g93 10/8 10-13 Prevention in the
was nine years old when he started abusing her. He began by spying on her as she
undressed; then he started visiting her room at night and touching her private
parts. When she resisted him, he was furious. Once he even attacked her with a
hammer and threw her down a flight of stairs. ï¿½No one would believe me,ï¿½
Monique recallsï¿½not even her mother. The abuser was Moniqueï¿½s stepfather.
IS NOT the stranger in a trench coat, the loner lurking in the bushes, who poses
the greatest threat to children. It is a member of the family. The vast majority
of sexual abuse occurs in the home. So how can the home be made more resistant
his book Slaughter of
historian Dr. Sander J. Breiner examines the evidence of child abuse in five
ancient societiesï¿½Egypt, China, Greece, Rome, and Israel. He concludes that
while abuse did exist in Israel, it was relatively rare compared to the other
four civilizations. Why? Unlike their neighbors, the people in Israel were
taught to have respect for women and childrenï¿½an enlightened view they owed to
the Holy Scriptures. When the Israelites applied divine law to family life, they
prevented child abuse. Todayï¿½s families need these clean, practical standards
more than ever.
Bible law have an impact on your family? For instance, Leviticus 18:6 reads:
ï¿½You people must not come near, any man of you, to any close fleshly relative
of his to lay bare nakedness. I am Jehovah.ï¿½ Similarly the Christian
congregation today enforces strong laws against all forms of sexual abuse.
Anyone who sexually abuses a child risks being disfellowshipped, put out of the
congregation.ï¿½1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.
families should know and review such laws together. Deuteronomy 6:6, 7 urges:
ï¿½And these words that I am commanding you today must prove to be on your
heart; and you must inculcate them in your son and speak of them when you sit in
your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get
up.ï¿½ Inculcating these laws means more than occasionally lecturing your
children. It involves a regular give-and-take discussion. From time to time,
both mother and father should reaffirm Godï¿½s laws on incest and the loving
reasons for these laws.
might also use such stories as that of Tamar and Amnon, Davidï¿½s children, to
show children that in sexual matters there are boundaries that no oneï¿½close
relatives includedï¿½should ever cross.ï¿½Genesis 9:20-29; 2 Samuel 13:10-16.
for these principles can be shown even in practical living arrangements. In one
Oriental country, research has shown that much incest occurs in families where
children sleep with parents even when there is no economic necessity for this.
Similarly, it is generally unwise to have opposite-sex siblings share a bed or a
room as they grow older, if this is at all avoidable. Even when cramped living
conditions are a fact of life, parents should use good judgment in deciding on
where each family member should sleep.
law forbids drunkenness, suggesting that it can lead to perversion. (Proverbs
23:29-33) According to one study, some 60 to 70 percent of incest victims
reported that their abusing parent had been drinking when the abuse started.
find that abuse is more common among families with domineering husbands. The
widely held view that women exist merely to fulfill male needs is Scripturally
wrong. Some men use this unchristian opinion to justify turning to a daughter
for anything they cannot get from a wife. This type of oppression can cause
women in these circumstances to lose their emotional balance. Many lose even the
natural urge to protect their own children. (Compare Ecclesiastes 7:7.) One
study, on the other hand, found that when workaholic fathers were largely absent
from the home setting, sometimes mother-son sexual abuse has festered.
about your family? Do you as husband take the role of head seriously, or do you
abdicate it to your wife? (1 Corinthians 11:3) Do you treat your wife with love,
honor, and respect? (Ephesians 5:25; 1 Peter 3:7) Do her views count? (Genesis
21:12; Proverbs 31:26, 28) And what about your children? Do you see them as
precious? (Psalm 127:3) Or do you view them as mere burdens, readily
exploitable? (Compare 2 Corinthians 12:14.) Eliminate warped, unscriptural views
of family roles in your household, and you will make it more resistant to abuse.
young woman whom weï¿½ll call Sandi says: ï¿½My whole family was set up for
abuse. It was isolated, and each member was isolated from the other.ï¿½
Isolation, rigidity, and obsessive secrecyï¿½these unhealthy, unscriptural
attitudes are trademarks of the abusive household. (Compare 2 Samuel 12:12;
Proverbs 18:1; Philippians 4:5.) Create a home atmosphere that is emotionally
safe for children. Home should be a place where they feel built up, where they
feel free to open their hearts and speak freely.
children have a great need for physical expressions of loveï¿½hugging,
caressing, handholding, romping. Do not overreact to the dangers of sexual abuse
by withholding these demonstrations of love. Teach children through open, warm
affection and praise that they are valued.
