Articles and other points of focus that bring insight and spiritual perspective to issues relating to abuse and abandonment.
The article below was written by Brenda Cox in 1999 but was never published.
It is posted here as originally written because it contains a warning that remains relevant to our times, but more significantly, it contains information that is critical for survivors of sexual abuse and their loved ones to understand.
A great moral and behavioral sea-change is upon us and poses possibly the most daunting challenge the church has faced in presenting a relevant and impacting Christ to its youth. A startling number of young people in the post Generation-X age range of 14-18 years, is flirting with or outright embracing the homosexual and bi-sexual life-styles. It is the equivalent of a behavioral tsunami wave that threatens the emotional and spiritual shoreline of America and will stretch the church to the brink of its wisdom and ability to deal with it. But deal with it we must. It will require a renovation in the thinking of the Christian community in general and Christian leadership in particular if the church is to be a relevant and effective force in presenting Christ to this damaged generation. For what often lies at the heart of this behavioral shift is a wounded child.
Our society is killing our children. Though multiple factors contribute to the sea-change that is upon us, one of the most lethal influences is sexual abuse. This behavioral leprosy blights the healthy sexual understandings of its victims. Though alarming, sexual abuse statistics are likely understated. One out of four girls is sexually abused, although personal experience suggests that that figure is significantly higher. Over the course of their lifetime, 3 out of 4 women will experience sexual violation of some sort. Though the statistics for boys are significantly lower (1 in 10 is reportedly sexually abused); yet again, personal work with kids over the years suggests those figures to be closer to 1 in 5 or 6. Many boys do not recognize certain violations from other boys as being abusive and so may not contribute that information to statistic gatherers. Nevertheless their ability to engage in healthy and appropriate sexual behaviors is almost always warped from even “mild” encounters. The pervasiveness of childhood sexual abuse in our culture may be the single most critical contributor to the bi-sexual/homo-sexual surge among our youth.
Boys When boys are sexually violated it is most often by another male: either another young person their age or older, or an adult. In either case, the experience often produces predominantly pleasurable sensations. Even though they may know it is a “wrong” encounter, pleasure attends it. By having their first--and often prolonged-- sexual experience a pleasurable encounter with a male, their normal sexual inclinations are skewed. Their hetero-sexual “instincts” blur with their same-sex experience often creating homo-sexual impulses and thus creating real confusion and often fear about who and what they really are. If understanding is not applied to these urges, they can easily be converted into the belief by the child (teenager or young adult) that he is a homo-sexual. This is where the church must be equipped and inclined to engage these young people and guide them into the healing and liberating truth of Jesus Christ.
Girls Though girls are predominantly violated by males, the effect on them is in general the opposite of that which boys experience. The prevailing experience for girls is painful; both physically and emotionally. Fear is one of the strongest emotions attached to the event(s). Even though some pleasurable impulses may be experienced, it is so shrouded in pain, fear and guilt that an ambivalent mix of revulsion and arousal encases their understanding of sex and ultimately skews their behaviors. The previously mentioned guilt occurs because the girl will almost always feel in some way responsible for what happened, and cannot avoid that sense when the molester/abuser uses his most tested statements to insure her silence: “You really wanted this. You wouldn’t have dressed that way if you hadn’t....Don’t tell anyone...they’ll think you’re a bad girl....”
The effects of being introduced to sex in this kind of way are far-reaching and profound. Sex with a man is, from the on-set, shamed. From the on-set it is painful, frightening, dis-empowering and guilt-ridden. It is no wonder, then, that these females at some age will usually find relationships with women safer and more fulfilling. This will be expressed in many teenagers and women by strong, healthy friendships. But given certain circumstances, the desire for safe emotional intimacy can color outside the lines of instinctive sexual boundaries and homo-sexual behaviors can result.
What MUST be Understood is that homosexual urges do NOT mean one is Homosexual. The BLURRING of Sexual Identity is a Frequent Consequence of Childhood Sexual Abuse but CAN BE WORKED THROUGH with proper Christian Counseling and Guidance.
We in the church must understand the dynamics of this abusive blight if we are to help both adults and children work through the sexual confusion that inevitably attends such childhood violations.
What is alarming about the post Gen-X crop of kids is that confusing sexual urges generated by early sexual abuse is being so quickly accepted and embraced. Up until now, it was but a few victims who embraced the confusion so early in life. Till now, most have either resisted their personally disturbing sexual impulses and never succumbed, or, finally moved that direction much later in life. The great hope of this moment is that Scriptural principles, when understood and applied, can truly liberate those snared in the bondage of such life events.
As the church grapples with un-thought of issues in the latter days of this millennium, we must move quickly to develop approaches that will help heal the gouged and wounded places not only in this young population but in all those who struggle with the confused messages that echo in the hollows created by childhood sexual abuse.