I am happy to announce some big news! My posts have been far fewer recently, and that is for a good reason. I have been writing a book. The book goes live on May 30th, but you can preorder it now! Those of you that have followed me for some time will recognize some of the text in the book because it started here with the blog.
We will continue to make posts here hopefully on a more regular basis going forward. Thank you for all of your encouraging words over time.
Survivors need watchmen to back them up and help them when needed. There may be others who attack them and the watchmen need to help support the survivors during that time. The survivors need encouragement. Do whatever is best for the survivor, even if it may disrupt some waters. The survivor needs to find a sense of security, which may be hard to find. Therefore they need watchmen to check up on them and make sure that they’re alright. Consider the speech that Jesus gave about the shepherd watching over his flock in John 10:1-18. He describes how the shepherd will do anything for his sheep, even leave the flock just to find the stray sheep that wandered off. Survivors are sheep and watchmen are shepherds, do whatever it takes to protect the survivor and support them in all circumstances. Are you going to step up and be a good watchmen and support the survivor at all costs?
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” –John 15:13
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” –Proverbs 17:17
Sheep will not remain still and get rest in the presence of a predator. When watchmen fail to remove the possibility of contact with a known predator, how can a survivor sit still, learn, heal, grow? Short answer, they won’t. Families, Churches, and Youth organizations need to know this and put good watchmen in place to protect those who are vulnerable in their midst.
1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.a 3He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousnessb for his name’s sake.
4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,c I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surelyd goodness and mercye shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwellf in the house of the LORD forever.g
The best watchman found in scripture is the Lord himself (John 10). Looking at the first three verses of Psalm 23 one can see that the shepherd shows care for the sheep before anything concerning or questionable. In verse four it depicts the shepherd leading the sheep through a concerning place with the shepherd comforting the sheep on the journey through it. Then in verses five and six care is conveyed again.
When in the presence of a known predator, survivors are re-victimized. The predator and their flying monkeys go to work defending the indefensible. This is used to make those who take issue with the predator appear to be unreasonable. This is a combination of techniques used by predators: gaslighting, smear campaign, and the flying monkey. We need good watchmen to stand in the way of these practices. By doing so the watchman is giving the survivor green pasture and still waters, where they can rest, learn, heal, and grow. Does your family have good watchmen? Your church? If so great, are they training more?
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 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.
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.
Although 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.