Sandi remembers: ï¿½My momï¿½s view was that to give anyone any commendation for
anything was wrong. It would give you a big head.ï¿½ Sandi suffered at least ten
years of sexual abuse in silence. Children who are not secure in the knowledge
that they are beloved, worthwhile individuals may be more susceptible to an
abuserï¿½s praise, his ï¿½affection,ï¿½ or his threats to withdraw it.
pedophile who sexually abused hundreds of boys over a 40-year period admitted
that the boys who had an emotional
need for a friend like him made
the ï¿½bestï¿½ victims. Donï¿½t create such a need in your child.
severe trial Job said: ï¿½My soul certainly feels a loathing toward my life. I
will give vent to my concern about myself. I will speak in the bitterness of my
soul!ï¿½ (Job 10:1) Likewise, many parents have found that they can help their
children by helping themselves. The
noted recently: ï¿½Strong social sanctions against the expression of pain by men
apparently perpetuate the cycle of abuse.ï¿½ It seems that men who never get to
express their pain about having been sexually abused are more likely to become
abusers themselves. The Safe
reports that most child molesters were themselves sexually abused as children
but never got help to recover. They express their pain and anger by abusing
other children.ï¿½See also Job 7:11; 32:20.
risk to children may also be higher when mothers do not come to terms with past
abuse. For example, researchers report that women who were sexually abused as
girls often marry men who are child abusers. Furthermore, if a woman has not
come to terms with past abuse, she may understandably find it difficult to
discuss abuse with her children. If abuse occurs, she may be less able to
discern it and take positive action. Then the children pay an awful price for
the motherï¿½s inaction.
abuse may pass from one generation to the next. Of course, many individuals who
choose not to discuss their painful past seem able to cope well enough in life,
and that is commendable. But in many the pain is deeper, and they do need to
make a concerted effortï¿½including, if necessary, seeking competent
professional helpï¿½to heal such severe childhood wounds. Their goal is not to
wallow in self-pity. They want to break this sick, hurtful cycle of child abuse
affecting their family.ï¿½See Awake!
of October 8, 1991, pages 3 to 11.
applied, the foregoing information can do much to reduce the chances of child
abuse in your home. Remember, though, that abusers work in secrecy, they take
advantage of trust, and they use adult tactics on innocent children. Inevitably,
then, some of them do seem to get away with their disgusting crimes.
rest assured that God sees what they do. (Job 34:22) Unless they repent and
change, he will not forget their vile acts. He will bring them out into the open
in his due time. (Compare Matthew 10:26.) And he will exact justice. Jehovah God
promises a time when all such treacherous people will be ï¿½torn away from the
earth,ï¿½ and only the meek and gentle who love God and fellowman will be
allowed to remain. (Proverbs 2:22; Psalm 37:10, 11, 29; 2 Peter 2:9-12) We have
that marvelous hope of a new world thanks to the ransom sacrifice of Jesus
Christ. (1 Timothy 2:6) Then, and only then, will abuse end forever.
the meantime we must do all we can to protect our children. They are so
precious! Most parents will readily put their own safety at risk in order to
protect their little children. (Compare John 15:13.) If we donï¿½t protect our
children, the consequences can be horrible. If we do, we give them a wonderful
giftï¿½a childhood that feels innocent and free from calamity. They can feel
just as the psalmist did, who wrote: ï¿½I will say to Jehovah: ï¿½You are my
refuge and my stronghold, my God, in whom I will trust.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Psalm 91:2.
abuse of a child occurs when someone uses a child to gratify his or her own
sexual desires. It often involves what the Bible calls fornication, or porï¿½nei'a,
which could include fondling of genitalia, sexual intercourse, and oral or anal
sex. Some abusive acts, such as the fondling of breasts, explicitly immoral
proposals, showing pornography to a child, voyeurism, and indecent exposure, may
amount to what the Bible condemns as ï¿½loose conduct.ï¿½ï¿½Galatians 5:19-21;
see The Watchtower
of March 15, 1983, footnote on page 30.
most child molesters were abused as children, this does not mean that abuse makes
children become abusers. Less than a third of abused children become child
survivor of years of incest said: ï¿½Abuse kills children, it kills their trust,
their right to feel innocent. Thatï¿½s why children have to be protected.
