Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In the Quiet Heart is Hidden Sorrow that the Eye Can't See

Today is the last day of April:  Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Abuse Awareness Month.

It's not the last day to be aware and educated, but I won't be focusing on it in my posts.  I hope that you gave some thought to the children and teenagers in your care and resolved to make a difference.  I hope that you will share with them some empowering thoughts and tools.  Allow me to share one last story.

Orange Jell-o.  The girls were excited.  My friend had made it for her mutual class.  As she peeled back the foil, their delight turned quickly to dismay.  Something was wrong. 
“What’s that in the corner?” asked one of the girls.  “It looks like dog poop.” 
“It is dog poop,” said the teacher, “but don’t worry.  It’s just in this one corner.  We can cut around it.  Who wants a piece?”
“Ooh, gross.”  “Yuck.” “Disgusting.”  “Are you kidding?”  “I’m not touching it.”
It was an effective object lesson on the content of movies.  You get the idea. “It was a great movie all except that one part.”  We’ve all said it.  It’s not quite the same with Jell-O.

What if instead of a movie, the Jell-o represented a human life and the dog poop represented sexual abuse?   Just as the dog poop changes everything about the Jell-o, sexual abuse changes the texture and landscape of an individual life.  Cutting around the dog poop is not an option.  The Jell-o will never be the same.
Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.”  (Herbert Ward)

Sexual abuse is one of the most damaging experiences imaginable.  Whether it happens once or a hundred times, the damage is often deep and lasting.  Some children bury the secret and never tell or talk about it.  These are the ones I worry most about.  A child who doesn’t get help may have a very hard time healing.
"In the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can’t see." (LDS hymns p. 220) Watch for damaged children.  Ask the questions.  Be there.  Be a safe person that kids can talk to.

We can't afford to look the other way.

Linda Garner

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