|Spiritual Non-Fiction posted January 14, 2018||Chapters:||...13 14 -15- 16...|
A chapter in the book Beauty for Ash and Stone
Betrayal - Day 15
The author has placed a warning on this post for sexual content.
Christian Devotional for Survivors of Sexual Abuse
~ Betrayal ~
The opposite of betrayal is faithfulness, loyalty, protection, and support – all of which are destroyed when sexual abuse occurs. According to Darkness to Light (d2l.org), 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser, and 30% are abused by family members. The more intimate the relationship, the more pain it will cause, the deeper the betrayal, and the harder to trust another person and form deep, lasting relationships.
A parent is supposed to love, nurture, and protect their children. When basic needs are met in infancy, like food, clothing, and shelter, a child learns to trust their caregiver. If the parent, who is supposed to love the child, begins violating that child, trust is shattered. For the child coping with betrayal, a deliberate unawareness, through denial or in extreme cases, suppression of partial or complete memories can last years. A child may also remain loyal to the offending parent, and lie for years or cover up the abuse.
Betrayal is just as debilitating, when it comes in the form of one parent abusing the child, and the other parent denying its existence. The non-offending parent doesn’t have to suspect or know the abuse is occurring, for it to be considered betrayal. In some cases, the non-offender chooses their own comfort, fear, or self-protection over preventing their child from harm or providing a safe environment. This parent may have experienced domestic violence, and may be co-dependent on the abusive parent. I’ve read other cases where a parent is on drugs and has prostituted their child to fulfill their fix. I met a lady in one of my counseling courses, whose mother had done this very thing. She described in great detail how “johns” picked her up in their vehicles, and drove off, but then denied that her mother had allowed it.
Victims of Crime.org reports those with a prior history of sexual victimization are extremely likely to be re-victimized. Some research estimates an increased risk of over 1000%. When a child is raised in a dysfunctional home, the treatment the child receives is considered the “normal” standard for a family. The child is forced to lie to self and others and to deny any feelings of inappropriate behavior.
Dr. Paul Hegstrom, of Life Skills International, states a child who is abused before the age of 8, will believe that the abuse is their fault and the result of being a “bad” child. Three important chemicals at pre-puberty called serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, produce reasoning or abstract thinking, enabling a child to make their own choices, and reason that the abuse was not entirely their fault.
Recovering from betrayal, involves first healing from the trauma of sexual abuse. Childhood wounds can affect us for a lifetime, making us double-minded and unstable in everything (James 1:8). We are fixable, if we are teachable!
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