Because now I have to rebuild my whole life. Why make more children do that?ï¿½
BRITISH COLUMBIA, Canada, a recent study examined the careers of 30 child
molesters. The results were chilling. The 30 individuals had, between them,
abused 2,099 children. Fully half of them held positions of trustï¿½teachers,
ministers, administrators, and child-care workers. One molester, a 50-year-old
dentist, had abused nearly 500 children over a 26-year period.
However, The Globe
of Toronto notes: ï¿½In 80 per cent of cases, one or more sectors of the
community (including friends or colleagues of the offender, families of victims,
other children, some victims) denied or minimized the abuse.ï¿½ Not
surprisingly, ï¿½the report suggests that denial and disbelief allow abuse to
Some of the victims had told on the abusers. However, ï¿½parents of young
victims were unwilling to accept what their children were telling them,ï¿½ The
Mail quotes the report as saying.
Similarly, a government official in Germany recently cited a report that child
victims of sexual abuse have to approach adults with their story as many as
seven times before they are believed.
YOU are a man and you are sexually involved with children, you may be saying to
yourself, ï¿½She likes it,ï¿½ or ï¿½He asked for it,ï¿½ or ï¿½Iï¿½m teaching her
about sex.ï¿½ Youï¿½re lying to yourself. Real men are not involved sexually
with children. If thereï¿½s any part of you that really cares about that child,
stop it. Get help now.ï¿½ï¿½A
proposed public service announcement, quoted in the book By
need plenty of warm, loving attention
g85 7/22 26-8 From Our
Readers-Response on Child Molesting ***
January 22, 1985, issue of Awake!
carried a three-part series entitled ï¿½Child Molestingï¿½You Can
Protect Your Child.ï¿½ In todayï¿½s world, this unpleasant subject is one of
which parents must become aware, and many of our readers wrote letters
expressing gratitude for the information presented. We would like to share some
of their expressions.
is part of a letter from the United States: ï¿½Thank you so much for the
information on child molesting. As children, both my sister and I were molested
by a cousin. Now we both have families and want to do all we can to protect our
children. We will surely be applying the sound advice found in this article.ï¿½
the United States: ï¿½I really appreciated your article ï¿½Child Molestingï¿½You
Can Protect Your Child.ï¿½ Your
suggestions were very helpful and simple. I have a couple I would like to share
with you: It can be dangerous for children to have their names on their shirts.
They are more likely to go with a stranger who knows their name. Also, when
children are naughty, parents often threaten them, saying: ï¿½The police will
get you!ï¿½ This makes children afraid and perhaps unwilling to approach the
police if they ever need help.ï¿½
the United States: ï¿½After having re-read the January 22 issue of Awake!
on child molesting, I want you to know that it is one of the best I have read.
Naturally I wish we had had this information several years ago, before my two
beautiful granddaughters were so terribly and unmercifully abused. But if it
prevents some other child from suffering as they have, I shall be glad.ï¿½
letters confirmed the terrible damage done by child molestation. For example,
here is a letter from England: ï¿½Thank you for the recent articles on the
subject of child molestation. I was a victim of child abuse and experienced
feelings similar to those reported in your article. Even now, after so many
years, I have to restrain myself because I get very emotional when I read or
hear of these things happening to children.ï¿½
letter from England says: ï¿½I was a victim of incest over a period of years
beginning when I was about five. The offender was my stepfather. What I
experienced at his hands was so traumatic for my young mind that much of it was
submerged in my subconsciousness until only a few months ago. The memories, once
triggered, emerged like some sort of nightmare.
people may regard your article as an overreaction and may feel shocked about
telling their little ones about what to do if someoneï¿½even a close
relativeï¿½should touch their private body parts or ask them to look at or touch
theirs. I have a message for those people: ï¿½The advice in the article is
letters shed light on the tactics of molesters. A reader in England writes:
ï¿½As a young child, I was abused by an older man whom I had a lot of respect
for. As your article brought out, the indecent fondling (which is what it was
restricted to) was disguised as playing and tickling. It left me with tremendous
feelings of guilt and shame.ï¿½
reader from the United States reminds us that it is not only adults who molest
children. She writes: ï¿½I warned my children about adults, never imagining that
it would be a nine-and-a-half-year-old girl who would improperly fondle my
reader from England tells us: ï¿½My foster father was a judge; therefore, when
he started to molest me, I didnï¿½t think there was anything wrong. When I got
to the age of 12, I knew it was wrong but was unable to tell anyone, for he had
drummed into me: ï¿½Who would believe you? And donï¿½t be ungrateful. Look at
all the things youï¿½ve got.ï¿½ In my early teens my brothers and an uncle
abused me. So by the age of 14, I was using drugs, thinking this was my only way
to happiness. I grew up being very promiscuous, which was the only way I could
afford the drugs. Iï¿½d like to thank you again for the article. I can now make
sure my son will never have to go through the pain I had.ï¿½
reader in the United States writes: ï¿½I just finished reading the article on
ï¿½Child Molestingï¿½ in the January 22, 1985, issue of Awake!
