Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The theme each year is coordinated by the National Sexual Violence Research Center, and this year’s theme is, “Engaging new voices”.  The idea being that the more who are involved, the more powerful the movement to end sexual violence. We couldn’t agree more with this year’s theme.

The Ezekiel 33 Project continues to work to bring awareness and action to families dealing with the sexual abuse of children. Each family that takes a stand is a new voice engaged. We believe that the appropriate adjustment of attitude towards these crimes begins with individual families, and then those families impact their extended family, churches and the community organizations they are involved with. When a family makes the determination to learn about the tools that child molesters use, and the techniques that the molesters and their advocates employ to avoid prosecution, you have a family of good watchmen. That family will then impact other families and the organizations that they are affiliated with in a positive way.

To weed sexual abuse out of our communities, churches, and social circles we need to engage new voices. One way of, “Engaging new voices”, is to train more watchmen. We need those who are responsible, are willing to inconvenience self and others, and pay attention to the details. Consider what you are doing to put an end to sexual abuse in your circle of influence, and make the decision that you will be the good watchman.

Cascading failure

Cascading failure involves a system of interconnected parts, and when one part fails other parts that are connected in the system can fail as well. This can be observed with power grids, computer networks, machinery, and human relations. Churches, youth organizations, and sports organizations. There are many reasons behind why silence is the evil king in dealing with childhood sexual abuse. Our families range on the spectrum from being consciously competent at teaching to look out for others and speaking up when one sees wrong to being unconsciously incompetent on confronting wrong. This is how in case after case it is discovered that several knew that an individual was molesting children, but nothing was done. Each person that knew and remained silent was a part of an interconnected network that experienced a cascading failure, and each person who remained silent was a component in the network that failed.

It is our responsibility to train up good watchmen and we must to create more links in our networks that will speak out. By doing this we are stopping the cascading failure of abuse where molesters average between 50 and 150 survivors before they are caught. It is a sad reality that not all abuse will be stopped, but with good watchmen the magnitude can be greatly reduced. Fathers, you set the tone, you are the ones that must train conscious competence in yourself and in your children to be a voice in the face of those preferring silence.

Art created by a 19-year old College Freshman

I came across this a couple of days ago and thought that it should be shared. This picture conveys a girl and the different colors of paint  represented on her depicts who has touched her and where. This picture to me speaks volumes. No one has ever been bold enough to do this but it definitely enlightens others. Below is an article talking more about this.

19-Year-Old Reveals The Shocking Aftermath Of Sexual Assault In A Powerful And NSFW Artwork

Critical Questions

questionmarkAlthough you could not tell by the recent blog activity, things have been busy at the Ezekiel 33 Project. So busy that we missed a pre-holiday post like we normally do. In the end this is a good thing, it gives us an opportunity to write a different type of post.

With things getting back to normal for a few weeks before Christmas, you have an excellent opportunity to get some information from your kids before you potentially see the same family again in a few weeks. After a family gathering have you ever asked your children if there was anyone in your family that made them uncomfortable? If their answer is yes, dig a little deeper instead of the knee-jerk reaction of, “don’t say that about your…” Ask what makes them uncomfortable. You may find that they can’t stand the smell of an aunt’s perfume or uncles deodorant. More importantly, you may be told about odd behavior that you are not ok with which may lead to more questions. Continue asking the questions. These will give you valuable information coming from the viewpoint of your child. A good watchman will inconvenience self and others to ensure those they watch over are safe.

Thank you David Pittman for speaking out.

Thank you David for providing a resource that so many unfortunately need.

Families, know what is going on with your children. Learn about grooming and the tactics that pedophiles take. Become the good watchman for your family and in your church.  David has started a great new resource for survivors, “Together We Heal”. The site provides a way to get in touch with no-fee counseling services for survivors. Please visit this great new resource for survivors and their families.

Pedophiles are like Serial Killers – My Story by David Pittman

Recommended Reading

Depending on the amount of time you have been following the Ezekiel33Project, you may have noticed several quotes from Shannon Thomas of Southlake Christian Counseling on our Facebook page. We have been following her for some time now and believe her material is incredibly useful in understanding the threats our children and families face. We hope you have found her quotes useful and a call for awakening your inner watchman.  One of our team was privileged to be on her most recent book launch group for, “Healing From Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse”.  We highly recommend this be on your reading list. If abuse has not occurred  and you want to be knowledgeable of the evil that children and those who care for them face, read it! If you or your family are dealing with the aftermath of abuse, read it! She shares the techniques that abusers use. Her book talks about gaslighting, triangulation, smear campaigns, love bombing, idealize/devalue/discard, and it even discusses those pesky flying monkeys. This book gives valuable insight to watchmen who are working to prevent abuse from happening, or for those working to prevent it from ever happening again.

Watch for “The Ruse”

Ruse: a trick or act that is used to fool someone

Predators must have a ruse in order to accomplish their goals. They must fool not only the child they eventually abuse. The predator must also fool those who are in charge of the child’s care, most often parents. They use a ruse to commit the evil that they do. Although there are several methods that can be used as a ruse the most common ones can be boiled down to two types of technique often used in combination, deception and empathy.

Deception

Parents and children fall victim to deception when a predator has a legitimate reason to be near a child but has other intentions. A family gathering where an extended family member has a legitimate reason to be present can provide access to a child that they would not normally have access to. The parental line of defense has now been handled, now the predator only needs to deceive the child. At this point usually the predator begins to find ways of being alone with the child so they can begin to gradually cross boundaries. After several boundaries have been crossed to the point that the child appears to be fine with the redefinition of the relationship. It is at that point that a predatory individual will move the boundary of the previous normal with the child. There will be some reason that a predator will provide for the new amount of touch. This can occur over several family gatherings or all at once depending on the child and the predator’s skill and aggressiveness.

Empathy

Predators often use empathy to get past parental suspicion. Any type of life situation can be employed to get people, especially family, to feel sorry for them therefore a higher tolerance for indiscretions. Personal situations such as employment, weight, health condition, rough childhood, marital status, and financial situation can be used to have adults around them excuse perceived indiscretions. These situations are also used to gain allies in the event that a predator is caught and is under threat of prosecution.  In an extended family situation there will often be those who will side with the predator because of the empathy that they have for the predator’s situation. In essence the predator gains license for their behavior because of whatever reason that their allies feel sorry for them. These allies then pressure those who believe the predator should be turned in to not doing so. This is likely one significant reason behind child molestation being one of the most underreported crimes in the U.S. today.

Looking at the application of the ruse, it does not take much time to determine that appropriate boundaries should be set for every individual in your child’s life. There are those based on their role who have no reason to have any time alone with your child. There are others that should so long as they have been found trustworthy and honest. The closer the relationship with the parent, the more likely the parent is to have their guard down. One should never let their guard down.  If anything occurs that causes you to believe that you should change the amount of access anyone has to your child, trust your instinct.