But I will do my best.
Part of my story and my twin sister’s story, for our book “Inseparable”, will be telling our story of sexual abuse.
We were abused together.
We trusted our abuser.
We believed we were safe.
So did our family. My parents knew his family – and trusted this young man. He was a respectable Christian boy. I don’t blame anyone except this man, and more than him, I blame the one that harmed him, that harmed HIM, that harmed HIM, and so on. I give credit where credit is due – this world is broken, and filled with Hurt People. And Hurt People will hurt people.
We were NOT safe.
And I know I cannot keep damage from being done to my kids, and yet, with fierce, undying tenacity, I WILL DO MY BEST…
and here are some of the practical ways I will do so (and have done so in the last 15 years as a Mom).
(My friend Laura challenged me to write this post. She said she and a couple other friends have remarked at certain things I have shared as “really unusual, and out of the box, and HELPFUL!”. So, thank you Laura for your encouragement. I have a voice. And I will teach others to use theirs.)
First and foremost, within, above, and all around each and every one of these practices is PRAYER. Pray for your kids. They have been entrusted to you. They are not YOURS. They are to be protected at all costs by you, but truly, the only One who can keep their hearts in His hands is the One who made them. Go to Him, often, on your knees, and plead with Him to show you His ways. “In all your ways, acknowledge Him…”
1. Teach them the truth. Parts is parts. A penis is a penis. It’s not a “pinky” or a “thingy”. And it’s a vagina. It’s not a “tutu” or a “pee-pee area”. Begin with the basics, and let them know it’s safe. It’s their body. God designed it. It’s safe to tell the truth to them, with them, so they will openly tell you the truth later. The more truth, the more openness, the more that IS shared, the less confusion there will be down the road. They will hear about sex from someone and somewhere, and you are their best place to learn it. So, speak it, often, and use the resources that are out there.
2. Teach sexual safety. Your body is a gift from God and it belongs in safe care. I could go on with this one for about 10 blogs (and I will, one day). Teach your kids at a young age that there are people out there that want to “hurt” them, or expose them to things, or manipulate them into thinking certain “special” things are okay. Abusers KNOW their victims. They gain their trust. They make their victims feel like THEY are privileged. Teach your kids that even loving people, even relatives, can cause harm and that is why SECRETS are NOT OKAY – not ever. One of the biggest things I taught my kids is “YOU HAVE A VOICE” and “If someone tells you to keep a secret, that is not safe. You tell Mommy or Daddy immediately.”
3. Trust your gut – it’s not a guarantee, but it’s a reaction for a reason, so follow it. Wouldn’t you rather err on the side of prevention than recovery? If you feel something is not okay, process it. Ask your child neutral questions. If you see something out of the ordinary, respond. Use YOUR voice.
4. Talk openly with others. “This is how we talk at our house.” “My kids know what sexual abuse is, and they will let me know if something is going on that is not appropriate.” When your child is going to a new friends’ house, talk to the parents, and talk openly about what you are concerned about for your kids and their safety. If they perceive you as the weirdo, so be it! Better to protect, then to be free with your kids being exposed to “whatever is out there.”
5. Talk about “what if” and “when” scenarios -
“When I drop you off at play practice, what if your teacher wants to practice with JUST YOU? What will you say?”
“When you are at school, and another child wants to show you his private parts, and asks you to do the same, what will you do?”
“When kids are showing you porn on their cell phones, how will you respond?”
“When a teacher asks you to walk to their car during lunch break, will you go?”
“When the person in authority tells you that you HAVE to leave with them, what will you say?” (Do you have a family password that your child knows, so if an emergency comes up, the grown ups that are safe know that password, so they are permitted to go with them?)
6. Teach parameters in the home -
internet protection – K9 guard, and many others like it
TV guards – set the guards and even delete titles that might peak interest for kids, moms, or dads – and this is NOT for your 16 year old boy – it is for your 8 year old boy and girl. They will be exposed, and you don’t want it to be at YOUR house if you can help it. HOTELS too! There is some sick stuff shown on regular programing that your kids could happen onto in a heartbeat. Unplug it and be free.
cell phones and data plans and You Tube and all the possible connections to sexual exposure!
reading materials – stupid, pointless magazines for “tweens” – if you need to get your kids magazines, get them from Focus on the Family, and your daughters do NOT have to read Twilight just because “everyone” else is
“dodge your eyes” – teach your kids, and it will rub off on the whole family – to dodge their eyes at commercials or at even the woman walking by with the micro shorts on
“protect your marriage” – give them reasons for staying pure, for keeping their eyes, heart, mind and bodies safe - give them God’s reasons. You aren’t making this stuff up. The Creator of all good things – sexuality being one fo those good things – He knows best!
movies – plugged in online is my favorite place to check out movies and get all the details of sexual references and every cuss word. Unless you have a Clear Channel, to clean things up, movies that are PG 13 or higher in rating, must be checked out closely on a site like plugged in – or you will expose your kids and family to trash
My oldest daughter is 14 – the age I was when I was abused. I pray, often, that she will be spared. I pray each of my kids will be on the stats list as the UNabused, as the UNharmed, as the UNattacked.
1 in 4 women. 1 in 6 men. These WILL be victimized sexually. I pray mine fall into the other 3/4 and 5/6, and I pray yours do too. And, the more we know, the more these stats will change. One day. One voice at a time.
I will protect their sexuality in a world full of UNprotected sexuality. I will do my best. AND, I will trust, that no matter what, my God heals, saves, redeems, restores, and rebuilds what was once lost. He did it for me. And my experience led me to type the above words, and to live in a way, that desires to protect, likely in a more aggressive manner than women who are not victims.
How do you protect those you love, regarding their sexuality? What else can you suggest to help others do the same in being the protectors? Please share below in comments.
Also, this issue is huge. It affects all of us. Please SHARE with a friend, co-worker, family member – or for that matter, share it with 10 or more people. This issue must get out. It is OUR issue. Choose to Protect – not just yours, but theirs too.