I could not hold back the tears from my eyes because I, too, was molested. It
happened when I was five. The molester was a man that my mother was dating.
While my mother was away and my brothers were out playing, this man would take
sexual liberties with me. I have been trying to forget, trying to blot it out of
my mind, trying to pretend that it was a bad dream, but it was not a dream. It
actually did happen, and for all these years (I am now 27) I have never told
anyone. Thank you for the article on child molesting. It gave me the courage to
write this letter.ï¿½
are just a few of the many letters received that show the frightening scope of
the problem. We are living in truly decadent times. (2 Timothy 3:1, 3) There
have even been cases involving Christian families, which had to be handled by
the congregation elders! Never forget that while child molesting is usually a
sin committed by adults, it is children who carry the burden. It is tragic that
so many children are being robbed of their childhood by adults who have no
self-control. The emotional wounds inflicted on these young ones may last a
When the January 22, 1985, issue of Awake!
arrived in Oregon, U.S.A., Joy, a minister of Jehovahï¿½s Witnesses, went with a
friend to show the articles on child molesting to the local police sergeant in
charge of crime prevention. He revealed that he was just on his way to the local
community college to set up a seminar on child molesting, so he took a copy of
the magazine along. That afternoon, he contacted Joy and said he would like to
use the magazine in the seminar. Joy alertly told him about the April 22, 1984,
issue of Awake!, which featured a
series of articles about missing children. The police sergeant ordered 200
copies of each magazine in order to give one to each person in attendance at the
Later, the police sergeant increased his order to 250 copies of each
issue so that there would be some available to use in the local police Helpline
Support programs. He also recommended that Joy contact the local Childrenï¿½s
Service Department. She followed his advice and was able to give her
presentation before a group of 20 counselors during an orientation seminar. The
group took her remaining copies of both issues of the magazine.
g85 1/22 8 Child Molesting-You Can
Protect Your Child ***
suspicious of any changes in the
normal routine. In one case, a teacher asked that certain children come to
school long before others. Watch for any telling signs in children such as
declining grades or extreme anxiety around a specific adult. One woman who was
victimized by her brother and her father as a girl said: ï¿½I came at the bottom
of a class of 42, and nobody tried to find out why.ï¿½
to physical symptoms, such as headaches, vomiting or loss of appetite, and
difficulty in sleeping. Genital complaints, such as soreness, are particularly
important. Be aware of precocious sexuality in language, dress, or behavior. Be
on the lookout for sudden changes in behavior that might indicate a problem. If
a child becomes unusually withdrawn or shows an inclination to avoid one member
of the family, a warning bell should sound. We also have to listen for the
oblique messages that our children send us. The statement, ï¿½I donï¿½t like
that math teacher any moreï¿½ may be the childï¿½s way of trying to broach this
If parents see anything like this in their child, they should try to find
out what is wrong. The child has a problem, and it may be a problem of
molestation. If so, the child needs help. Unfortunately, many children do not
get that help. Molested children have been accused of inventing the incident,
although researchers assure us that children rarely, if ever, invent such
things. Incest has been covered up so as not to break up the family.
However, if molestationï¿½and especially incestï¿½is discovered to have
occurred, two things must be done immediately:
First, the childï¿½and
other children tooï¿½must be protected from any further abuse. This must be
done, whatever the cost. In many cases the accused molester will have to be
confronted. But whatever it takes, it is important that the child should feel
confident that the molester will never be able to get at her (or him) again.
