Sexual assault and the church

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In the U.S. [1], child abuse is reported every 10 seconds. Neglect is the most common form of abuse, followed by a short margin between the next most common physical and sexual abuse[2] categories.

When you consider that child abuse is vying to outpace the commonality of cancer, it must be considered as an epidemic and responded to both individually as a believer, and corporately as the Church.

Most devastating and least talked about of all social ills is the pervasive and increasingly predominant practice of sexual abuse of children. When sex offenders average a disheartening 50-150 molestations before ever being caught[3], it’s time for parents and the Church to start building hedges of protection around our children.

Recently Dylan Farrow wrote a powerful open letter accusing Woody Allen of sexually abusing her as a child.

This is not an arena the Church is often comfortable stepping into, but the statistics and recent media attention this topic have gotten are forcing us to realize that we must open our eyes to the facts and ask the question, “how can the Church help protect children?”

Why the Church? Despite America’s growing distrust in institutions, according to a recent Barna study, the Church ranked highest when asked which institution they believe has their best interest at heart. And as the Church, we are called to be the shining lights (Phil 2:15)—a shelter of safety and a place prepared to appropriately respond to allegations of abuse and well equipped to help facilitate a healthy physical, emotional and spiritual healing process.

Since OneHope works through local churches and organizations that may find themselves in this situation, we have been meeting with GRACE, an organization committed to empowering the Christian community to respond appropriately to child abuse. We desire to develop a strong call to action for churches and partners to seriously consider the plan they have in place to protect children.

We covet your prayers for continued guidance as we seek to help inform the Christian community on how to protect our children from the heinous acts that are happening right now and all around.

You should also read:


[1] http://www.childhelp-usa.com/pages/statistics
[2] http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm2012.pdf
[3] http://www.childluresprevention.com/research/profile.asp