Abuse. Society’s unacknowledged epidemic. Neglect and abuse, whether it’s physical, emotional, sexual or spiritual, happens at an alarming rate in America. “The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average almost five children every day to child abuse and neglect.”1,2 Abuse and neglect cross all socio-economic, race and religious borders. It affects us all.
Helping Survivors Changes the Future
When working with survivors of sexual and often other forms of abuse, people frequently view it as helping the individual alone. However, I see it as helping generations of people. In a sense, it is also preventative work as abuse is so often repeated throughout generations.
Am I saying that everyone abused will become an abuser? Absolutely not. However, there are many cases of individuals with unhealed wounds of childhood abuse that go on to either abuse or marry an abuser, causing the cycle of abuse to begin all over again.
Abuse and neglect cross all socio-economic, race and religious borders. It affects us all.
Rewrite History or It’s Likely to Repeat
I am a survivor of abuse. Looking back at my parents, I see that they too came from a history of abuse. My father was most likely abused as a child and my mother was emotionally abused as a child. So, what happened? My father became my abuser, and my mother didn’t know her worth and didn’t see the red-flags of abuse in marrying my father.
My heart breaks as I see survivor after survivor who have had abusive husbands and relationships after enduring so much abuse already. One survivor asked, “Do I have some sort of sign on me saying ‘come and get me?’” Whilst there is no sign, per-say, survivors of abuse often walk with the weight of abuse on their shoulders, leading to shame and low self-esteem. They desire love so much that they are willing to sacrifice being cherished and honored to just be wanted.
I was one of these people. I didn’t expect people to care or truly love me, so when a guy was interested in me, I ignored all the red flags of manipulation and emotional abuse that were there from the start.
The good news? There is hope. Healing from wounds of abuse can help stop the cycles of abuse. Knowing your worth in Christ can break the chains of self-hatred and low self-esteem. You can see yourself as a child of God, worth
y of love and kindness. Choosing to take the very difficult steps towards healing can not only bring you freedom today, but can allow for freedom from abuse for your children tomorrow. It’s never too late! If you feel as if you’ve already let the cycle begin again, you and your family can find hope, freedom and healing! Begin the journey of healing today. You’d be amazed at the years God will restore.
I’m so thankful that God put me on the healing journey that I am still on today. I was able to get away from the abusive relationship I was once in and discover my beauty and worth in Christ, which led me to accept the pursuit of a man who truly would love and care for me. Today he remains one of the biggest instruments of healing in my life. Healing my wounds with love.
- Child Maltreatment 2015. Published: January 19, 2017. An office of the Administration for Children & Families, a division of U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. This report presents national data about child abuse and neglect known to child protective services agencies in the United States during federal fiscal year 2015. Retrieved from: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/child-maltreatment-2015
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2013). Child Maltreatment 2012. Available from: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/research-data-technology/statistics-research/child-maltreatment