Second, the child must be
given a lot of love and emotional support. Parents must make it very clear that
the little victim is not to blame. The crime and anything that happens as a
result of itï¿½even if a close relative goes to prisonï¿½is not her (or his)
fault. But that reassurance will have to be given many times, so that the victim
comes to believe itï¿½and to believe that the parents believe it too!
g85 1/22 4-6 Child Molesting-'Who
Would Do a Thing Like That?' ***
parents would answer this question wrong. When we think of sexual molestation,
most of us probably picture a weird stranger who exposes himself to children or
lures them away into a car or to some wooded area. Publicity has also been given
to groups that lure children away to exploit them for pornography or child
prostitution. Such things do
happen, but these people are far from the usual type of child molester. So who
are the usual child molesters?
was molested by a man who was running a church group. He ran a youth club, and
everybody agreed that he was very pleasant. But he sexually abused Sue and other
girls. Another young girl wrote to an advice column to tell that her favorite
uncle had taken to pulling her onto his lap and fondling her improperly. One man
remembers that as a boy he was habitually abused by the grown son of a close
family friend. An 11-year-old boy was molested by the aunt that he lived with. A
New York woman reports being molested by her grandfather when she was seven
years old. A 15-year-old boy was molested by his doctor during a medical
examination. For Pam, it was even worse. For many years, her own father molested
her. And Mary was molested by two older brothers and an older first cousin.
fact, probably less than a third of sexual assaults on children are committed by
strangers. Usually the victim knows the assailant. Often the abuser is a
relative. Thus, in most cases children are molested by people they know and
trust, which makes the problem of protecting them more difficult.
parents have another misconception. They envision molestation as being violent,
with the child fighting and screaming for mercy. This may not be the case at
all, at least not in the beginning. At the outset, sexual abuse may be disguised
as playful or affectionate contact, and go on from there. The abuser is likely
to persuade and pressure the child, using all the built-in authority of an older
person. Do you remember what it was like when you were a child and were trained
to obey adults even when they told you to do things you did not like, such as go
to bed early or eat all your vegetables? Molesters take advantage of this
training. One convicted abuser said: ï¿½Show me an obedient child, and Iï¿½ll
show you an easy victim.ï¿½
child was receiving obscene phone calls. When asked why she had not put the
phone down, she said she thought it was rude to do that when someone was still
talking! A woman of 30 remembers having been approached at the age of 5 by her
grandfather. He said to her: ï¿½Good girls do this for Grandpa and never tell
their mothers.ï¿½ How many five-year-olds would be able to see through such a
do you remember how you loved presents and treats as a child? Abusers often use
this childish trait to get an abusive relationship started. For example, what
would your child do if the school janitor said: ï¿½Stay with me for a while in
the office after school, and I will give you some moneyï¿½? or if the
baby-sitter said: ï¿½I will let you sit up late and watch television, if you do
something for me firstï¿½?
molesters misuse a childï¿½s natural love of secrets. Wasnï¿½t it exciting, when
you were young, to have a secret? One little girl had a secret that she kept
from her parents. But one day her parents saw her acting in a precocious, sexual
manner. When asked where she had learned such a thing, the little girl said:
ï¿½Itï¿½s a secret.ï¿½ Her father explained that sometimes we should not keep a
secret, so the little girl revealed her secret. A 40-year-old man with a family
of his own, who was a close family relative, had pushed her down and sexually
threats may be involved, subtle threats that strike at a childï¿½s sense of
security. A grown woman tells of having been abused by her stepfather when she
was a child. She says he abused her for four years, starting when she was six.
Why did she not tell her mother? ï¿½He said that if I ever told anybody about
it, the police would come get him and my mother would lose her job. The family
would starve and it would all be my fault.ï¿½
Gail Sheehy covers many of these points in the following observation: ï¿½We
forget how grownups seemed omnipotent to us when we ourselves were children.ï¿½
She adds: ï¿½It is very easy for a parent or babysitter to initiate sexual
activities under the guise of normal bathing and hygiene inspection. The child
gets the message something is wrong only when secrecy is introduced: ï¿½Donï¿½t
tell your mommy that we did thatï¿½ï¿½and sufficient intimidation can be laid in
with a single strokeï¿½ï¿½or she wonï¿½t love you anymore.ï¿½ï¿½ Would your
child be able to withstand that sort of psychological blackmail?
you see, molesters can be the most unexpected of people and they can use
sophisticated and cunning tactics. Child molestation is probably almost as old
as history. But as this generation progresses, and more and more people are
ï¿½lovers of themselves, . . . having no natural affection, . . . without
self-control,ï¿½ the threat is becoming greater. (2 Timothy 3:1-3) However,
children do have one very strong defense. What is that? Their parents. These are
the adults best able to protect them from other adults who may wish to molest
them. Let us see how.
g82 10/8 28 From Our Readers ***
I feel you were unfair in accusing Time
magazine of publishing pro-incest propaganda (June 22, 1982, pages 9, 10). The
opinions of so-called sexologists and also those of child psychiatrists were
presented. You failed to note that the Time
reporter found these pro-incest views ï¿½disturbing, irresponsible and falling
just short of the child molesterï¿½s lib.ï¿½
Time reported on
Timeï¿½s article showing
g81 2/8 16-19 Incest-The Hidden
THERE any help for a person like me?ï¿½ This sad question came from a woman with
a difficult problemï¿½one shared by a surprising number of other women today.
