Saturday, April 8, 2017

Going to Church? Will Your Child be a Victim this Sunday?

Don't let your child be the next victim. Just when you think church is safe, think again. It really isn't. This news report shows yet another horrific account of sex crimes against children by leaders in a church. This time it happened in Toledo, OH. Read the article here.

Oh, and another one here.......Texas Baptist Children's Home.

Your kids do not have to be victims! There are warning signs of abusive environments/people.

Here are just a few things that are red flags when it comes to your kids in church:

1. If Church leadership assumes authority over your family/children in the name of God.

You, the mom or dad, are responsible for your kids, not your church. The pastor/deacon/youth leader, etc., does not have authority over your child. They only have authority over what they teach, not over you or your family. Teach your kids to recognize how leaders cross that line and help them know how to be resistant. They don't have to cause a scene; they simply have to be taught that they do not have to do something they are uncomfortable with.

2. If Women are minimized.

If a pastor or other church leader minimizes a woman's role in her family, steer clear. This is not something Jesus ever did or wanted. Mom is the boss of the pastor/deacons/leaders when it comes to her kids and if any of those people minimize her role and put it all on the dad, they need to be resisted or, at the very least, ignored.

3. If Patriarchy is exalted.

Patriarchy leads to abuse. In a church where patriarchy is actually a main point/focus, more abuse takes place because there is an unbalance of power. As was said in the Pii Report from the investigation into ABWE's decades-long sex abuse cases with Donn Ketcham, "Sexual abuse flourishes in environments with unequal power relationships."

Did you catch that? Let me repeat that: 
"Sexual abuse flourishes in environments with unequal power relationships."

One more time: 
"Sexual abuse flourishes in environments with unequal power relationships."

Also, there are a few things you can do to protect your child in church.

1. Do not send your child off to the bathroom alone. I don't care how long you've been at your church or if you know everyone there, your child is vulnerable if in the hallways or bathrooms alone. Accompany your child. If you think that's too hard because you'd have other kids in tow, it's not too hard. I practiced this regularly even though I have 8 kids. Until they reached a certain age, they did not wander around at church alone, especially during services. You can be sure that certain people roam the hallways of your church during services; these people are not to be trusted alone with your child. No exceptions.

2. Instruct your child to stay in their classroom and wait for you after Sunday School. Do not allow them to leave a classroom alone. It should be a rule for all Sunday School teachers to wait for the parents, but, unfortunately, in many churches it simply is not. Insist on it and be there early if possible.

3. Look all teachers, youth leaders, pastors and other leaders in the eye when you communicate with them. This is vital. Look them in the eye and give them clear instructions concerning your child/children. If the teacher/leader is up to no good, looking them in the eye will intimidate them. It lets them know that you mean business and will not put up with any nonsense. Abusers look for targets and if you come across as a detached parent who trusts everyone because you're in church, the abuser will know this and could target your child.

4. If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable for any reason, do not leave your child with that person. If a Sunday School teacher makes you feel odd, take your child with you instead. If a youth leader won't listen, don't let your child go to youth group. 

You, Mom and Dad, have the power to stop these abusers in their tracks. Our kids are at risk in church. We know they are at risk in the world, but many turn a blind eye to the abuse going on in church. They simply don't want to believe it. 

But it's happening all over. Will it happen to your child this week? You can be sure it will happen to someone's child. You can be sure. Don't let your child be the next victim.

Read my e-book, Preventing Abused Children, for more. Click here

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