I am a 38-year-old married male.
I was molested by my family's maidservant (she left after a year) when I was eight years old, for close to a year, and by my dad's cousin (he lived with us for 2½ years) when I was 10 years old, for two years. It was the worst period of my life. It affected me emotionally. I felt like I was useless and not good for anything, because I was told that by my molesters and by my dad consistently. After I eventually told my dad, he asked his cousin to leave our house. I regret that my dad just brushed it aside, continued to talk to him and his family, and not take the sin committed seriously. I still do not have a good relationship with my father. Please pray that I continue to honor him. After I told my mom, she just told me to forgive and endure the pain. But neither parents supported me through this trauma. I felt very disgusted and had a very low view of myself. Over time, I became vengeful.
My dad and mom believed me. My youngest brother too was molested by my cousin. I wish my parents were supportive and took the matter seriously. When I was emotionally down, and it started affecting my academic life, they took it out on me.
Sexual abuse still affects me today. I tend to internalize a lot. My wife was sexually abused too. We understand each other's pain, but there are many times I wish I could hurt the people who hurt me. I have forgiven them, but I will never forget it. My relationship with God is not where it should be. I wish I was motivated to read the Bible and pray everyday. My flesh and my work life have kept my time with God on the periphery. I want to be a strong spiritual leader for the home. I have a daughter and a son on the way, and I honestly don't see them looking up to me as an example in the future. I wish to change that.
The family and the church at large take many sins seriously, like divorce, but when it comes to sexual sins involving minors or widows, they dust it under the carpet until it becomes a molehill, and they wonder why children are no longer interested in the church or in God. If the church took 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 ("But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Purge the evil person from among you.") seriously, I believe with all my heart that our children would continue to be protected, loved, and have an interest in knowing the things of God. If the church cannot purge this evil among us and lets offenders continue to participate, it just shows we are no better than the world, but worse.
I would like to remind Christian parents of five things:
1. Molesters are lurking in the church and in our families. They come across as angels, but they are devils pretending to be angels. I hate to say this, but never trust anyone with your children. God bore them to this world through us, and they are our responsibility. I would never allow sleepovers or leave them alone with someone that I do not trust.
2. If your child is ever molested, please be supportive, and understand that the scars will never heal. If they are depressed and feeling down or useless, encourage them, and further protect their emotions. Just be there for them.
3. Teach your children to defend themselves. Teach them what molestation is. I would start young. Our daughter was taught at age four. Children are much smarter than we give them credit for.
4. Raise the issue in the church (with leadership) or on a public forum, and point the finger, EVEN if it will cost you your relationship with others. Remember Paul's warning that we cannot associate with people like that. If parents stand courageously by their children, then an attribute of God is truly reflected in our actions, because our God is a just God, and He brings about justice for sins.
5. Jesus told us to FORGIVE 77 times, but He never told us to FORGET. God gave us long-term memory to protect us, though our human flaws can use it for ungodly purposes. Parents, never forget the long-term pain of your children, and be willing to sacrifice your desires, ambitions, and reputation to protect God's gift to you.