After many years, she was still suffering from a childhood experience. She had
been a victim of incest. How can her question be answered?
is not a pleasant word. Most would rather not discuss it, yet it is increasingly
common. If estimates are correct, it is quite likely that some of your personal
friends have been victims. It is certainly a problem of which parents should be
of us know what incest meansï¿½sexual activity between close relatives. It is
suspected that a lot of such activity goes on between brothers and sisters,
although this is not usually reported. Authorities are particularly concerned
when children are abused by adult relatives. Of greatest concern, and probably
accounting for most of the reported cases, are instances where children are
molested by their fathers or stepfathers.
the lack of complete statistics, the answer is clearly, Yes. Susan Brownmiller,
in her book Against Our
Will, says: ï¿½The sexually
abused child is statistically more prevalent than the physically abused, or
battered child.ï¿½ Mrs. Lee Preney, a childcare worker, asserts that incest is
ï¿½more common than rape, and less frequently reported.ï¿½
report in the Seattle Times said:
ï¿½Look at any 15 girls in your daughterï¿½s classroom the next time youï¿½re
there . . . the odds are good that at least oneï¿½and possibly two or
threeï¿½has been a victim of incest.ï¿½
Giarretto, a psychologist who works in a sexual-abuse treatment program in
prosperous Santa Clara County, California, thinks that incest is ï¿½epidemicï¿½
in America. In an area with a population of around one million, he saw incest
cases rise from 30 in 1971 to more than 500 in 1977. In an interview with the
magazine People, he said: ï¿½I
think we are just beginning to tap the actual prevalence.ï¿½
estimate that 25 million women in America today suffered incestuous abuse as
children! Reports indicate that many other countries are experiencing the same
experts have raised this question. For example, Wardell Pomeroy, coauthor of the
original Kinsey reports, was quoted in Time
magazine as saying: ï¿½It is time to admit that incest need not be a perversion
or a symptom of mental illness. Incest between . . . children and adults . . .
can sometimes be beneficial.ï¿½
you a parent? How do you feel about that viewpoint? Would you allow your little
boy or girl to have sex relations with an older relative?
you are a Christian, you know you
should be concerned about incest. Godï¿½s opinion about itï¿½much more important
than any manï¿½sï¿½was stated very clearly to the Israelites: ï¿½You people must
not come near, any man of you, to any close fleshly relative of his to lay bare
nakedness.ï¿½ The forbidden relationships are specified, including:
brother/sister, parent/child, as well as uncle-or-aunt/niece-or-nephew
experience of children who have been incestuously abused also shows that we
should be concerned.
correspondence with the Australian
a woman described how childhood incest drove her to several suicide attempts,
starting from the age of 10. Others could not have normal sex relationships when
they grew up.
one of three sisters molested by their father, wrote: ï¿½It has taken me 10
years and a lot of help from my husband to come to terms with it and discuss it
freely. It affects everybody differently. My eldest sister thinks sex is the
dirtiest thing in the world; my youngest just doesnï¿½t care. She was charged
with prostitution at the age of 14 and had a child by the time she was 15 years
drug abuse, committing rape (in the case of boys), alcoholism, rebelliousness
and emotional turmoil have all resulted from incest. One young girl could not
think of God as her heavenly Father. An incestuous relationship with her natural
father had soured her on the whole concept of fatherhood.
does incest seem to cause more emotional turmoil than, say, rape? Because the
molester is imposing on a very close and important relationship. One girl
complained that she felt more like a wife than a daughter and believed that she
was there only for her fatherï¿½s sexual pleasure.
the comment of another victim: ï¿½I was terrified to tell anyone what was
happening to me. I was so scared to disobey him; after all he was my father, he
wouldnï¿½t do anything he wasnï¿½t supposed to . . . As I grew into my teens,
things got worse and worse. I understood things better. I felt like I was dirty,
cheap and worthless. So many times I considered suicide. And how I hated men! .
