I have a 5-year ache in my heart for the Central African Republic (CAR). And it only grew worse with the breaking news reports of sexual abuse of children in CAR.
The reports of displaced children being sexually abused are beyond sickening. Not only because it was children who were victimized.
What breaks my heart is that vulnerable children—forced from their homes, desperate for food and seeking basic needs from “safe” adults there to “protect” them—were preyed upon. The utter helplessness of these little ones was exploited in the darkest and most heinous manner.
“children, who are among the tens of thousands displaced by the fighting… described how they were sexually exploited in return for food and money”
UNICEF admits that silence due to shame, fear or lack of reporting prevent true numbers, but estimates that anywhere between 500 million and 1.5 billion children are abused each year.
According to UNICEF, the most vulnerable children are those living outside the care of biological parents. Whether it is foster children, orphans, or displaced—like the little ones in the CAR who simply wanted a meal and ended up victimized.
What can we do?
One of the most influential pastors in America, Andy Stanley, says that every leader needs to ask himself or herself two very hard questions:
“‘Who are you?’ and ‘What breaks your heart?’ Because you have no idea what hangs in the balance of your decision to embrace the burden God has put in your heart.”
I know my friend Boz Tchividjian has asked and answered these questions. He is fully embracing the burden God has laid on his heart to be the voice for the voiceless as he defends children who have been, and continue to be, abused.
He knows full well what is at stake every time he advocates for a child. Vulnerable children are the most susceptible to abuse. Predators look for the vulnerable and target them. That’s why Boz has recently spearheaded the charge for expanded U.S. and international child protection laws. He’s authored two posts for my blog that are coming soon…
Every child is made in the image of God. Think about that—they all have the capacity for divine potential. That’s why Jesus was so forceful in how he talked about how we treat children. Whatever you do to a child, you’re in essence doing to God.
I’m staggered by the damage being done to these little lives. But I grasp hard to hope knowing the potential these tiny image-bearers have for healing and wholeness in the person of their Creator.
You should also read:
- A Christian theology of children
- Education IS the next great mission field
- Critical importance of reaching kids between ages 4 to 14
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/29/un-aid-worker-suspended-leaking-report-child-abuse-french-troops-car?CMP=share_btn_tw http://www.healinginthehurtingplaces.org/resources-2/keeping-children-safe/understanding-rape http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/public-health/orphans-abuse-and-the-worlds-most-vulnerable-children-recent-research