. . I knew I was only a little girl when it started, but I could not stop
feeling that it was all my fault . . . almost worse than the actual molesting is
only the victim, but the molester, too, can suffer because of incest. Often he
feels shame and self-hatred, while all the time becoming more and more involved.
A therapist told the Seattle Times:
ï¿½The problem is that weï¿½re dealing with compulsive behavior. These men have
conditioned themselves through repeated sexual daydreaming . . . to respond to
molester said: ï¿½I tried stopping it several times, and I told my stepdaughter
that I had to stop because of what I was doing to the family.ï¿½ But he did not
stop. Another said his incestuous relationship left him with ï¿½permanent
this, remember that in most lands incest is against the law, punishable by a
possible prison sentence. Surely, if all these facts were kept in mind, fewer
parents would allow themselves to fall into incestuous relationships.
adults who turn to incest are psychotic. Most are not, however. They may be
apparently good family men, business or community leaders, even good
do such ï¿½ordinary peopleï¿½ commit incest? Loss of control due to alcohol has
been involved. Sometimes, a man marries a woman who already has children. As his
stepchildren get older, he may be tempted sexually.
problems can contribute. Hank Giarretto says: ï¿½Usually itï¿½s a man losing his
job or going through a low-ebb period in his life. He and his wife become
alienated. The father reaches out to his daughter, looking for closeness. She is
open to him, loves him, thinks heï¿½s great. The first overtures are not
may be additional causes. One incest victim told how pornographic literature was
always present in the house. Giarretto adds: ï¿½Itï¿½s the sexual climate of our
society which helps create the problem. We teach our girls to be Lolitas and
sexual provocateurs from the time theyï¿½re 2.ï¿½
adult committing incest with a child betrays selfishness. He shows no concern at
all for the welfare of the child. Yet, in a world that encourages us to ï¿½do
our own thingï¿½ and promotes such perversions as child pornography, is it
surprising that cases of incest are on the increase?
surely can, but it means that individuals must make a determined mental stand
against the worsening moral climate of this world. For this, we can get no
better advice than that found in the Bible. The apostle Paul tells us: ï¿½Quit
being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your
mind over.ï¿½ (Rom. 12:2) To do this, we must avoid unclean books and
entertainment and block from our minds the unclean influences to which we are
constantly exposed. Thus, we avoid conditioning ourselves to wrong behavior.
incest victim recommended teaching children at an early age that certain parts
of their bodies are not for others to play with. This can be done in a loving
way, perhaps using the story of Dinah, in the publication My
Then, if anything resembling molestation should occur, the child can immediately
tell mother or father. Remember, sexual molestation does not have to be
intercourse. Fondling, ï¿½touching,ï¿½ unwarranted intimacy or any sexual
playing can cause great damage in later life.
parental love is a true safeguard. Paul said: ï¿½Love . . . does not behave
indecently, does not look for its own interests.ï¿½ (1 Cor. 13:4, 5) This
unselfish love will surely prevent parents from allowing fleshly weaknesses to
nudge them to do wrong acts toward their offspring. It will also help to prevent
another problem. Sometimes, as children start to become young men or women,
their parents, afraid of falling into incestuous relationships, become cold and
distant. Of course, this, too, is harmful to the growing child.
incest has not proved easy. It is a secret crime. Families often try to keep it
hidden. Mothers who know that ï¿½something is going onï¿½ may turn a blind eye,
afraid of disrupting the family. Children who report their parents may come
under strong pressure to withdraw the complaint. Yet, in the experience of many
specialists, children rarely lie about incest.
feel that prison is not always the answer for the molester. Hence, counseling
centers have been set up where these families can be treated as a whole.
Explaining what he thinks is very important in such treatment, Hank Giarretto
says: ï¿½[The father] must face the daughter and accept full responsibility for
whatever happened.ï¿½ This may be difficult for the father to do; but it is a
way he can try to undo some of the harm that has been done to the child.
can help too. Many victims have testified how, through patient, considerate and
selfless care, they were assisted to overcome the emotional confusion and start
planning for the future. The scars may never completely disappear; but with
persistence, they will at least recede into the background.
then, about the incest victim whose question appears at the beginning of this
article? She was molested by her grandfather from the age of six until nine. She
tried immorality, drugs and psychiatrists, but found in these no relief from her
there is help for such a person. However confused and ï¿½downï¿½ we may be,
there is One who is ï¿½raising up the lowly one from the very dust,ï¿½ and we
can get to know him by means of the Bible. (Ps. 113:7) He can help even in the
deepest depression, for he is the ï¿½Father of tender mercies and the God of all
comfort.ï¿½ (2 Cor. 1:3) It takes much prayer, study and discussion with mature
people to replace the depressing, guilt-ridden thoughts in the mind with
upbuilding ones. But it can be done. The following experience may help to
woman said that she was abused by her natural father from a very early age, and
then by her stepfather. She sank into immorality, drug abuse and finally had an
illegitimate child. But she says: ï¿½There is a way out of incest, child-abuse,
statutory rape, drugs and homosexuality. You may feel as though you canï¿½t live
through these things with a completely sane mind, but you can if you have hope
of something better to live for. I have that hope . . . I never fought back as a
child. I only wish I had, but I was afraid, afraid no one would take care of me
or want me. I was wrong, very wrong! Jehovah cares . . . and the elders at the
local Kingdom Hall [of Jehovahï¿½s Witnesses] care too.ï¿½
our past history, any of us can be ï¿½washed clean,ï¿½ and ï¿½sanctifiedï¿½ from
the standpoint of God. (1 Cor. 6:11) The Bible explains how. By the power of his
Word and spirit, God can also remove our guilt feelings and provide escape even
from emotional confusion. He can help us to live a satisfying life now, and give
us confidence that, one day soon, we will live in a world where such things as
incest will never happen again.
g93 10/8 9 If Your Child Is Abused
STOP abuse, you must know it when you see it. In the numerous books on the
subject, experts have listed dozens of telltale signs of abuse that parents can
watch for. These include: complaints of pain while urinating or defecating,
genital infections, abrasions or lesions in the genital area, the sudden onset
of bed-wetting, appetite loss or other eating problems, precocious sexual
behavior, a sudden fear of such places as school or parts of the house, periods
of panic, an extreme fear of undressing, a fear of being alone with a familiar
person, and self-mutilation.
be careful about jumping to conclusions. Most of these symptoms do not by
themselves necessarily mean that a child has actually been sexually abused. Each
could indicate some other problem. But if you see disturbing symptoms, gently
broach the subject, perhaps with such a statement as: ï¿½If anyone ever touches
you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, I want you to know that you can
always tell me, and Iï¿½ll do all I can to protect you. Has anything like that
ever happened to you?ï¿½ï¿½Proverbs 20:5.
your child discloses sexual abuse, you will no doubt feel shattered. But
remember: Your reaction will play a major role in the childï¿½s recovery. Your
child has been carrying an unbearable burden and needs you, with all your adult
strength, to lift it from her or his shoulders. Praise the child for being so
brave as to tell you what happened. Repeatedly reassure the child that you will
do your best to provide protection; that the abuse was the abuserï¿½s fault, not
the childï¿½s; that the child is not ï¿½badï¿½; that you love the child.
legal experts advise reporting the abuse to the authorities as soon as possible.
In some lands the legal system may require this. But in other places the legal
system may offer little hope of successful prosecution.
though, when the abuser is oneï¿½s own beloved mate? Sad to say, many women fail
to take decisive action. To be sure, it is never easy to face the ugly reality
of a mate who is a child abuser. Emotional ties, and even financial dependency,
can be overwhelmingly strong. The wronged wife may also realize that taking
action could cost her husband his family, his job, his reputation. The hard
truth is, though, that he may just be reaping what he has sown. (Galatians 6:7)
Innocent children, on the other hand, stand to lose much more if they are not
believed and protected. Their whole future is at stake. They do not have the
resources that adults have. Trauma can scar and shape them adversely for life.
They are the ones who need and deserve tender treatment.ï¿½Compare Genesis
must therefore make every reasonable effort to protect their children! Many
responsible parents choose to seek out professional help for an abused child.
Just as you would with a medical doctor, make sure that any such professional
will respect your religious views. Help your child rebuild his or her shattered
self-esteem through a steady outpouring of parental love.
reality, the molester is already in trouble and badly needs help. Even if the
perpetrator claims to be sorry, the wronged mate may consider: Why didnï¿½t he
confess before being exposed by his victim?
instance, when Jehovahï¿½s Witnesses are confronted with issues involving blood
transfusion, they make sure that the doctor respects their religious beliefs.